Berlin – the seizure of power by the Nazis

Hitler immediately went to the Reich Chancellery, to appear publicly for the first time as Chancellor. The streets of Berlin were full of Nazi supporters with torches. and the SA massively marched through the Regierungsviertel to celebrate the victory For Berlin anti-Nazis, a nightmare turned into reality.

The Nazi takeover of the state and the suppression of political opposition was largely the work of Hermann Goring. As the Prussian Minister of the Interior he ordered the police to "freely use weapons in all necessary cases” and expanded a secret political department, which will soon surge! become the infamous Gestapo (Geheimesstaal-spolizei - "state secret police."”). “It is not for me to do justice; it is my thing to annihilate and eliminate”, Goring boasted. The Reichstag fire became the pretext for a massive attack on Nazi opponents (28 February 1933). It is still a moot point, whether the Nazis themselves set the fire, or the mentally retarded Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe they accused. There is no doubt, however, that the Nazis used the Reichstag fire for their own purposes.

The next day, Hindenburg signed a decree introducing a state of emergency to "protect the nation and the state”. The decree practically abolished the right to personal inviolability and provided a legal basis for maintaining the state of emergency indefinitely. The Nazi propaganda machine played on the feelings of the Red Danger. Communist offices were plundered, and the head of the Communist International, Georgi Dimitrov, accused of organizing a fire in the Reichstag. It was in such an atmosphere that the elections from 5 brand. The number of votes for communists dropped to 1.000.000, but the Nazis did not manage to win the absolute majority, at 43. 9% votes. Even so, Hitler had everything, what he needed, to take all power into your own hands.

The Reichstag assembled again at the Garrison Church in Potsdam, and later moved to the building of the Berlin Opera. The delegates were presented with the Law on Special Powers, by which an overwhelmingly Nazi cabinet would gain dictatorial power. Thanks to the arrests of communist deputies, some MPs from the SPD and the support of the traditional right, Hitler was one left over reaching a two-thirds majority, which was necessary for the legal dissolution of the Weimar Republic.

The SPD managed to save face by refusing to join the plot, but Catholic centrists did not repeat Bismarck's intransigence and meekly accepted the Act in exchange for minor concessions. The law passed by the majority 441 do 84 votes, hammering the last nail in the coffin of German parliamentary democracy.

2 In May, the Nazis suppressed the trade unions, by arresting the leaders and sending them to concentration camps. There was a series of quick moves, as a result of which the activity of opposition parties was practically banned, and the persecution was extended to such social groups, like "active members of the church, Freemasons, politically dissatisfied people, abortionists and homosexuals”. The exodus from Berlin of known anti-Nazis and other legitimate persons began, to fear the Nazis. Bertolt Brecht left the city, Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya i Wassily Kandinsky, joining Albert Einstein in exile, Georg Grosz and others. The atmosphere in the city was changing irreversibly. Social Democrats, communists and trade unionists were arrested and sent to concentration camps, the first of which was opened in February. The unemployed were formed into labor brigades and sent to farm, or in the construction of the Autobahnen.

1 April SA supervised the ordered boycott of Jewish stores, establishments, medical and legal practice in Berlin. Meanwhile, the Nazis filled important local government positions in Berlin and throughout Germany with their own men. This was the first phase of the Gleichschaltung ("Urawnilowki”), as a result of which first the state machine, and then the whole of society was to be Hitlerized.

11 In May, the Nazis shook the world by burning thousands of books at the Opernplatz in Berlin, which contradicted their ideology. Burning books after the concentration camps (Book burning) remains one of the most expressive symbols of Nazi barbarism.