Ascent to the power of Adolf Hitler

The rise to power of Adolf Hitler began in September 1919 in Germany, to when Hitler joined the political party known as Deutsche Arbeiterpartei , DAP, the German Workers Party. In 1920 it changed its name to Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), German National Socialist Workers Party , commonly denominated Nazi Party. This political party was formed and developed during the postwar period of the First World War , as an anti-Marxist party and opposed to theTreaty of Versailles and the postwar democratic government of the Weimar Republic . He defended extreme nationalism and Pangermanism , as well as virulent anti-Semitism . Hitler’s “ascent” can be considered to have ended in March 1933, after the Reichstag adopted the Full Powers Grant Act of 1933 . On January 30, 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg had appointed Hitler as chancellor after a series of parliamentary elections and the subsequent intrigues behind the scenes. The law of full power – if applied ruthlessly and authoritarian – gave virtually to Hitler the ability to exercise constitutionally from that moment a dictatorial power and without legal objections.

Adolf Hitler ascended to a prominent place in the early years of the party’s existence. As one of the best speakers in the party, he demanded that the other members make him a leader, with the threat of abandoning him. He was partly helped by his desire to use violence to advance his political goals and to recruit members who shared this desire. The Munich Putsch in November 1923 and the subsequent publication of his book Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) brought Hitler to a wider audience. In the mid-1920s, the party entered into an electoral struggle in which Hitler participated as a speaker and organizer, b and violent actions and street brawls between Rotfrontkämpferbund (Alliance Warriors Red Front) and the Sturmabteilung (SA ) Nazi. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Nazis secured enough electoral support to become the largest political party in the Reichstag, and Hitler’s combination of political sharpness, trickery, and cunning made the simple majority of the party a Effective power of government in the weakened Weimar Republic of 1933.

Once in power, the Nazis created a mythology around their ascent, describing the period covered by this article as Kampfzeit (fighting time) or Kampfjahre (years of struggle).

The beginning (1918-1924)

Hitler entered the incipient Nazi party after World War I, and soon implanted the violent tone of the movement forming the paramilitary group Sturmabteilung (SA). 2 Catholic Bavaria rejected the Protestant Berlin government, and Hitler saw in a Bavarian revolution the means to seize power, but a first attempt did not bear fruit and was imprisoned after the Munich Putsch of 1923. He used that time to write Mi fight , where he argued that the effeminate Judeo – Christian ethic weakened Europe and that Germany needed an iron man to rehabilitate and build an empire in March . It was then that he decided the tactic to obtain the power through “legal” means. 4

Armistice (November 1918) to membership in the party (September 1919)

After obtaining the permission of the king Luis III of Bavaria , the Austrian citizen of 25 years Adolf Hitler enlisted in the Bavarian regiment of the German army, although it did not yet have the German nationality. For over four years (from August 1914 to November 1918), Germany was the main contender of World War I 5 on the Western Front . c Shortly after the conclusion of the fighting on that front in November 1918, d 5 Hitler returned and five to Munich after the armistice without work, civil training and friendless. He stayed in the Reichswehr (national defense), where he was assigned a relatively insignificant role during the winter of 1918-1919, f 5 but ultimately recruited him from the Political Department of the Army (press office), possibly for having helped To investigate the responsibility of the disastrous Soviet Republic of Bavaria . G 13 5 He took part in courses of “national thought” given by Captain Karl Mayr . 14 Apparently, their ability oratory and his anti – Semitism end and manifesto attracted the attention of the official responsible for accreditation and was promoted to “education officer”, which gave him the opportunity to speak in public. H i 17 5 5

In July 1919, Hitler was appointed Verbindungsmann ( intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando ( reconnaissance command) of the Reichswehr , for the purpose of influencing other soldiers and infiltrating the German Workers’ Party (DAP). The DAF was founded on January 5, 1919 by Anton Drexler and Karl Harrer among others, from the union of several groups, in a small meeting at the restaurant Fuerstenfelder Hof in Munich. While studying the activities of the DAP, Hitler was impressed with Drexler’s anti-Semitic, nationalist, anti- capitalist, and anti- Marxist ideas. 18

On September 12, 1919, during a meeting, j Hitler felt offended by the comments that an assistant went to Gottfried Feder , the speaker, an eccentric economist with which Hitler had made the acquaintance at a conference Feder gave a course “Education” of the army. 17 5 k The wizard (Hitler contemptuously called “professor” in “Mein Kampf”) claimed that Bavaria should become independent of Germany and unite with Austria to form a new German nation in the south. 5 l The irascible Hitler got up and rebuked the luckless Professor Baumann, using his extraordinary gifts as an orator, making the end Baumann left the meeting before it ended. 22 23 Impressed by Hitler’s oratory, Drexler invited him to join the DAP. Hitler accepted the 12 of September of 1919, 24 becoming the 55th member of the party. 25 In less than a week, Hitler received a Drexler card informing him that he had been officially accepted as a DAP member and that he was to attend a committee meeting to discuss it. Hitler attended the meeting, which was held at the declining brewery Alte Rosenbad. 26 Later, Hitler wrote that join the newly created party “… it was the most decisive resolution of my life. From then on there was no turning back, nor could there be. (…) I enrolled as a member of the German Workers’ Party and received a provisional member card with the number 7 “. 27 normally not allowed military personnel belong to any political party, but in this case, Hitler obtained permission from the Captain Mayr to join the DAP. In addition, Hitler was allowed to remain in the military and receive his weekly pay of 20 gold marks. 28

Enrollment in the party to the concentration of Hofbrauhaus (November 1921)

Otto Strasser : What is the NSDAP program?
Hitler : The program is not the issue. The only question is power and the fact that everything is false.
Strasser : Power is only the means to fulfill the program.
Hitler : That is the opinion of the intellectuals. We need power! 29

In the early 1920s, the DAP had grown to more than 100 members, and Hitler received his membership card n ° 555 (The number assigned to members was 500). M 5

Hitler’s considerable oratory skills and his capacity for propaganda were appreciated by the leadership of the party. With the support of Anton Drexler, Hitler became head of party propaganda in the early 1920s. In February 1920, the DAP switched to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei , NSDAP ( National Socialist Workers’ Party ), known in the rest of the World as the Nazi Party. 5 n Hitler designed the party symbol, a swastika inside a white circle on a red background . 31 His actions began to transform the party. He organized his largest rally, already of 2000 people, on February 24, 1920 at the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München 32 , in which Hitler announced the 25-point program of the party. 33 In March 1920, Hitler was dismissed from the army and began to work for the NSDAP full time. 3. 4

In August, Hitler organized a “ward protection brigade” which he named Ordnertruppen and later became known as the “Gymnastics and Sports Division”. It is very likely that their main purpose was to maintain order at Nazi rallies and expel whoever disturbed them. At the beginning of October the group officially changed its name to Sturmabteilung (SA), which was much more descriptive and suggested that it could fight, or even that its only function was that.

Throughout the decade of 1920, Hitler began to give lectures in the breweries of Munich, mainly in Hofbräuhaus , Sterneckerbräu and Bürgerbräukeller . Only Hitler was able to attract crowds to speeches and party rallies. 35 At that time, the police monitored the speeches, and the surviving writings of Hitler himself revealed that he gave lectures with titles such as “Political Phenomenon” or “The Jews and the Treaty of Versailles “. At the end of the year, the number of party members reached 2000, according to records. 36

In June 1921, while Hitler and Dietrich Eckart were traveling in Berlin to raise funds, a riot broke out at Munich’s NSDAP. Some members of his executive committee, who regarded Hitler as too authoritarian, wanted to join the German Socialist Party (DSP). 37 Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and gave up his resignation furious. The members of the committee realized that Hitler’s departure would mean the end of the party. 38 Hitler announced that he would return to condition that he be appointed chairman of the party to replace Drexler, and that the seat be still in Munich. The committee agreed and Hitler returned to the party on July 26 as member No. 3 680. 39 On the following days, Hitler spoke in his defense in crowded rooms, gathering enthusiastic applause. His strategy was successful: in a general meeting with the members he was granted absolute powers as president, with only one negative vote. 40

On September 14, 1921, Hitler and a considerable number of SA members and other supporters of the Nazi Party interrupted a Bavarian League rally in the Lowenbraukeller . This federalist organization opposed the centralism of the Weimar Constitution, but accepted its social program. The League was led by Otto Ballerstedt , an engineer Hitler considered his “most dangerous opponent”. The Nazi Hermann Esser climbed into a chair and shouted that the Jews were to blame for the misfortunes of Bavaria, and the rest of the Nazis began shouting that Ballerstedt gave the floor to Hitler. 41 The Nazis beat Ballerstedt and threw him off the dais, throwing him over the audience. Hitler and Esser were arrested, and Hitler’s remark to the police chief is famous: “It’s okay. We got what we wanted. Ballerstedt did not speak. ” 42 Hitler was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment for the incident, and ended up serving just over a month.

On November 4, 1921, the Nazi Party held a grand rally at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. After Hitler spoke for a while, the rally resulted in a brawl in which a small SA company thrashed the opposition.

Of the brawl in the brewery to the coup d’etat of the brewery: The frustrated Putsch and the consequent trial

In 1922 and early 1923, Hitler founded two organizations that would grow to have enormous importance. The first was the Jungsturm and Jugendbund , which later became the Hitler Youth . The other was the Stabswache, the germ of what would later become the Schutzstaffel (SS).

Inspired by the March on Rome of Benito Mussolini , Hitler decided that the appropriate strategy to gain control of the country was a coup. In May 1927, elements loyal to Hitler within the army placed barracks and weapons at the disposal of the SA, but the order to march never arrived.

The turning point is in the Putsch of Munich led by Hitler, an attempt of coup d’etat in days 8 and 9 of November of 1923. In the failed blow died sixteen members of NSDAP and four policemen . Hitler was arrested on November 11, 1923 43 and tried for high treason in a trial that focused public attention. 44

The notorious trial began in February 1924. Hitler strove to turn the tables and prosecute democracy and the Weimar Republic for treason to the German people. Hitler was convicted and on 1 April was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in Landsberg prison , where he received privileged treatment from the guards: he had a room overlooking the river, he wore a tie, allowed him to receive visits and mail Of its admirers, besides having the services of a private secretary. The Bavarian Supreme Court pronounced his pardon on December 20, 1924, despite objections from the state prosecutor. Four. Five

Hitler spent his time in the Landsberg Prison to consider his political strategy and dictate the first volume of My Struggle , especially to his loyal assistant Rudolf Hess . 5 o After the putsch , the party was banned in Bavaria , but participated in the two 1924 elections represented by the National Socialist Freedom Movement . In the parliamentary elections of Germany of May of 1924 , the party gained several seats in the Reichstag, with the 6,5% of the votes (1 918 329). In the German Parliamentary Elections of December 1924 , the National Socialist Movement of Freedom, a combination of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the Nazi Party (NSDAP), obtained only 907 242 votes, which made it lose 18 seats, 14.

Nazi propaganda often used the Barmat scandal as an electoral strategy and as a call for anti-Semitism.

After reflection, Hitler had decided that power should not be obtained through a revolution from outside the government, but by legal means, within the limits of the democratic system established by Weimar.

For five or six years there would be no more party bans ( See below Taking Power (1931 – 1933) .

Maneuvers towards the power (1925-1930)

In the elections of 1928 , the party only obtained 12 seats (2,6% of the votes) in the Reichstag. By provinces, the best results were obtained in Bavaria (5.11%), although in three zones, the NSDAP did not reach 1% of votes. Partly because of these poor results, Hitler decided that the Germans had to know their goals better. Although his editor tried to dissuade him, he wrote a second book that was posthumously discovered and published as Zweites Buch . At the same time, the SA began a period of deliberate antagonism with the Rotfront marching on communist fiefdoms and provoking violent altercations.

By the end of 1928, the party had 130,000 members. In March 1929, Erich Ludendorff represented the Nazi party in the presidential elections, winning 280,000 votes (1.1%) and being the only candidate to win less than a million votes. The battles in the streets became more violent. When the Rotfront interrupted a Hitler speech, the SA marched through the streets of Nuremberg and killed two passers-by. In revenge, the SA broke into a Rotfront meeting on 25 August and a few days later, at the headquarters of the German Communist Party (KPD) itself. In September, Joseph Goebbels led his men to Neukölln , a bastion of the KPD, and the two contending parties engaged in a shootout.

The German referendum of 1929 was of great importance, as it gave the Nazi Party a recognition and credibility it had never had.

On January 14, 1930, Nazi activist Horst Wessel had an argument with his landlady, according to some sources for the rent, and according to others for his activities as a pimp. 46 47 This discussion ended tragically. The landlady was a member of the KPD and contacted a friend of Rotfront , Albert Hochter, who shot Wessel. 46 A few months earlier, Wessel had written a song that would become the Nazi hymn Horst-Wessel-Lied . Goebbels took advantage of the attack (and the weeks Wessel spent on his deathbed) to publicize the song, and the Nazis used the funeral as an opportunity for anti-communist propaganda. 48

On 1 April, Hannover passed a law banning the Hitlerjugend ( Hitler Youth ), and Goebbels was convicted of high treason at the end of May. Bavaria banned political uniforms on June 2, and on 11, Prussia banned SA Brown Shirts and related insignia. The following month, Prussia passed a law that prevented its officials from becoming members of the NSDAP and the KPD. That same month, Goebbels was tried and convicted again, this time for “public insult”. The government also indicted military officers for “forming socialist national cells.”

In the midst of this violent situation, Hitler’s party won a surprising victory in the Reichstag , obtaining 107 seats (18.3%, 6 406 397 votes). The Nazis became the second party of Germany. In Bavaria, the party won 17.9% of the votes, although for the first time this percentage was surpassed by other provinces: Oldenburg (27.3%), Brunswick (26.6%), Waldeck (26.5%), , Mecklenburg-Strelitz (22.6%), Lippe (22.3%) Mecklenburg-Schwerin (20.1%), Anhalt (19.8%), Thuringia ), Hamburg (19.2%), Prussia (18.4%), Hesse (18.4%), Saxony (18.3%), Lübeck (18.3%) and Schaumburg- ).

An unprecedented amount of money was invested in the campaign. More than one million leaflets were printed and distributed, 16 trucks were ordered for use in Berlin alone. In areas where the NSDAP campaign was less energetic, the results declined to 9%. The Great Depression was also a determining factor in Hitler’s electoral victory. Against this legal background, the SA carried out its first major action against the Jews on October 13, 1930, when groups of brown shirts broke the shop windows of Jewish businesses on Potsdamer Platz . 49

The parties of Weimar, incapable to stop the Nazis

The crash of 29 announced a world economic disaster. The Nazis and Communists achieved good results in the 1930 elections. 50 Although both the Nazis and the Communists were determined to end democracy, moderate parties had to consider negotiating with them, 51 since both had more Of 50% of the seats. “The Communists,” Bullock wrote, “openly announced that they would prefer to see Hitler in power before moving a single finger to save the republic.” 52

The political parties of Weimar were unable to stop the rise of the Nazis. The Weimar German political system made it difficult for the chancellors to govern with a stable parliamentary majority, and successive foreign ministers resorted to emergency presidential power to govern. 53 From 1931 to 1933, the Nazis combined with conventional terror campaigns: Hitler crossed the country by plane as the SA troops marched through the streets, beating their opponents and disrupted their rallies. 4

There was no middle-class liberal party strong enough to block the Nazis. The Popular Party and the Democratic Party suffered severe reverses to the Nazis in the elections. The Social Democrats were essentially “a conservative union party with ineffectual leadership.” The Catholic Center Party maintained its block of voters, but was more concerned with defending its own interests, and according to Bullock, “by 1932-33 … it was so far from recognizing the danger of a Nazi dictatorship that it continued to negotiate with them” . Meanwhile, the communists were engaged in violent riots with the Nazis in the streets, but Moscow had ordered the Communist Party to prioritize the destruction of the Social Democrats, which it saw as more dangerous rivals for the loyalty of the working class. However, Bullock claims that the main responsibility rests with the German right, which “renounced true conservatism” and associated with Hitler in a coalition government. 54

Heinrich Brüning of the Center Party was Chancellor from 1930 to 1932. Brüning and Hitler were unable to reach a cooperation agreement, but Brüning ruled by steadily leaning more on the president and the army than on the parliament. 55 President Paul von Hindenburg , 84, a conservative monarchist, was reluctant to take action to contain the Nazis, while the ambitious general Kurt von Schleicher hoped to win their support as minister in charge of the army and navy. 56 With Schleicher’s endorsement and Hitler’s declared approval, Hindenburg appointed Chancellor Franz von Papen as the chancellor in place of Brüning in June 1932. 5758 Papen had been actively involved in the resurgence of the Harzburg front 59 and had clashed with The Center Party. 60 Ultimately expected outmanoeuvre Hitler. 61

In the parliamentary elections of July 32 , the Nazis became the party with the most seats in the Reichstag and Hitler withdrew his support for Papen, demanding the Chancellery for himself, but was rejected by Hindenberg. 62 Papen dissolved the parliament and called new elections , in which the vote to the Nazis was reduced. 63The day after the elections, Papen proposed rule by decree until a new electoral system with a high camera was made. Schleicher persuaded Hindenberg to stop Papen, and Schleicher himself became Chancellor, promising to form a feasible coalition. 64

The aggrieved Papen opened negotiations with Hitler, proposing a Nazi-nationalist coalition. After conspiring to relegate Hitler, only to be defeated by Schleicher, Papen focused on defeating Schleicher and reached an agreement with Hitler. 65

Taking control (1931 – 1933)

On March 10, 1931, with street clashes between Rotfront and SA in full swing, surpassing all limits and all expectations, Prussia again banned the brown shirts. A few days later, several SA men shot dead two Communists in a street brawl, which led to the banning of Goebbels’ public speeches, which circumvented the veto by recording and broadcasting to the public in his absence.

Ernst Röhm , in charge of the SA, put Count Micah von Helldorff, a convicted and vehement anti-Semitic assassin, in charge of the SA of Berlin. The deaths increased, multiplying in the skirmishes with the Rotfront , and at the end of 1931, the SA had suffered 47 deaths and the Rotfront counted about 80. In February and April of 1932 several deadly altercations occurred in the street and in the Breweries in protest against backing Adolf Hitler in the presidential election that pitted him against the wildly popular Hindenburg. In the first round of March 13, Hitler had won over 11 million votes, but was still behind Hindenburg. The second round took place on April 10: Hitler, with 36.8% of the votes, lost to Paul von Hindenburg , who won 53%, while Thälmann, the KPD candidate, only achieved a 10.2% % Of votes. At that time, the Nazi Party had just over 800,000 affiliates.

Three days after the presidential elections, the German government banned the paramilitary elements of the NSDAP, the SA and the SS, shielding themselves from the Emergency Decree for the Preservation of the State Authority. 66 67 This action was mainly based on data which had been heard in the trial of several SA men for attacking unarmed Jews in Berlin. Less than a month later, on May 30, the law was repealed by Franz von Papen , Chancellor of Germany at that time. This ambivalence about the fate of the Jews was based on the culture of anti-Semitism that permeated the Germans of the time.

Dwarfed by Hitler’s electoral successes, the KPD moved away from legal means and gradually turned to violence. A skirmish in Silesia ended the intervention of the army, and with each shot, Germany was closer to a potential civil war. At that time, both parties attacked the fiefs of the opposing party, trying to trigger riots. Hermann Göring , as a spokesman for the Reichstag , asked the Papen government to prosecute the perpetrators of the shooting. Several laws were then passed that turned political violence into a capital offense.

The attacks continued, and reached their peak with the assassination of Axel Schaffeld, leader of the SA. At the end of July, the Nazi Party obtained almost 14 million votes, obtaining 230 seats in the Reichstag . Encouraged by these excellent results, Hitler demanded that he be appointed chancellor. Papen offered him the post of deputy foreign minister, which Hitler refused.

Hermann Göring, as president of the Reichstag, called on the government to crack down on the barrage of National Socialist deaths. On 9 August, a number of amendments to the Reichstrafgesetzbuch statute were passed which increased sentences for “acts of political violence” to “life imprisonment, 20 years of forced labor or the death penalty”. It announced the creation of special courts to try these crimes. Less than a year and a half later, already in power, Hitler would use these laws against his opponents with devastating effects.

The law was applied almost immediately, but it did not serve to bring the perpetrators of the recent massacres to trial, as expected. In contrast, five SA men allegedly murdered a KPD member in Potempa ( Upper Silesia ) were prosecuted . Adolf Hitler appeared at the trial as a witness to the defense, but on 22 August, the five men were found guilty and sentenced to death. In early September, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on appeal. In fact, they served just over four months in jail before Hitler released all Nazi prisoners with the 1933 amnesty.

The Nazi party lost 35 seats in the November 1932 elections, but remained the party with the most representation in the Reichstag . His most shocking maneuver was to send the SA to help Rotfront in support of a strike against the transport agency.

After Papen left the post, he secretly told Hitler that he still had considerable influence over President Hindenburg, and that he would make him chancellor whenever he, Papen, could be deputy foreign minister.

Hindenburg appointed Chancellor Hitler on January 30, 1933, after forming a coalition between the Nazis and the nationalist conservatives . Papen would be vice chancellor in a conservative majority cabinet, still falsely convinced that he could “control” Hitler. 58 Initially, Papen spoke out publicly against some excesses of the Nazis, but after narrowly escaped death during the night of the long knives , stopped openly criticize the regime.

Following the appointment of Hitler as chancellor with a coalition government NSDAP-DNVP, SA and SS organized torchlight parades through Berlin. In the coalition government, three members were Nazis: Hitler, Wilhelm Frick (Interior Minister) and Hermann Göring (Minister without portfolio).

Since the Germans who opposed Nazism were unable to unite against him, Hitler was soon able to consolidate absolute power.

At the risk of it seeming silly, I will tell you that the national socialist movement will last 1000 years … Do not forget how they laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would rule Germany. Now they laugh, just as stupidly, when I say that I will remain in power

Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934 68

From Chancellor to Dictator

After the fire of the Reichstag , the Nazis began to suspend civil liberties and to eliminate the political opposition. The communists were excluded from the Reichstag. Again, in the March general elections , no party won an absolute majority. Hitler demanded the vote of the Party of Center and of the conservatives of the Reichstag to obtain the power that wanted. 69 On March 24, 1933, he asked the Reichstag to approve the Enabling Act which gave Hitler full powers “temporarily”. This law gave him the freedom to act without parliamentary consent and even without constitutional limitations. 70

Using his characteristic mixture of negotiation and intimidation, Hitler offered the possibility of friendly cooperation, promising not to threaten the Reichstag, the president, the states or the churches if they were assigned emergency powers. With the Nazi paramilitaries circling the parliament, he said: “It is up to you, gentlemen of the Reichstag, to decide between war and peace.” 69 The Center Party, after obtaining the promise that there would be no interference in religion, joined Conservatives to vote in favor of the law (only the Social Democrats voted against). 71

The law allowed Hitler and his cabinet to rule by emergency decree for four years, although Hindenberg remained president. 72 Hitler immediately began to abolish powers of the federal states and put political parties and organizations in the sights. 73 With the exception of the Nazi party were officially outlawed on July 14, and the Reichstag gave up their democratic responsibilities. 73

The law did not invade the powers of the president, and Hitler would not reach its full dictatorial power until Hindenburg’s death in August 1934. 74 Hindenburg remained commander-in-chief of the army and retained the power to negotiate foreign treaties.