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Did Hitler gain power legally?

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Introduction

Did Hitler gain power legally? Adolf Hitler came to power at a time in history where Germany, as the rest of Europe, faced serious economic and social difficulties with unemployment rates sky high and inflation flourishing uncontrolled. He was a man of ideas, focused and always headed toward his final goal - total power as the F�hrer of the German Third Reich. During World War I, he had been fighting for his fatherland when his, as well as his country's, pride was gravely shattered. Hitler's one of several aims was to regain this pride. After a failed attempt to seize power, known as the Munich Putsch in 1923, he managed, preceded by political intrigues and several chancellor substitutions, to be appointed Chancellor of Germany 10 years later in 1933. Certainly Hitler was an intelligent man, who used tricks. Whether these tricks were so dirty to be called illegal is debatable. But Hitler's hands were never completely clean. The immediate post-war years were extremely hard for the German people. Experiencing a life in misery and unemployment, hyperinflation and the fact that one's pride had been stolen did not exactly make life for the average German easier. For a moment when Stresemann was active, things were about to change to the better after he had re-established diplomatic relations with France and reparation costs had been renegotiated. ...read more.

Middle

The extent to which Germany had come to rely on foreign assistance was underlined when the financial aid - the loans from western powers - were rapidly withdrawn. Germany felt the full force of a bitter depression. The political repercussions were just as acute. The Germans were truly desperate and started to look for alternatives to the government that was obviously incapable of putting an end to their misery. While the coalition in the Reichstag dissolved, NSDAP experienced an increase in support. In fact, the membership doubled from 1929 to 1933 from 400.000 to 800.000. The dissolving of the government triggered a series of political intrigues, which naturally provoked instability. Elections were called again and again since the new chancellor appointed by the president never experienced a general political support. While these elections were meant to increase the number of votes for the appointed chancellor, they resulted in an even smaller support. In contrast, throughout this series of elections the Nazis' support had increased making the NSDAP the largest party in the Reichstag after the elections of July 1932. The Nazis had achieved this result partly by elaborate propaganda. They held massive rallies and marched through cities with the party flag, shouting and wearing uniforms with swastikas on them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final step for Hitler to achieve his initial goal - total power over Germany - was taken 24th March 1933. This became known as 'the enabling act'. This meant the end of democracy in Germany since laws were now allowed to deviate from the constitution and were made only by the chancellor. In effect, Germany was now a dictatorship. Hitler had swept away all possible opposition and the method was officially legal. Reaching a final conclusion, Hitler became perversely obsessed with legality after his failure to seize power in Munich in 1923. His imprisonment provided him with the time to organise his thoughts (Mein Kampf) and he decided to gain power by obeying the rules of democracy. Hitler only attained the popularity he did due to the most severe economic crisis in modern world history followed by the extensive political unrest in Germany. It must be said that Hitler was skilful at taking advantage of the situation. As mentioned, he used tricks such as propaganda to secure him the support and the SA to put fear into his opponents. Propaganda was in the strictest sense legal. However, many of the SA actions ordered by Hitler were simply criminal and violated the constitution and human rights. On this background, one could possibly say that Hitler, although trying hard, was not able to refrain from using too dirty tricks and elements of his process of seizing power were clearly illegal. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emil 1 10/05/2007 ...read more.

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