Filling three high-level voids caused Adolph Hitler to rise to power as the totalitarian
dictator of Germany. With his country in the ferment left from World War One, groups
at all levels of politics were looking for a savior. Hitler stumbled upon an awareness of
his own charisma, saw the opportunities to usurp power, and pursued his assent. The
key factors allowing his success were his rise through the German Workers’ Party,
becoming Chancellor of Germany, and orchestrating the combination of the offices of
president and chancellor.
The first factor was Hitler’s ordered membership in the German Workers’ party. In
September, 1919, officers of the Munich Command suspected disloyalty among political
groups when it came to the military, and they needed a spy. They chose Hitler because
of his towering hatred for Jews and ?Traitors.? His mission was to join the German
Workers’ Party and help it grow. Shortly after joining the Party he learned that their
goal was to discuss ways of creating a better Germany. Many of the members blamed
the Jews and Marxists for the problems of Germany, but they had no plan or program to
set things right. Working with this organization caused Hitler to discover something
about himself. He never expected that he had a gifted ability to control and influence
people for his gain through speech. The more he spoke, the more enthusiastic they
became, and the more control he had over them. Hitler’s emotions ignited the crowd.
People lost control of themselves, trembling, sobbing, weeping, and howling. Men as
well as women fainted and fell over in the aisles. They were bewitched. Hitler quit the
military and decided to wield the German Workers’ Party as his weapon to become the
dictator of Germany.
The next stepping stone arose when President Paul von Hindenburg decided that
the Nazis could no longer be kept out of the government and asked ex-Corporal Hitler to
become Chancellor of Germany. He accepted and thus began the second phase to total
power. Although Hitler was Chancellor he still couldn’t mount his revolution from
within. He needed additional Nazi seats in the Reichstag, similar to our Congress, to
gain total power. In order to gain these seats he also needed an election along with a
reason for the voters to support the idea of a dictatorship. He manufactured a crisis to
accommodate his cause. One evening just before the elections, the metal dome of the
Reichstag burst into flames. The fire was so tremendous all the firemen could do was
watch it burn to ashes and scorched brick. Hitler pinned the blame to Communist
leaders and gained over 17 million votes that secured 288 Reichstag seats. Hitler’s plan
was a success and he was ready to advance to being the totalitarian leader of Germany.
The third and final phase of Hitler’s conquest was set to begin. The Reichstag,
consisting of only Nazi supporters Hitler’s SS men allowed in, met on March 23 to vote
on the Enabling Act which gave Hitler total power over their rights to suspend the
constitution, change any law, and make any law. With the communist leaders banned
from the Reichstag, the Enabling Act passed 441 to 91. Hitler moved quickly to strike
anyone else who was a threat to him by killing them or putting them into concentration
camps. On August 2, 1934, President Hindenburg died, and the military, pleased with
Hitler’s accomplishments, allowed Hitler to combine the offices of Chancellor and
President, which included being commander in chief of the armed forces. Since all
other political parties had been officially abolished, the Nazi flag became Germany’s
official flag, and every serviceman, from General to Private, had to swear an oath of
obedience?not to Germany, but to Hitler himself. With this oath, The Fuhrer’s Third
Reich was firmly established.
With these three key strategies, Hitler became the totalitarian dictator of Germany
and the horror of the Holocaust began in earnest. No one dare question his treachery.
The prophecy of General Kurt von Schleicher was soon to be fulfilled. As he predicted,
?This corporal will destroy Germany and it will have a horrible end.?