Nazi consolidation of power

The following events saw Hitler and the Nazis strengthen their grip on power, ending in Hitler taking complete dictatorial powers and the title of Führer.

February 1933

  • The Nazis take control of the German police system.

5 March 1933 - General election

  • The Nazis win 288 seats in the Reichstag.
  • Although this does not give the Nazis a majority, it does give them enough seats to get the Enabling Act passed.

20 March 1933

  • The first concentration camps are established for political prisoners.

23 March 1933 - The Enabling Act

  • The SA intimidates all the remaining non-Nazi Reichstag members.
  • As a result, the Reichstag votes to give Hitler the powers to make his own laws.

26 April 1933

  • The Nazis reorganise and take control of local government.
  • Hitler sets up the Gestapo, the secret police of Nazi Germany.

2 May 1933

  • Trade unions are abolished and their leaders arrested, which eliminates another group that opposed the Nazis.
  • The German Labour Front is established in their place, which gives the Nazis control over German workers.

20 June 1933 - Concordat

  • Hitler reaches an agreement with the Pope, which stated that the Catholic Church will be protected, but will stay out of political matters.
  • This allows Hitler to ban the Catholic Zentrum (Centre) Party without opposition from the Catholic Church.

14 July 1933

  • All political parties, except the Nazi Party, are banned.
  • This destroys democracy by removing the need for elections, creating a one-party state.

24 April 1934 - People's courts

  • Hitler sets up the courts where judges have to swear an oath of loyalty to the Nazis.
  • This gives the Nazis greater power over the sentencing of political enemies and those deemed to be criminals.

30 June 1934 - 'Night of the Long Knives'

  • The SA cause problems by demanding to take over the army.
  • Hitler cannot afford to lose the support of the army or of businessmen, who are opposed to the socialist reforms that the SA want.
  • The SS assassinate many of the SA’s leadership, including its leader Ernst Röhm. Officially just under 100 members die.
  • This wipes out opposition to Hitler within the Nazi Party. It also gives more power to the SS.

19 August 1934 - The Führer

  • President Hindenburg dies of old age.
  • Hitler unifies the offices of President and Chancellor and became head of the German army.
  • He takes the title of Führer and has complete dictatorial powers. Within hours of Hindenburg’s death, all members of the armed forces had to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler.