Hitler's Rise to Power: 1929-1934

  • "Black Thursday": Wall Street Crash

    Germany had been financially dependent on the United States since the 1924 Dawes Plan. The latter promised to loan around 3000 million pounds so that Germany could both rebuild their industry and pay the reparations required by the Treaty of Versailles. However, after the Wall Street Crash, the Dawes Plan and 1929 Young Plan (to reduce reparations) collapsed and America asked for the loans in return. Germany was not yet economically stable, so went into a Great Depression Hitler benefitted from.
  • Period: to

    Hitler's Rise to Power

  • Farm Worker's Wages were Half the National Average

    This was because agriculture did not share the same economic boom as industry did in the mid to late 1920s. It was significant because the Nazi Party's main source of support came from Protestant rural farm workers, since Hitler promised subsidies that they needed to fight off debt, competition and low prices. The romantic idea of a Folk community also appealed to these farmers. 55% of the SA and 40% of party members came from the working class, particularly from rural labourers.
  • Street Violence (see description)

    (happens throughout years after wall street crash).
    Depression led to large-scale street violence, particularly clashes between the Nazi SA and the Communist Red Front. The Nazis were generally more organized and appealing to people whos lives were now chaotic,
  • Bruning Appointed Chancellor

    Hindenburg (who had been president since 1925) replaces Muller with Chancellor Bruning. He responds to the economic crisis and Great Depression by cutting credit, salaries and public expenditure, and by raising taxes. These solutions were meant to be long-term, but Hitler's short-term solutions were more appealing to the desperate. Bruning was very unpopular and ruled until 1932 only because Hindenburg used Article 48 to pass all of his policies without the Reichstag's consent,
  • Election: Nazis become second largest party

    Nazis gain 107 seats in the Reichstag and Communists only gain 89 seats. The Nazi Party is only second to the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
  • Unemployment goes from 2 million in 1929 to 6 million in 1932

    Note: not necessarily on 25th of December. Significant because one of Hitler's promises is to create public work schemes (such as the construction of Autobahns) and other job creation schemes if he ever rose to power. Hitler also offers entry into the SA, which provided unemployed men with food, housing and a sense of organisation. Even so, it should be noted that 60% of unemployed still voted for the Communists.
  • Value of German Exports falls to 280 million pounds

    Note: not necessarily in February. Value of German exports falls from 630 million pounds in1929 to 280 million pounds in 1932. This happens because the Wall Street Crash was a deflationary crises (opposite to a hyperinflation), where prices went down instead of up, destroying profit margins and causing businesses to collapse. Small business owners turned to the Nazi party for support, because a strong right-wing dictatorship would benefit business owners.
  • Presidential Election

    Hitler comes in second with 13 million votes, losing to Hindenburg with 19 million votes, but gaining 4 times as much as Communist candidate Thalmann.
  • Von Papen replaces Bruning as Chancellor

    Hindenburg grows tired of having to use Article 48 to pass all of Bruning's policies and of supporting such an unpopular government. He makes Bruning resign on the 30th of May 1932 and replaces him with Von Papen, a more conservative Chancellor (but even more unpopular),
  • Federal Election: Nazis become largest party

    Nazi Party becomes largest party in the Reichstag, gaining 230 seats (37%). Communists came 3rd with 89 seats. This was significant because no party could form a coalition to become a majority without including the Nazi party, and Hindenburg needed a majority in the Reichstag so that laws could be passed fasted. Hitler used this to say that he would only form a coalition if he was appointed Chancellor.
  • Second Federal Election

    Hindenburg did not trust Hitler and did not want to appoint him as Chancellor. However, he still needed a strong majority coalition in the Reichstag, so he decides to call a second federal election. The Nazis drop to 196 seats, but still remain the largest party with 33% of the Reichstag seats.
  • Von Paper replaced with Schleicher

    Even after the Nazi party remains the largest after the Second Federal elections, Hindenburg still does not want to appoint Hitler as Chancellor. However, Von Papen is not able to pass laws through the Reichstag because of his lack of support, so Hindenburg replaces him with Schleicher. The new Chancellor tries to form a strong coalition government by discussing strategies with left-wing Nazi Strasser. However, Hitler disempowers Strasser and Schleicher also fails to create a majority coalition.
  • Hindenburg Appoints Hitler as Chancellor

    By January, Hindenburg is left with no option but to appoint Hitler as Chancellor so that the Reichstag can have a strong majority coalition. He also appoints Von Papen as Vice-Chancellor, and both of them believe that they can control Hitler and use him as a "mouthpiece", especially with Nazi support decreasing.
  • Reichstag Fire

    The Reichstag (parliament) building is burned down. Communist Van der Lubbe was found guilty, so the Communists were blamed. Hitler convinced Hindenburg to declare a state of emergency using Article 48. He was then able to freely arrest thousands of his communist, socialist and trade unionist opponents, which helped him consolidate his power in Germany. Since he had only gained 33% of vote in the second 1932 election, 67% of Germany still did not fully favour the Nazis before the Reichstag Fire.
  • Federal Election

    To gain more power and control, Hitler decided to hold another election and see if the Nazis could gain more seats in the Reichstag. Since he now had control of German mass media, and most of the Comminists and other opponents were imprisoned (therefore unable to vote), the election was 'successful' and the Nazis gained 44% of seats.
  • The Enabling Act

    Hitler was able to pass the Enabling Act, allowing his government and Cabinet to pass laws without consulting the Reichstag (ultimately giving him the powers of a dictator). This was possible firstly because he had banned the Communist party the day after the March 1933 federal election (so they did not vote), secondly because the SA men stood in the door of the voting session imposing fear, and lastly because he gained the support of the centre Christian through a speech on "Nazi Christianity".
  • Further Consolidation (see description)

    Hitler replaces all 18 state governors with Nazis and sets up Gestapo (secret police). He begins to replace anti-nazi teachers and begins sending Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, etc to concentration/labour camps for small "crimes" such as owning a banned book.
  • Trade Unions Banned

    The Trade Unions offices were closed, their money confiscated, and their leaders put in prison. In their place, Hitler put the German Labour Front which reduced workers' pay and took away the right to strike.
  • Law: Nazi Party becomes the only legal party

  • Night of the Long Knives

    This is essentially a purging of Hitler's political opponents within his own party. He ordered the SS to arrest and kill the key leaders of the SA, such as Rohm, so that the SA would be fully loyal to Hitler. He also did this to merge the SA with the Army so that he could have the latter's support and start rearming and expanding Germany's borders. He also wanted to stop a revolution that the SA wanted. Hitler took the chance to kill other opponents such as Schleicher. More than 400 were killed.
  • Hindenburg Dies & Hitler Becomes Fuhrer

    After President Hindenburg dies, Hitler combines the positions of Chancellor and President to make himself "Fuhrer", having the complete power of a dictator. The army (+ remainder of SA) swears an oath of personal loyalty to Hitler.