Nazi Dictatorship

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Nazi Germany under the leadership of Hitler soon became a dictatorship. A dictatorship requires one person and one party to be in control of a nation and a climate of fear - this was provided by Himmler's SS. Personal freedom disappeared in Nazi Germany.

When Hitler was appointed chancellor on January 30th 1933, it was at the head of a coalition government. It was very clear in his mind that it would not remain this way for long. By the end of March 1933, he had acquired much greater powers than the former leading politicians of the Weimar Republic could ever have foreseen when they supported his appointment as chancellor. The death of President Hindenburg in August 1934, allowed him to combine both chancellor's and president's positions into one when Hitler became the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.

How did Germany descend so quickly into becoming a dictatorship?

When Hitler was appointed in January 1933, Germany was a democracy. Germany had fair elections; nobody had their right to vote abused; there were numerous political parties you could vote for etc. To pass a law, the Reichstag had to agree to it after a bill went through the normal processes of discussion, arguments etc. Within the Reichstag of January 1933, over 50% of those who held seats were against the Nazi Party. Therefore it would have been very unlikely for Hitler to have got passed into law what he wanted. Many saw Hitler as a fall-guy politician who would have to shoulder to blame if things got worse under his leadership.

Hitler had promised a general election for March 1933. This would have been, in his mind, the perfect opportunity for him to show all politicians who opposed him where the true loyalties lay in the German people. In fact, 1932 had shown Hitler that there was a possibility that support for the Nazis had peaked as their showing in the November 1932 election had shown. Anything other than a huge endorsement of Hitler and the Nazi Party would have been a disaster and...
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