Hitler's Thirty Days to Power: January 1933

Hitler's Thirty Days to Power: January 1933

Hitler's Thirty Days to Power: January 1933

Hitler's Thirty Days to Power: January 1933

Synopsis

"On January 1, 1933, Hitler seemed destined to return to obscurity. Having suffered devastating blows in the previous November's election, the National Socialist Party was pronounced politically dead by its opponents. Three days later, however, Hitler met clandestinely with ex-chancellor Franz von Papen, who thought he could use the Nazi leader in an alliance to oust then-Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher. Thus began a month of intrigue in which Hitler, though having less than a third of the popular vote, nevertheless successfully pursued an all-or-nothing strategy to become leader of Germany. On January 30, amidst rumors, confusion, and several thwarted attempts to stop the event, Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor, and Germany turned its future over to a madman. Drawing on a lifetime of studying the Nazi regime, and newly available documents, Henry Turner shows how luck, political brinksmanship, and the personal weaknesses of his opponents helped Hitler come to power. He paints vivid portraits of Hitler and the other main players in this political drama - President and aging war hero Marshal Paul von Hindenburg; the miscalculating General von Schleicher (whom Hitler would later murder); and the devious von Papen. Through these characters - and a final brilliant chapter on historical contingency and responsibility - Turner re-establishes the importance of individual actors in the unfolding of historical events." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Everyone has heard of Hitler. Most know he was the dictator of Germany who caused the Second World War and the slaughter of millions of Jews. But how Hitler got power is another matter. Few understand the way in which his dictatorship came about. Because Germany was a republic when Hitler became chancellor, many assume that he was democratically elected by a majority of the German people. Such was not, however, the case. His rise to power was far more complicated and, above all, more chancy. It was, in fact, a very near thing that could have been thwarted at numerous points. Much of Hitler's story has been ably recounted in previous books, but no one has yet subjected to thorough scrutiny the dramatic events of the crucial month of January 1933, at the end of which Hitler became head of the German government. To tell that story is the task of this book.

T H I S work has benefited greatly from the generous help of others, for which I am very grateful. William Sheridan Allen, Peter Gay, Richard F. Hamilton, and Peter Hayes read drafts of the manuscript and provided valuable suggestions. In addition to commenting on the manuscript, William L. Patch, Jr., shared with me relevant documents from his own research, as did Larry Eugene Jones and Hagen Schulze.

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