The following were all equally important in Hitlerís consolidation of power:
The Reichstag Fire
The Enabling Act
The Night of the Long Knives
Do you agree with this statement (referring only to i, ii & iii)?
The Reichstag Fire, the Enabling Act and the night of the Long Knives were crucial events
in the first 17 months of Nazi rule in Germany. However they were not equally important:
ii & iii were of a greater magnitude than the Reichstag Fire.
Reichstag Fireís relation to the Enabling Act
The Fire enabled Hitler to use Article 48 to start the liquidation of the KPD and steal an
advantage over the other parties in the March 1933 election. With a strong (44%)
showing Hitler was in a good position to force through the Enabling Act. The Fire
heightened fears and tensions in Germany so politicians and the public were prepared to
accept the sweeping powers Hitler demanded (and got) with the Enabling Act.
Nevertheless the Fire was not crucial; Hitler would have achieved his legal dictatorship
Importance of the Enabling Act & the actions stemming from it (though incomplete in
With the passing of ii the other political parties soon became redundant. Excepting the
SPD they took the hint and abolished themselves; using his new powers the SPD was
forcibly abolished. There was no need for political parties if Hitler (and his cabinet) could
make law for a period of 4 years (in fact for the whole period to 1945). The Act did give
Hitler dictatorial powers and within months a raft of further consolidating powers had
taken place: the abolition of trades unions; of the state governments and of the freedom
of the press all gave the Nazis very extensive powers. The Enabling Act and its
consequences all eclipse the significant but modest consolidation arising out of the
Reichstag Fire. This consolidation would have been incomplete and vulnerable without the
impact of the Night of the Long Knives.
Hitlerís continued vulnerability made the solution of N of LK essential & urgent
Hitler was still relatively weak if Rohm or the elites had taken vigorous action or
Hindenberg had criticised the Fuhrer. The removal of Rohm and others not only satisfied
the President, the Army and the public but it also sent a stark warning to all: no one was
safe whether inside or outside the Nazi party. All had to conform to the wishes of Hitler
and the SS.
Complementary nature of the Enabling Act & the N of LK
The Enabling Act and the purge of 30 June/1 July were complementary: one allowed
consolidation to get into top gear; the other completed the process and enabled Hitler to
become a fully fledged dictator whose servants had sworn absolute loyalty to Hitler as
combined Chancellor and President. On the other hand whilst the consolidation of power
may have been slower without the excuse and opportunity of the Reichstag Fire, the
Enabling Act and the elimination of enemies would have happened anyway.
Consider the role of each paragraph
Do they all help answer the question?
Does each paragraph follow on from the previous one?
Is fact/detail used to answer the question (and maximise marks), or is it just there to
If this is too long how could one shorten it?