The Reichstag Fire took place on 27 February and the building burning was a dramatic development for the Nazis. Hitler used the event to place blame on the Communists and declared that the fire was the beginning of a Communist uprising. He demanded special emergency powers to deal with the situation and was given them by President Hindenburg. The Nazi used this power to arrest Communists, break up meetings and frighten voters. Due to many Germans thinking it was the communists, Hitler would’ve gained even more followers for the Nazi Party and an even bigger amount of power given by Hindenburg.
Eleven people were killed and the radicals were given a huge propaganda boost by referring to the event as ‘Peterloo’, in a grim analogy with the Duke of Wellington's famous victory over Napoleon at Waterloo four years earlier. This shows that the government did think Britain was on the verge of a revolution if they had to have authorities to disperse the crowd by force. This also shows the unrest Britain had as a whole, to the way Britain was governed. In response to the Duke of Wellington’s return to government, reform leaders made plans to bring the country to a halt by having their supporters withdraw funds from the banks, using the slogan: ‘To stop the Duke, go for Gold’. The crisis was averted.
The Nazis used the government apparatus to terrorize the other parties. They arrested their leaders and banned their political meetings. Then, in the midst of the election campaign, on February 27, 1933, the Reichstag building burned. A Dutchman named Marinus van der Lubbe was arrested for the crime, and he swore he had acted alone. Although many suspected the Nazis were ultimately responsible for the act, the Nazis managed to blame the Communists, thus turning more votes their
Hitler also thought that since the government was just developing it would have been a good time to seize power and take over the government. Finally, Hitler attempted the Munich Putsch also to gain support from the streets but this had failed him. I agree with the statement ‘the Reichstag Fire more important than the Enabling Act in allowing Hitler to consolidate power’ because of several reasons. Firstly, without the Reichstag Fire there wouldn’t have been an Enabling Act. The Reichstag Fire led to the Enabling Act because Hitler had managed to convince Hindenburg that it was a ‘communists uprising’.
He also banned the Social Democrat Party in June 1933, and then all other parties soon followed. There were also many other factors that made it so Hitler could establish a dictatorship. The Reichstag Fire gave him an opportunity to pass the Law for ‘The Protection of the People and the State’, which ended all the freedoms that were guaranteed by the Weimar Republic. This law gave the police total control. The police and the SA arrested all the communist leaders, their meetings were broken up and newspapers closed down.
Upon becoming more popular and gaining more of the people’s support, both parties eliminated opposing political parties in some manner. Both banned opposing parties, but Hitler got Nazis into the legislative party, then took control, while Stalin exiled then killed Trotsky, whom he had a power struggle with. Stalin then used terror to keep power and eliminate opposing parties. Both leaders led political parties to support and power, but used different methods of gaining that power. Another similarity between Hitler’s and Stalin’s struggles to power is their method of gaining the people’s support.
Those who feared the attacks turned to the Minister of Economy Hjalmar Schacht. He was forced to resign in November 1937, and Herman Goering took over in December 1937. Goering ordered that Jewish businesses be restricted in the raw materials they could receive. Also, Goering favoured ‘Aryanisation’ – stripping Jews of their property selling it to non-Jews and the proceeds going to the economy. The Anschluss (union of Germany and Austria) in March 1938 unleashed a wave of attacks against Jewish property in Austria.
The Nazi party now forced to think tactically and with the burning of the Reichstag building through a communist Hitler was able to blame the extremist party for the beginning of a revolution and with President Hindenburg's approval he arrested the ‘enemies of the state’. With this fortunate accident, the ‘missing’ SPD party and the agreement with Zentrum Hitler was able to get his two thirds majority to pass the Enabling Act which entitled him to pass laws without parliamentary approval. Although on the surface Hitler seemed to have a lot of control, this was not complete, due to the fact that President Hindenburg could over rule him and perhaps even terminate him as chancellor. This power, however, led to multiple sudden adjustments to Germany, after becoming a one party state by July 1933, through making the SPD party and all other competitors illegal, he continued to set loose on Germany’s very powerful and threatening trade unions. Trade unions posed a strong threat to the NSDAP due to their power in Germany, considering their support for the SPD and even KPD.
General von schleicher stopped supporting von papen and decided he himself should become chancellor, this triggered of a power struggle between von schleicher nd von papen, which ended with them handing power to Hitler. Hitler was made Chancellor in 1933 after von Papen persuades Hindenburg. Von Papen thought that as long as there were a limited number of Nazis in the cabinet then Hitler could be controlled. Von Papen was wrong. Another thing was there was the weakness of the Weimar government, which played its part.
Schuschnigg compromised by appointing the Nazi Seyss-Inquart as Minister of the Interior. Hitler had built up his armed forces and achieved success in the Rhineland whilst at the same time noting the failures of the League of Nations. France and Britain both refused to help Austria, so on March 9 1938 Schuschnigg announced his intention to hold a plebiscite to allow the Austrian people decide for themselves, whether they actually wanted to join with Germany or not. Hitler got furious and moved troops to the Austrian border and demanded that Schussing should call off the plebiscite. Schuschnigg had no choice to give in and resign.