The Creation of the Nazi Dictatorship, 1933-1939
Phase One, 1933-1934
Nazi domestic policy can be broken into three phases beginning with 1933-34. During these years, Hitler consolidated his authority through the destruction of all other political parties, "coordination" of all aspects of German life, and the liquidation of dissent among Nazis and conservatives. After taking office as chancellor, Hitler quickly out maneuvered Papen and the conservative nationalists.
The Reichstag Fire, February 1933
A new Reichstag election was scheduled for early March 1933. Only a few days before the election, on February 27, the Reichstag building was partially destroyed by fire. The Nazis may well ...view middle of the document...
It was the Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, which in a legal way conferred dictatorial powers on Adolf Hitler. Only 94 Social Democratic votes were cast against it. Indeed, the Enabling Act is the last measure which the Reichstag passed under the republican and democratic Constitution of the Republic. It spelled its end and the beginning of National Socialist dictatorship.
Consolidation of Nazi Power
In April 1933, the government abolished self-government in the German states by appointing governors responsible to the central government in Berlin. The states lost even more power in January 1934 when the Reichsrat, the upper house of the parliament, was abolished. The Reichsrat had represented the states.
In May 1933, the Nazis ordered the abolition of the independent labor unions. Both strikes and lockouts were prohibited, and a system of compulsory arbitration of labor-management disputes was established. All workers were compelled to join the German Labor Front, an agency of the Nazi Party, which was designed primarily to promote labor discipline rather than the interests of the workers.
During the spring of 1933, the Nazis moved to eliminate opposition political parties. In July, the Nazi Party became the only legal party.
Almost a year later, on June 30, 1934, Hitler carried out a purge that took the lives of a number of dissident Nazi leaders and other opponents. The exact number of victims has never been determined, although it probably exceeded one hundred. Ernst Röhm, the SA leader, was among these victims. The influence of the SA now declined, while that of Himmler's SS, which provided the executioners for the purge, increased. Himmler also controlled the Gestapo, the secret police created by the Nazis.
Following the death of President Hindenburg on August 2, 1934, Hitler abolished the office of president and assumed the president's powers. The members of the armed forces were now required to take an oath of allegiance to Hitler. This oath represented an important step in the establishment of Hitler's control over Germany's armed forces.
Nazi Anti-Semitism: Practice
Soon after taking power in 1933, the Nazis began a campaign directed against Germany's Jews, who numbered some 600,000, about 1 percent of the population. In April 1933, Jews were deprived of their positions in the civil service. Jews were also barred from the universities, and restrictions were imposed on Jewish physicians and lawyers. The Nazis organized a nationwide boycott of shops and other businesses owned by Jews.
Phase Two, 1935-1937
Phase two (1935-1937) focused on the militarization and conversion of all Germans to enthusiastic support of National Socialism.
The Nuremberg Laws, 1935
The campaign against the Jews was intensified following the adoption of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. These laws defined a Jew as any person with at least one Jewish grandparent. Some 2.5 million Germans, in addition to the 600,000 who regarded themselves as Jews, were...