HOW DID THE NAZI PARTY MAINTAIN
POWER IN 1933-1939?
Before 1933, Germany had been ruled as a democracy where there were different political parties voted for by the people, civil rights – trial by jury and freedom of speech. In the years that followed Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in 1933, democracy was abolished and replaced with a dictatorship with Hitler as the dictator (Führer). In order for him to maintain this position of power, he created consolidation of power, coordination, terror, the SS and Gestapo and the Hitler myth/propaganda. Nonetheless, the most significant factor in maintaining power was consolidation as Hitler had the power of a dictator for four years allowing him to make laws and change the constitution as he wished.
Consolidation began in 1933 when the Reichstag in Berlin was destroyed by a fire and the Nazis took advantage of the situation for their own benefit. A young communist Marinus van der Lubbe was found among the ruins and took the blame. The Nazis wanted to eliminate their main rivals, the communists (KPD), and this event helped them to justify a clampdown on the left, including the arrests of communist politicians. Shortly after, the decree For the Protection of People and State was issued, ending civil liberties that were guaranteed in the Weimar Constitution. This helped the Nazis in the election of 1933 because although they failed to gain a majority with 43.9%, they managed to gain the support of the DNVP party who had won 52 seats. The Nazis added this to their 288 seats and achieved a majority. Hitler had a political advantage as all communist deputies were now barred from the Reichstag. This helped Hitler to maintain power as he had destroyed any opposition and the decree For the Protection of People and State allowed imprisonment without trial and the death penalty which Hitler undoubtedly used on his rivals. The Malicious Practices law was introduce on March 21 which banned...