Significance of the Night of the Long Knives for Hitler's Power

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Significance of the Night of the Long Knives for Hitler's Power In the interwar years of 1933 to 1939, Europe saw the rise of Nazi Germany, which was to become the capstone of the inter-war period, and led to the eruption of World War II, shattering the fragile peace overseen by the League of Nations. But how did a party that was in a state of political decline manage this? The Nazi regime's advancement was paralleled by the life of its leader, Adolf Hitler, who perfected his oratorical skills and worked for the advancement of the Nazi party. Such advancement was slow in coming through the years 1925 to 1929, a fairly stable period in Europe. However, as the world became hindered in depression and unemployment rose, so did support for the Nazi Party, which promised employment and a return to the glorious past for the nation. In 1932 the Nazis won 37.3 percent of the popular vote and occupied 230 seats in the German Reichstag. In this period, the Nazis were the single largest party in the Reichstag, but still could not pass laws, and therefore change liberal democracy into the desired totalitarian dictatorship, without the assistance of other parties (they did not have the two thirds majority needed). At this time, there was little stability in the German government, and seeking a solution to this instability, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor on January 30, 1933. As Hitler would not settle for the vice-chancellery, Hindenburg's current chancellor Franz Von Papen agreed to be demoted to that position. He and Von Papen thought that they could control Hitler and therefore also the increasingly menacing threat ... ... middle of paper ... Decree, the Enabling Law, and Gleichschaltung helped to secure Hitler's power. The Fire Decree allowed Hitler to purge the communists and gain support for the election campaign, and was the building block for increasing Nazi rule. The Enabling Law rendered the president and the government obsolete and Hitler as the dictator. Gleichschaltung accustomised Germany to a Government under the Nazis and most importantly under Hitler. Nonetheless, I believe that the most significant step wasn't even implemented by Hitler or the Nazi's, it was employed by President Hindenburg and the Weimar republic when they decided to assign the leader of a declining party the position of chancellor. Their underestimation of Hitler was in my opinion the most significant factor in the enabling and consolidating of Hitler's power in Germany.

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