Enabling Act

Verl„ngerung des Erm„chtigungsgesetzes.The Reichstag Fire Decree of February 1933 had stripped Germany of its civil liberties and transferred all state powers to the Reich government. Prior to this, Hitler had also asked President von Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag, calling for another election. This was held on 5th March 1933. Despite receiving around five million more votes than the previous election, the Nazis still did not have the absolute majority in the government, due to seats gained by the German National People’s Party. Hitler’s cabinet drafted a version of the Enabling Act – or, officially, The Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich – on 15th March and it was presented to the Reichstag and Reichsrat on 23rd March. Other members of the Reichstag were surrounded and threatened by Nazi troops. The Communists, as well as a few members of the Social Democrat Party, were banned from the meetings.
The only Reichstag members to vote against the Act were the Social Democrats.The Enabling Act meant that the Nazis could assume total political power without needing a majority in the Reichstag, and could create and pass laws without the involvement of the government. The act would last four years unless it was renewed (which later happened on two occasions). Essentially, the Enabling Act gave Hitler the powers of dictatorship. Together with the Reichstag Fire Decree, it signalled the end of the Weimar Republic.
Hitler’s Enabling Act
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Encyclopedia Britannica Blog
Hitler’s Enabling Act
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Timeline placing fire and Enabling Act in context of subsequent actions
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Includes newspaper articles and copies of the Reichstag Decree and Enabling Act
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Enabling Act of 1933
Includes side-by-side comparison of German and English text
Images –
Building the Nazi Regime
Enabling Act Adopted: Front Page of the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (March 24, 1933)
Hitler appointed chancellor, January 30, 1933
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The Reichswehr Swears an Oath of Allegiance to Adolf Hitler on the Day of Hindenburg’s Death (August 2, 1934)
German History in Documents and Images (GHDI)
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