88 Years Ago Today, Adolf Hilter Took PowerAfter Losing The Popular Vote in the 1932 Elections. Sound Familiar?
The election results appeared at first to be a setback for the upstart candidate. Dismissed as a blow-hard and a rabble-rouser, many refused to take him seriously. Others came to his defense and argued that you shouldn’t take him ‘literally.’ Political leaders felt he could be contained and that even if he ever came to power his impact would be minimal. He lost the popular vote by a signficiant margin — not once, but twice in the preedcing year. Yet a series of events conspired to change the course of history and on January 30th, 1933, Adolf Hitler became the German Chancellor.
A little over a year and a half later, the German President (in the photo with Hitler), Paul von Hindenburg died. Hitler remained deferrential to von Hindenburg in public, often bowing in his presence (see image below). It was all a charade.
In truth, the wolf had been let into the gates and was simply waiting for his moment to strike. It came in August 1934 with the death of von Hindenburg. Supported by the German military, Hitler becomes President of Germany and moves swiftly to then abolish that very office, leaving the German Chancellor as the total ruler, the Führer, of the German Reich. By expanding the role of Chancelllor, Hitler consolidated his power, banned political opposition, and removed any legal or constitutional limits to his authority. He did this all with breath-taking speed.
This should have come to no surprise, as Hitler campaigned on taking such steps during the 1932 and earlier elections. Hitler turned out to govern just as he said he would. If only people did in fact take him seriously in the run up to January 30th, 1933, the world would be a very different place today.
A friend of his, Ernst Hanfstaengl observed: “He could develop grandiose ideas and be primitive to the point of banality. He was able to convince millions that his iron will and strength of character alone would guarantee victory, and yet even as German chancellor he remained a bohemian whose unreliability had those who worked with…