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Adolf Hitler talks to a young girl during his campaign for president of Germany in 1932. Hitler lost to incumbent Paul von Hindenburg. 

In April 1932, Paul von Hindenburg, at the age of 84, remained president by defeating Hitler and his other challengers. He began his new term in office that spring by naming a new chancellor—Franz von Papen, a close friend and member of the Center Party. Papen ran the country for the rest of the year. When he failed to end the depression, another of Hindenburg’s friends, General Kurt von Schleicher, who belonged to no party, took over in December. He was also unable to bring about a recovery and was forced to resign.

Hindenburg and his advisors were all conservatives who represented wealthy landowners, industrialists, and other powerful people. As the depression persisted, their popular support was shrinking. So in January of 1933, they decided to make a deal with Hitler. He had the popularity they lacked, and they had the power he needed. They also agreed on a number of points, including a fierce opposition to communism, hostility to democracy, and eagerness for Lebensraum—additional land for the German Volk.

Hindenburg’s advisors believed that the responsibility of being in power would make Hitler moderate his views. They convinced themselves that they were wise enough and powerful enough to “control” Hitler. Also, they were certain that he, too, would fail to end the depression. And when he failed, they would step in to save the nation. Hitler fooled them all.

On January 30, 1933, Hitler was sworn in as chancellor of Germany. Because the Nazi Party did not control a majority of the Reichstag, they joined with the German National People’s Party to form a coalition government—that is, one run by multiple political parties, usually with different but overlapping agendas. Nevertheless, Hitler accepted the appointment as if he had been named emperor of Germany and ignored the wishes of the other party. He and his fellow Nazis boasted that they would soon restore the nation and the “Aryan race” to greatness by ending so-called “Jewish racial domination” and eliminating the Communist threat. The result would be a “third Reich” (Reich is the German word for “empire”). The Nazis considered the Holy Roman Empire (952–1806) the “first Reich” and the empire established after the unification of the German states in 1871 the “second.” Hitler was confident that his Third Reich would be the greatest of all, and it would last a thousand years.

Hitler en el Poder

 

Adolf Hitler habla con una jovencita durante su campaña a la presidencia de Alemania en 1932. Hitler perdió ante el presidente de turno, Paul von Hindenburg.

En abril de 1932, Paul von Hindenburg, a la edad de 84 años, permaneció en la presidencia al derrotar a Hitler y a los otros contendientes. En la primavera de ese año, empezó su nuevo periodo presidencial nombrando a un nuevo canciller: Franz von Papen, amigo cercano y miembro del Partido de Centro. Papen dirigió el país por el resto del año. Cuando no pudo poner fin a la depresión, otro de los amigos de Hindenburg, el general Kurt von Schleicher, quien no pertenecía a ningún partido, relevó a Papen en diciembre. Él tampoco pudo lograr la recuperación y fue obligado a renunciar.

Hindenburg y sus asesores eran conservadores que representaban adinerados terratenientes, empresarios industriales y otras personas poderosas. Como la depresión persistía, su apoyo popular se fue reduciendo. Por tanto, en enero de 1933, decidieron hacer un trato con Hitler, quien tenía la popularidad que a ellos les faltaba, pero necesitaba el poder que ellos tenían. También acordaron algunos puntos, entre ellos, una oposición feroz al comunismo, hostilidad con la democracia y entusiasmo por el Lebensraum (espacio vital), terrenos adicionales para el Volk (pueblo) alemán.

Los asesores de Hindenburg creían que la responsabilidad de estar en el poder haría que Hitler moderara sus posturas; se convencieron de que eran lo suficientemente sabios y poderosos como para “controlar” a Hitler. Además, estaban seguros de que él tampoco podría poner fin a la depresión y, cuando fallara, ellos intervendrían para salvar a la nación. No obstante, Hitler los engañó a todos.

El 30 de enero de 1933, Hitler fue declarado canciller de Alemania. Como el Partido Nazi no controlaba la mayoría del Reichstag, se unió con el Partido Nacional del Pueblo Alemán para formar una coalición de gobierno, es decir, uno solo dirigido por múltiples partidos políticos, normalmente con programas diferentes pero con puntos en común. No obstante, Hitler aceptó el nombramiento como si hubiera sido proclamado emperador de Alemania e ignoró los deseos del otro partido. Él y sus copartidarios nazis hacían alarde de que pronto restablecerían la nación y la “raza aria” a su grandeza poniendo fin a la llamada “dominación racial judía” y eliminando la amenaza comunista. El resultado sería un “Tercer Reich” (Reich es la palabra alemana para referirse a “imperio”). Los nazis consideraban que el Sacro Imperio Romano (952–1806) era el “Primer Reich” y que el imperio establecido después de la unificación de los estados alemanes en 1871, era el “segundo”. Hitler confiaba en que su Tercer Reich sería el más grande de todos y que duraría mil años.

Adolf Hitler talks to a young girl during his campaign for president of Germany in 1932. Hitler lost to incumbent Paul von Hindenburg. 

In April 1932, Paul von Hindenburg, at the age of 84, remained president by defeating Hitler and his other challengers. He began his new term in office that spring by naming a new chancellor—Franz von Papen, a close friend and member of the Centre Party. Papen ran the country for the rest of the year. When he failed to end the depression, another of Hindenburg’s friends, General Kurt von Schleicher, who belonged to no party, took over in December. He was also unable to bring about a recovery and was forced to resign.

Hindenburg and his advisors were all conservatives who represented wealthy landowners, industrialists, and other powerful people. As the depression persisted, their popular support was shrinking. So in January of 1933, they decided to make a deal with Hitler. He had the popularity they lacked, and they had the power he needed. They also agreed on a number of points, including a fierce opposition to communism, hostility to democracy, and eagerness for Lebensraum—additional land for the German Volk.

Hindenburg’s advisors believed that the responsibility of being in power would make Hitler moderate his views. They convinced themselves that they were wise enough and powerful enough to “control” Hitler. Also, they were certain that he, too, would fail to end the depression. And when he failed, they would step in to save the nation. Hitler fooled them all.

On January 30, 1933, Hitler was sworn in as chancellor of Germany. Because the Nazi Party did not control a majority of the Reichstag, they joined with the German National People’s Party to form a coalition government—that is, one run by multiple political parties, usually with different but overlapping agendas. Nevertheless, Hitler accepted the appointment as if he had been named emperor of Germany and ignored the wishes of the other party. He and his fellow Nazis boasted that they would soon restore the nation and the “Aryan race” to greatness by ending so-called “Jewish racial domination” and eliminating the Communist threat. The result would be a “third Reich” (Reich is the German word for “empire”). The Nazis considered the Holy Roman Empire (952–1806) the “first Reich” and the empire established after the unification of the German states in 1871 the “second.” Hitler was confident that his Third Reich would be the greatest of all, and it would last a thousand years.

Connection Questions

  1. Why did Hindenburg appoint Hitler chancellor? What advantages and disadvantages did he consider?
  2. What kind of chancellor did Germany’s political leaders expect Hitler to be? What reasons did they have for those expectations?

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