Hindenburg’s Death: Hitler Becomes the “Führer”

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The death of the eighty-six year old President of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg, on August 2, 1934 further weakened right-wing conservative circles and bestowed additional power upon Hitler once again. The “Führer and Chancellor of Germany” also assumed the office of the President of Germany and thus simultaneously supreme command of the Wehrmacht, which was swore allegiance to him.

A plebiscite on August 19 enabled Hitler to legitimate his new omnipotent position as head of the state, government, party and military impressively: Nearly 90 percent of the voters cast a yes vote (with a turnout of a good 95 percent).

Although the election had not really been free, support for the Nazi regime was immense in large segments of the population. Reverence for the “Führer” assumed downright mythic proportions. On the day right after the plebiscite, a decree was issued, which required every civil servant as well to swear an oath to the “Führer” as well.

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