Hitler Becomes German Chancellor

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Hitler Becomes German Chancellor
Presidential elections were held in March 1932. Hitler's vigorous denunciation of the Versailles Treaty, together with his denunciation of Jews, was hugely popular in a Germany suffering from high unemployment and inflation. This appeal, however, failed to win him the election. General Hindenberg won instead.

In July's Reichstag elections, the Nazis won the largest number of seats, but not a majority. No coalition government could be formed and once again elections were called. Again the results were inconclusive.

In January, the centrists entered into a coalition with Hitler making him the new Prime Minister of Germany. In February, the Reichstag burned down, and Hitler charged the fire had been the work of the Communists. He arrested all the Communist members of the Parliament. Elections held a week later gave the Nazis only 44 percent of the votes. With the Communists in prison, however, Hitler was able to get the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act. This made Hitler a dictator, removed Jews and other "undesirables" from all position of power and dissolved the Reichstag. Europe had entered into a dark era.