On 23 March 1933 the Reichstag passed the Enabling Law by a two-thirds majority (444 out of 647 - only the SPD voted against (94)) and enabled the Chancellor to rule by decree without even the need for approval by the President. In effect, the Reichstag then dissolved itself. The first permanent concentration camp had been set up at Dachau the day before! The SA was unleashed on political opponents and several semi-official concentration camps were set up all over Germany. (Most of these were later closed).
Stalin was able to eliminate all effective opposition through a series of purges. The Show Trials, which began in 1936, were designed to create an atmosphere of intimidation and paranoia. As the purges swept through the party, many highly prominent Bolsheviks were put on trial and accused of being part of a Trotsky counter-revolutionary bloc. During the first Show Trial, of 1936, Stalin eliminated Kamenev and Zinoviev, who forcibly confessed to being part of Trotsky’s conspiracy and were consequently executed. In 1937 Stalin began the purge of the military, accusing them of spying for Nazi Germany.
Communists or the KDP also saw the opportunity that Hitler saw but with the democracy on its way out there was only room for one government, and Hitler new this. The ploy had so many advantages to Hitler that it would be hard to see how Hitler could not have been involved. This one event allowed him too effectively dishevel his main adversary, the foremost blockade that stopped Hitler’s dictatorship. How he went about “blaming” the communist for the event and thus eliminating them, was also a catalyst for all the events to come. By convincing Hindenburg that there was a large communist threat the country was put into a state of emergency and, with Hindenburg’s backing, Hitler was allowed to pass decrees to govern Germany anyway he liked, with the financial backing of krupp and bosch etc, which in this case is fortunate for the question at hand.
With the Nazi Party now firmly rooted in the political scene, Hitler sought to combine his power through the implementation of the Enabling Act; this law would effectively abolish any trace of power held by the Reichstag and the president. The introduction of the Gleichschaltung from 1933 to 1934 allowed a widespread reconfiguration of all areas of German life and thus saw the Nazification of the nation, enforcing the extent to which Nazi ideology had permeated the scope of German society and the limitless parameters of Hitler’s authority. This was assisted by the intimidation inspired by Hitler’s SA and SS, who successfully eliminated any opposition of the Nazi state. Finally, however, it was the support of the Reichswehr that would pave the rule of Nazism in Germany, which was only obtained as a result of the Night of the Long Knives, where the threat of usurpation by the SA was abolished and Hitler’s ruler ship in the event of Hindenburg’s death was guaranteed. The conservative parties and elites made up of the army, right-wing parties, politicians, businessmen and Junkers had a major role in the
It is clear that Terror and intimidation were important factors in allowing the Nazis to consolidate power 1933, for the reason that violence still had an impact on political developments, for example, even negotiations between Hitler, von Papen and Hindenburg took place against the conditions of well publicised acts of SA (Storm troopers) violence. In May 1933 ¬, ¬SA members stormed trade union headquarters and disbanded it. This violence cuased many leaders of the SPD to flee abroad and in June its party was officially banned. The majority of the 3000 members of the party that remained were arrested and taken to the Dachau concentration camp where they were later tortured and killed. This ulitmately potrays the brutality of the Nazis, which effectively contributed to their consolidation of power.
The Night of the Long Knives was the name Hitler gave to his purge of the SA. Hitler found out about a conspiracy to have him removed because the SA had the power to remove him. So with that Knowledge he called for a meeting and there he arrested the leader Ernst Roehm and also arrested 200 other senior officers. Many were shot as they were captured and in the end he also had Roehm killed. He made sure the next leader for them was weak so in the end they lost their power.
The Night of the Long Knives represented a triumph for Hitler, and a turning point for the German government. It established Hitler as "the supreme judge of the German people", as he put it in his July 13 speech to the Reichstag. Later, in April 1942, Hitler would formally adopt this title, thus placing himself de jure as well as de facto above the reach of the law. Centuries of jurisprudence proscribing extra-judicial killings were swept aside. Despite some initial efforts by local prosecutors to take legal action against those who carried out the murders, which the regime rapidly quashed, it appeared that no law would constrain Hitler in his use of power.
Within days of taking power Hitler banned all other political parties. The normal democratic right to oppose or protest against government was not going to be allowed. The Gestapo made it their business to find out about Nazi opponents. They tapped phones, opened letters and spied on suspects. A network of Nazi informers passed on information to them.
Indeed, Hitler did not act unconstitutionally by declaring himself Fuhrer as the enabling act gave him dictatorial power via democratic means. Moreover, the emergency decree given after the Reichstag fire “for the protection of people and state” gave the police the power to detain without charge, a tool which was used to great effect by Hitler to quell any political opposition that arose after the Nazi seizure of power. The total legislative power afforded to the Nazis as a result of the enabling act allowed for the Communist Party to be banned, as well as the SPD, whilst the remaining parties faded away in fear of the same fate. By manipulating the constitution Hitler had eliminated all opposition to the Nazi regime and therefore organised and democratic insurrection in Nazi Germany was effectively impossible, thus consolidating Nazi power. Whilst the danger of any organised political opposition to the Nazis had been successfully crushed by the enabling act and subsequent legislation, there was still the chance that a populist uprising of the people could take down the regime if it had enough support.
The main reason that Hitler was able to move from Chancellor to Fuhrer was because he had the consent of the German people. How far do you agree with this statement? Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on the 30th of January 1933, causing mass celebration in Berlin. Just 18 months later, on the 2 August 1934, he had worked his way to becoming Fuhrer. Some historians say it was the consent and willingness of the German people that took him to Fuhrer but there are other strong arguments such as the Enabling Law, the demolishment of other political parties and trade unions, his agreements with the church, media and industrialists and the Night of the Long Knives.