Hitler Appointed Chancellor

January 30, 1933

Key Event:

Hitler Appointed Chancellor

January 30, 1933

Hitler Appointed Chancellor

German President Paul von Hindenburg appoints Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler as Chancellor at the head of a coalition government.  Although the Nazis did not have the majority they needed, they bullied their way into a compromise where they would be a part of that Coalition.  The Nazis had won 18.3% of the vote in the 1930 elections, making them the second largest political party.  In 1932 Hindenburg dismissed the then standing Chancellor and appointed Franz von Papen – a former Central Party diplomat.  Franz von Papen tried to control the Nazis, who were uprooting the old order’s conservative artitrocratic Prussians.  Unfortunately, the 1932 election brought more good news for the Nazis, who came in as the largest party at 37.3%. 

That percentage [37.3%] was the largest share of the vote, yes, but that still wasn’t enough for the majority needed in Weimar Germany.  Von Papen was dismissed and a new Chancellor, named Kurt von Schleicher, was appointed by Hindenburg.  Kurt von Schleicher dissolved the parliament in order to restore order, but again the Nazis came in with 33% of the vote. 

On the other side of the spectrum was the Communist party, who had also gained some popularity, and whose motives also threatened the interests of the military elite.  In fact, Hindenburg, von Papen, von Schleicher, and all of their cabal, were more fearful of the Communist party than they were of the Nazis. This impending doom felt by the wealthy military elite caused Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as the Chancellor – a last attempt to defeat extremism.  Hindenburg viewed Communism as more threatening than Hitler’s rule.