Adolf Hitler's rise to power

Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany in September 1919 when Hitler joined the political party then known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – DAP (German Workers' Party). The name was changed in 1920 to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly known as the Nazi Party). It was anti-Marxist and opposed to the democratic post-war government of the Weimar Republic and the Treaty of Versailles, advocating extreme nationalism and Pan-Germanism as well as virulent anti-Semitism. Hitler's "rise" can be considered to have ended in March 1933, after the Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act of 1933 in that month. President Paul von Hindenburg had already appointed Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 after a series of parliamentary elections and associated backroom intrigues. The Enabling Act—when used ruthlessly and with authority—virtually assured that Hitler could thereafter constitutionally exercise dictatorial power without legal objection.

Adolf Hitler rose to a place of prominence in the early years of the party. Being one of its best speakers, he told the other members to either make him leader of the party or he would never return. He was aided in part by his willingness to use violence in advancing his political objectives and to recruit party members who were willing to do the same. The Beer Hall Putsch in November 1923 and the later release of his book Mein Kampf (Translation: My Struggle) expanded Hitler's audience. In the mid-1920s, the party engaged in electoral battles in which Hitler participated as a speaker and organizer,[a] as well as in street battles and violence between the Rotfrontkämpferbund and the Nazis' Sturmabteilung (SA). Through the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Nazis gathered enough electoral support to become the largest political party in the Reichstag, and Hitler's blend of political acuity, deceptiveness and cunning converted the party's non-majority but plurality status into effective governing power in the ailing Weimar Republic of 1933.

Once in power, the Nazis created a mythology surrounding the rise to power, and they described the period that roughly corresponds to the scope of this article as either the Kampfzeit (the time of struggle) or the Kampfjahre (years of struggle).

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14080, Berlin, Hitler, Göring und Hanfstaengl
Hitler in conversation with Ernst Hanfstaengl and Hermann Göring, 21 June 1932.

Early steps (1918–1924)

Adolf Hitler became involved with the fledgling Nazi Party after the First World War, and set the violent tone of the movement early, by forming the Sturmabteilung (SA) paramilitary.[1] Catholic Bavaria resented rule from Protestant Berlin, and Hitler at first saw revolution in Bavaria as a means to power—but an early attempt proved fruitless, and he was imprisoned after the 1923 Munich Beerhall Putsch. He used the time to produce Mein Kampf, in which he argued that the effeminate Jewish-Christian ethic was enfeebling Europe, and that Germany needed a man of iron to restore itself and build an empire.[2] He decided on the tactic of pursuing power through "legal" means.[3]

From Armistice (November 1918) to party membership (September 1919)

February 1919 US News coverage of unrest in Germany
February 1919 United States News coverage of the unrest in Germany

After being granted permission from King Ludwig III of Bavaria, 25-year-old Austrian-born Hitler enlisted in a Bavarian regiment of the German Army, although he was not yet a German citizen. For over four years (August 1914 – November 1918), Germany was a principal nation involved in World War I [b] on the Western Front. After the fighting on the front ended in November 1918,[c] on November 19, Hitler was discharged from the Pasewalk hospital[d] and returned to Munich, which at the time was in a state of socialist upheaval.[4] Arriving on November 21 he was assigned to 7th Company of the 1st Replacement Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. In December he was reassigned to a Prisoner of War camp in Traunstein as a guard.[5] There he would stay until the camp dissolved January 1919.[e]

He returned to Munich and spent a few months in barracks waiting for reassignment. During this time in Munich there were a number of assassinations, including socialist Kurt Eisner[f] who was shot dead by a German nationalist on February 21, 1919. His rival Erhard Auer was also wounded in an attack. Other acts of violence were the killings of both Major Paul Ritter von Jahreiß and the conservative MP Heinrich Osel. In this political chaos Berlin sent in the military – called the "White Guards of Capitalism" by the communists. On April 3, 1919, Hitler was elected as the liaison of his military battalion and again on April 15. During this time he urged his unit to stay out of the fighting and not join either side.[6] The Bavarian Soviet Republic was officially crushed on May 6, 1919, when Lt. General Burghard von Oven and his "White Guards" forces declared the city secure. In the aftermath of arrests and executions, Hitler denounced a fellow liaison, Georg Dufter, as a Soviet "radical rabble-rouser."[7] Other testimony he gave to the military board of inquiry allowed them to root out other members of the military that "had been infected with revolutionary fervor."[8] For his anti-communist views he was allowed to avoid discharge when his unit was disbanded in May 1919.[9][g]

In June 1919 Hitler was moved to the demobilization office of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. Around this time the German military command released an edict that the army's main priority was to "carry out, in conjunction with the police, stricter surveillance of the population ... so that the ignition of any new unrest can be discovered and extinguished."[7] In May 1919 Karl Mayr became commander of the 6th Battalion of the guards regiment in Munich and from May 30 as head of the "Education and Propaganda Department" of the General Command von Oven and the Group Command No. 4 (Department Ib). In this capacity as head of the intelligence department, Mayr recruited Hitler as an undercover agent that same month. Under Captain Mayr "national thinking" courses were arranged at the Reichswehrlager Lechfeld near Augsburg.[10] Hitler studying as part of the third cohort, about 400 people, from July 10–19, 1919. During this time Hitler so impressed Mayr that he assigned him to an anti-bolshevik "educational commando" as 1 of 26 instructors in the summer of 1919.[11][12][h][i]

In July 1919 Hitler was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, both to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP). The DAP had been formed by Anton Drexler, Karl Harrer and others, through amalgamation of other groups, on 5 January 1919 at a small gathering in Munich at the restaurant Fuerstenfelder Hof. While he studied the activities of the DAP, Hitler became impressed with Drexler's antisemitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist ideas.[13]

Hitler's DAP membership card
Hitler's membership card for the German Workers' Party (DAP)

During the 12 September 1919 meeting,[j] Hitler took umbrage with comments made by an audience member that were directed against Gottfried Feder, the speaker, a crank economist with whom Hitler was acquainted due to a lecture Feder delivered in an army "education" course.[12][k] The audience member (Hitler in Mein Kampf disparagingly called him the "professor") asserted that Bavaria should be wholly independent from Germany and should secede from Germany and unite with Austria to form a new South German nation.[l] The volatile Hitler arose and scolded the unfortunate Professor Baumann, using his speaking skills and eventually causing Baumann to leave the meeting before its adjournment.[14][15] Impressed with Hitler's oratory skills, Drexler encouraged him to join the DAP. On the orders of his army superiors, Hitler applied to join the party.[16] Within a week, Hitler received a postcard stating he had officially been accepted as a member and he should come to a "committee" meeting to discuss it. Hitler attended the "committee" meeting held at the run-down Alte Rosenbad beer-house.[17] Later Hitler wrote that joining the fledgling party "...was the most decisive resolve of my life. From here there was and could be no turning back. ... I registered as a member of the German Workers' Party and received a provisional membership card with the number 7".[18] Normally, enlisted army personnel were not allowed to join political parties. However, in this case, Hitler had Captain Mayr's permission to join the DAP. Further, Hitler was allowed to stay in the army and receive his weekly pay of 20 gold marks.[19]

From early party membership to the Hofbräuhaus Melée (November 1921)

By early 1920 the DAP had grown to over 101 members, and Hitler received his membership card as member number 555.[m]

Hitler's considerable oratory and propaganda skills were appreciated by the party leadership. With the support of Anton Drexler, Hitler became chief of propaganda for the party in early 1920 and his actions began to transform the party. He organised their biggest meeting yet of 2,000 people, on 24 February 1920 in the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München.[21] There Hitler announced the party's 25-point program (see National Socialist Program).[22] He engineered the name change of the DAP to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party), commonly known to the rest of the world as the Nazi Party.[n][23] Hitler designed the party's banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red background. Hitler was later discharged from the army in March 1920 and began working full-time for the NSDAP.[24] In 1920, a small "hall protection" squad was organised around Emil Maurice.[25] The group was first named the "Order troops" (Ordnertruppen). Later in August 1921, Hitler redefined the group, which became known as the "Gymnastic and Sports Division" of the party (Turn- und Sportabteilung).[26] By the autumn of 1921 the group was being called the Sturmabteilung (Storm Detachment) or SA, and in November 1921 the group was officially known by that name.[27]

In 1920, Hitler began to lecture in Munich beer halls, particularly the Hofbräuhaus, Sterneckerbräu and Bürgerbräukeller. Only Hitler was able to bring in the crowds for the party speeches and meetings. By this time, the police were already monitoring the speeches, and their own surviving records reveal that Hitler delivered lectures with titles such as Political Phenomenon, Jews and the Treaty of Versailles. At the end of the year, party membership was recorded at 2,000.[28]

In June 1921, while Hitler and Dietrich Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in Munich. Members of its executive committee wanted to merge with the rival German Socialist Party (DSP).[29] Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that the resignation of their leading public figure and speaker would mean the end of the party.[30] Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman and that the party headquarters would remain in Munich.[31] The committee agreed, and he rejoined the party on 26 July as member 3,680.[31] In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself, to thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful: at a general membership meeting, he was granted absolute powers as party chairman, with only one nay vote cast.[32]

On 14 September 1921, Hitler and a substantial number of SA members and other Nazi Party adherents disrupted a meeting at the Löwenbräukeller of the Bavarian League. This federalist organization objected to the centralism of the Weimar Constitution but accepted its social program. The League was led by Otto Ballerstedt, an engineer whom Hitler regarded as "my most dangerous opponent". One Nazi, Hermann Esser, climbed upon a chair and shouted that the Jews were to blame for the misfortunes of Bavaria and the Nazis shouted demands that Ballerstedt yield the floor to Hitler.[33] The Nazis beat up Ballerstedt and shoved him off the stage into the audience. Hitler and Esser were arrested and Hitler commented notoriously to the police commissioner, "It's all right. We got what we wanted. Ballerstedt did not speak".[34] Hitler was eventually sentenced to 3 months imprisonment and ended up serving only a little over one month.

On 4 November 1921, the Nazi Party held a large public meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus. After Hitler had spoken for some time, the meeting erupted into a melée in which a small company of SA defeated the opposition.[25]

From Beer Hall Melée to Beer Hall Coup D'État

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-00344, München, nach Hitler-Ludendorff Prozess
Defendants in the Beer Hall Putsch

In 1922 and early 1923, Hitler and the NSDAP formed two organizations that would grow to have huge significance. The first began as the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler and the Jugendbund der NSDAP; they would later become the Hitler Youth.[35][36] The other was the Stabswache (Staff Guard), which in May 1923 was renamed the Stoßtrupp-Hitler (Shock Troop-Hitler).[37] This early incarnation of a bodyguard unit for Hitler would later become the Schutzstaffel (SS).[38] Inspired by Benito Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922, Hitler decided that a coup d'état was the proper strategy to seize control of the country. In May 1923, elements loyal to Hitler within the army helped the SA to procure a barracks and its weaponry, but the order to march never came.

A pivotal moment came when Hitler led the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempted coup d'état on 8–9 November 1923. Sixteen NSDAP members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup. Hitler was arrested on 11 November 1923.[39] Hitler was put on trial for high treason, gaining great public attention.[40]

The rather spectacular trial began in February 1924. Hitler endeavored to turn the tables and put democracy and the Weimar Republic on trial as traitors to the German people. Hitler was convicted and on 1 April sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison.[41] Hitler received friendly treatment from the guards; he had a room with a view of the river, wore a tie, had regular visitors to his chambers, was allowed mail from supporters and was permitted the use of a private secretary. Pardoned by the Bavarian Supreme Court, he was released from jail on 20 December 1924, against the state prosecutor's objections.[42]

Hitler used the time in Landsberg Prison to consider his political strategy and dictate the first volume of Mein Kampf (My Struggle; originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice), principally to his deputy Rudolf Hess.[o] After the putsch the party was banned in Bavaria, but it participated in 1924's two elections by proxy as the National Socialist Freedom Movement. In the May 1924 German federal election the party gained seats in the Reichstag, with 6.6% (1,918,329) voting for the Movement. In the December 1924 German federal election the National Socialist Freedom Movement (NSFB) (Combination of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the Nazi Party (NSDAP)) lost 18 seats, only holding on to 14 seats, with 3% (907,242) of the electorate voting for Hitler's party.

The Barmat Scandal was often used later in Nazi propaganda, both as an electoral strategy and as an appeal to anti-Semitism.

Hitler had determined, after some reflection, that power was to be achieved not through revolution outside of the government, but rather through legal means, within the confines of the democratic system established by Weimar.

For five to six years there would be no further prohibitions of the party (see below Seizure of Control: (1931–1933)).

Move towards power (1925–1930)

In the German election, May 1928 the Party achieved just 12 seats in the Reichstag.[43] The highest provincial gain was again in Bavaria (5.1%), though in three areas the NSDAP failed to gain even 1% of the vote. Overall the NSDAP gained 2.6% (810,100) of the vote.[43] Partially due to the poor results, Hitler decided that Germans needed to know more about his goals. Despite being discouraged by his publisher, he wrote a second book that was discovered and released posthumously as the Zweites Buch. At this time the SA began a period of deliberate antagonism to the Rotfront by marching into Communist strongholds and starting violent altercations.

At the end of 1928, party membership was recorded at 130,000. In March 1929, Erich Ludendorff represented the Nazi Party in the Presidential elections. He gained 280,000 votes (1.1%), and was the only candidate to poll fewer than a million votes. The battles on the streets grew increasingly violent. After the Rotfront interrupted a speech by Hitler, the SA marched into the streets of Nuremberg and killed two bystanders. In a tit-for-tat action, the SA stormed a Rotfront meeting on 25 August and days later the Berlin headquarters of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) itself. In September Goebbels led his men into Neukölln, a KPD stronghold, and the two warring parties exchanged pistol and revolver fire.

The German referendum of 1929 was important as it gained the Nazi Party recognition and credibility it never had before.[44]

On the evening of 14 January 1930, at around ten o'clock, Horst Wessel was fatally shot at point-blank range in the face by two members of the KPD in Friedrichshain.[45] The attack occurred after an argument with his landlady who was a member of the KPD, and contacted one of her Rotfront friends, Albert Hochter, who shot Wessel.[46] Wessel had penned a song months before which would become a Nazi anthem as the Horst-Wessel-Lied. Goebbels seized upon the attack (and the weeks Wessel spent on his deathbed) to publicize the song, and the funeral was used as an anti-Communist propaganda opportunity for the Nazis.[47] In May Goebbels was convicted of "libeling" President Hindenburg and fined 800 marks. It stemmed from a 1929 article by Goebbels in his newspaper Der Angriff. In June, Goebbels was charged with high treason by the prosecutor in Leipzig based on statements Goebbels had made in 1927, but after a four-month investigation it came to naught.[48]

Bundesarchiv Bild 119-0289, München, Hitler bei Einweihung "Braunes Haus"
Hitler with Nazi Party members in December, 1930

Against this backdrop, Hitler's party gained a victory in the Reichstag, obtaining 107 seats (18.3%, 6,409,600 votes) in September, 1930.[43] The Nazis became the second largest party in Germany. In Bavaria the party gained 17.9% of the vote, though for the first time this percentage was exceeded by most other provinces: Oldenburg (27.3%), Braunschweig (26.6%), Waldeck (26.5%), Mecklenburg-Strelitz (22.6%), Lippe (22.3%) Mecklenburg-Schwerin (20.1%), Anhalt (19.8%), Thuringen (19.5%), Baden (19.2%), Hamburg (19.2%), Prussia (18.4%), Hessen (18.4%), Sachsen (18.3%), Lubeck (18.3%) and Schaumburg-Lippe (18.1%).

An unprecedented amount of money was thrown behind the campaign. Well over one million pamphlets were produced and distributed; sixty trucks were commandeered for use in Berlin alone. In areas where NSDAP campaigning was less rigorous, the total was as low as 9%. The Great Depression was also a factor in Hitler's electoral success. Against this legal backdrop, the SA began its first major anti-Jewish action on 13 October 1930 when groups of brownshirts smashed the windows of Jewish-owned stores at Potsdamer Platz.[49]

Weimar parties fail to halt Nazis

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded worldwide economic disaster. The Nazis and the Communists made great gains at the 1930 Election.[50] Both the Nazis and Communists between them secured almost 40% of Reichstag seats, which required the moderate parties to consider negotiations with anti-democrats.[51] "The Communists", wrote Bullock, "openly announced that they would prefer to see the Nazis in power rather than lift a finger to save the republic".[52]

The Weimar political parties failed to stop the Nazi rise. Germany's Weimar political system made it difficult for chancellors to govern with a stable parliamentary majority, and successive chancellors instead relied on the president's emergency powers to govern.[53] From 1931 to 1933, the Nazis combined terror tactics with conventional campaigning – Hitler criss-crossed the nation by air, while SA troops paraded in the streets, beat up opponents, and broke up their meetings.[3]

A middle-class liberal party strong enough to block the Nazis did not exist – the People's Party and the Democrats suffered severe losses to the Nazis at the polls. The Social Democrats were essentially a conservative trade union party, with ineffectual leadership. The Catholic Centre Party maintained its voting block, but was preoccupied with defending its own particular interests and, wrote Bullock: "through 1932-3 ... was so far from recognizing the danger of a Nazi dictatorship that it continued to negotiate with the Nazis". The Communists meanwhile were engaging in violent clashes with Nazis on the streets, but Moscow had directed the Communist Party to prioritise destruction of the Social Democrats, seeing more danger in them as a rival for the loyalty of the working class. Nevertheless, wrote Bullock, the heaviest responsibility lay with the German right wing, who "forsook a true conservatism" and made Hitler their partner in a coalition government.[54]

Chancellor Franz von Papen (left) with his eventual successor, the Minister of Defence Kurt von Schleicher.

The Centre Party's Heinrich Brüning was Chancellor from 1930 to 1932. Brüning and Hitler were unable to reach terms of co-operation, but Brüning himself increasingly governed with the support of the President and Army over that of the parliament.[55] The 84-year-old President von Hindenburg, a conservative monarchist, was reluctant to take action to suppress the Nazis, while the ambitious Major-General Kurt von Schleicher, as Minister handling army and navy matters hoped to harness their support.[56] With Schleicher's backing, and Hitler's stated approval, Hindenburg appointed the Catholic monarchist Franz von Papen to replace Brüning as Chancellor in June 1932.[57][58] Papen had been active in the resurgence of the Harzburg Front.[59] He had fallen out with the Centre Party.[60] He hoped ultimately to outmaneuver Hitler.[61]

At the July 1932 Elections, the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag, yet without a majority. Hitler withdrew support for Papen and demanded the Chancellorship. He was refused by Hindenburg.[62] Papen dissolved Parliament, and the Nazi vote declined at the November Election.[63] In the aftermath of the election, Papen proposed ruling by decree while drafting a new electoral system, with an upper house. Schleicher convinced Hindenburg to sack Papen, and Schleicher himself became Chancellor, promising to form a workable coalition.[64]

The aggrieved Papen opened negotiations with Hitler, proposing a Nazi-Nationalist Coalition. Having nearly outmaneuvered Hitler, only to be trounced by Schleicher, Papen turned his attentions on defeating Schleicher, and concluded an agreement with Hitler.[65]

Seizure of control (1931–1933)

On 10 March 1931, with street violence between the Rotfront and SA increasing, breaking all previous barriers and expectations, Prussia re-enacted its ban on Brownshirts. Days after the ban, SA-men shot dead two communists in a street fight, which led to a ban being placed on the public speaking of Goebbels, who sidestepped the prohibition by recording speeches and playing them to an audience in his absence.

When Hitler's citizenship became a matter of public discussion in 1924 he had a public declaration printed on 16 October 1924,

The loss of my Austrian citizenship is not painful to me, as I never felt as an Austrian citizen but always as a German only .... It was this mentality that made me draw the ultimate conclusion and do military service in the German Army.[66]

Under the threat of criminal deportation home to Austria, Hitler formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925, and did not acquire German citizenship until almost seven years later; therefore, he was unable to run for public office.[67] Hitler gained German citizenship after being appointed a Free State of Brunswick government official by Dietrich Klagges, after an earlier attempt by Wilhelm Frick to convey citizenship as a Thuringian police official failed.[68][69][70]

Ernst Röhm, in charge of the SA, put Wolf-Heinrich von Helldorff, a vehement anti-Semite, in charge of the Berlin SA. The deaths mounted, with many more on the Rotfront side, and by the end of 1931 the SA had suffered 47 deaths and the Rotfront recorded losses of approximately 80 killed. Street fights and beer hall battles resulting in deaths occurred throughout February and April 1932, all against the backdrop of Adolf Hitler's competition in the presidential election which pitted him against the monumentally popular Hindenburg. In the first round on 13 March, Hitler had polled over 11 million votes but was still behind Hindenburg. The second and final round took place on 10 April: Hitler (36.8% 13,418,547) lost to Paul von Hindenburg (53.0% 19,359,983) while the KPD candidate Thälmann gained a meagre percentage of the vote (10.2% 3,706,759). At this time, the Nazi Party had just over 800,000 members.

Three days after the presidential elections, the German government banned the NSDAP paramilitaries, the SA and the SS, on the basis of the Emergency Decree for the Preservation of State Authority.[71][72] This action was largely prompted by details that emerged at a trial of SA men for assaulting unarmed Jews in Berlin. After less than a month the law was repealed on 30 May by Franz von Papen, Chancellor of Germany. Such ambivalence about the fate of Jews was supported by the culture of anti-Semitism that pervaded the German public at the time.

In the federal election of July 1932, the NSDAP won 37.3% of the popular vote (13,745,000 votes), an upswing by 19 percent, becoming the largest party in the Reichstag, with 230 out of 608 seats.[43] Dwarfed by Hitler's electoral gains, the KPD turned away from legal means and increasingly towards violence. One resulting battle in Silesia resulted in the army being dispatched, each shot sending Germany further into a potential civil war. By this time both sides marched into each others' strongholds hoping to spark a rivalry. The attacks continued and reached fever pitch when SA leader Axel Schaffeld was assassinated on 1 August.

As the NSDAP was now the largest party in the Reichstag, it was entitled to select the President of the Reichstag and were able to elect Göring for the post.[73] Energised by the success, Hitler asked to be made chancellor. Hitler was offered the job of vice-chancellor by Chancellor Papen at the behest of President Hindenburg but he refused. Hitler saw this offer as placing him in a position of "playing second fiddle" in the government.[74]

Göring, in his position of Reichstag president, asked that decisive measures be taken by the government over the spate in murders of NSDAP members. On 9 August, amendments were made to the Reichstrafgesetzbuch statute on 'acts of political violence', increasing the penalty to 'lifetime imprisonment, 20 years hard labour or death'. Special courts were announced to try such offences. When in power less than half a year later, Hitler would use this legislation against his opponents with devastating effect.

The law was applied almost immediately but did not bring the perpetrators behind the recent massacres to trial as expected. Instead, five SA men who were alleged to have murdered a KPD member in Potempa (Upper Silesia) were tried. Hitler appeared at the trial as a defence witness, but on 22 August the five were convicted and sentenced to death. On appeal, this sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in early September. They served just over four months before Hitler freed all imprisoned Nazis in a 1933 amnesty.

The Nazi Party lost 35 seats in the November 1932 election, but remained the Reichstag's largest party, with 196 seats (33.1%). The Social Democrats (SPD) won 121 seats (20.4%) and the Communists (KPD) won 100 (16.9%).

The Comintern described all moderate left-wing parties as "social fascists", and urged the Communists to devote their energies to the destruction of the moderate left. As a result, the KPD, following orders from Moscow, rejected overtures from the Social Democrats to form a political alliance against the NSDAP.

After Chancellor Papen left office, he secretly told Hitler that he still held considerable sway with President Hindenburg and that he would make Hitler chancellor as long as he, Papen, could be the vice chancellor. Another notable event was the publication of the Industrielleneingabe, a letter signed by 22 important representatives of industry, finance and agriculture, asking Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after the parliamentary elections of July and November 1932 had not resulted in the formation of a majority government. Hitler headed a short-lived coalition government formed by the NSDAP and the German National People's Party (DNVP).

On 30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Hindenburg's office. The NSDAP gained three posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring, Minister Without Portfolio (and Minister of the Interior for Prussia).[75][76] The SA and SS led torchlit parades throughout Berlin. It is this event that would become termed Hitler's Machtergreifung ("seizure of power"). The term was originally used by some Nazis to suggest a revolutionary process,[77] though Hitler, and others, used the word Machtübernahme ("take-over of power"), reflecting that the transfer of power took place within the existing constitutional framework[77] and suggesting that the process was legal.[78][79]

Papen was to serve as Vice-Chancellor in a majority conservative Cabinet – still falsely believing that he could "tame" Hitler.[58] Initially, Papen did speak out against some Nazi excesses. However, after narrowly escaping death in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, he no longer dared criticise the regime and was sent off to Vienna as German ambassador.[80]

Both within Germany and abroad initially there were few fears that Hitler could use his position to establish his later dictatorial single-party regime. Rather, the conservatives that helped to make him chancellor were convinced that they could control Hitler and "tame" the Nazi Party while setting the relevant impulses in the government themselves; foreign ambassadors played down worries by emphasizing that Hitler was "mediocre" if not a bad copy of Mussolini; even SPD politician Kurt Schumacher trivialized Hitler as a "Dekorationsstück" ("piece of scenery/decoration") of the new government. German newspapers wrote that, without doubt, the Hitler-led government would try to fight its political enemies (the left-wing parties), but that it would be impossible to establish a dictatorship in Germany because there was "a barrier, over which violence cannot proceed" and because of the German nation being proud of "the freedom of speech and thought". Theodor Wolff of Frankfurter Zeitung wrote:[81]

It is a hopeless misjudgement to think that one could force a dictatorial regime upon the German nation. [...] The diversity of the German people calls for democracy.

— Theodor Wolff in Frankfurter Zeitung, Jan 1933

Even within the Jewish German community, in spite of Hitler not hiding his ardent antisemitism, the worries appear to have been limited. In a declaration of January 30, the steering committee of the central Jewish German organization (Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens) wrote that "as a matter of course" the Jewish community faces the new government "with the largest mistrust", but at the same they were convinced that "nobody would dare to touch [their] constitutional rights". The Jewish German newspaper Jüdische Rundschau wrote on Jan 31st:[82]

... that also within the German nation still the forces are active that would turn against a barbarian anti-Jewish policy.

— Jüdische Rundschau, Jan 31, 1933

However a growing number of keen observers, like Sir Horace Rumbold, British Ambassador in Berlin, began to revise their opinions. On 22 February 1933, he wrote, "Hitler may be no statesman but he is an uncommonly clever and audacious demagogue and fully alive to every popular instinct," and he informed the Foreign Office that he had no doubt that the Nazis had "come to stay."[83] On receiving the dispatch Robert Vansittart, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, concluded that if Hitler eventually gained the upper hand, "then another European war [was] within measurable distance."[84]

With Germans who opposed Nazism failing to unite against it, Hitler soon moved to consolidate absolute power.

At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!

— Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934[85]

Chancellor to dictator

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14439, Rede Adolf Hitlers zum Ermächtigungsgesetz
Adolf Hitler addressing the Reichstag on 23 March 1933. Seeking assent to the Enabling Act, Hitler offered the possibility of friendly co-operation, promising not to threaten the Reichstag, the President, the States or the Churches if granted the emergency powers.

Following the Reichstag fire, the Nazis began to suspend civil liberties and eliminate political opposition. The Communists were excluded from the Reichstag. At the March 1933 elections, again no single party secured a majority. Hitler required the vote of the Centre Party and Conservatives in the Reichstag to obtain the powers he desired. He called on Reichstag members to vote for the Enabling Act on 24 March 1933. Hitler was granted plenary powers "temporarily" by the passage of the Act.[86] The law gave him the freedom to act without parliamentary consent and even without constitutional limitations.[87]

Employing his characteristic mix of negotiation and intimidation, Hitler offered the possibility of friendly co-operation, promising not to threaten the Reichstag, the President, the States or the Churches if granted the emergency powers. With Nazi paramilitary encircling the building, he said: "It is for you, gentlemen of the Reichstag to decide between war and peace".[86] The Centre Party, having obtained promises of non-interference in religion, joined with conservatives in voting for the Act (only the Social Democrats voted against).[88]

The Act allowed Hitler and his Cabinet to rule by emergency decree for four years, though Hindenburg remained President.[89] Hitler immediately set about abolishing the powers of the states and the existence of non-Nazi political parties and organisations. Non-Nazi parties were formally outlawed on 14 July 1933, and the Reichstag abdicated its democratic responsibilities.[90] Hindenburg remained commander-in-chief of the military and retained the power to negotiate foreign treaties.

The Act did not infringe upon the powers of the President, and Hitler would not fully achieve full dictatorial power until after the death of Hindenburg in August 1934.[91] Journalists and diplomats wondered whether Hitler could appoint himself President, who might succeed him as Chancellor, and what the army would do. Hitler combined the two positions, so that all governmental power lay in his hands. All soldiers took the Hitler Oath on the day of Hindenburg's death, swearing "unconditional obedience" to Hitler.[92]

See also


Informational notes

  1. ^ He could not, at this time, run for political office in Germany, as he was not then a German citizen. Shirer 1960, pp. 130–131.
  2. ^ Despite his receipt of several medals and decorations (including twice with the prestigious Iron Cross, both First and Second Class), Hitler was promoted in rank only once, to corporal (Gefreiter). Toland 1976, pp. 84–88.
  3. ^ The Armistice, ceasing active hostilities, was signed and effective 11 November 1918. Hitler, in hospital at the time, was informed of the upcoming cease-fire and the other consequences of Germany's defeat and surrender in the field—including Kaiser Wilhelm II's abdication, and a revolution leading to the proclamation of a republic in Berlin to replace the centuries-old Hohenzollern monarchy—on Sunday morning, 10 November, by a pastor attending to patients. Days after digesting this traumatic news, by his own account Hitler made his decision: "... my own fate became known to me ... I ... decided to go into politics." Hitler 1999, p. 206.
  4. ^ Hitler, having been born in the defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire to Austrian parents, was not a German citizen, but had managed to enlist in a Bavarian regiment, where he served on the front lines as a runner. He was wounded twice in action; at the time of the Armistice, he was recovering in a German hospital (in Pomerania northeast of Berlin) from temporary blindness that had resulted from a mid-October British gas attack at the last Battle of Ypres. Shirer 1960, pp. 28–30; Toland 1976, p. 86.
  5. ^ Guard duty at a POW camp to the East, near the Austrian border. The prisoners were Russian, and Hitler had volunteered for the posting. Shirer 1960, p. 34; Toland 1976, p. xx.
  6. ^ As a socialist journalist, he organised the Socialist Revolution that overthrew the Wittelsbach monarchy in Bavaria in November 1918, which led to his being described as "the symbol of the Bavarian revolution".
  7. ^ Toland suggests that Hitler's assignment to this department was partially a reward for his "exemplary" service in the front lines, and partially because the responsible officer felt sorry for Hitler as having no friends, but being very willing to do whatever the army required. Toland 1976, p. xx.
  8. ^ Apparently someone in an army "educational session" had made a remark that Hitler deemed "pro-Jewish" and Hitler reacted with characteristic ferocity. Shirer states that Hitler had attracted the attention of a right-wing university professor who was engaged to educate enlisted men in "proper" political belief, and that the professor's recommendation to an officer resulted in Hitler's advancement. Shirer 1960, p. 35.
  9. ^ "I was offered the opportunity of speaking before a larger audience; and ... it was now corroborated: I could 'speak.' No task could make me happier than this; ... I was able to perform useful services to ... the army. ... [I]n ... my lectures I led many hundreds ... of comrades back to their people and fatherland." Hitler 1999, pp. 215–216.
  10. ^ Held, like so many meetings of the period, in a beer cellar, this time the Sterneckerbrau. Hitler 1999, p. 218.
  11. ^ Feder had formed the German Fighting League for the Breaking of Interest Slavery. The notion of "Breaking Interest Slavery" was, by Hitler's account, a "powerful slogan for this coming struggle." Hitler 1999, p. 213.
  12. ^ According to Shirer, the seemingly preposterous "South German nation" idea actually had some popularity in Munich in the politically raucous atmosphere of Bavaria following the war. Shirer 1960, p. 36.
  13. ^ The membership numbers were artificially started at 501 because the DAP wanted to make itself look larger than it actually was. The membership numbers were also apparently issued alphabetically, and not chronologically, so one cannot infer that Hitler was in fact the party's 55th member. Toland 1976, p. 131. In a Hitler speech shown in Triumph of the Will, Hitler makes explicit reference to his being the seventh party member and he notes the same in Mein Kampf. Hitler 1999, p. 224.
  14. ^ The word "Nazi" is a contraction for Nationalsozialistische, but this contraction was not used by the party itself.
  15. ^ Hess participated in the putsch, but escaped police custody following its abortive end. He initially fled to Austria, but later turned himself in to the authorities. Nesbit & van Acker 2011, pp. 18–19.


  1. ^ Shadows of the Dictators 1989, p. 25.
  2. ^ Shadows of the Dictators 1989, p. 27.
  3. ^ a b Shadows of the Dictators 1989, p. 28.
  4. ^ Ullrich 2016, p. 73.
  5. ^ Ullrich 2016, p. 75.
  6. ^ Ullrich 2016, p. 79.
  7. ^ a b Ullrich 2016, p. 80.
  8. ^ Mitchell 2013, p. 37.
  9. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 34.
  10. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 72–74.
  11. ^ Ullrich 2016, p. 82.
  12. ^ a b Shirer 1960, p. 35.
  13. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 82.
  14. ^ Hitler 1999, p. 219.
  15. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 75.
  16. ^ Evans 2003, p. 170.
  17. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 75, 76.
  18. ^ Hitler 1999, p. 224.
  19. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 76.
  20. ^ Toland 1976, p. 106.
  21. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 86.
  22. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 85, 86.
  23. ^ Zentner & Bedürftig 1997, p. 629.
  24. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 87–88, 93.
  25. ^ a b Hoffmann 2000, p. 50.
  26. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 42.
  27. ^ Campbell 1998, pp. 19, 20.
  28. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 88–89.
  29. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 100–101.
  30. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 102.
  31. ^ a b Kershaw 2008, p. 103.
  32. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 83, 103.
  33. ^ Toland 1976, pp. 112–113.
  34. ^ Toland 1976, p. 113.
  35. ^ Lepage 2008, p. 21.
  36. ^ Zentner & Bedürftig 1997, p. 431.
  37. ^ Weale 2010, p. 16.
  38. ^ Weale 2010, pp. 26–29.
  39. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 131.
  40. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 75.
  41. ^ Fulda 2009, pp. 68–69.
  42. ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 239.
  43. ^ a b c d Kolb 2005, pp. 224–225.
  44. ^ Nicholls, A.J. (2000) Weimar and the Rise of Hitler. London: Palgrave MacMillan. p. 138 ISBN 978-0312233518
  45. ^ Siemens 2013, p. 3.
  46. ^ Burleigh 2000, pp. 118–119.
  47. ^ Evans 2003, pp. 266–268.
  48. ^ Thacker 2010, pp. 111–112.
  49. ^ Hakim 1995, p. .
  50. ^ Fulbrook 1991, p. 55.
  51. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 118.
  52. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 138.
  53. ^ Bullock 1991, pp. 92–94.
  54. ^ Bullock 1991, pp. 138–139.
  55. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 90.
  56. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 92.
  57. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 110.
  58. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica.
  59. ^ Bracher 1991, p. 254.
  60. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 112.
  61. ^ Bullock 1991, pp. 113–114.
  62. ^ Bullock 1991, pp. 117–123.
  63. ^ Bullock 1991, pp. 117–124.
  64. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 128.
  65. ^ Bullock 1991, p. 132.
  66. ^ Hamann 2010, p. 402.
  67. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 130.
  68. ^ Speer, Albert (1995). Inside the Third Reich. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 109. ISBN 978-1842127353.
  69. ^ "Frick's Participation in Promoting the Nazi Conspirator's Accession to Power" The Avalon Project
  70. ^ Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 28–29.
  71. ^ "1932: Chronik" [1932: Timeline] (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 13. 4. Auf Grundlage der von Hindenburg erlassenen Notverordnung "zur Sicherung der Staatsautorität" verbietet Brüning SA und Schutzstaffel (SS). Die Regierung befürchtet einen Putschversuch der rechtsradikalen Organisationen.
  72. ^ "April 1932: SA and SS banned". Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation. Retrieved 6 April 2012. Basing his actions on the 'Emergency Decree for the Preservation of State Authority', Reich Defence Minister Wilhelm Groener bans Hitler's Sturmabteilung (SA) as well as his Schutzstaffel (SS) on 13 April 1932.
  73. ^ Evans 2003, p. 297.
  74. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 233, 234.
  75. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 184.
  76. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2011, p. 92.
  77. ^ a b 2015, p. 6.
  78. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 569, 580ff.
  79. ^ Frei 1983.
  80. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 33–34.
  81. ^ "Ruhig abwarten!" [Calmly wait!] (in German). Die Zeit Online. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  82. ^ "Ruhig abwarten!" [Calmly wait!] (in German). Die Zeit Online. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  83. ^ Kershaw, Ian, Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain's Road to War, Penguin, 2012, ISBN 978-0241959213, 512 p.
  84. ^ Liebmann, George, Diplomacy Between the Wars: Five Diplomats and the Shaping of the Modern World, I.B. Tauris, 2008, ISBN 978-0857712110, 288 p., p. 74.
  85. ^ Time 1934.
  86. ^ a b Bullock 1991, pp. 147–148.
  87. ^ Hoffmann 1977, p. 7.
  88. ^ Bullock 1991, pp. 138, 148.
  89. ^ Evans 2003, p. 354.
  90. ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 200–201.
  91. ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 226–227.
  92. ^ Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 59.


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Albert Fraenkel

Julius Albert Fraenkel (3 June 1864 – 22 December 1938) was a German physician who helped establish Streptococcus pneumoniae as a cause of bacterial pneumonia and championed intravenous ouabain for use in heart failure. The Albert-Fraenkel-Plakette (Albert Fraenkel award) is given to German-speaking cardiologists who have excelled in the field.

Born in 1864 in Mußbach an der Weinstraße, Albert was the son of a Jewish merchant. He studied medicine in Munich and Strasbourg (then the German city of Straßburg) in the 1880s. He initially practiced internal medicine and obstetrics, but turned to studying diseases of the lungs after suffering from tuberculosis. He established a tuberculosis sanatorium at Badenweiler in the Black Forest. Fraenkel also first used g-Strophanthin (ouabain) in heart failure, a practice which continues to be advocated by some practitioners in Germany.

Fraenkel's later life was marred by Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. He was stripped of his position as professor at Heidelberg in 1933 and his license to practice medicine was revoked in 1938, three months before his death.

Clone Wars (Star Wars)

The Clone Wars, occasionally referred to in the singular as the Clone War, are conflicts in the Star Wars franchise by George Lucas. Though mentioned briefly in the first Star Wars film (1977), the conflicts themselves are not depicted until Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). The Clone Wars are also the setting for three eponymous projects: a 2D animated cartoon (2003–2005), a CGI film (2008), and a 3D CGI series (2008–2014). They have featured in numerous Star Wars books and games.

Within the Star Wars narrative, the Clone Wars involve a three-year war fought to prevent thousands of planetary systems from seceding from the Galactic Republic and forming the "Confederacy of Independent Systems," often referred to as "the Separatists," or the "CIS." The Republic uses an army of clone troopers, the namesake of the conflict, led by the Jedi Order against the Separatist battle droid army. The conflict was manufactured as a scheme for the Republic's Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, secretly an evil Sith Lord, to gain power and ultimately to convert the democratic Galactic Republic into the autocratic Galactic Empire, which was controlled through means of a military-industrial complex and featured in the original trilogy.

Lucas used the Clone Wars narrative to answer questions about the original trilogy, such as how the Empire originated and how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. The political and military events of the Clone Wars draw inspiration from real-world conflicts and historical events, such as World War II and Adolf Hitler's rise to power, and show similarities with the American Civil War.

Eichmann in Jerusalem

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil is a 1963 book by political theorist Hannah Arendt. Arendt, a Jew who fled Germany during Adolf Hitler's rise to power, reported on Adolf Eichmann's trial for The New Yorker. A revised and enlarged edition was published in 1964.

Eidgenössische Sammlung

Eidgenössische Sammlung (German; literally "Confederate Collection") was a Swiss political party, founded in 1940 by Robert Tobler as a successor to the recently dissolved National Front.The party demanded an adjustment in Swiss policy to favour the Axis powers. This was particularly important as, after June 1940 the country was surrounded by fascist and Nazi states. It was open in its loyalty towards Nazi Germany.The Eidgenössiche Sammlung was closely supervised by the state because of its origins and so could not develop freely. In 1943 the police finally cracked down on the group and it was outlawed along with all of its sub-organisations as part of a wider government initiative against the National Front and its offshoots.

Evelyn Anderson

Evelyn N. Anderson (1909–1977), was a journalist in the UK. Born Lore Seligmann on 13 May 1909 to a German Jewish family, she joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) while a student in Frankfurt in 1927. She abandoned the KPD two years later over its sectarian attacks on the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), and subsequently joined a small left-wing SPD fraction, the Leninist Organisation, later known as Neu Beginnen. After Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, she left Germany for Great Britain, where she and her husband Paul Anderson (1908–1972) became prominent members of the small group of socialist exiles from Nazi Germany in Britain that included Julius Braunthal and Franz Borkenau.

Her long article "The Underground Struggle in Germany", published under the pseudonym Evelyn Lend, occupied nearly the whole of an issue of Fact, edited by Raymond Postgate, in 1938. She revisited the subject in Hammer or Anvil?: the Story of the German Working Class Movement, which George Orwell’s wife Eileen helped edit and Orwell reviewed in the Manchester Evening News.

She and her husband worked for British black propaganda radio station, Sender der Europäischen Revolution which broadcast news and anti-Nazi propaganda to Germany between 1940 and 1942. She joined the left-wing weekly, Tribune in 1943 as assistant editor, covering foreign affairs. She became a close friend of Orwell when he joined the paper later the same year, and her strong antipathy to communism played a major role in determining the paper’s political stance in the late 1940s, though she was considered obsessive about eastern Europe by some members of staff. She was joint editor of the Tribune from 1946 to 1952, sharing the job first with Jon Kimche and then with Michael Foot. She later collaborated with the historian Walter Laqueur on a political dictionary.

Frederick Jaeger

Frederick Jaeger (29 May 1928 – 18 June 2004) was a German-born actor who found success working in British television.

Jaeger was born in Berlin, but moved to England following Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. He was educated at Lord Weymouth's Grammar School, Warminster, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, from which he graduated in 1948, becoming a British subject two years later. He made his first theatre appearance in 1949, and his film debut, The Black Tent, in 1956. He went on to make further film, television and radio appearances until retiring in 1996. He died in June 2004 aged 76.He is well remembered by fans of the science fiction series Doctor Who for his roles in three serials. He appeared as Jano in The Savages in 1966, and as Professor Sorenson in Planet of Evil in 1975. In 1977's The Invisible Enemy, he appeared as Professor Marius, creator of the robot dog K-9; his performance was described by reviewer John Peel as "superb".

Fritz Tarnow

Fritz Tarnow (April 13, 1880, Bad Oeynhausen, Province of Westphalia - October 23, 1951) was an important Social Democrat trade unionists and Reichstag deputy during the Weimar Republic.

Tarnow was the son of a carpenter and attended elementary school in Hanover, where he also became a carpenter's apprentice. He then became a journeyman and traveled throughout Germany. He worked until 1906 as a carpenter, and in the years 1901 to 1906, he was also a board member of the Rastatt, Oos, Bonn and Berlin branches of the Deutscher Holzarbeiterverband. Then he worked until 1908 as a literary and statistical assistant in the main office of the Wood Workers Association in Stuttgart. In 1909, he graduated from the central school of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin. From 1909 to 1919, Tarnow was then head of the Literary Agents (Press Office) in the main office of the Wood Workers Association in Berlin. In addition, from 1909 to 1915, he was a community representative, a member of the district assembly and a board member of the SPD in Berlin-Friedrichshagen.

Tarnow fought in the First World War and was severely wounded, causing lasting injury. During the November Revolution, Tarnow was a member of the Workers and Soldiers Council in Brandenburg an der Havel. He became secretary of the Wood Workers Association, later serving as chairman from 1920 to 1933. He was one of the leading figures in the national executive of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, a German trade union confederation. In the latter half of the 1920s, he was one of the main proponents of Fritz Naphtali's concept of economic democracy. He was briefly secretary of the International Woodworkers Association. In addition, from 1920 to 1933, he was a member of the provisional Reichswirtschaftsrat. He was also the leader of the Society for Social Reform and German Werkbund. In 1928, he joined the Reichstag as a member for the SPD.

After Adolf Hitler's rise to power in early 1933 and the dismantling of the trade unions, Tarnow was arrested on 2 May. Hans Staudinger, who had been a State Secretary in the Prussian Ministry of Trade until the Preußenschlag, succeeded in obtaining Tarnow's release from Gestapo custody. Staudinger impersonated a senior Prussian officer and ordered Tarnow's release. After his release, he immediately left the country, and fled first to the Netherlands, then Denmark and finally, Sweden. There, he tried to rebuild the trade unions in exile.

He returned to West Germany in 1946 and was the secretary of the Württemberg and Baden Trade Union Confederation in 1946 and 1947. From 1947 to 1949, he was secretary of the union council of Bizone and then the Trizone. He retired in 1949, but continued as a lecturer at the Academy of work in Frankfurt.

German Labour Front

The German Labour Front (German: Deutsche Arbeitsfront, pronounced [ˌdɔʏtʃə ˈʔaʁbaɪtsfʁɔnt]; DAF) was the National Socialist labour organisation which replaced the various independent trade unions in Germany after Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

Its leader was Robert Ley, who stated that its aim was 'to create a true social and productive community'. Theoretically, DAF existed to act as a medium through which workers and owners could mutually represent their interests. Wages were set by the 12 DAF trustees. The employees were given relatively high set wages and security of employment, and dismissal was increasingly made difficult. Social security and leisure programmes were started, canteens, breaks, and regular working times were established, and German workers were generally satisfied by what the DAF gave them in repayment for their absolute loyalty.Following the National Socialist’s Volksgemeinschaft approach towards developing a greater "people's community", the DAF expanded or established new social, educational, sports, health, and entertainment programs for German workers via the Strength through Joy, which included factory libraries and gardens, swimming pools, low-priced hot meals, adult education programs, periodic work breaks, physical education, sports facilities, gymnastic training, orchestral music during lunch breaks, free tickets to concerts and opera, and subsidized vacations that saw over 10.3 million Germans signed up by 1938. The DAF financed the building of ocean-going vessels that permitted German workers to pay minimal prices to sail to many foreign destinations. Up to six ocean liners were operating just before the start of World War II. According to the chief of the Associated Press in Berlin, Louis P. Lochner, ticket prices for ocean streamer vessels ranged from twelve to sixteen marks for "a full week on such a steamer". For those who desired vacations closer to home, the DAF constructed spa and summer resort complexes. The most ambitious was the 4.5 km long Prora complex on Rugen island, which was to have 20,000 beds, and would have been the largest beach resort in the world. It was never completed and the massive complex largely remained an empty shell right through until the 21st century.To help finance such ambitious social programs, the DAF also operated one of the largest financial institutions—the Bank of German Labour—along with additional community programs such as medical screening, occupational training, legal assistance and programs to improve the company's working environment. The DAF was one of the largest National Socialist organizations, boasting of over 35,000 full-time employees by 1939. To help Hitler keep his promise to have every German capable of owning an affordable car (Volkswagen—the People’s Car) the DAF subsidized the construction of an automobile factory, which was partially paid from worker’s payroll deductions. None of the 340,000 workers who were paying for a car ever received one, since the factory had to be retooled for war production after Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

In the case of workplace abuses, the DAF set up worker councils to regulate and manage business practices, along with working hours and wages, and conflicts rising between employers and workers. In 1934, worker councils dismissed over 50 workers, while in the same year 13 employers were punished through the expropriation of their business.Employment contracts created under the Weimar Republic were abolished and renewed under new circumstances in the DAF. Employers could demand more of their workers, while at the same time workers were given increased security of work and increasingly enrolled into social security programmes for workers. The organisation, by its own definition, combated capitalism and liberalism, but also revolution against the factory owners and the National Socialist state. The DAF, however, did openly prefer to have large companies nationalised by the German state, instead of privately owned companies.

DAF membership was theoretically voluntary, but any workers in any area of German commerce or industry would have found it hard to get a job without being a member. Membership required a fee within the range of 15 pfennig to three Reichsmark, depending on the category a member fell into in a large scale of 20 membership groups. A substantially large amount of income was raised through fees. In 1934, the total intake was 300,000,000 Reichsmark. In US dollars, the annual income from dues to the Labour Front came to $160,000,000 in 1937 and $200,000,000 by 1939.There were two main components of the DAF and these were:

Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellenorganisation (NSBO; National Socialist Factory Organization)

Nationalsozialistische Handels- und Gewerbeorganisation (NSHAGO; National Socialist Trade and Industry Organization)Several other sub-organisations were set up:

Kraft durch Freude (KdF; Strength through Joy) – Organisation giving the workers cheap/free holidays in addition to subsidised sporting and leisure facilities.

Schönheit der Arbeit (SdA; Beauty of Labour) – Aimed to make workplaces more enticing to workers (e.g., renovations of outdated factories, new canteens for workers, smoking-free rooms, cleaner working spaces etc.).The Front also organised the Reichsberufswettkampf, a national vocational competition.


Gęsiniec [ɡɛ̃ˈɕiɲɛt͡s] (Czech: Husinec before 1763; German: Hussinetz 1763–1937; German: Friedrichstein 1937–1945) is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Strzelin, within Strzelin County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. From 1867 to 1945, it was in Germany.

It lies approximately 2 kilometres (1 mi) south of Strzelin, and 41 kilometres (25 mi) southwest of the regional capital Wrocław (formerly called Breslau).

Gęsiniec was settled in 1750 by Hussites, whose religious faith was based on the writings of Jan Hus (ca. 1369–1415), a Czech religious reformer and priest

who was burnt at the stake as a heretic. Its former name, Husinec, refers to Hus. Historically, the town's residents had ethnic Czech roots. It is located in Silesia, a region once ruled by the Kingdom of Bohemia, and after 1526, by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Silesia was conquered by Prussia in the First Silesian War in 1742, codified by the Treaty of Hubertusburg in 1763, and the town became known as Hussinetz. From 1813 to 1919, it was administered by the Prussian Province of Lower Silesia in the political subdivision Regierungsbezirk Breslau.

In 1937, shortly after Adolf Hitler's rise to power, its name was changed to Friedrichstein. The village and its region were joined to Poland following the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, and its name was changed once again to Gęsiniec.

A monument commemorating residents of Gęsiniec who died in the First World War stands in what was the central part of the village.

Little Man, What Now? (novel)

Little Man, What Now? (German title: Kleiner Mann – was nun?) is a novel by Hans Fallada, which although first published in June 1932, is set between 1930 and November 1932. The book was an immediate success in Germany, given its intense descriptions of the harsh life in the years after the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the first years of the Great Depression. The book was also the breakthrough for Fallada as a writer of fiction.

After Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Fallada had to make a few changes to the novel that removed anything that showed the Nazis in a bad light: a Sturmabteilung (SA) thug had to be turned into a soccer thug, for example, and the book stayed in print through 1941 after which paper shortages curtailed the printing of novels.

In 2016 a complete edition was published in Germany that added about 100 pages to the original 400 pages in the 1932 edition. The cuts had been made with Fallada's consent by his publisher Ernst Rowohlt. German reviewers agreed that the tone and the structure of the novel had not suffered from the cuts, but that the restored sections added 'colour and atmosphere,' such as a dream like Robinson Crusoe island fantasy taking the main character away from his drab everyday life, a visit to the cinema to see a Charles Chaplin movie, and an evening at the Tanzpalast (Dance Palace).

Kleiner Mann is today considered a modern classic in Germany, with its depiction of the last days of the Weimar Republic, and was one of the first novels to be republished after the war in 1947. Its success in 1932 rescued Ernst Rowohlt's publishing house, and he made it No.1 in his numbered series of paperback novels. The complete 1932 edition of the novel is available in German at Projekt Gutenberg-DE.The 1933 German film Kleiner Mann - was nun? was made under Nazi censorship. Fallada had already remarked in 1932 that the script had little to do with his novel, and that the script writers "would take a different approach." In 1934 the film Little Man, What Now? was released in the United States. It clearly reflects the situation of the young German mind during that period, especially the effects of war and the economic shut down and is a little closer to the novel than the German film.

Louis Leo Snyder

Louis Leo Snyder (4 July 1907 – 25 November 1993) was an American scholar, who witnessed first hand the Nazi mass rallies held from 1923 on in Germany; and wrote about them from New York in his Hitlerism: The Iron Fist in Germany published in 1932 under the pseudonym Nordicus. Snyder predicted Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Nazi alliance with Benito Mussolini, and possibly the war upon the French and the Jews. His book was the first publication of the complete NSDAP National Socialist Program in the English language.

Snyder is the author of more than 60 books. He compiled the Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (1976), wrote Roots of German Nationalism (1978), and Diplomacy in Iron (1985) among works dealing with the Third Reich. He also wrote The Dreyfus Case (1973) which divided France over the Dreyfus affair at turn of the century.

Moses, Man of the Mountain

Moses, Man of the Mountain is a 1939 novel by African American novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. The novel rewrites the story of the Book of Exodus of Moses and the Israelites from an Afro-American perspective. The novel applies a number of different motifs and themes commonly addressed in African American culture, subverting the Moses story.Writing in the context of Adolf Hitler's rise to power, critic Mark Christian Thompson describes the novel as critiquing the authoritarian tactics of states, and becomes a metaphor critiquing the premises of National Socialism.

Nuremberg Rally

The Nuremberg Rally (officially Reichsparteitag , meaning Realm Party Convention) was the annual rally of the Nazi Party in Germany, held from 1923 to 1938. They were large Nazi propaganda events, especially after Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. These events were held at the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg from 1933 to 1938 and are usually referred to in English as the "Nuremberg Rallies". Many films were made to commemorate them, including Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and The Victory of Faith.


The Preußenschlag of 1932 (German pronunciation: [ˈpʁɔʏsənˌʃlaːk], Prussian coup), also known in English as the coup in Prussia or the putsch in Prussia, was the takeover of the Free State of Prussia, the largest German state, by Chancellor Franz von Papen, using an emergency decree issued by President Paul von Hindenburg under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution on July 20, 1932.

It was a major step towards the end of the Weimar Republic, as it later facilitated the Nazification (Gleichschaltung) of Germany after Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

The pretext for this measure was violent unrest in some areas of Prussia and the alleged inability of the Prussian government to handle the matter. The main trigger was the "Altonaer Blutsonntag" ("Altona Bloody Sunday"), a shootout between the SA and Communists in Altona on 17 July 1932, which claimed 18 lives.

It is more likely however that the Prussian government headed by Minister-President Otto Braun, with authority over the powerful Prussian police force, was simply one of the last major forces standing in the way of Papen's plans for nationalist rule.The move was facilitated by the unstable situation of the Prussian government. The centre-left coalition of the Social Democrats, Centre Party and liberal German Democratic Party had ruled Prussia without interruption since 1918, but had lost its majority in the Landtag (state parliament) in the 1932 elections. However, under the Prussian constitution, a government could be removed from office only if there was a positive majority for a prospective successor. This provision, known as a "constructive vote of no confidence," was intended to ensure that a government had sufficient support to govern.

The Communists and National Socialists held over half the seats between them, but would not cooperate with each other or with other parties. Thus, no politically realistic alternative government was possible, and the Braun-led coalition remained in office.

However, Papen also lacked majority support in the Reichstag. His only means to govern was through the emergency provisions of Article 48, and hence via decrees issued by the Reichspräsident Hindenburg, over whom Papen had great influence. The emergency decree of July 20 dismissed the Braun government and declared Papen Reichskommissar (Reich Commissioner) for Prussia, vested in him all the competences of the Prussian ministries, and gave him direct control over the Prussian government.The decree was declared partially unconstitutional on October 25, 1932, by the German Constitutional Court, but only in so far as the formal existence of the Prussian cabinet was concerned. The transfer of power to Papen was upheld, while the Braun cabinet retained the right to represent Prussia in the Reichsrat.

Prussia remained under direct administration of the federal government until April 1933. The Enabling Act of 1933 gave Hitler the effective power to enact legislation (including extraconstitutional laws) without the consent of the Reichstag. One of Hitler's first legislative acts was to dissolve all of the state parliaments (except Prussia's) and replace them with legislatures that were constituted based on the results of the partly-free federal election held in March. Prussia was excluded from this measure because it had held state elections at the same time, with a similar result (a Nazi plurality). With the banning of the Communist and Social Democratic parties, the Nazis now had a majority in the Prussian parliament, which elected Hermann Göring as Minister-President. However, under Hitler's rule, German states were effectively replaced by Nazi Gaue, so Göring's post was largely ceremonial.

The state of Prussia was finally dissolved by the Allies after the end of World War II.

René Lagrou

René Lagrou (1904–1969) was a Flemish-Belgian politician and collaborator with Nazi Germany.

Originating in West Flanders, Lagrou worked as a lawyer in Antwerp. Lagrou had first came to prominence as a member of the Flemish National Union. He published his own journal Roeland, which became increasingly anti-Semitic following Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Following the German occupation of Belgium in World War II Lagrou, along with Ward Hermans, was the founder of the Algemeene-SS Vlaanderen (from 1942, the Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen), a Flemish political faction supported by the SS.Lagrou saw action with the Waffen SS on the Eastern Front and some initial reports erroneously suggested that he had died in battle. However Lagrou had survived and he was captured by the Allies in France but managed to escape to Spain.In May 1946 his was one of three names on a 'black list' sent by the government of Belgium to Spain where he was in hiding, along with Léon Degrelle and Pierre Daye. Soon after he was condemned to death in absentia by the war crimes tribunal in Antwerp.With the possibility of extradition from Spain looming, Lagrou arrived in Argentina in July 1947 and adopted the false name Reinaldo van Groede. Here he became a leading figure in the ratlines sponsored by Juan Perón to rescue Nazis from prosecution in Europe. Given wide powers within the Immigration service in Argentina, Lagrou drew up ambitious plans to move as many as 2 million people from Belgium, all either Nazi collaborators or their families. He was also a member of the Rodolfo Freude-led División de Informaciones and in this capacity initiated the cases for resettlement for a number of Nazis.


The Sturmabteilung (SA; German pronunciation: [ˈʃtʊɐ̯mʔapˌtaɪlʊŋ] (listen)), literally Storm Detachment, was the Nazi Party's original paramilitary. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League (Rotfrontkämpferbund) of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and intimidating Romani, trade unionists, and, especially, Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

The SA were also called the "Brownshirts" (Braunhemden) from the color of their uniform shirts, similar to Benito Mussolini's blackshirts. The SA developed pseudo-military titles for its members, with ranks that were later adopted by several other Nazi Party groups, chief amongst them the Schutzstaffel (SS), which originated as a branch of the SA before being separated. Brown-colored shirts were chosen as the SA uniform because a large number of them were cheaply available after World War I, having originally been ordered during the war for colonial troops posted to Germany's former African colonies.The SA became disempowered after Adolf Hitler ordered the "blood purge" of 1934. This event became known as the Night of the Long Knives (die Nacht der langen Messer). The SA continued to exist, but was effectively superseded by the SS, although it was not formally dissolved until after Nazi Germany's final capitulation to the Allies in 1945.

The Immortals (neo-Nazis)

The Immortals (German Die Unsterblichen) was a neo-Nazi organization based in Germany that uses flash mobs to coordinate, gather and demonstrate. The members wear black clothing with white facial masks and carry torches when they march.

The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle"

The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle" is an influential essay written by Kenneth Burke in 1939 which offered a rhetorical analysis of Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. Much of Burke's analysis focuses on Hitler's Mein Kampf ("my struggle"). Burke (1939; reprinted in 1941 and 1981) identified four tropes as specific to Hitler's rhetoric: inborn dignity, projection device, symbolic rebirth, and commercial use. Several other tropes are discussed in the essay, "Persuasion" (Burke: 1969).

Vasily Biskupsky

Vasily Viktorovich Biskupsky (Василий Викторович Бискупский; 1878–1945) was a right-wing Russian general of Ukrainian origin who helped finance Adolf Hitler's rise to power.Biskupsky's father was the vice-governor of Tomsk. Vasily was forced to leave the Russian Imperial Army after his secret marriage to operetta singer Anastasia Vyaltseva had been made public. He bought lands in the Russian Far East and Sakhalin Island and started drilling for oil. After World War I had broken out, Biskupsky returned to the army and was promoted to major general in June 1916.

After the Russian Revolution, Pavlo Skoropadskyi put Biskupsky in charge of the military forces of the Central Council of Ukraine. In 1918, he surrendered Odessa to Nikifor Grigoriev's forces. He also chaired the short-lived Government of West Russia before emigrating to Germany in 1919.

After selling his Sakhalin property to the Japanese government, Biskupsky became a rich man. He was one of the first Russians to give unqualified support to Hitler (whom he claimed to have concealed in his own apartment after the failed Beer Hall Putsch). He was also involved in the Kapp Putsch.In 1922, Biskupsky's associates (his deputy and secretary) attempted to kill Paul Miliukov, a major liberal leader. Although the assassins missed their target, they accidentally shot and killed Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, the writer's father.

Some historians believe that Biskupsky helped channel Romanov money to the Nazi Party. In 1936,Hitler put him in charge of the Russische Vertrauensstelle, a government body dealing with the Russian émigré community. By the end of World War II, he had grown disillusioned with Hitler. He was sacked and briefly imprisoned by the NSDAP.

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