It is easy to forget that the Nazis didn’t take power, they were democratically elected, although they did not shy away from using violence to secure the votes.
However, despite the bullying tactics by the SA, people still had a choice to vote for the NSDAP or any other party.
The General election of July 31st 1932 resulted in the NSDAP becoming the largest party for the first time in its history in Germany. The total tally was 13,745,680 or 37.27% of the total vote, which was an increase of 19.02% compared to the previous election.
The election campaign did take place under violent circumstances. The SA had been banned by Heinrich Brüning who had been Chancellor from March 1930 to May 30th 1932. President von Hindenburg had dismissed Brüning and replaced him with Franz von Papen of the German Centre Party.
Von Papen lifted the ban on the SA (Paramilitary arm of the NSDAP), although it only had been a token ban to start with. The SA clashed with the communist paramilitary.
Although the Nazis did become the largest party, they did not achieve the overall majority they had hoped for, and could not yet form a government.
In November 1932 new elections were held and although the NSDAP became the biggest party yet again, they still did not have an overall majority.
On 3 December 1932 von Papen was replaced by his Defence Minister Kurt von Schleicher who had been in talks with the left wing of the Nazi Party led by Gregor Strasser and tried to build up a Third Position strategy. However, these plans were unsuccessful after Hitler had taken the power away from Strasser and approached von Papen for coalition talks.
Von Papen got Hindenburg’s approval to form the Hitler Cabinet on 30 January 1933. He reserved the office of the Vice-Chancellor for himself.
On March 5. 1933 yet another election was held this time the Nazi received 43.91% of the votes, but yet again short of an overall majority. To avoid forming yet another coalition Hitler drew up plans for the “enabling act” an amendment to the Weimar Constitution which gave the German Cabinet — in effect, Chancellor Adolf Hitler — the power to enact laws without the involvement of the parliament.
The law was passed on 23 March 1933.
The disturbing thing about this is that this was able to be put into motion without breaking any laws. They followed a democratic process.
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Reblogged this on History of Sorts.