SA Purge - June 1934
Uploaded by azurefyre on Jun 25, 2001
The Nazi consolidation of power was a gradual process that took place in many steps and was due to many factors, although a great deal happened in the first few months of Hitler's rule. However, the purge of the SA in June 1934 was a major turning point as it tremendously increased Hitler's power over the state.
By the time Adolf Hitler was elected as Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, the consolidation of power was not having the desired effect. Hitler immediately called another election, and using his newly acquired power, his first step was to ban all newspapers and political meetings, particularly those of the Communists (KPD). He also dissolved the Prussian parliament, which effectively gave Hermann Goring complete control of 60% of Germany's police force. The police support of the Nazi Party was the backing for a violent terror campaign against other political parties, again particularly against the KPD.
This campaign of terror resulted in the Reichstag fire, blamed on the Communists. Some historians believe the fire was started by the Nazis, and was all a ruse to lose more Communist votes and exploit fears of a mass left-wing uprising. Whatever the case, Hitler claimed that the Communists were trying to intentianally thwart the Nazis' election campaign. He asked President Hindenburg for extra powers to deal with any potential hazards, prompting Hindenburg to issue the Decree for the Protection of People and State. This law allowed the government to arrest people at will and also take over provincial governments, and was the first step towards a totalitarian government. It allowed the Nazis to completely smash the Communist election campaign and gain more seats in the Reichstag.
Despite this mass terror campaign, the nazi party still failed to win the majority of seats in the election, gaining under 44% of the votes. However, a majority was eventually gained by the Nazi's winning the support of the Nationalist Party, as well as continuing campaigns of intimidation and scare-mongering. In the March election the Nazi party claimed just over half of the seats in the Reichstag, making them the largrest political party in Germany.
However, the Nazis were not voted for in many Catholic and working-class areas of Germany. This did not stop their drive for power – they simply took control of the state governments and persuaded the Reichstag to pass an Enabling Law, which would give Hitler national power for the next...