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    style='font-size:31.5pt;font-family:ATClassicRoman;color:black'>HE NAZI DICTATORSHIP

     

    ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DICTATORSHIP

    In his first cabinet meeting, January 31, Hitler along with the naive von Papen

    announced that the next election would be the last and mark the end of the

    parliamentary system. On February 1 Hitler dismissed the Reichstag and called

    for new elections on March 5. Hitler truly expected the Nazis to be so successful

    at the polls that they would receive a majority and be able to legally vote

    to end the parliamentary system. The goal of the national government was a

    national revolution, creating a unity above the divided parties. Using the fear

    of communism, Hitler convinced Hindenburg to issue an emergency decree

    restricting freedom of the press and public meetings. In the electoral campaign

    the Nazis effectively used the state public radio. Communists were considered

    enemies of the state and could be legally attacked. The SA (Sturmabteilung)

    and SS (Schutzstaffel) were made auxiliary police in Prussia, and terror was

    unleashed on the streets. The Socialists were unwilling to use force to protect

    135

    themselves. On February 27 the Reichstag building caught fire, and the incident

    was blamed on a communist red threat. The next day Hindenburg issued

    a decree that provided the legal foundation for the future police state. It was

    called the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State. Communists

    were arrested, and the meetings of other political parties were harassed. Any-

    136 Germany

    Poster featuring

    Adolf Hitler (right)

    and Paul von

    Hindenburg, which

    says The Reich will

    never be destroyed

    when you stay united

    and loyal (Library of

    Congress)

    one could be imprisoned without trial. Even with all of the pressure of terror

    on their side, the Nazis still received only 43.9 percent of the vote. Since the

    German Nationalists (DNVP) won 52 seats, together with the Nazis they had a

    narrow majority of 51.7 percent. Then they took over the state governments.

    Attacks on the Communists and Socialists gained the support of Hitlers nationalist

    allies. On March 21 a magnificent national celebration was staged at Potsdam

    to bolster the image of a bloodless revolution. On March 23 the Enabling

    Act was passed, which gave the government the right to enact laws without the

    consent of the Reichstag. It was the legal sanction for the establishment of

    Hitlers dictatorship. Most of the delegates in the Reichstag voted for it, only 94

    Socialists against. The 74 favorable votes of the Center Party gave Hitler the

    required votes to pass the law. When Nazism was on trial after the war, the

    Center Party was judged to have been unwise in its decision but not guilty.

    Hitler had stayed within the limits of the constitution and the legality of the

    passage of the Enabling Act gave judges and civil servants justification for supporting

    the regime. By a law of July 14 the National Socialist German Workers

    Party was made the sole legal party in Germany, and any attempt to organize

    new political groups was made a crime. As the propaganda minister, Joseph

    Goebbels stated that National Socialism could allow no opposition and required

    that it control all power.

    were   GERMANC   Germany   Party   their   Prussians   army   state   government   became   they   during   Austrian   CHURCHES   French   political   Frederick   Nazis   Social   Hitler   after   against   economic   some   republican