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To What Extent Had Hitler Legally Achieved A Dictatorship in Germany by 1934?

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Introduction

To What Extent Had Hitler Legally Achieved A Dictatorship in Germany by 1934? Like most nations of Europe in the early 1930's, Germany's economy was suffering from the rippling affect of the Great Depression. During this period Germany had suffered from great political unrest and had become more susceptible to extreme political parties promising solutions to the problems facing the country. The Nazi Party, one such group which acquired political power in 1933 with the promise of making Germany great once more. Propaganda was used intensively by the Nazis as a means of achieving power in 1933, as was the main method of consolidating power. Propaganda was inescapable in Germany under Nazi rule - the press, the radio, literature, theatre, film and other forms of art and culture hammered the message home, sometimes crudely and sometimes subtly. The Nazi propaganda of the 1930s was an instrumental part of persuading the German people to believe in Nazi doctrine and its foundation issue of loyalty to the state. Hitler and the Nazi party consolidated their hold on Germany (1933-36) by instilling fear in the German people, as well as preying on existing fears, and achieving surrender of individual rights through an intensive propaganda campaign. Germany under Hitler was a society with little personal choice, and few individual civil rights. Only in this way could Hitler be sure that his power would not come under threat. Suppression of individual rights and liberties could be seen in a number of ways, as is illustrated in White & Hadley's Germany 1918-1945 (see appendix 1). This illustration shows Hitler and his subordinates standing on a platform which is supported by bound and gagged German people, each representing religious freedom, academic freedom, labour and trade unions, and freedom of the press. ...read more.

Middle

Under SA and SS persuasion, the Catholic party agreed to join the Nazis in voting for the Law to be passed. As only the socialists were voting against it, the majority gained was over two-thirds and Hitler now had the power of a dictator. All trade union offices were closed down and thousands of union officials and representatives were arrested. The union organisations subsequently became the Nazi-run German Labour Front. New political parties were forbidden; parties that fiercely conflicted with the Nazi movement were banned and their leaders arrested, whilst other parties were simply dissolved. Schools were forced to introduce new syllabuses, and media was carefully censored. By 1934, Germany was a completely autocratic, one-party state. Hitler had wiped out most of his opponents, and his only rivals outside his own party was the Stormtroopers. At this time Germany had two armies; the normal state army and the military wing of the Nazis - the two-million-strong Stormtroopers (SA). The SA had helped Hitler take power by terrorising his opponents, and now that the Nazis were the most powerful force in Germany, they wanted a bigger role. Their leader, Ernst R�hm, wanted to merge the SA with the regular army, leaving them both under his absolute control. The regular army was not happy with this arrangement, and Hitler was alarmed, as a merger would make R�hm the most powerful man in Germany. R�hm had enemies in the Nazi movement, most notably Hermann G�ring and Heinrich Himmler. The two of them helped to persuade Hitler that something must be done; as Hitler also knew he could not afford to lose the support of the army generals. He finally acted against the SA on 30 June 1934; the SS and army, known as the Purge of the SA or Night of the Long Knives murdered R�hm and approximately 400 other leaders of the SA. ...read more.

Conclusion

Their duties were to conduct door-to-door searches looking for Hitler's opponents. The list was a long one: Jews, communists, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, Jehovah's Witnesses, socialists, unfriendly writers, and homosexuals. In conclusion, perhaps it is the weakness of democracies that anyone can take control. Hitler came to power somewhat legitimately. Through participating in elections. True he broke or bent a few rules and cheated and lied but probably no more than any other politician. It is common belief that had Hitler come along at another less desperate time for Germany; history would have played itself out very differently. Germany was weak. The people were miserable and Germans were scared after being hit with wave after wave after wave of calamity. The Nazis provided the answer for impoverished farmers, ruined shopkeepers and small-business owners, workers disillusioned with the socialists and communist parties, and a host of frustrated and embittered young people of all classes, brought up in the post-war years and without hope of personal economic security. Hitler did a lot of good for Germany, fulfilling most if not all his promises. He provided employment and stabilised the economy. He provided them with a scapegoat, someone to pinpoint their anger at the Jew. If someone had to suffer and pay the price for Germany's prosperity then let it be the Jew. Such was their mentality. History books should not portray the Germans as evil; their eager acceptance of Hitler's ideas and policies is the product o human weakness and imperfection. But Hitler was evil. Perhaps the most evil of men. An amoral man he viewed his fellow human beings as mere bricks in the political structure he wanted to erect. The legality of Hitler's build up to and consolidation of power is still in question. 1 Liberal view evident. ?? ?? ?? ?? Paul Cook History Coursework TG 302 ...read more.

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