Nazi Consolidation of Power in 1933 Was Primarily Due to the Use of Terror and Violance.' How Far Do You Agree with This Judgement?

Topics: Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, Paul von Hindenburg Pages: 5 (1722 words) Published: April 30, 2012
It is to an 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. Legality was a policy where Hitler’s objective was to legally consolidate power which was suitable and pleased most of the German people. Hitler and the Nazi's ability to exercise terror and violence later on was secured through legal means. Which although arguably immoral were still technically legal, for example the enabling act allowed the Nazis to do this without being held legally accountable as it was made legal through the act.

The Nazis policy of legality was vital in giving the Nazis legal means to begin the seizure of power and thereby consolidate their power. This was to gain support from the majority of the population of Germany. This was evident from the result of the Reichstag fire. The Reichstag Fire allowed the Nazis to legally consolidate their power by issuing the emergency decree ‘For the protection of the people and state’ on 28th February 1933. The result of this was freedom of speech; press and assembly in the Weimar constitution to be suspended. The decree also enabled the cabinet to intervene in local governments of the states. This showed a clear shift in power which allowed the Nazis to therefore consolidate their power as they were able to simultaneously hide the collapse in the rule of law by keeping a legal front whilst at the same time eliminate the dual layer of federalism and create a republic with more centralised power. Due to the decree being extremely popular the Nazis therefore gained more results this was evident as they gained 228 seats in a high electoral success in the general elections of March 1933. The importance of this is that the Nazis were able to consolidate their power due to legality and not by using terror and violence because the emergency decree allowed them to stop the communist KPD members from the Reichstag voting on legislation. As a result Hitler had more power and the consolidation of power was being gained legally. This consolidation of power can also be considered significant as it gained the Nazis support in the General election showing that they faced reduced opposition.

The enabling act passed in March 1933 gave Hitler power as it effectively gave him fours years of dictatorship. So this meant that the Nazis in the 1933 election were able to destroy political opposition, therefore showing that the Nazis use of violence and terror wasn’t primarily due to the consolidation of power. Hitler’s reassurances to the leader of the centre party that the churches position wouldn’t be affected made them support the enabling act. The act was passed 444 votes to 94 resulting in democracy and Reichstag influence vanishing. The emergency decree and enabling act were important and legal so it allowed Hitler to gain power and support so therefore the Nazis were able to legally to consolidate power without any opposition, violence and terror. Gaining centre party support was through means of negotiation which is in stark contrast to terror and violence further showing that legality was more of an underlining factor as it involved negotiation within the party and out in order to pass through legislation that would lead to consolidation of power.

On the other hand even though Hitler’s ways of consolidating power was legal, violence and terror was used to enable the Nazis to consolidate power. This was done...
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