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Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33

6. Did Hitler Come to Power Legally?

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In this module, we explore whether Hitler came to power legally. Hitler's violent coup had failed in 1923 and this had persuaded him that the route to power was through winning votes but this did not mean the Nazis unwilling to use violence, through the SA, to achieve their aims. It is important to note that all the main parties had paramilitary wings and clashes of armed and uniformed men common on the streets throughout the Weimar years. However, the occurrence of murder between Nazis and KPD wings implies rampant illegality. From 1923, Hitler was careful to avoid direct, violent assault on the centre of power and to preserve appearance of legality. Once in power, illegality order of the day as used threat of violence to intimidate DNVP and other parties into dissolving themselves, passing of the Enabling Act without Communists in Reichstag, and use of concentration camps to detain political rivals.


In this course, Professor Sir Richard J. Evans (University of Cambridge) discusses the rise of the Nazi Party from 1918-33. In the the first module, we'll set out the entire period with a timeline of crucial events. In the following modules, we'll then go on to answer some key questions: (i) did proportional representation cause political instability? (ii) did the power and personality of the President undermine the Republic? (iii) was the Weimar Republic undermined by inflation? (iv) was the Republic destroyed by the Depression? (v) did Hitler come to power legally?


Sir Richard J. Evans is Regius Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cambridge and is Provost of Gresham College. He specialises in European history with a focus on Germany. He is the author of eighteen books, including a three-volume series called The Third Reich Trilogy.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Evans, R. (2021, December 01). Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 - Did Hitler Come to Power Legally? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Evans, R. "Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 – Did Hitler Come to Power Legally?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Dec 2021,

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