30 January 1933: Adolf Hitler takes power

Adolf Hitler came to power on this day in 1933 following a political gamble that went disastrously wrong.

The Great Depression hit Germany hard, with one in three German workers unemployed by early 1933. Political support drained away from the main parties, benefiting Adolf Hitler's National Socialist German Workers Party (better known as the Nazi Party). In the July 1932 national election they came first, with 37% of the vote. They were unable to form a government and Hitler was defeated in the presidential election, but they had become a major political force.

Other parties were also unable to form a majority government and Germany was in political limbo. So in January 1933 former chancellor Franz von Papen persuaded president Paul von Hindenburg to form a national government with Hitler as chancellor. The idea was that von Papen would retain real power, while using Nazi support to get legislation through parliament. This proved a miscalculation that had tragic consequences for Germany and the rest of the world.

Hitler immediately insisted on calling fresh elections. In the weeks leading up to the vote on March 1933, the new government tried every means at its disposal to intimidate the other parties. It also used the burning down of the Reichstag to pass laws curtailing freedom of speech and assembly. Despite this, and the fact that many election observers were Nazis, it had to rely on the support of another far-right party to gain a majority.

But immediately after the election, Hitler set about dismantling the remaining elements of democracy. He used a mixture of diplomacy and coercion to force parliament to pass the Enabling Act, which allowed him to bypass parliament. This effectively ended the Weimar Republic.

Recommended

UK inflation slides to 8.7% - what does it mean for your money?
Economy

UK inflation slides to 8.7% - what does it mean for your money?

Inflation has dropped below 10% for the first time in months, but with food prices at a 45-year high, is this good news and what does it mean for your…
24 May 2023
Why the UK equity market is shrinking
Economy

Why the UK equity market is shrinking

The crisis has been building for 25 years, says Max King, and it will take decades to reverse the trend.
18 May 2023
How inflation is hitting you in the pocket
Economy

How inflation is hitting you in the pocket

Our money has been debased for decades. The blame lies with the advent of fiat money, says Dominic Frisby.
11 May 2023
NIESR: ‘Squeezed’ middle class households now £2,560 a year worse off
Economy

NIESR: ‘Squeezed’ middle class households now £2,560 a year worse off

Britain will feel like it’s in recession even if it isn't after a significant drop in middle-class income - and the poorest households are even worse …
11 May 2023

Most Popular

June’s NS&I Premium Bond prize draw - are you this month’s millionaire?
Savings

June’s NS&I Premium Bond prize draw - are you this month’s millionaire?

Two fortunate NS&I Premium Bond winners are now millionaires. Find out here if you’re one of them.
1 Jun 2023
The best one-year fixed savings accounts - June 2023
Savings

The best one-year fixed savings accounts - June 2023

You can now earn 5% on 1 year fixed savings accounts - the best rate seen in 14 years. We have all the latest rates available now.
2 Jun 2023
The top healthcare funds to buy
Investments

The top healthcare funds to buy

Increasingly rapid progress in drugs and healthcare technology makes these trusts top tips, says Max King.
1 Jun 2023