Political Events Within the Nazi Party

            It is also necessary to examine the political events within the party which contributed to its stay in power. The party underwent a process called “Gleichschaltung” which saw the integration of all organs of state into the party. President Hindenburg died in August of 1934, and Hitler was offered the position. However, he declined, claiming that it would always be associated with the Great War Hero, Hindenburg. As such, he stated that he would be referred to as “Führer” or “leader.” This created position freed him from the limitations which would be placed on his power by the constitution. Jewish and anti-Nazi officials were dismissed, and the State Governments were placed under the control of Nazi Reich governors. These governors also watched for signs of insubordination among local Nazis. This showed an increase and a tightening of Nazi control over Germany, with the Nazis having a hand in most aspects of German politics, and Hitler’s power almost unlimited. Hitler tried to stay on good terms with various Christian denominations, perhaps because- as suggested by Historians Ronald Cameron, Christine Henderson and Charles Robertson- he “may even have seen God as a rival for the loyalty of the people.” In 1933, he signed a concordat with the Pope. However, Churches could not Christianise Nazism and its violence offended them, so the Nazi party had the Catholic Church’s youth organisations closed down and its priests arrested. Additionally, Catholic schools were converted to Nazi schools and religious teaching was entirely banned. In 1933, there was an attempt by the Nazis to co-ordinate Protestants into a Reich Church under a Nazi Bishop. Many pastors joined, but others became more and more outspoken and were removed to concentration camps. This shows a further extension of Nazi influence, as well as, of course, the consequences of resisting this influence.

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