Adolf Hitler

When and how did Adolf Hitler become Chancellor of Germany?

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March 03, 2014 4:52PM

Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg on 30 January 1933.

Following the First World War, Germany suffered from a huge economic depression during the 20s. Hitler was an outspoken politician, with links to many extreme nationalist parties. While right-wing himself, he knew how to capture the imagination of a wide cross-section of the voters, and did this primarily by playing on their nationalistic beliefs. Hitler was a young figure in German politics, unconventional, different, dynamic, and he promised a prouder future for Germans than the old generals could.

In the two German general elections in 1932, Hitler's Nazi Party (National Socialists) won 37% and 34% of the vote, which made his party the largest in the parliament (Reichstag). He didn't have a majority, but he had enough seats that people had to take him seriously.

However, the Communists polled about 17% of the vote. This meant that the only way to pass legislation was either:

  • To form a coalition with the Communists (unthinkable in Germany at that time)
  • OR to form a coalition with the Nazis
  • OR to rule by decree

In other words the system of government was deadlocked.

Hindenburg and other military men in the German Nationalist Part (DNVP) tried to bring Hitler under control by making him Chancellor and forming a coalition with the Nazis (NSDAP).

However, Hitler wanted to rule by decree ... His ambitions went far beyond a government post. What followed was called the 'National Socialist Revolution'. Hitler's SS thugs (paramilitary thugs in uniform, often armed with clubs etc) raided the homes of political opponents, exterminating those who were a threat. Before long they set up concentration camps.