The Propagander ™ FAQ

How Did Hitler Consolidate his Power?

Once Hitler gained power he needed to reconcile, assimilate, or destroy many elements in order to consolidate his authority. He did this in many different ways, depending upon the element targeted.

1. The German Army, one of the main pillars of the State, were very distrustful of Hitler. Their main concern with him was his paramilitary organizations, the SA and, to a smaller degree, the SS--which would grow later as the SS grew stronger. Ernst Roehm was the leader of the SA, and had ambitions to replace the traditional German Army with his National Socialist SA in a 'second revolution,' a prospect that gravely concerned the Army.

Bowing to pressure from the Army, Hitler killed Roehm--one of his closest friends and collaborators--in what has become known as the 'Roehm Putsch', or 'Blood Purge.' At the same time, he greatly increased the German Army and instituted massive rearmament. Both of these moves went a long way to gaining support from the military. Those few high-ranking officers who continued to be in opposition to him were subsequently removed from their positions through various means.

2. The second most powerful group that Hitler needed to bring over to his side was the Catholic Church. Germany was a mostly Protestant country--the home of Martin Luther, after all--but about one-third of all Germans were Catholic. Also, the Catholic Center Party, after Hitler outlawed the German Communist Party, was the strongest opposition party against the Nazis. One factor in his favor was that the higher-ups in the German Catholic community approved of his anti-Semitic program, as well as his campaign against 'Godless Communism.' What Hitler did to further gain Catholic support was to send his Deputy,
Franz von Papen--a respected Catholic big-shot--to the Vatican to cut a deal with the Pope. Basically, the deal was this: Hitler would promise not to persecute the Church if the Church would disband the Catholic Center Party. The Pope went for the deal--called The Concordant--and Hitler's power was thus further consolidated.

3. The Labor Unions were dealt with in an entirely different manner. Hitler became Chancellor at the end of January, 1933. He soon declared May 1st, the traditional holiday of the Labor Movement--known as May Day--a National Socialist holiday, and organized massive celebrations throughout the Reich. On May 1st, Labor was 'honored' massive rallies featuring speeches by Hitler and his cronies, claiming that they were the true protectors of the German working man.

The very next day, the Gestapo raided the offices of all of the independent German Labor Unions, and demanded that they all merge with the Nazi labor organization, The Labor Front. The leaders of those Unions who resisted were thrown into the newly established Concentration Camps and their organizations were outlawed by the Nazi controlled Reichstag.

4. The press was co-opted by basically the same methods. Creating a new Cabinet post, the Minister for Propaganda, he put Joseph Goebbels in charge. Goebbels proceeded to 'consolidate' all newspapers, magazines, movie studios and radio stations under his control, harassing and arresting anyone who refused to go along.

5. The professions, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc., were co opted with a combination of carrot and stick. As was done with the labor unions, all professional guilds and organizations were required to disband and join mirror Nazi front groups. To make this forced assimilation palatable, the Nazis disallowed Jews from any further participation in these professions. By removing all those pesky, over-achieving Jews from leadership positions, they freed up the top spots in these professions for 'Aryans' to assume. It thus became in their best interests to support the Nazi program.

These same methods, consolidation into Nazi controlled organizations and incarceration for anyone resisting, were utilized against all other groups until all of Germany was either assimilated or made powerless. By the time Hitler began his string of military conquests in 1938, there was no one left to oppose him as he had become a dictator with almost unlimited power.
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