Hitlerís Rise to Power- Establishing a Dictatorship 3

Hitlerís Rise to Power- Establishing a Dictatorship 3

The Enabling Act

Enabling Act - History GCSE RevisionNevertheless, with the help of a bit of intimidation of other members of the parliament, their extra seats gave them enough votes to pass the Enabling Act, which allowed the government to pass any laws it wanted without needing to put anything to a vote in the Reichstag. Hitler could now pass any laws that he wanted. And the laws he chose to pass were all ones that helped him to build a dictatorship:

* He put Nazis in charge of local governments across the country and instructed them to imprison opponents.

* He gave Herman Gring control over the country’s police forces, which he used to create the Gestapo, a terrifying secret police service headed by loyal Nazis who were enthusiastic about rounding up Hitler’s enemies.

* He made trade unions illegal in May 1933. With many trade unions belonging to the Communists and socialists, this was another assault on his Marxist enemies. He then brought in his own trade-union organization, the Labour Front, so that the labour movement was controlled by the Nazis.

* He banned all other political parties in July 1933. A fairly obvious and simple move, but an effective one nonetheless.

* He created a new branch of the justice system in April 1934, called the People’s Courts. The problem with the old system was that he didn’t control it, and it hadn’t been reliable enough in imprisoning his enemies. But these new courts were under his control.

Religion and Culture

However, in a couple of areas of life, the Nazis didn’t quite manage to worm their way in as much as they’d wanted to:

Aryan Race - History GCSE Revision* ReligionThis was a sensitive issue, as many Germans were either committed Catholics or protestants. At the same time, there was an overlap between people who supported key parts of Hitler’s programme (such as the hatred of the Treaty of Versailles) and Christian groups. However, Hitler didn’t like any religions, as they made people loyal to ideas other than Nazism. He had to tread carefully. Churches weren’t banned or criticized, but instead the Nazis tried to incorporate Nazi symbols and ideas into religion. They also hoped that their own rallies, which in many ways were like religious services, would become more popular than going to Church. But they only had limited success. Later on, when some religious figures such as Martin Niemller criticized the Nazis, they were arrested and imprisoned.

Of course, the Nazis persecution of Jews was a different, tragic story, as we will discuss later.

Jesse Owens - History GCSE Revision*Culture – the Nazis had a definite vision of what the superior Aryan (ie. German) race’s culture should consist of. The majority of art and literature that was produced in the 1920s was denounced as the work of Jews and Germany’s enemies. Books by Jews were burnt, and people were invited to go and laugh at exhibitions of ‘degenerate’ art by the regime’s enemies. Whilst the Nazis managed to control art and culture in Germany so that it only promoted Nazi ideas, there were some notable failures. For example, the exhibition of the ‘degenerate’ art was more successful than exhibitions of Nazi art (as in people went to enjoy the art rather than laugh at it). And at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, which were supposed to show the world the superiority of the Nazi race, Jesse Owens, an African-American representing the USA, was the star athlete.