Sunday, November 22, 2015

March 23, 1933: The Enabling Act

March 23, 1933

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler addresses the Reichstag at the Kroll Opera House after the passage of the Enabling Act.
Politics, Germany: Having been appointed Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler wasted no time consolidating his power. After the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933, ostensibly the work of Communist terrorists, there was a sense of urgency for the protection of the state. This resulted in the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February 1933, which suspended civil liberties in Germany. This was quickly followed by the so-called Enabling Act of 23 March 1933. These two acts essentially imposed martial law on Germany.

The Reichstag and Reichsrat, under obvious coercion by SA members observing the proceedings, passed a bill called "Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich ( "Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich")," afterward called the Enabling Act. In the key part, it provided in Article 3:
Laws enacted by the Reich government shall be issued by the Chancellor and announced in the Reich Gazette.
In essence, the Enabling Act gave Chancellor Hitler absolute power, over and above the constitution, to issue whatever decrees he saw fit. President Paul von Hindenburg quickly signed it into law. The law by its terms lasted four years and was subject to renewal - which it was, twice. The law was entirely constitutional due to Article 48  of the Weimar Constitution then in effect, which specifically gave the legislature the ability to confer such power.

Due to the human death toll that resulted from Hitler's consolidation of power, this bill was one of the most significant of the 20th Century.

Adolf Hitler


8-9 November 1923: Beer Hall Putsch

December 20, 1924: Hitler Leaves Prison

September 18, 1931: Geli Raubal Commits Suicide

November 8, 1932: Roosevelt is Elected

30 January 1933: Hitler Takes Office
February 27, 1933: Reichstag Fire
March 23, 1933: The Enabling Act

June 20, 1934: Hitler Plans the Night of the Long Knives
June 30, 1934: Night of the Long Knives

August 1, 1936: Opening of the Berlin Olympics

September 30, 1938: The Munich Agreement
November 9, 1938: Kristallnacht

August 1, 1939: Flight Tests of B-17 Flying Fortress
August 2, 1939: Einstein and the Atom Bomb
August 7, 1939: Goering Tries to Broker Peace
August 14, 1939: Hitler Decides To Attack Poland
August 15, 1939: U-Boats Put To Sea
August 16, 1939: Incident at Danzig
August 20, 1939: Battle of Khalkhin Gol
August 22, 1939: Hitler Tips His Hand
August 23, 1939: Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact
August 25, 1939: Hitler Postpones Invasion of Poland
August 27, 1939: First Jet Flight
August 31, 1939: The Gleiwitz Operation


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