Hitler's appointment as Chancellor

Portrait of President Paul Von Hindenburg

The story of the events of 1932 and early 1933 that led to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 is a complicated one. Central to the story is the role of President Hindenburg and the fact that throughout the Depression Germany had not had a strong government, with a Chancellor who enjoyed majority support in the Reichstag. By 1932 President Hindenburg had to use Article 48 to pass almost every law.

Major events leading to Hitler becoming Chancellor:


April - Presidential election. Hitler came second to Hindenburg, who won 53 per cent of the vote to Hitler’s 36.8 per cent.

May - Brüning resigned as Chancellor. Hindenburg appointed Franz Von Papen, a conservative, as his replacement.

July - Reichstag elections. The Nazis became the largest single party with 230 seats, but still did not have a majority. Hitler demanded to be made Chancellor but Papen remained.

November - Reichstag elections called by Von Papen to try to win a majority in parliament. Nazis lost 34 seats but remained the largest party with 196 seats.

December - Von Papen resigned. Hindenburg appointed Kurt Von Schleicher, an army general, as Chancellor. Von Schleicher tried to split the Nazis by asking a leading Nazi called Gregor Strasser to be his Vice Chancellor. Hitler forced Strasser to decline.


January - Von Papen and Hindenburg turned to Hitler, appointing him as Chancellor with Von Papen as Vice Chancellor. They believed they could control Hitler and get him to do what they wanted.

Hitler's speech as Chancellor of Germany