Why was Hitler able to dominate Germany by 1934? By Maddy and Georgie (but mostly Maddy)

What did the Nazi Party stand for in the 1920s?

25 point program created in February 1920

  • Union of all German speaking peoples
  • Abolish the Treaty of Versailles
  • Only true Germans can be citizens
  • Special rules for foreigners and no further immigration
  • Large businesses to be nationalised, support for small businesses
  • All payments to unemployed people should end.
  • Generous provision for old age
  • Improve education and public health
  • A strong central government in Germany

The Munich Putsch 1923

Hitler believed this was the opportune moment for an uprising because of hyperinflation and Stresemann's decision to call off passive resistance in the Ruhr. The Weimar Republic was crumbling and Hitler hoped people would support a party like his taking over. He believed he had the support of Kahr and Lossow, two nationalist politicians, and Ludendorff, an old war hero.

The plan

  1. Hitler would go to the Beer Hall where Gustav Kahr (Bavarian minister) was giving a speech.
  2. The SA would control the crowd while Hitler took Kahr and the other ministers. Hitler would force Kahr to support him at gunpoint.
  3. They would then go to the town hall and declare a new Government for Bavaria, separate from Weimar Germany.
  4. Ludendorff would get the army in Bavaria to support them.
  5. The Bavarian army would march to Berlin and take over Germany.


  • Hitler didn't have enough support, only 3000 members
  • The SA were no match for the German army
  • 16 Nazis were killed in the fighting
  • The Nazi party was banned until 1925


  • The judge was very sympathetic and Hitler was given a 5 year sentence, but in reality only served 8 months.
  • Landsberg castle prison was very comfortable. He could have visitors and organise the party from his cell.
  • Hitler wrote Mein Kampf during his time in prison
  • He gained huge publicity from the trial

1924-1929: The Nazis change tactics

Instead of working to achieve power by armed coup, we shall have to hold our noses and enter the Reichstag against the opposition deputies. If outvoting them takes longer than outshooting them, at least the results will be guaranteed by their own constitution. Sooner or later we shall have a majority, and after that–Germany. Adolf Hitler, 1925

Hitler realised that violent methods wouldn't get him into power, would have to rise up through constitution. This was because Stresemann’s economic policies were starting to make Germany more stable – people didn’t want violent extremists. So, Hitler decided to reorganise the party.

  • Local party members called Gauleiters would run/promote party in different areas across Germany
  • Propaganda by Joseph Goebbels portrayed Hitler as a strong leader, sending message of rebuilding Germany
  • Set up Hitler Youth and Nazi Students league
  • Created public speaking courses for Nazi members
  • Secured funding from big businesses
  • Enlarged SA and created SS (fanatically loyal to Hitler)

By 1928, party membership was 100,000 and the Nazis were an efficient and professional party, and one of the best funded. However they only won 12 seats in the 1928 elections, partly because they failed to win over working class, who supported left wing parties. Also, Stresemann’s economic policies had helped solve many of Germany’s problems. Things were more stable, so people didn’t want to vote for extreme parties any more. People were put off by extreme views e.g. Hatred of Jews.

The Depression and the rise of the Nazis

How did Hitler become Chancellor

Political deals

In the election of late 1932 the Nazis won 37% of the vote, and became the largest single party in the Reichstag. Hitler demanded the right to become Chancellor, but President Hindenburg appointed Franz von Papen instead. Hindenburg appointed von Schleicher in December, however he realised he needed Hitler's support to be popular with the Reichstag. Hindenburg refused so Von Schleicher resigns.

On the 30th January 1933 Hitler was made chancellor. Hindenburg and Von Papen, who became vice chancellor, believed they could control him as a puppet, and that he would make the government more popular.

How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-1934

Hitler faced three main problems in 1933:

  • Rival parties. The KPD (communist party) was the second biggest party and still had the support of many workers
  • The SA had swollen to 2 million men by 1934 and Rohm wanted to turn the SA into the official German Army. Hitler needed to satisfy higher rankings and Rohm's propensity to violence made Hitler appear less trustworthy.
  • Hindenburg was very suspicious of Hitler. Also he had support of the army and could overthrow him.
The Reichstag Fire, February 27th 1933

Less than a month after he became Chancellor, the Reichstag was burned down in an arson attack. Inside the police found a young Dutchman called Marinus Van Der Lubbe, who had once been a communist. Van Der Lubbe confessed and was executed, but Hitler immediately claimed that he had been part of a huge Communist conspiracy to destroy the German Government. Hitler asked Hindenburg to use Article 48 and the police were given emergency powers to search houses, confiscate property and imprison without trial. Hitler also brought in censorship, so he could decide what the papers could and could not print. The Communist party was vilified and made illegal, so the public saw Hitler as a protector and saviour.

The enabling Act, 24th March 1933

In the aftermath of the fire, Hitler had been allowed to use Article 48 for the first time. But to become a Dictator, he needed to be able to use it without Hindenburg’s permission. Hitler used the street violence as an excuse for the Enabling Act. This needed 75% of the Reichstag to vote for it. 30% were already Nazi’s. The SA intimidated, threatened and bribed a huge number of politicians. The act gave Hitler most of Hindenburg's power as he could make laws without the Reichstag

2nd May 1933-Hitler bans all trade unions

14th July 1933-Germany becomes one party state

Concordat with the Pope, 20th July 1933

Hitler makes an agreement with the Pope who sees him as someone who can destroy communism. This agreement allows Hitler to take over political power in Germany as long as he leaves the Catholic Church alone.

NIght of the long knives, June 1934

On the night of June 29th 1934, units of the SS murdered 400 of the SA members, including its leader Röhm, along with a number of Hitler's other opponents, including the previous Chancellor Von Schleicher. Crucially, Hitler received an oath of allegiance from all those who served in the army.

I swear by almighty God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to the Fuehrer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, and, as a brave soldier, I will be ready at any time to stake my life for this oath.

This oath went into effect on 2 August 1934, the day that Hindenburg died. Hitler immediately consolidated the offices of president and chancellor, declaring himself Führer.

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