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How did Hitler establish a dictatorship in Germany by August 1934

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Adolf Hitler surfaced in 1919, joining the Nazi party as a minority. However, by 1933, Hitler surprised everyone by becoming Chancellor, which was seen as a remarkable achievement. Yet many people underestimated his abilities, and thought that he would be removed from power. Even fewer people would have expected that by mid-1934, Hitler would become the sole leader of Germany, establishing a dictatorship. This essay will show how Hitler cleverly consolidated power, using a mixture of legal, illegal, and violent methods to remove any hindrance and oppositions in the way; and how Hitler, viewed by some as an opportunist, others a planner, made use of six major factors including the Reichstag fire, Emergency Decree, the Enabling act, the Night of the Long Knives, death of Hindenburg and the Army’s oath of Loyalty, which lead to his role ‘Fuhrer’ and Reich Chancellor, securing his position between the Nazis and Germany.

The first stage towards dictatorship was Hitler’s rise to position of chancellor.

The combination of the impact of depression, long-term bitterness of the people towards the Treaty of Versailles , ineffective and vulnerable to destruction Weimar constitution, strengths and charisma of Hitler and the Nazis, the use of violence and intimidation, negative cohesion, support from the SA, businessmen and Reichstag, constant use of propaganda along with much luck enabled to his rise of status to chancellor. Hitler understood the people and knew what they sought after, and as an outstanding speaker, he was able to convince the people that he was capable to solve the problems they were facing, receiving support, and created impressions through propaganda and election campaigns, funded by wealthy businessmen such as a man with aggression, energy, enthusiasm and sheer size , and one being ahead of time as a communicator . Hitler also gained support by promising people with “Work, freedom and bread” , expansionism, overthrowing the hated Treaty of Versailles, and improving militarization.

His use of violence and intimidation against the Jews, communists and others who opposed him produced the impression of discipline and order , gaining power over the other parties, eventually allowing him to overthrow them. Negative Cohesions, meaning that the people did not necessarily share his views, but rather the dislikes and fears also contributed to his rise, such as the dislike of democracy in Weimar Germany and the “Fear of Communism” . Furthermore, he gained the support of the Reichstag, whereas people in the Weimar including von Papen von Schleicher and Hindenburg never did. The timing of the economic depression also enabled his position as chancellor. In 1929, the stock market crashed, causing increase in unemployment, famine and hyperinflation, leading to a constant search for a new leader by the people. He also provided scapegoats for the various problems in Germany-the Allies, the “November Criminals” and the Jews. In 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor, and this eventually led up to his status as “Fuhrer” and dictator of Germany.

The Reichstag fire took place on the night of February 27, 1933 , where elections were supposed to take place, but instead, the Parliament building was burned to its ground. Even though there was no sufficient evidence, Hitler utilized this event and managed to persuade the people to believe that the communists were the cause of this. This shows how Hitler made use of opportunities, and also showed the luck he had. It also shows Hitler’s excellent speaking skills as he managed to persuade the people .Hitler convinced Hindenburg to allow him to pass the Emergency Decree claiming it to be “for the protection of the people and the state”. This decree allowed Hitler to arrest “4000 communist party members” without trials and send them to concentration camps around Germany, break up meetings, and frightened voters who elected for the communists . The emergency decree also allowed Hitler to take over regional governments.

By breaking up meetings, Hitler was abolishing the freedom of speech, discontinuing any form of speech that opposed his ideas. This shows the usage of intimidation and violence as by arresting he communists, he was indirectly daunting the voters who had elected for the communists and by controlling the freedom of speech; he was threatening the people. The Emergency Decree also shows how he made use of opportunities, one after another, first, from the depression, followed by the Reichstag fire, and then the Emergency Decree. It also shows how Hitler removed hindrance and opposition faced in his way, as by passing the Emergency Decree, he managed to annihilate the biggest potential threat to his leadership.

Hitler also consolidated his position as a dictator of Germany using the Enabling Act on March 23, 1933 . This act allowed Hitler dictatorial powers and enabled him and the Nazis to rule over Germany for four years without elections and to form laws without consulting the Reichstag or president Hindenburg. This act required at least two third of the majority of votes in the Reichstag, and this was achieved through intimidation and violence. Hitler prohibited the Communists in the election, and received votes from the Social Democrats and the Catholic Centre Party . The Catholic Centre Party had voted for the Nazis due to fear of being treated the same way as the communists. As a result of the enabling act, anyone who originally had power and influence among the community were threatened and forced out of their jobs and were replaced by a Nazi official.

All Nazis who were in jail were also released and pardoned of their camps. Education for the younger generation was also reshaped to suit the Nazis. “The Law against the Formation of Parties” was also passed down on 14th of July 1933 , declaring the Nazi Party as the only political party in Germany. This was known as One-Party State . Any creation of other parties, or the belonging to another party was illegal, and anyone who disobeyed this law would be sent into prison. This is another proof of how Hitler made use of intimidation and violence. The Enabling Act measure also gave Hitler the authority to censor broadcasts, publications. Most importantly, this act made Hitler a legal dictator.

Hitler also inflicted violence and intimidation by “The Terror State”. The people constantly lived in fear, afraid of being arrested by the secret police, known as the Gestapo. The Gestapo used various methods, ranging from interrogation to arresting people and sending them to concentration camps, which were first opened in March 1933, if they committed a crime.

The next thing that Hitler used to consolidate his position as a dictator of Germany was using The Night of Long Knives, which took place on the 30th of June in 1934 . Hitler’s SS murdered many members of the SA, including Ernst Rohm, who he considered a potential rival. The reason for doing this was because the army leaders were suspicious of Hitler and his SA, and also because the SA was a badly disciplined force, while the army was well trained, organized and disciplined. Another reason was because Hitler’s control over the four million SA men would make him a potentially dangerous rival.

By doing this, it helped Hitler regain the army’s trust and ended public dissatisfaction with street violence and terror. Hindenburg passed away on the 2nd of August 1934, and Hitler ultimately attained his goal- becoming Fuhrer of Germany on 19th August 1934 . He also managed to persuade the entire army to swear an oath of personal allegiance to him, and to “stay out of politics and to serve Hitler” . These factors were crucial because they helped Hitler establish is ultimate position as Furher and dictator.

In conclusion, Hitler made use of much intimidation, violence, propaganda, and his strong speaking skills, removing any hindrance in his way and making full use of all opportunities to ultimately establish a dictatorship in Germany.


1.”Hitler’s Rise to Power.” GCSE Modern World History Revision Site. 25 Feb. 2009 .

2.Walsh, Ben. Modern World History. 2nd ed. New York: John Murray, 2001.

3.Hitler_Steps_to_dictatorship.” GCSE Modern World History Revision Site. 25 Feb. 2009 .

4.”How did Hitler consolidate power?” Schoolshistory.org.uk – online lessons – GCSE study aids – Teachers resources. 25 Feb. 2009 .

5.”Apparatus_of_Power.” GCSE Modern World History Revision Site. 25 Feb. 2009 .

6.Worksheet on “The SA or the army? Hitler makes his choice”

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