How far do you agree that Hitler’s consolidation of power between January 1933 and August 1934 can be described as a “legal revolution”
It is to a certain extent that Nazi consolidation of power in 1933 was due to the use of terror and violence. However the terror and violence was very limited because the Nazi's weren’t in a strong enough position to exert terror and violence alone. Nazi propaganda against the communists made most Germans fearful of Communism therefore allowing Nazis to consolidate a bit more power through means of terror. On the other hand the Nazi party’s policy of legality and the threat of communism are to a large extent the underlining most important factor in explaining how the Nazis were able to destroy political opposition and become dominant and consolidate power in 1933.
Hitler’s consolidation of power was legal in the following ways. As the campaign moved towards its climax, one episode strengthened the Nazi hand. On 27th February, the Reichstag building was set on fire and a Dutch Communist Van der Lubbe was arrested. At the time it was believed it was a Nazi plot to support the claims of the Communist plot, and thereby to justify Nazi repression. On the next day, Hindenburg signed, “The Decree for the protection of people and State”. In a few short clauses most civil and political liberties were suspended and the power of central government was strengthened. However, what became disappointing was that Hitler could claim a majority in the new Reichstag only with the help of the 52 seats won by the Nationalists. It was a political blow and showed that his power wasn’t consolidated yet, but the fact this law was passed gave legal justification for the development of the regime. Despite this constitutional hurdle, Hitler decided to propose to the new Reichstag an Enabling Law that would effectively do away with parliamentary procedure and legislation and which would transfer full powers to the Chancellor and his government...
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