This Day In History: Hitler Becomes the Fuhrer (1934)

On this Day in History in 1934, Hitler made himself the Fuhrer or the leader of all Germany. In effect, he became the absolute ruler of Germany. He had been consolidating his hold on power ever since he was elected as Chancellor of Germany.

He had been adopting an increasing anti-democratic approach in his first few months in office. He and his Nazi henchmen had been intimidating and killing opponents. What was left of the democracy of the Weimar Republic was quickly dismantled. The Nazi Leader used his own private army, the SA, to intimidate his opponents. He had ordered the arrest of anyone whom he believed was a threat to his authority.  Many Socialists and Communists were arrested and even murdered.

Hitler was able to become elected as the Chancellor of Germany with only 32% of the vote. This was because the old right wing establishment liked his ardent anti-communism. They believed that they could control the young agitator. Many of these men such as Von Papen hoped to use Hitler and his party for their own ends.

Germany was still mired in the Depression and the Communists were gaining support daily. Many in the elite feared that they would seize power just as they had done in Russia. There had been several Communist inspired revolts in Germany in the immediate years after WWI.

Hitler was no-one’s puppet and those who enabled him to come to power were soon sidelined. Hitler was no fool and he followed his own agenda. He wanted to sweep the communists away but he also wanted to re-make Germany in his own image. To do this he needed to become dictator of Germany.

His chance soon came, when the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, was announced. Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuhrer, or in English “Leader.”

The German military took an oath of allegiance to its new commander-in-chief, and the last remnants of Germany’s democratic government were destroyed in a matter of weeks and was replaced by Hitler’s Third Reich. The Fuhrer assured his people that the Third Reich would last for 100 years, but Nazi Germany collapsed in 1945, with the suicide of Hitler.

Der Führer am Erntedanktag in Goslar Um 10 Uhr früh traf heute der Führer in Goslar ein, wo er von dem Reichsbauernführer Darre, dem Chef des Stabes Lutze, Minister Goebbels und Reichsarbeitsführer Hierl empfangen wurde. Der Führer begab sich sodann durch die reich geschmückte alte Stadt, überall jubelnd begrüßt zur Kaiserpfalz, wo er die Bauernabordnungen aus dem ganzen Reich empfing. Unser Bild zeigt den Führer beim Abschreiten der Front der Reichswehr Ehrenkompagnie vor der Kaiserpfalz. Foto Scherl Bilderdienst Berlin S.W.
Hitler inspecting the troops

The rise of Hitler was astonishing. He was not even German. he was actually born in Austria. He had served in the German army during WWI and was a decorated war hero. He founded his own party in 1919, one that was dedicated to the overthrow of the Weimar Republic. He was later imprisoned in 1923 for his part in a Putsch against the government. Remarkably, ten years later he was Chancellor of Germany.