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Nazi seizure of power

 

Nazi seizure of power

The Nazi Seizure of Power (German: Machtergreifung) refers to the acquisition by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) of the chancellorship of Germany, and of several other high-ranking cabinet posts, on 30 January 1933, following the appointment of Hitler as chancellor by the aged President Paul von Hindenburg, then 84. It also refers to the period of consolidation of Nazi Power through intimidation and violence, culminating in the establishment of the Nazi Party as the only legal political party in Germany in July 1933.

Hitler at the window of the Reich Chancellery, Jan. 30, 1933

Prelude

Memorial to the Murdered Members of the Reichstag at the Reichstag building, each slate plate corresponds to one of 96 Reichstag members murdered by the Nazis

The Nazis had learned from the failed Kurt von Schleicher.

From an economic perspective, Brüning caused increased mass unemployment through his rigid austerity program of public budget balancing. On 1 June 1932 President Hindenburg, urged by Schleicher, appointed his right-wing confidant Franz von Papen chancellor, who strove for collaboration with the Nazis to use their popularity with the masses for himself. A coalition between the Centre Party, the national conservative German National People's Party (DNVP), and the Nazis only failed because of Hitler's demand for chancellorship. Since Papen had courted the Nazis, he did not forbid the NSDAP as a seditious party, though the Boxheimer Dokumente written by Werner Best and leaked to the Hesse State Police in 1931 revealed plans for another putsch by the Nazis and could have given rise for stern measures. Instead Papen and Hindenburg instigated a coup against the Prussian state government, the Preußenschlag deposing the democratic state government under Minister-President Otto Braun, who was succeeded by Papen as a Reichskommissar.

In the German federal election of July 1932, the Nazi Party gained the largest number of seats in the Reichstag. After all of Papen's attempts to reach a coalition government had failed, federal elections were again held in November 1932, with the Nazis facing some losses but without any chance for Papen to reach a majority. He finally resigned, and though twenty representatives of industry, finance, and agriculture had signed the Industrielleneingabe, a petition requesting that Hindenburg make Hitler chancellor,

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