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The Destruction of Democracy

Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria.

He spent his youth in poverty.

He acted as a messenger in the war front during the First World War.

As a corporal he had won a number of medals for bravery.

The German defeat and the treaty of Versailles affected him deeply.

In 1919 Hitler joined the German Workers Party.

He took over the organisation of the party in due course and renamed it as National Socialist German Workers’ Party which later came to be known as the Nazi Party.

With a plan to capture Bavaria, Hitler marched towards Berlin in 1923. But this attempt failed. Though he was tried for treason, he was released later. Till the Great Depression (1930) Nazism could not become a mass movement. In a situation, where the banks collapsed, businesses had to  shut down, workers lost their job and the middle class was  threatened with destitution, the Nazi propaganda gave hopes of better future to the people. In 1928 the Nazis were able to get only 2.6% votes in the Reichstag (German Parliament) but by 1932, they became the largest party with 37% votes.


Hitler and the New Style of Politics

Hitler was able to attract the people with his powerful speeches. He made a number of promises like;

a) to build a strong nation

b) to undo the injustice of the Versailles treaty

c) to restore the dignity of the people of Germany

d) to give employment for those who looking for one

e) to give a secure future for the youth

f) to weed out all foreign influences and conspiracies

The people shattered by the treaty of Versailles and the political and economic crisis, were very easily drawn towards the Nazism through Nazi propaganda. It projected Hitler as a savior. The Nazi Party in order to mobilize the mass, conducted mass rallies and public meetings to instill a sense of unity among the people. Rituals and spectacles like red banners with Swastika, Nazi salute and the round of applause after the speeches were introduced to mobilize the mass. All these propaganda effectively projected Hitler as a leader who had come to rescue the people from their distress.
Adolf Hitler

The Destruction of Democracy 1933

January 30th Hitler was offered the Chancellorship by the then President Hindenburg. After occupying the highest position in the Cabinet, Hitler began to work against the democratic structure of the Weimar Republic.


February: A mysterious fire broke out in the Parliament building.

February 28th The Fire Decree was passed. This suspended the civic rights like the freedom of speech, press and assembly which were guaranteed by the Weimar constitution.

The communists, the arch enemies of Nazism were sent to the Concentration Camps.

For your Information : -
Out of the surviving 6,808 arrest files of the small city of Duesseldorf, 1,440 were Communists. They were one among the 52 types of victims persecuted by the Nazis.

On 3rd March the Enabling Act was passed. This gave Hitler all powers to Sideline Parliament and the rule by decree.

The Act gave Hitler the right to ban all political parties and trade unions except the Nazi Party and its supporters and it gave them to take complete control over the economy, media, army and judiciary.

The Nazis began to control the society the way they wanted. For this special surveillance and security forces were created. Along with the already existing police in green uniform and the SA or Storm Troopers, Gestapo (secret state police), the SS

(The protection squads), criminal police and the security services (SD) were also included. These newly organised forces were given so much power that people could be detained in Gestapo torture chambers, could be rounded up and sent to concentration camps, could be deported or be arrested without any legal procedure. Thus the police force could function with such unwieldy authority that the Nazi state was known as the most dreaded criminal state.

The Gestapo


The Gestapo was initiated on April 26, 1933, in Prussia. It started from the existing organization of the Prussian Secret Police. The Gestapo was initially a branch of the Prussian Police called “Department 1A of the Prussian State Police”.


Heinrich Himmler (left) chief of the SS, with Adolf Hitler (right)


Its first commander was Rudolf Diels. He recruited members from professional police departments and ran the Gestapo as a federal police agency. It was similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States. The Gestapo’s role as a political police force was only established after Hermann Göring was appointed to succeed Diels as Gestapo commander in 1934. The Nazi government extended the Gestapo power beyond Prussia to encompass all of Germany under the instruction of Goring. In April 1934, Göring and Himmler put aside their differences and Göring transferred full authority over the Gestapo to the SS. During this time the Gestapo was incorporated into the Sicherheitspolizei and considered a sister organization of the Sicherheitsdienst.

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