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Author Joan Francis - Off the Printed Page

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Aug 21


Posted by: Joan Francis

We all know more than we want to know about what Hitler did AFTER he was in power, but how much do you know about HOW Hitler seized power.


When Adolf Hitler seized power, Germany had a constitutional democracy with all the guarantees of freedom, including elected legislature and state governments, legal and uncorrupted police and court systems, and a constitutionally guarantee of personal and civil rights. Despite these guarantees of freedom and democracy, Hitler was able to destroy the democratic government and establish an absolute dictatorship in three months. How did he do that?

Question 1

Between the years 1923 and 1929 what percentage of the popular vote did Hitler’s party receive?

1 None, it didn’t exist yet.

2 40 to 50 %

3 2 to 6 %

4 72 %

Answer: 3 During these years, most Germans considered Hitler some kind of nut and thought that his party was an unimportant fringe party. They neither admired nor feared him.

Question 2

How did Hitler first achieve an office of power in the German Government?

1 He was elected

2 He was swept into power by his overwhelming popularity with the people.

3 He seized power in a military coup.

4 He was appointed to office.

Answer: 4 He was appointed to the office of chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg.

Question 3

President Paul von Hindenburg detested Adolf Hitler, called him a demigod, and vowed never to appoint him chancellor. Yet on January 30, 1933, he did just that. Why?

1 He feared a civil war if the Communist took power.

2 He was in early dementia and under the influence of the right wing politicians and his son.

3 He was being blackmailed by a scandal regarding his estate.

4 There is some evidence for all of the above.

Answer: 4

Question 4

what was the name of Hitler’s political party"

1 The Nazi Party

2 The White German Supremacists Party

3 The National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP)

4 The German Fascist League

Answer: 3 Others gave it the nickname of Nazis, a nickname not loved by the NSDAP.

Question 5

Hitler’s party was socialist.

1 True

2 False

Answer: False. Though they were socialist when Hitler first joined them as an Army spy, they changed their philosophy under Hitler’s leadership.

Question 6

Hitler’s seizure of power was a result of extreme run-away inflation of the German Mark.

1 True

2 False

Answer: False. The run-away inflation so often cited as a cause of Hitler’s seizure of power, existed only nine and a half months, from January 31, 1923 until November 15, 1923, ten years before Hitler seized power. It did, however encourage his abortive Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923 which was a failure and resulted in Hitler’s imprisonment.

Question 7

Hitler’s most effective talking point during the 1920s and early 1930s was anti-Semitism.

1 True

2 False.

Answer: False. Though Hitler himself was always and unquestionably anti-Semitic, it was not his rants against the Jews that brought him to power. In fact, before he achieved power, he was careful where and to whom he ranted against the Jews. Anti-Semitism was not strong in Germany before Hitler took power. The truth is that Hitler, like Joseph McCarthy, had a far softer target: Communism. And like McCarthy, Hitler played the anti-communist card very well, using it to attack not just Communist, but everyone left of center, including the Social Democrats who were the strongest supporters of the Democracy.

Question 8

The following events are often cited as contributing to Hitler’s seizure of power. Which one was the catapult that put him in the seat of power.

1 The Treaty of Versailles

2 The Great Depression

3 Fear of Communism

4 Anti-Semitism

Answer: 2 Though it is often the least considered, it was the great depression that changed Hitler’s vote percentage from 2 to 6 % to 33 to 37 % and made the right wing politicians see him as a foil they could use against the left. After his appointment, It took him only a matter of hours to disabuse them of the notion that they would control him.

Question 9

After the failed Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923, Hitler spent a year in prison where he was allowed to have his secretary in to take dictation. What happened during this imprisonment that changed the course of German History.

1 He dictated and published Mein Kampf

2 He selected a new direction for his political party

3 The publicity from his trial brought him more attention world-wide that he had ever had before.

4 All of the above.

Answer: 4

Question 10

In prison, Hitler came to understand the failure of his coup and concluded that no group could seize power unless they first made alliances with the national institutions of power. It was not the people who needed to be won over, but the powerful. He realized no socialist party could win those alliances and pushed his party toward Fascism.

1 True

2 False

Answer true. This was the most important decision in his struggle to gain support. Here is an excerpt from Silent Coup. Bennett Hunter ask’s his German friend why the Social Democrats did not stop Hitler. This is his friend’s answer:

"Hitler convinced the church that all SPD [Social Democratic Party] were really godless Communists and would destroy the church as they have in Russia. Now the church pushes the Nazi cause. Alliance with power.

Hitler told the Right Wing that he would destroy all the Communist, socialists, taxes and social welfare laws. So Papen and his ilk invited Hitler in, believing they could use him and control him. Alliance with power.

Hitler promised the rich industrialist that he would restore the industrial Rhineland, end reparations, and destroy the unions and socialism. The industrialists gave him money and helped him by firing any employee who refused to join the NSDAP.[Hitler’s Party] Alliance with power.

The military was humiliated and largely disarmed at the end of the war. Hitler promised to restore and rearm. They do not attack him when he attacks democracy. Alliance with power.

You get it? No election mattered. No law mattered. Our vote didn’t count for a damn. By the time Hitler struck his blow that wiped out our democracy, he had already seized the real power of Germany. It was a silent coup that took place before he was ever named Chancellor. If we 66 percent of the people who voted against him were to rise up and fight his dictatorship, we would also have to fight the church, the wealthy, the aristocrats, the military, and the industrialists."

Question 11

Once Hitler had been appointed as chancellor what was his primary tool in the destruction of the Germany Democracy?

1) The Storm Troopers

2) The Police

3) The prisons and torture

4) The Democracy itself

Answer: 4 Democracy     As Goebels wrote: "We come to the Reichstag not as friends, not as neutrals, but as enemies. The National Socialists plan to use this arsenal of democracy to bring it down . . . we are committed to the legality of means, not of ends."  Paul Joseph Goebels

Question 12

The first step in the destruction of democracy was:

1) To call for new parliamentary elections.

2) Declare a police state

3) To outlaw apposing parties

Answer: 1   Within five hours of taking office, Hitler maneuvered his cabinet into approving new parliamentary elections and on the following day he got Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag and call for a new election on March 5.

Question 13

The second step in the destruction of the democracy was to make sure Hitler controlled a 2/3 vote in the Reichstag.

1 True

2 False

Answer: True.

Question 14

The month of February was filled with:

1) Violence against the communist.

2) Violence against the Social Democrats.

3) Control of Radio and Press for the pro Nazi propaganda.

4) All of the above.

Answer: 4

Question 15

Hitler easily won the necessary 2/3 majority for his party.

1 True

2 False

Answer:  False Even with control of the government, the police, the radio, the press; even though the German Parliament had as low an approval rating as the current U.S. congress, even though there was the most active and expensive campaign of pro Nazi propaganda ever unleashed, Hitler would still could not win a 2/3 majority. Something else was needed.

Question 16

On the evening of February 17, 1933 the Reichstag building (the Parliament) was set on fire. The fire was set by:

1) The Communist

2) The Socialist

3) The Nazis

4) A cold case in need of further investigation.

Answer: 4  Upon arriving at the scene of the fire, Hitler, Gobbels, and Goering declared it the beginning of the Communist revolution. The foreign news corespondents working in Berlin at the time, including William Shirer, did not believe it was the communist, but rather the Nazis that set the fire. The trial of the arsonists that followed was so full of holes that all but one of the accused was acquitted and the one convicted was a Dutch emigrant who was both mentally and physically handicapped, and could not have set all the fires found in all the locations throughout the building.

Questions 17

The third step in the destruction of the democracy was the Emergency Decree. This provided for:

1) Extra fire protection

2) Martial Law

3) Budget to rebuild the Reichstag

4) Suspension of all civil rights

Answer: 4 On February 28 Hitler had President Hindenburg sign a decree "for the Protection of the People and the State" which suspended seven sections of the constitution, ones which guaranteed individual and civil liberties. In addition it allowed the Reich government to take over power in the German states, and imposed the death penalty for a number of crimes including "Serious disturbances of the peace." Now, since there was no law to prevent it, Storm Troopers engaged in unlimited tactics of violence, intimidation, arrest, beating, torture, and imprisonment of the opposition parties and opposition press.

Question 18    Despite all this, Hitler still did not gain his 2/3 majority.


2 False

Answer: True.    One more little trick was needed. After the March 5 election, when the new parliament was elected, the communist were forbidden to take their seats and enough Social Democrats were arrested to alter the control of the Reichstag. Hitler finally got his 2/3 majority.

Question 19 When the new Reichstag was seated in a temporary building they were asks to pass one piece of legislation, the Enabling Act. With this act the parliament:

1) Gave all legislative powers to Hitler for four years, and went home.

Answer: 1 That’s all folks. He used the alliance with power to gain office and the "arsenal of democracy" to destroy the democratic government and establish himself as a dictator.

Question 20

Kinda makes you think twice about some of the laws our county has passed, "for the protection of the People and the State." Laws like the Patriot Act, the NDAA, and the laws which allow domestic spying. These laws do not protect us. They steal our constitutional protections against abuse of power and injustice. Will we too sink into Fascism?

Answer: I have no answer. We the People of the United States of America must answer this question.

Comments (1)add comment

Pete (The Book Awards) said:

Some of these facts are quite astonishing and should make us think. In particular I was interested to learn how anti-Semitism took root so quickly, out of the blue.

Very interesting quiz.
Aug 30, 2013

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