On 30 January 1933 Adolf Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany. A leading politician, Franz von Papen, had persuaded President Hindenburg that Hitler could be kept under control. He had boasted that: “in two months, we will have pushed Hitler so far into a corner that he squeaks”.
However, just one day after taking office, Hitler called for new elections to be held on 5 March 1933. Very soon after Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to give him emergency powers that took away people’s rights. On 24 March 1933, the Reichstag passed an ‘Enabling law’, giving the Nazi party the power to make laws without parliamentary approval. The Nazis very quickly began a campaign of violence and terror against Communists and other opponents. Their campaign also involved banning opposition newspapers, leaflets and meetings.
The Nazis’ campaign also involved anti-communist and antisemitic propaganda, using the radio, newspapers, leaflets, rallies and all other methods at their disposal. The events of the first two years were only a hint of things to come. Once the Nazis had developed a series of policies and measures that enabled them to consolidate power over Germany, they would seek to aggressively impose control over much of mainland Europe.