Holocaust History Archived Page
Hitler Becomes Führer
August 2, 1934
When President Paul Von Hindenburg died on August 2, 1934, Reich Chancellor Hitler was perched to step into power.
The posts of President and Chancellor were merged into one position: the Führer, or supreme leader, of the German People.
Almost immediately following, Hitler and the Nazi party announced the following law:
"The Reich Government has enacted the following law which is hereby promulgated.
Section 1. The office of Reich President will be combined with that of Reich Chancellor. The existing authority of the Reich President will consequently be transferred to the Führer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. He will select his deputy.
Section 2. This law is effective as of the time of the death of Reich President von Hindenburg."
This was technically illegal in part because of the Enabling Act of 1933 which forbade Hitler from altering the presidency. At this point, no one was raising objections.
On August 19th, the concept of Führer was put out for a public approval vote. The public may have been partially swayed by a forgery of Von Hindenburg’s last will and testament, in which he encouraged the public to vote for Hitler. With a 90% vote of “Ja”, Hitler assumed his new, self created position, and could claim public approval.
The next day, August 20, all public officials in Germany were required to take a mandatory loyalty oath:
"I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws, and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God."
Hitler had finally attained full power.
USHMM Photograph. Adolf Hitler looks out the window of a train