Hitlers Enabling Act

Hitler’s Enabling Act Hitler’s Enabling Act On March 23, 1933, the newly elected members of the Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler’s Enabling Act. It was officially called the ‘Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.’ If this bill would be passed, it would end democracy in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. The Nazis had secretly caused confusion in order to create an atmosphere in which the law seem necessary to restore order. On February 27, 1933, Nazis burned the Reichstag building, and a seat of the German government, causing frenzy and outrage. They successfully blamed the fire on the Communists, and claimed it marked the beginning of a widespread rebellion.

On the day of the vote, Nazi storm troopers gathered around the opera house chanting, Full powers – or else! We want the bill – or fire and murder! They also stood inside in the hallways, and even in the aisles where voting would take place, scowling threateningly at anyone who opposed Hitler. Before the vote, Hitler made a speech to the Reichstag in which he pledged to use restraint. He also promised to end unemployment and promote peace with France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. However in order to accomplish all this, Hitler said, he first needed the Enabling Act. Since this act would alter the German constitution, a two-thirds majority was necessary. Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it.

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The Center Party provided these votes after Hitler made a false promise to them. One man, however, stood out amid this all. Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrats stood moved to speak to Hitler. We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No enabling act can give you power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible.

Hitler grew enraged and responded with this anger: You are no longer needed! – The star of Germany will rise and yours will sink! Your death knell has sounded! Four hundred and forty votes were registered for the Enabling Act, while a mere 84 votes were opposed the social Democrats. The Nazis jumped up in glory and then sang the Nazi anthem, the Hrst Wessel song. The German Democratic party had finally been eliminated, and Hitlers dream for Nazi command became closer to reality. Hitler gained the power he craved and could use it in any manner he pleased without objection from the Reichstag. All other political parties were dissolved of.

Trade unions were liquidated and opposition clergy were arrested. The Nazi party had, as Hitler said, become the state. By August 1934, Hitler became commander-in-chief of the armed forces. This was in addition to being President and Fhrer of the German Reich, to whom every individual in the armed forces pledged unconditional obedience. The Reichstag was no longer a place for debate, but rather a cheering squad in favor of whatever Hitler might say. History Essays.