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Adolf Hitler's rise to power

Adolf Hitler in SA Uniform.
Adolf Hitler in SA Uniform.

Adolf Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. His rise to power was facilitated by President Paul von Hindenburg, the German Army and many politicians. Combining the posts of President and Chancellor, he acquired supreme authority of Germany by making the Nazi Party as his powerbase to rise to power.

He first established a Nazi dictatorship by means of the Enabling Act. In March 1933, to obtain two-thirds of the majority needed to enact the Enabling Act, the Nazi party used the Reichstag fire to argue that a communist revolution was imminent and thus depower the communists. Furthermore, the Nazi policies were much more appealing relatively to that of the failed Weimar Republic's and thus, large numbers turned to Hitler as they were longing for a period of stability within Germany after an unsuccessful rule by the Weimar Republic. Hitler was also able to convince Hindenburg to pass this law due to Hindenburg's senility and the influence of the Camarilla, particularly Oskar von Hindenburg.

The final act

The Nazis came to power through an alliance with some traditional conservative factions, although they experienced opposition from the opposing parties. Franz von Papen, a conservative former German Chancellor and former member of the Catholic Centre Party, supported Hitler for the position of Chancellor. Political and corporate engineering, which began immediately prior to 30 January presidentially appointed Hitler Chancellorship, which continued till 23 March Enabling Act that eventually gave Hitler dictatorial power. This Act passed with the support of the Huguenbergian German National People's Party (DNVP), a few liberals, and all conservative and centrist deputies in the constitutionally-disabled and effectively rigged Reichstag. This remaining bloc easily defeated the sole opposition of the Social Democrats, because a large proportion of the Communists had been either arrested or murdered.

Late 1932

Among the conservative forces who opposed Hitler, the most notable was Kurt von Schleicher, the chief Army political general and fixer who held the Chancellorship after Papen's, the failed aristocratic attempt at administration. Von Schleicher in late 1932 attempted to construct a "cross front" that would unite anti-Hitler factions on the right and center-left in the Reichstag. His failure to do so allowed Papen's second rise to power inside a Hitler coalition, and it was Papen who paved the way for Hitler's appointment as Chancellor.

The engineering of Hitler's 30 January appointment

Papen squared the Industrial Magnates and business class, squared the Bankers, squared the weapon-hungry Officer class and, through his personal influence with President Paul von Hindenburg, squared the landed Junkers. Papen intrigued between Hindenburg's son Oskar and the still despised Adolf Hitler. He then squared the Church through his aristocratic Catholic credentials and Vatican contacts made during his own Chancellorship. Papen persuaded Hindenburg to appoint Hitler into the 30 January 1933 minority and appointed cabinet with the aim of ensuring that he, Papen and the vested German political forces, would control Hitler. He is famous for saying that Now we have him where we can control him. Hindenburg accepted this DNVP/Nazi majority and rejected or did not understand the last minute von Schleicher threat of an Army putsch to resolve the crisis. Such a threat may have prevented Nazism from taking hold, but it was anathema to the terminating presidential ambition.

Rhenish-Westphalian industrial magnates

Reported as bankrupt in December 1932, the NSDAP or Nazi Party was in poor financial health by the middle of January because the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial magnates had assumed responsibility for its debts. These financial and industrial leaders had put the Nazi party back into the political arena after a large drop in the pro-Nazi vote in November 1932. In return, they had gotten promises to be paid back as, if and when Hitler came to power. It is reported that "without the formidable assistance of the industrialists the Nazi party would have foundered on the rocks of bankruptcy." (The Nemesis of Power by John Wheeler-Bennett, Macmillan 1953.)

The magnates petitioned President Hindenburg after the November elections seeking the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. Amongst the 38 signatories of the petition were Hjalmar Schacht, Fritz Thyssen, Alfred Krupp, Siemens AG, Bosch and the heads of Hamburg-Amerika and the North German-Lloyd Shipping Lines. Hitler was assiduous in fulfilling his promises after achieving the chancellorship by eliminating the communists, abolishing the trade unions, forcing no nationalization of industry and beginning rearmament on a huge scale.

Representing the industrial and financial force supporting Hitler, Hjalmar Schacht was accused at the Nuremberg trials, but cleared of the charges, of conspiracy to wage an aggressive war, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced in the de-nazification proceedings. See also the Krupp Trial was a similar trial, away from Nuremberg, where more war criminals were tried.

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