Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

Seventy-five years ago, on January 30, 1933, Hitler was offered the post of Chancellor of Germany:

"The Nazi Party, while not holding an absolute majority in the Reichstag, became overnight the power in the land. Throughout Germany, as the news of Hitler’s Chancellorship spread, the Brownshirts, who for so many months had been the terror of the streets, marched in triumph. They knew that their triumph was complete, and that no arrangement of Cabinet offices could reduce or restrain it. That night the watchers from the British Embassy witnessed the Nazi triumph: "From 8 p.m. till past midnight", the ambassador’s wife, Lady Rumbold, wrote to her mother two days later, "a continuous procession went past the Embassy, of Nazis in uniform and their admirers, bands, flags, torches, over four hours of it! The old President watched from his window, and a little further down the street the new Chancellor, Hitler, and his supporters stood on a balcony, and had a stupendous ovation. On our steps, and perched up on the ledge with the columns, stood wild enthusiasts, singing all the old German hymns! Every now and then there were shouts of "Germany awake", "Down with the Jews", "Heil Hitler"! It seemed as tho’ the whole of Berlin was processing along the Wilhelmstrasse.""

A History of the Twentieth Century, Vol. One: 1900-1933, Martin Gilbert, HarperCollins, 1997

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