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He was NOT voted in.

Reader comment on item: [The Hamas Electoral Victory:] Democracy's Bitter Fruit

Submitted by Paul Mason (United States), Jan 27, 2006 at 12:52

Germans of course did not elect Hitler in 1933 but he was appointed by President Hindenburg January 30th of that miserable year.

Nazis profited by fear of a Communist coup and the fortuitous Reichstag fire to secure an enabling act allowing rule by decree -- the basis of the Third Reich until its end in May1945. It is interesting to note that FDR in his First Inaugural proposed a similar rule by decree if he could not get what he considered essential in the economic emergency. through the Congress. In such a case FDR said he would seek broad executive powers just as if the country were being invaded by a foreign foe.

Certainly Hitler had broad support as anyone who has seen "Triumph of the Will" would suspect. The German people were pleased with NS economic success, especially steps which relieved unemployment -- and which restored pride the country had lost so bitterly in 1918-19. But as William L. Shirer reported from Berlin,, September 1 1939 hit them as a serious and unpleasant shock. Even Goering commented to other Nazi leadship, "God help us if we lose this time."

I take no exception to your excellent column today except that Hitler was not elected by the people. When he ran for President in 1932, he was voted down in favor of the aging field marshal along with loser Ernst Thälmann who led the Communist KPD. With a choice of Nazis or Communists the German electorate took the only alternative it had considering the candidates and reelected Hindenburg -- who turned around a few months laterand appointed Hitler, who was seen at the time to be as potentially temporary as his two immediate predecessors as chancellor. The Nazis never won a national election outright which they did not control.

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