Eighty Years Ago

Reichskabinett Adolf Hitler86145

On this date eight decades ago, the last gasp of Germany’s post-war Weimar Republic was heard.  Assailed from left and right, Communists, Spartacists, Monarchists, and National Socialists, the 14-year Republic fell amidst the torchlight parades in honor of Germany’s new Chancellor, Adolf Hitler.   Just three and a half weeks later, the burning of the Reichstag signaled a crisis upon which the new Reich Government would eagerly act.  The issue of the so-called “Reichstag Fire Decree”, properly titled Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat (“Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State”), quickly followed:

On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:

Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

Next, of course, came the dissolution of the Reichstag under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, all but cementing Adolf Hitler as dictator of Germany.   Signed by the elderly Hindenburg, whose death in August of 1934 allowed Hitler to subsume the title of Reich President, the so-called Enabling Act began twelve years of virtual martial law inside Germany.    Hitler, of course, soothed those who were alarmed by promising restraint:

“The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures…The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one.”

A mania to act, to “do something”.   Taking advantage of a crisis for political gain.   Assigning collective guilt to a segment of society.  A state-controlled media eager to help make the case that political opponents represented domestic enemies.  An unchecked overreach of government power toward its people and the dissolution of civil liberties.   And, finally, in the late summer of the next year, complete subservience of the Army and its leadership, whose oath had previously been to the Constitution of the Republic now dissolved.

Eighty years ago today, it all began in earnest.

9 thoughts on “Eighty Years Ago”

    1. Yes, quite possibly that will be used as the arson used to ‘justify measures” to protect the Government.

      By the way, Tet was 45 years ago. History moves along. Tet was closer to the acent of Hitler, than it is to us.

  1. Scott, it is an ugly truth that Tet is actually far closer to Hitler than it is to today’s youth. When I was a lad, we had two janitors in the Elementary School who were World War I veterans, and still working. One walked with a limp from German shell fragments. Where he got them, I cannot remember.

    1. Oh, yes. I told a young woman last December 7th, “It’s December 7th, never forget”, had I had to explain. I can talk the Pacific with the dispatcher though. She is a 27 year old medically discharged Marine, ( stress fractures in bones ), who is a big fan of Victory At Sea.

      When I was in High School, every Veteran’s Day, and elderly chap would come to school in high WWI uniform, so we kids would not forget. He was pretty cool, a Genuine Old Coot. Our male teachers were all WWII or Korean War vets. Mr. Hoganson who taught history was a retired USAAF Colonel; Mr. Gearhart,the biology teacher Korean War US Army artillery; and Mr. Figi, chemistry, was on a CVE in the Pacific at age 17. The times and the world have changed, and not for the better.

  2. If you don’t like Victory at Sea there’s something bad wrong with you. I got the set at Walmart in the bargain bin for $5. Several people kept setting it aside and when I saw it, It never left my sticky hands. Almost time to watch it again. I’ll watch it at least one more time afore the time comes for the annual showing of Midway at Chez QM.

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