Hitler Germany was a democracy

Hanisauland: Lexicon @todo: from Preprocess

On January 30, 1933, 88 years ago today, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the German Reich by President Paul Hindenburg. Hitler was the chairman of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) and the "leader" of the largest faction in the Reichstag (that was the name of the parliament at the time). Supported by MPs from other parties, Hitler and the National Socialists took power. This marked the beginning of the road to dictatorship in Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic.

A political climber

At that time, Adolf Hitler was one of the most famous politicians in Germany. But it was also very controversial. After an attempted coup against the government of the Weimar Republic, he was even imprisoned in 1924 for high treason. In 1920 he co-founded the NSDAP. When the social and economic problems in the Weimar Republic grew bigger and bigger at the end of the 1920s, the NSDAP got more and more support. The party represented nationalist and anti-Semitic positions. Among other things, Jews should be excluded from German citizenship. The NSDAP rejected democracy. In the Reichstag elections in November 1932, it was finally elected the strongest party in the German Reichstag.

It was a hard time

At the beginning of the 1930s there were many economic, political and social problems in Germany. These were reinforced by the Great Depression in 1929. The economy was doing very badly, millions of people were unemployed. The need and despair of many people were great. Political tensions in the country increased. There were violent clashes in the streets. The riots expressed dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic and worries about unemployment and impoverishment. In particular, the negotiations on the war compensation that Germany was to pay to the victorious powers of World War I had embittered many people. In addition, there were violent conflicts over social reforms. The democratic parties in parliament were at odds. They did not find common solutions to the social and economic problems. This favored the rise of the NSDAP.

Appointment by the Reich President

Since the election in November 1932, the NSDAP has provided a third of the members of the Reichstag. So she did not have a majority in parliament. But since 1929 all Reich Chancellors had been appointed directly by the Reich President and not elected by Parliament. The then Reich President Hindenburg initially did not want to appoint Hitler as Chancellor because he mistrusted him. But influential men from business and politics stood up for Hitler until the Reich President gave in to their insistence. They hoped that in this way they could control Hitler. That turned out to be a catastrophic mistake.

Way to dictatorship

Hitler's will to reshape politics and society in Germany according to his ideas knew no boundaries. Immediately after he came to power, the destruction of democracy began. With the Enabling Act in March 1933, parliament was disempowered. This law paved the way for the National Socialist dictatorship. Political opponents were eliminated or taken to the newly established concentration camp in Dachau. The basic rights were restricted. With massive propaganda, the new rulers got the population in the mood for the changes in society and politics. And the suppression of the Jews in the German Reich began. That these were the first steps into the greatest catastrophe of the last century could not have been foreseen in January 1933. In view of the social, economic and political problems, many people were prepared to accept a lot at the beginning, until resistance was hardly possible any more.

A "seizure of power"?

One often reads that Hitler and the NSDAP “seized power” in 1933. But when appointing Reich Chancellor, the Reich President observed the rules of the Weimar Constitution (Article 48). However, Hitler and his supporters had previously done everything to weaken the Weimar Republic and make it unstable. In the defensive democracy of the Federal Republic of Germany, a very clear conclusion was drawn from this: We have to defend against the beginnings. That means: The democratic state and the people in our country must ensure that inhuman thoughts and actions do not even find a place in our society.