How did Adolph Hitler come to power?
Did Hitler come to power legally? That is the question that has been asked or is asked over and over again.
But what does legal mean?
If Hitler came to power on the basis of the laws of the Weimar Republic, it would have been legal. The lawyer could answer "yes" to the question. Yes, Hitler came to power legally. Because the then Reich President Hindenburg handed over the Chancellery to him on the basis of the constitution - according to §53 of the Weimar Constitution. The propaganda of the National Socialists also repeatedly referred to this legal basis of Hitler's rule. And even today there are neo-Nazis who insist on Hitler's legal takeover of power. But was it really like that?
Authorities have always been very important in Germany
In Germany people believed - and sometimes still believe - in the power of authorities, of the law. That is not a bad thing in itself, but what happens when these authorities proclaim wrong things?
If your teacher says something that is wrong, you can question it or correct it. But in Germany in the 1930s it was not easy to criticize your teacher. Even if he was wrong. And a politician had many times more power than a teacher and had more authority. If a decision was made by a higher authority, then the citizen had to kindly accept it, as many, if not most, saw it.
So Hitler came to power on the basis of the constitution, but with him a politician who had nothing else in mind than to immediately repeal and break this very constitution that brought him to government.
Shortly after taking office - and even before - he began to intimidate his political opponents with the methods of terror. He scared a lot of people. Fear and terror were also the basis of his rule once he came to power. And how is it now, did Hitler come to power legally or illegally? Make your own judgment!
As you can see, there are questions that cannot be easily answered with yes or no.
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