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Hitlers Enabling Act On March 23 1933 the newly elected members of the Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitlers Enabling Act It was officially called the Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich If this bill would be passed it would end democracy in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler The Nazis had secretly caused confusion in order to create an atmosphere in which the law seem necessary to restore order On February 27 1933 Nazis burned the Reichstag building and a seat of the German government causing frenzy and outrage They successfully blamed the fire on the Communists and claimed it marked the beginning of a widespread rebellion On the day of the vote Nazi storm troopers gathered around the opera house chanting Full powers - or else We want the bill - or fire and murder They also stood inside in the hallways and even in the aisles where voting would take place scowling threateningly at anyone who opposed Hitler Before the vote Hitler made a speech to the Reichstag in which he pledged to use restraint He also promised to end unemployment and promote peace with France Great Britain and the Soviet Union However in order to accomplish all this Hitler said he first needed the Enabling Act Since this act would alter the German constitution a two-thirds majority was necessary Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it The Center Party provided these votes after Hitler made a false promise to them One man however stood out amid this all Otto Wells leader of the Social Democrats stood moved to speak to Hitler We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice of freedom and socialism No enabling act can give you power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible Hitler grew enraged and
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