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Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 - April 30, 1945) was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 and Führer (Leader) of Germany from 1934 until his death. He was leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), better known as the Nazi Party. Since the defeat of Germany in World War II, Hitler, the Nazi Party, and the results of Nazism have been regarded in most of the world as synonymous with evil. The need to prevent the recurrence of such circumstances has been recognized. Yet initially when parliament voted him almost absolute authority he enjoyed overwhelming popular support. Historical and cultural portrayals of Hitler in the West are almost uniformly negative, sometimes neglecting to mention the adulation the German people bestowed on Hitler during his lifetime.

Hitler used charismatic oratory and propaganda, appealing to economic need, nationalism, and anti-Semitism to establish an authoritarian regime in a Germany that was still coming to terms with defeat in World War I in which many people resented the humiliating terms imposed by France and England at the Treaty of Versailles. The economic disaster that overwhelmed democratic Germany in the 1920s was blamed on the treaty, which exacted heavy reparations. This goes a long way to explaining the mood of the German people to accept a man like Hitler as their savior.

With a restructured economy and rearmed military, Hitler pursued an aggressive foreign policy with the intention of expanding German Lebensraum (“living space”) and triggered a major war in Europe by invading Poland. At the height of their power, Germany and its allies, known as the Axis Powers, occupied most of Europe, but were eventually defeated by the Britain-U.S.-led Allies in World War II. Hitler's racial policies culminated in the genocide of 11 million people, including about six million Jews, in what is now known as the Holocaust.

In the final days of the war, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin, together with his newly wed wife, Eva Braun.

Early years

Childhood and heritage

Adolf Hitler as an infant.

Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, at Braunau am Inn, Austria, a small town on the border with Germany to Alois Hitler (1837-1903), a customs official, and Klara Pölzl (1860-1907), Alois's niece and third wife. Adolf was the fourth of six siblings, of whom only Adolf and his younger sister Paula reached adulthood. Alois Hitler also had a son (Alois) and a daughter (Angela) by his second wife.

Alois Hitler was illegitimate and used his mother's surname, Schicklgruber, until he was 40, when he began using his stepfather's surname name, Hiedler, after visiting a priest responsible for birth registries and declaring that Georg was his father (Alois gave the impression that Georg was still alive but he was long dead). A clerk probably changed the spelling to "Hitler.” Later, Adolf Hitler's political enemies accused him of not being a Hitler, but a Schicklgruber. This was also exploited in Allied propaganda during the Second World War when pamphlets bearing the phrase "Heil Schicklgruber" were airdropped over German cities. Adolf was legally born a Hitler, however, and was also closely related to Hiedler through his maternal grandmother, Johanna Hiedler.

There have been rumors that Hitler was one-quarter Jewish and that his paternal grandmother, Maria Schicklgruber, had become pregnant after working as a servant in a Jewish household in Graz, Austria. During the 1920s, the implications of these rumors along with his known family history were politically explosive, especially for the proponent of a racist ideology that especially targeted Jews. Although rumors of his non-German descent were never confirmed, they were reason enough for Hitler to conceal his origins. Soviet propaganda insisted Hitler was a Jew; research suggests that it is unlikely that he had Jewish ancestors. Historians such as Werner Maser and Ian Kershaw argue this was impossible, since the Jews had been expelled from Graz in the fifteenth century and were not allowed to return until well after Maria Schicklgruber's alleged employment.

Because of Alois Hitler's profession, his family moved frequently, from Braunau to Passau, Lambach, Leonding, and Linz. As a young child, Hitler was reportedly a good student at the various elementary schools he attended; however, in sixth grade (1900-1901), his first year of high school (Realschule) in Linz, he failed completely and had to repeat the grade. His teachers reported that he had "no desire to work."

Hitler later explained this educational slump as a kind of rebellion against his father Alois, who wanted the boy to follow him in a career as a customs official, although Adolf wanted to become an artist. This explanation is further supported by Hitler's later description of himself as a misunderstood artist. However, after Alois died on January 3, 1903, when Adolf was 13, Hitler's schoolwork did not improve. At the age of 16, Hitler left school with no qualifications.

Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich

From 1905 onward, Hitler was able to live the life of a Bohemian on a fatherless child's pension and support from his mother. He was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1907-1908) due to "unfitness for painting," and was told his abilities lay rather in the field of architecture. Following the school rector's recommendation, he too became convinced this was the path to pursue, yet he lacked the proper academic preparation for architecture school:

In a few days I myself knew that I should some day become an architect. To be sure, it was an incredibly hard road; for the studies I had neglected out of spite at the Realschule were sorely needed. One could not attend the Academy's architectural school without having attended the building school at the Technic, and the latter required a high-school degree. I had none of all this. The fulfillment of my artistic dream seemed physically impossible (Mein Kampf, ch. 2).

On December 21, 1907, his mother Klara died a painful death from breast cancer at the age of 47. Hitler gave his share of the orphans' benefits to his younger sister Paula, but when he was 21 he inherited some money from an aunt. He worked as a struggling painter in Vienna, copying scenes from postcards and selling his paintings to merchants and tourists (there is evidence he produced over 2,000 paintings and drawings before World War I). During this period, he became close friends with the musician August Kubizek.

Did you know?Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitism developed during his years as a struggling artist in Vienna, Austria

After the second refusal from the Academy of Arts, Hitler gradually ran out of money. By 1909, he sought refuge in a homeless shelter, and by the beginning of 1910, had settled permanently into a house for poor working men. He made spending money by painting tourist postcards of Vienna scenery. Several biographers have noted that a Jewish resident of the house named Hanisch helped him sell his postcards.

It was in Vienna that Hitler first became an active anti-Semite. This was a common stance among Austrians at the time, mixing traditional religious prejudice with recent racist theories. Vienna had a large Jewish community, including many Orthodox Jews from Eastern Europe. Hitler was slowly influenced over time by the writings of the race ideologist and anti-Semite Lanz von Liebenfels and polemics from politicians such as Karl Lueger, founder of the Christian Social Party and mayor of Vienna, and Georg Ritter von Schönerer, leader of the pan-Germanic Away from Rome! movement. He later wrote in his book Mein Kampf that his transition from opposing anti-Semitism on religious grounds to supporting it on racial grounds came from having seen an Orthodox Jew:

There were very few Jews in Linz. In the course of centuries the Jews who lived there had become Europeanized in external appearance and were so much like other human beings that I even looked upon them as Germans. The reason why I did not then perceive the absurdity of such an illusion was that the only external mark which I recognized as distinguishing them from us was the practice of their strange religion. As I thought that they were persecuted on account of their faith my aversion to hearing remarks against them grew almost into a feeling of abhorrence. I did not in the least suspect that there could be such a thing as a systematic anti-Semitism. Once, when passing through the inner City, I suddenly encountered a phenomenon in a long caftan and wearing black side-locks. My first thought was: Is this a Jew? They certainly did not have this appearance in Linz. I watched the man stealthily and cautiously but the longer I gazed at the strange countenance and examined it feature by feature, the more the question shaped itself in my brain: Is this a German? (Mein Kampf, vol. 1, ch. 2)

Hitler began to claim the Jews were natural enemies of what he called the Aryan race. He held them responsible for Austria's crisis. He also identified socialism and especially Bolshevism, which had many Jews among its leaders, as Jewish movements, merging his anti-Semitism with anti-Marxism. Blaming Germany's military defeat on the revolution, he considered Jews the culprit of Germany's military defeat and subsequent economic problems as well.

Generalizing from tumultuous scenes in the parliament of multi-national Austria, he developed a firm belief in the inferiority of the parliamentary system, and especially social democracy, which formed the basis of his political views. However, according to August Kubizek, his close friend and roommate at the time, he was more interested in the operas of Richard Wagner than in politics.

Hitler received a small inheritance from his father in May 1913 and moved to Munich. He later wrote in Mein Kampf that he had always longed to live in a German city. In Munich, he became more interested in architecture and the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain who argued that Jesus was an Aryan, not a Jew. Moving to Munich also helped him escape military service in Austria for a time, but the Austrian army later arrested him. After a physical exam (during which his height was measured at 173 cm, or 5 ft. 8 in.) and a contrite plea, he was deemed unfit for service and allowed to return to Munich. However, when Germany entered World War I in August 1914, he immediately enlisted in the Bavarian army.

World War I

Hitler saw active service in France and Belgium as a messenger for the regimental headquarters of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment (also called Regiment List after its first commander), which exposed him to enemy fire. Unlike his fellow soldiers, Hitler reportedly never complained about the food or hard conditions, preferring to talk about art or history. He also drew some cartoons and instructional drawings for the army newspaper. His behavior as a soldier was considered somewhat sloppy, but his regular duties required taking dispatches to and from fighting areas and he was twice decorated for his performance of these duties. He received the Iron Cross, Second Class in December 1914 and the Iron Cross, First Class in August 1918, an honor rarely given to a Gefreiter (private). However, because of the perception of "a lack of leadership skills" on the part of some of the regimental staff, as well as (according to Kershaw) Hitler's unwillingness to leave regimental headquarters (which would have been likely in event of promotion), he was never promoted to Unteroffizier (non-commissioned officer). His duty station at regimental headquarters, while often dangerous, gave Hitler time to pursue his artwork. During October 1916 in northern France, Hitler was wounded in the leg, but returned to the front in March 1917. He received the Wound Badge later that year, as his injury was the direct result of hostile fire.

Hitler was considered a "correct" soldier but was reportedly unpopular with his comrades because of an uncritical attitude toward officers. "Respect the superior, don't contradict anybody, obey blindly," he said, describing his attitude while on trial in 1924.

On October 15, 1918, shortly before the end of the war, Hitler was admitted to a field hospital, temporarily blinded by a poison gas attack. Research by Bernhard Horstmann indicates the blindness may have been the result of a hysterical reaction to Germany's defeat. Hitler later said it was during this experience that he became convinced the purpose of his life was to save Germany. Meanwhile he was treated by a military physician and specialist in psychiatry who reportedly diagnosed the corporal as "incompetent to command people" and "dangerously psychotic." His commander is said to have stated that he would "never promote this hysteric!" However, historian Sebastian Haffner, referring to Hitler's experience at the front, suggests he did have at least some understanding of the military.

Two passages in Mein Kampf mention the use of poison gas:

  • At the beginning of the Great War, or even during the War, if twelve or fifteen thousand of these Jews who were corrupting the nation had been forced to submit to poison-gas… then the millions of sacrifices made at the front would not have been in vain (vol. 2, ch. 15).
  • These tactics are based on an accurate estimation of human weakness and must lead to success, with almost mathematical certainty, unless the other side also learns how to fight poison gas with poison gas. The weaker natures must be told that here it is a case of to be or not to be (vol. 1, ch. 2).

Hitler had long admired Germany, and during the war he had become a passionate German patriot, although he did not become a German citizen until 1932 (the year before he took over Germany). He was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918 even while the German army still held enemy territory. Like many other German nationalists, Hitler believed in the Dolchstoßlegende ("dagger-stab legend") that claimed that the army, "undefeated in the field," had been "stabbed in the back" by civilian leaders and Marxists back on the home front. These politicians were later dubbed the November Criminals.

The Treaty of Versailles deprived Germany of various territories, demilitarized the Rhineland, and imposed other economically damaging sanctions. The treaty also declared Germany the culprit for all the horrors of the Great War, as a basis for later imposing not yet specified reparations on Germany (the amount was repeatedly revised under the Dawes Plan, Young Plan, and the Hoover Moratorium). Germans, however, perceived the treaty and especially the paragraph on the German guilt as a humiliation, not least as it was damaging in the extreme to their pride. For example, there was nearly a full demilitarization of the armed forces, allowing Germany only 6 battleships, no submarines, no air force, an army of 100,000 without conscription and no armored vehicles. The treaty was an important factor in both the social and political conditions encountered by Hitler and his National Socialist Party as they sought power. Hitler and his party used the signing of the treaty by the November Criminals as a reason to build up Germany so that it could never happen again. He also used the November Criminals as scapegoats, although at the Paris peace conference, these politicians had very little choice in the matter.

The early years of the Nazi Party

A copy of Adolf Hitler's forged German Workers' Party membership card. His actual membership number was 555 (the 55th member of the party-the 500 was added to make the group appear larger), but later the number was reduced to create the impression that Hitler was one of the founding members (Kershaw Hubris). Hitler had wanted to create his own party, but was ordered by his superiors in the Reichswehr to infiltrate an existing one instead.

Hitler's entry and rise

After the war, Hitler remained in the army, which was mainly engaged in suppressing socialist uprisings breaking out across Germany, including Munich (Bavarian Soviet Republic), where Hitler returned in 1919. He took part in "national thinking" courses organized by the Education and Propaganda Department of the Bavarian Reichswehr Group, Headquarters 4 under Captain Mayr. A key purpose of this group was to create a scapegoat for the outbreak of the war and Germany's defeat. The scapegoats were found in "international Jewry," communists and politicians across the party spectrum, especially the parties of the Weimar Coalition, who were deemed November Criminals.

In July 1919, Hitler was appointed a Verbindungsmann (police spy) of Aufklärungskommando (Intelligence Commando) of the Reichswehr, for the purpose of influencing other soldiers toward similar ideas and was assigned to infiltrate a small nationalist party, the German Workers' Party (DAP). During his inspection of the party, Hitler was impressed with Anton Drexler's anti-Semitic, nationalist, and anti-Marxist ideas. Here Hitler also met Dietrich Eckart, one of the early founders of the Nazi Party, member of Thule Society.1 Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him, teaching him how to dress and speak, and introducing him to a wide range of people. Hitler in return thanked Eckart by paying tribute to him in the second volume of Mein Kampf.

Hitler was discharged from the army in March 1920 and with his former superiors' continued encouragement began participating full time in the party's activities. By early 1921, Adolf Hitler was becoming highly effective at speaking in front of even larger crowds. In February, Hitler spoke before a crowd of nearly six thousand in Munich. To publicize the meeting, he sent out two truckloads of party supporters to drive around with swastikas, cause a commotion, and throw out leaflets, their first use of this tactic. Hitler gained notoriety outside of the party for his rowdy, polemic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and especially against Marxists and Jews.

The German Workers' Party was centered in Munich, which had become a hotbed of reactionary German nationalists that included army officers determined to crush Marxism and undermine or even overthrow the young German democracy centered in Berlin. Gradually, they noticed Adolf Hitler and his growing movement as a vehicle to hitch themselves to. Hitler traveled to Berlin to visit nationalist groups during the summer of 1921 and in his absence there was an unexpected revolt among the DAP leadership in Munich.

The party was run by an executive committee whose original members considered Hitler to be overbearing and even dictatorial. To weaken Hitler's position, they formed an alliance with a group of socialists from Augsburg. Hitler rushed back to Munich and countered them by tendering his resignation from the party on July 11, 1921. When they realized the loss of Hitler would effectively mean the end of the party, he seized the moment and announced he would return on the condition that he was made chairman and given dictatorial powers. Infuriated committee members (including founder Anton Drexler) held out at first. Meanwhile an anonymous pamphlet appeared entitled Adolf Hitler: Is he a traitor? attacking Hitler's lust for power and criticizing the violence-prone men around him. Hitler responded to its publication in a Munich newspaper by suing for libel and later won a small settlement.

The executive committee of the DAP eventually backed down and Hitler's demands were put to a vote of party members. Hitler received 543 votes for and only one against. At the next gathering on July 29, 1921, Adolf Hitler was introduced as Führer of the Nazi Party, marking the first time this title was publicly used. Hitler changed the name of the party to the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP).

Hitler's beer hall oratory, attacking Jews, socialists, liberals, capitalists, and communists, began attracting adherents. Early followers included Rudolf Hess, the former air force pilot Hermann Göring, and the flamboyant army captain Ernst Röhm, who became head of the Nazis' paramilitary organization, the Sturmabteilung (SA), which protected meetings and attacked political opponents. He also attracted the attention of local business interests, was accepted into influential circles of Munich society, and became associated with wartime general Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937), who wrote extensively on the conduct of World War I, which he believed had been defensive. He blamed Jews and other internal enemies of Germany for the defeat.

The Hitler Putsch

Encouraged by this early support, Hitler decided to use Ludendorff as a front in an attempt to seize power later known as the Hitler Putsch (and sometimes as Beerhall Putsch or Munich Putsch). The Nazi Party had copied the Italian Fascists in appearance and also had adopted some programmatical points and in the turbulent year 1923, Hitler wanted to emulate Mussolini's "March on Rome" by staging his own "Campaign in Berlin." Hitler and Ludendorff obtained the clandestine support of Gustav von Kahr, Bavaria's de facto ruler along with leading figures in the Reichswehr and the police. As political posters show, Ludendorff, Hitler, and the heads of the Bavarian police and military planned on forming a new government.

However on November 8, 1923, Kahr and the military withdrew their support during a meeting in the Bürgerbräu beer hall. A surprised Hitler had them arrested and proceeded with the coup. Unknown to him, Kahr and the other detainees had been released on Ludendorff's orders after he obtained their word not to interfere. That night they prepared resistance measures against the coup and in the morning, when the Nazis marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow what they saw as Bavaria's traitorous government as a start to their "March on Berlin," the army quickly dispersed them (Ludendorff was wounded and a few other Nazis were killed).

Hitler fled to the home of friends and contemplated suicide. He was soon arrested for high treason and appointed Alfred Rosenberg as temporary leader of the party, but found himself in an environment somewhat receptive to his beliefs. During Hitler's trial, sympathetic magistrates allowed Hitler to turn his debacle into a propaganda stunt. He was given almost unlimited amounts of time to present his arguments to the court along with a large body of the German people, and his popularity soared when he voiced basic nationalistic sentiments shared by the public. On April 1, 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg prison for the crime of conspiracy to commit treason. Hitler received favored treatment from the guards and received lots of mail from admirers. While at Landsberg he dictated his political book Mein Kampf (My Struggle) to his deputy Rudolf Hess. The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was both an autobiography and an exposition of his political ideology. It was published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, respectively, but did not sell very well until Hitler came to power (though by the late 1930s nearly every household in Germany had a copy of it). Meanwhile, as he was considered relatively harmless, Hitler was released in December 1924.

The rebuilding of the party

At the time of Hitler's release, the political situation in Germany had calmed down, and the economy had improved, which hampered Hitler's opportunities for agitation. Instead, he began a long effort to rebuild the dwindling party.

Though the Hitler Putsch had given Hitler some national prominence, his party's mainstay was still Munich. To spread the party to the north, Hitler also assimilated independent groups, such as the Nuremberg-based Wistrich, led by Julius Streicher, who now became Gauleiter (a rank within the party similar to deputy leader) of Franconia.

As Hitler was still banned from public speeches, he appointed Gregor Strasser, who in 1924 had been elected to the Reichstag, as Reichsorganisationsleiter, authorizing him to organize the party in northern Germany. Gregor, joined by his younger brother Otto and Joseph Goebbels, steered an increasingly independent course, emphasizing the socialist element in the party's program. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Gauleiter Nord-West became an internal opposition, threatening Hitler's authority, but this faction was defeated at the Bamberg Conference (1926), during which Goebbels joined Hitler.

After this encounter, Hitler centralized the party even more and asserted the Führerprinzip as the basic principle of party organization. Leaders were not elected by their group but were rather appointed by their superior and were answerable to them while demanding unquestioning obedience from their inferiors. Consistent with Hitler's disdain for democracy, all power and authority devolved from the top down.

A key element of Hitler's appeal was his ability to convey a sense of offended national pride caused by the Treaty of Versailles imposed on the defeated German Empire by the victors in World War I. Germany had lost economically important territory in Europe along with its colonies and in admitting to sole responsibility for the war had agreed to pay a huge reparations bill totaling 32 billion Gold marks. Most Germans bitterly resented these terms but early Nazi attempts to gain support by blaming these humiliations on "international Jewry" were not particularly successful with the electorate. The party learned quickly and a more subtle propaganda emerged, combining anti-Semitism with an attack on the failures of the "Weimar system" and the parties supporting it.

Having failed in overthrowing the republic by a coup, Hitler now pursued the "strategy of legality": this meant formally adhering to the rules of the Weimar Republic until he had legally gained power and then to transform liberal democracy into an authoritarian dictatorship. Some party members, especially in the paramilitary SA, opposed this strategy. Ernst Röhm, Hitler's long-time associate and leader of the SA, ridiculed Hitler as "Adolphe Legalité," resigned from his post, and emigrated to Bolivia.

The road to power

The Brüning administration

The political turning point for Hitler came when the Great Depression hit Germany in 1930. The Weimar Republic had never been firmly rooted and was openly opposed by right-wing conservatives (including monarchists), Communists, and the Nazis. As the parties loyal to the republic found themselves unable to agree on counter-measures, their Grand Coalition broke up and was replaced by a minority cabinet. The new Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, lacking a majority in parliament, had to implement his measures through the president's emergency decrees. Tolerated by the majority of parties, the exception soon became the rule and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government.

The Reichstag's initial opposition to Brüning's measures led to premature elections in September 1930. The republican parties lost their majority and their ability to resume the Grand Coalition, while the Nazis suddenly rose from relative obscurity to win 18.3 percent of the vote along with 107 seats in the Reichstag (Parliament), becoming the second largest party in Germany.

Brüning's measure of budget consolidation and financial austerity brought little economic improvement and was extremely unpopular. Under these circumstances, Hitler appealed to the bulk of German farmers, war veterans, and the middle-class who had been hard-hit by both the inflation of the 1920s and the unemployment of the Depression. Hitler received little response from the urban working classes and traditionally Catholic regions.

Meanwhile on September 18, 1931, Hitler's niece Geli Raubal was found dead in her bedroom in his Munich apartment (his half-sister Angela and her daughter Geli had been with him in Munich since 1929), an apparent suicide. Geli was 19 years younger than Hitler and had used his gun, drawing rumors of a relationship between the two. The event is viewed as having caused lasting turmoil for him.

In 1932, Hitler intended to run against the aging president Paul von Hindenburg in the scheduled German presidential election. Though Hitler had left Austria in 1913, he still had not acquired German citizenship and hence could not run for public office. In February however, the state government of Brunswick, in which the Nazi Party participated, appointed Hitler to some minor administrative post and also gave him citizenship. The new German citizen ran against Hindenburg, who was supported by the republican parties, and the Communist candidate. His campaign was called "Hitler über Deutschland" (Hitler over Germany). The name had a double meaning. Besides an obvious reference to Hitler's dictatorial intentions, it also referred to the fact that Hitler was campaigning by airplane. This was a brand new political tactic that allowed Hitler to speak sometimes in two cities in one day, which was then unheard of at the time. Hitler ended up losing the election. Although he lost, the election established Hitler as a realistic and fresh alternative in German politics.

The cabinets of Papen and Schleicher

President Hindenburg, influenced by the Camarilla, became increasingly estranged from Brüning and pushed his chancellor to move the government in a decidedly authoritarian and right-wing direction. This culminated in May 1932 with the resignation of the Brüning cabinet.

Hindenburg appointed the nobleman Franz von Papen as chancellor, heading a "cabinet of barons." Papen was bent on authoritarian rule and since in the Reichstag only the conservative German National People's Party (DNVP) supported his administration, he immediately called for new elections in July. In these elections, the Nazis achieved their biggest success yet and won 230 seats.

The Nazis had become the largest party in the Reichstag without which no stable government could be formed. Papen tried to convince Hitler to become vice-chancellor and enter a new government with a parliamentary basis. Hitler, however, rejected this offer and put further pressure on Papen by entertaining parallel negotiations with the Centre Party, Papen's former party, which was bent on bringing down the renegade Papen. In both negotiations, Hitler demanded that he, as leader of the strongest party, must be chancellor, but President Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint the "Bohemian private" to the chancellorship.

After a vote of no-confidence in the Papen government, supported by 84 percent of the deputies, the new Reichstag was dissolved and new elections were called in November. This time, the Nazis lost some votes, but still remained the largest party in the Reichstag.

After Papen failed to secure a majority he proposed to dissolve the parliament again along with an indefinite postponement of elections. Hindenburg at first accepted this, but after General Kurt von Schleicher and the military withdrew their support, Hindenburg instead dismissed Papen and appointed Schleicher, who promised he could secure a majority government by negotiations with the Social Democrats, the trade unions, and dissidents from the Nazi Party under Gregor Strasser. In January 1933, however, Schleicher had to admit failure in these efforts and asked Hindenburg for emergency powers along with the same postponement of elections that he had opposed earlier, to which the president reacted by dismissing Schleicher.

Hitler's appointment as Chancellor

Meanwhile Papen, resentful because of his dismissal, tried to

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