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Lecture 5

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History 2147A/B
Julia Berest

Feb 6, 2013 1 5: Building the “Fuhrer State” Political climate in Germany during the Great depression  The great depression confirmed the wisdom of Karl Marx.  Political polarization: Nazism vs. Communism  The capitalistic system was morally and fundamentally flawed.  Only way to change economy was to introduce state/ government regulated economy.  It was such an immoral stab, millions of unemployed were hungry and yet the government destroyed food.  The appeal of communism: promise to eradicate instability (boom-and-bust cycles)  state- regulated economy  The example of the Soviet Union- full of employment and economic growth.  From political demonstrations to political violence  The comp between Nazi and communist party were growing violent against each other and towards police.  People favored violence as a form of revolution  Communist extremists: violence as a form of social revenge.  Riots instigated by the unemployed Communists.  There was an increasing # of riots between Nazi, communists and police.  1930- 17 Nazis killed in street clashes, 1931- 42, 1932- 84 o The Nazi’s wanted people to think that the government wasn’t in control  Frustrated policemen, sympathizing policemen  Leniency towards the Nazis in courts.  Press coverage of he clashes.  Public impression- Germany on the verge of the civil war Hitler’s Image during the Great Depression: “Germany’s last hope” “The Saviour”  Hitler started to pose as the savior of Germany  He promised Germany would never have hyperinflation again, hard workers would get jobs again ect. He promised something to everyone. (scholars, clergymen, farmers, workers, unemployed ect.)  Hitler told the public what they wanted to hear, which differed from the Social democratic party.  Even though it was social dictatorship, they still voted for him because he promised so much.  “My goal is to suppress all the parties”- Hitler The Nazis in parliament, 1930-32  Nazis: 1930- 107 seats (1929-12)  Communists: from 54-77  Social democrats- from 153-143  Nazi obstructionist tactic, unproductive parliament o Parliament was in session: before 1930- about 100 days a year, 1930- 50, 1931- 24. Making democracy look useless.  Even the Nazis were surprised at the success they achieved. Feb 6, 2013 2 5: Building the “Fuhrer State”  Social democrats started losing their vote, it was the beginning of an end for them.  Their goal was to show the public that democracy was useless and parliament was powerless.  Before the Nazis even came to power they were able to undermine the government.  Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution (rule by decree) invoked more often  Fragility of German democracy 1932: decisive year  1932 the Nazis had 230 seats, the largest party, but not a majority.  American style campaign (posters; visiting small towns- “The Fuhrer above Germany”)  April 1932- Hitler lost presidential elections- 37% (~13 million votes) vs. 53% for gen. Hindenburg. Politics were still done in a traditional way.  Lost the election even though he started a new way to campaign (by talking and visiting small towns)  Feared that lack of money was hindering their chances for success. Crisis continues…  Jan 1933, Hindenburg appointed to Hitler to Chancellor- had expectations that Hitler would be tamed.  Started moving in the direction of the right Hitler’s first assaults on democracy:  When Hitler became chancellor, he limited freedom of the press and assembly  First arrests of the communists  February 27, 1933- The Reichstag fire  The Reichstag fire mysteriously broke-out, Hitler used this to raid the communist party and argued that it was the beginning of a national revolution. Hitler greatly exaggerated- traditionally people believe that the Nazi’s may have done it and planted it on the Nazis.  Historians can’t uncover the truth. From Chancellor to Dictator  28 February 1933- Civil freedoms suspended (Article 48)  The parliament purged of the communists  Hitler supported many civil freedoms the day after the fire  This act would give him powers well beyond article 48  He could change the constitution the way he wanted without consulting the parliament- dictatorial power  Hitler promised that this act would be for 4 years and that he wouldn’t abuse his power, he would just save Germany and reestablish order.  24 March 1933- The Enabling Act (for 4 years)- The power to change constitution or conduct foreign policy without consulting the parliament)  Social Democrats voted “no”- a minority 1933- Dismantling the Weimar republic Feb 6, 2013 3 5: Building the “Fuhrer State”  March0 provincial governments lost (autonomy) their terms  In may, trade unions were abolished (Nazi controlled) and their numbers were added to German Labor front  Eliminating oppositional forces  Hitler believed that trade union put workers against their employers- he said there would be no class conflict- no need for trade unions in new Germany.  In June, The communist party was banned and more arrests were made.  In July, the remaining parties dissolved themselves now that Hitler was a dictator- no need for multi party system and they feared they would be classified as opposition.  After 6 months of coming to power, Germany was a single party state.  The Reichstag- “ceremonial role”- No one would ever vote, but the list was always drawn by the Nazi party and they could only vote yes or no. No one would not vote, and no one would respond with no because no one believes in the confidence of the voting system.  Periodic plebiscites- demonstration of popular legitimacy- he created popular support behind his policies. The emergence of the SS  SS emerged as Hitler’s personal body guards in 1925  In 1929, they were subordinated to Heinrich Himmler, who was the leader. He wanted to make it into the racial elite of the new racial order.  1929- 1000, 1933- 50,000- as the “racial elite racial and physical criteria  SS members needed to provide proof od Aryan ancestry since 1800 for rank, -1750 for officers  They needed to ask for eligibility to get married, and the fiancé must also be racially pure.  Personal qualities: they must be obedien
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