History

Study Notes

The Enabling Act

Level:
GCSE
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas, WJEC

With the election of March 1933, Hitler and the support of other right wing parties such as the Nationalists and DNVP, they passed the Enabling Act. This in essence meant that Hitler was able to make laws without consulting the Reichstag.

When the Reichstag convened, other parties were very aware of the fate of the Communist Party and became concerned that opposing Hitler would result in their banning and potential imprisonment. On the 23rd March 1933, the Reichstag, mindful of the Communists, passed the Enabling Act which suspended the right of the Reichstag to have a say over the laws which Hitler wanted to pass.

The passage of the act is significant because it marks the final nail in the coffin of the Weimar Republic. The Enabling Act ensured that Hitler could rule as a dictator of all Germany and not have political opposition get in the way. Many Historians point to the Enabling Act as the moment Germany slid into dictatorship.

Under the terms of the Enabling Act, political parties other than the Nazis were banned and leaders arrested. Trade Unions were made illegal and Nazis were installed in all German state governments. The Nazi organisations such as the SA were able to promote a culture of fear and intimidation to ensure that the Nazi view held strong.

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