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Backing HitlerConsent and Coercion in Nazi Germany$
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Robert Gellately

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205609

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205609.001.0001

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Turning Away from Weimar

Turning Away from Weimar

(p.9) 1 Turning Away from Weimar
Backing Hitler

Robert Gellately

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the establishment of Hitler's dictatorship. The years leading up to 1933 were difficult ones for Germany. The Weimar Republic's parliament was divided into more than a dozen political parties, and from the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, German Chancellors had to rely increasingly on the President's emergency powers to pass legislation. At the end of 1932, when the crisis facing the country deepened and government ground to a standstill, a group of influential conservatives advised President Paul von Hindenburg that Adolf Hitler's leadership would be a way to deal with mounting social, economic, and political crisis. Hitler was appointed on 30 January 1933. Those men around the President and the social elites with whom they had contact, favoured Hitler as an interim leader, or at least saw him as a necessary evil. They no doubt believed that, lacking political experience, he would not be able to assert himself too much, and that they would retain ultimate control. They badly misjudged the situation. In less than six months the Nazis undermined the parliamentary system and had begun the destruction of justice by suspending civil and legal rights, which in turn opened the way for the creation of the Gestapo (Secret State Police) and the establishment of the first concentration camps.

Keywords:   Hitler, Weimar Republic, Gestapo, concentration camps, Nazis, Paul von Hindenburg, Great Depression

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