The next campaign that the Nazi’s started was intimation surrounding a new law that Hitler wanted to bring into effect. The Enabling Act. This gave the Nazi party, in particular Hitler the ultimate power. It meant that he no longer had to involve Hindenburg or the government in any policy or decision making. It was passed on the 23rd March and the Nazi party had full control of the country, with Hitler being its Dictator.
Slowly the Nazi party banned the other political parties, and took control of other organisations, including the Labour unions. The state government was striped of its powers. The Nazi’s started cleaning opposition, including that of the military, which culminated on Night of the Long Knives. Under the guise of a plot by SA leader Ernst Rohm, the SA was purged, and others deemed possible problems to the Nazi’s such as Strasser and Von Schleicher were also executed.
When Hindenburg died on 2 August, 1934, Hitler decided there was no need for a president and merged the outstanding powers into his own role. He was now in total control. Oaths were changed so instead of swearing loyalty to the Country, Soldiers and Military leaders, swore loyalty to Hitler.
Hitlers next step was to win the hearts of the people. They needed someone to blame for their present predicament (the Depression) and they needed hope from their leader. So Hitler focussed on the economy and expansion, most of which lead to going against the Treaty of Versailles, in expanding the military. He encouraged the women to ‘stay at home’ and look after the family, giving rewards to those with more that four babies. This meant that unemployment appeared to drop. Women were to leave their jobs and men were to take them. So technically less people were looking for work, which was spun to a great success by the media.
There was also a lot of work that went into infrastructure such as the building of dams, rail roads and roads. But Germany still didn’t have money, so although most people were employed wages were low and the standard of living were not increased
In 1934, Hitler hinted to the British Lord Privy Seal that Germany had an air force, (which was against the Treaty of Versailles). It wasn’t until March 1935 that Hitler publicly announced they had expanded their army to 6 times the agreed amount, was launching their Air force and increasing their Navy. The league of Nations of course was quick to condemn these, but were placated when Hitler assured them, he was only interested in peace. The following year Berlin hosted the summer Olympic games. The show they put on for this was mostly received well, but there was an undercurrent felt by some groups.
To a certain extent, the Nazi’s had created a monster in regard to their rhetoric. By April 1935 people were becoming frustrated with the lack of speed in which the Nazi’s were tackling the ‘Jewish problem’. Society was still being hit by shortages, and the Jewish scapegoats were not being dealt with. But a Gestapo report in the spring of that year whipped up a wave of assaults, boycotts and vandalism targeted towards the German Jews
Due to food shortages, Hitler cut military spending and focussed on creating food for the people. The military however were not happy as they were under strict instructions for rearmament. He needed to create a distraction, from the failing economy and a win for the military, so in March 1936, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland. There was no response. In July the Spanish War began, and Hitler sent troops to Franco. Having built an alliance with Franco, Hitler set his sights on the United Kingdom. Offering to provide protection to the British Colonies from the Japanese. They said no. Hitler was more successful with Benito Mussolini forming an agreement on the 25th of October 1936 and entered into a pact with Japan a month later. And in 1938 Germany ended its Pact with China, which caused delays with Hitler’s rearmament
In August 1936, Hitler issued his infamous ‘Four year memorandum’, which ordered Germany to be ready to go to war in 4 years. The following year he would lay down the plans for this by pushing for Lebensraum, increasing the borders of Germany to reach out across Europe for the Great German Reich. By November 39 secret meeting were taking place about the fact that German must expand East by 1943 securing that area, before turning their attentions towards France and England.
The first step in the process was to annex Austria. This was a very easy triumph for Hitler and the German army received little resistance. The British Ambassador visited Hitler with a proposal to join a Consortium to rule Africa, if they agreed not to move further east. There was a heated discussion which resulted in Hitler stating that he would rather wait twenty years for the return of the former colonies than accept British conditions for avoiding war.
The next part of the strategy was to raise tensions in Sudentenland districts of Czechoslovakia. In April plans for operation Fall Grün. Rumours flew around about an intended invasion into the area near the end of May. This seemed likely due to the discussions that Hitler had with the Ambassador previously, the way that the tensions were in the area and the fact that elections were occurring there. Troops were mobilised to protect the area, and warnings were issued about the possibility of war against the United Kingdom and France. Although Hitler had not planned to invade at that time, he felt that others would take it as a defeat, so he became more convinced that he would invade and eventually take on Britain.
In August 1938, Hitler stated his intentions of invasion, saying that he did not believe that Britain would risk war. General Becks, urged Hitler not to embark on this, saying that he felt it would lead to a world war that they could not win. On 4th August, a secret meeting was held with senior members of the armed forces. Becks felt after this discussion that they would all resign their posts to make it impossible for the invasion to occur. The idea was to inform the British that the attack was going to be sanctioned, and if this did occur that the group would have Hitler arrested, if they had the support of Britain and France, who would have to declare that if the invasion took place they would declare war. Becks was the only General to resign his post. Britain and France decided not to threaten war and to strive for peace instead.
The guise that Hitler was using to take Sudetenland, was the fact that the people there were suffering. The Czechoslovakian government agreed with the people in the area to reorganise the country to cover some of their demands. Germany’s answer was to ramp up clashes to show the unrest. Chamberlain visited Hitler, to try to stop an invasion by saying that he would organise the transfer of land over in a peaceful manner. Hitler was still trying to give the pretence that he wanted peace, so he agreed expecting Chamberlain to fail, but with help from Franco, he was successful. Happy with the outcome Chamberlain came back to visit Hitler on the 22nd. Only to be told that the terms had changed, he wanted Sudetenland by the 28th with no other conditions against it, and with no interference. He stated to the group that he would not rule out war for this. The British stopped all metal supply to Germany, refused to sail anything to German and detained an Oil tanker. The German Economics Ministry told Hitler, they did not have enough oil for the invasion and that Britain could put a blockade on German Oil supply.
On the 30th September 1938 Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini and Daladier, signed the Munich Agreement handing Sudetenland over to Germany. Chamberland thought it was his victory for peace, Hitler was just buying time. He was infuriated that he had been stopped by the UK and realised that they would become a problem. Having secured the Sudetenland districts, in March 1939 he pushed through taking the rest of Czechoslovakia. The main reason for this was to secure more resources. His next step was Poland. Having tried to negotiate Poland into a satellite state, three times, he decided to invade. “...establish a acceptable relationship with Poland in order to fight against the West” but since the Poles would not co-operate in setting up an “acceptable relationship, believed he had no other choice other than wiping Poland off the map”