Germany under National Socialism (1933-1945) 1

Germany under National Socialism (1933-1945) Part I

Inner Development (1933-1939)

After an agreement between Papen and Hitler, should be involved in the next German national only three National Socialists to form a government Hitler appointed Hindenburg under pressure from his personal environment, parts of the army leadership, industry and the National Rural League Hitler on 30.1.1933 as Chancellor. Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click

Hitler, who saw the takeover of government as the beginning of the “seizure of power”, immediately began building a dictatorial system of government and implementing his racist ideas, which were determined by demands for “living space” for the “most valuable race.” The mainspring of his actions and the “ferment” of National Socialism was radical anti-Semitism.

On the occasion of the Reichstag fire on February 27th he obtained emergency ordinances from the Reich President, especially the “Ordinance on the Protection of People and State” of February 28, 1933, which suspended the basic rights of the Weimar Constitution. The riots of the SA against people who think differently and who are unpopular, especially Jews, were no longer controlled by any state violence. In the Reichstag election from 5.3. the NSDAP received 43.9% of the vote. With the German Nationals she now had the majority in the Reichstag. The meeting of Hitler and Hindenburg on the occasion of the first session of the Reichstag in the Potsdam Garrison Church on March 21, 1933 (“Day of Potsdam”) should be according to Hitler’s stipulations showcase the reconciliation between Imperial and National Socialist Germany. With the Enabling Act (March 24, 1933), the entire state power was handed over to the National Socialist government and given the opportunity to establish a totalitarian system of government. While the Social Democrats rejected the law (justification by O. Wels), the bourgeois parties agreed. The Communist MPs were arrested or removed from their mandate in the course of the defeat of the KPD after the Reichstag fire.

In the course of bringing the states into line with the Reich (1933/34), the National Socialist government installed Reich commissioners and state governments devoted to them. As Prime Minister of Prussia (1933–45), H. Göring played a key role in the implementation of this policy.

In July 1933, the Reich government dissolved the SPD and until that point had forced the bourgeois parties to dissolve themselves. The trade unions were eliminated and the German Labor Front (May 10th) and a Reichsnährstand (September 13th) were formed; the press was “adjusted” through central control by the Propaganda Ministry under J. Goebbels, which was newly established from March 13, 1933. With the establishment of concentration camps, Hitler tried from the outset to nip any resistance in the bud.

The rivalry between the NSDAP, which was declared by law on December 1, 1933, to be the “sole bearer of the political will of the German people”, and the SA was intensified by the murder against the SA leadership (June 30, 1934, known as Röhm -Putsch) ended. The SS, led by H. Himmler, worked closely with the Gestapo to develop the concentration camps into an instrument of oppression for the National Socialist state.

After Hindenburg’s death (August 2, 1934), Hitler combined the office of Reich President with that of Reich Chancellor (“Führer and Reich Chancellor”) and had the Reichswehr personally sworn in as the “Supreme Commander”. In the course of the so-called Blomberg-Fritsch crisis (1938), he also switched the armed forces that had emerged from the Reichswehr into line. With the establishment of the National Socialist dictatorship, the (non-socialized) economy came under state control. With Göring’s significant contribution, the four-year plan announced on 9.9.1936 was intended to make the German economy fit for war.

From the beginning, the rule of the National Socialists was linked to the persecution of the Jews. Discriminatory laws that began with the “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” (7.4.1933) increased to the Nuremberg Laws(15.9.1935). With the beginning of the systematic “Aryanization” of the economy in the autumn of 1937, Hitler excluded the Jews from economic life and robbed many of them of their property. The street terror of the SA against Jews, which began in 1933/34, reached the pogrom night of November 9th, 1938 (»Kristallnacht«) a temporary high point.

Germany under National Socialism (1933-1945) 1