Enabling Act of 1933  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Enabling Act (German: Template:Lang) was a 1933 amendment to the Weimar Constitution that gave the German Cabinet – in effect, Chancellor Adolf Hitler – the power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag. It passed in both the Reichstag and Reichsrat on 24 March 1933, and was signed by President Paul von Hindenburg later that day. The act stated that it was to last four years unless renewed by the Reichstag, which occurred twice. The Enabling Act gave Hitler plenary powers. It followed on the heels of the Reichstag Fire Decree, which abolished most civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government. The combined effect of the two laws was to transform Hitler's government into a de facto legal dictatorship.

The formal name of the Enabling Act was Template:Lang (English: "Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich"). This legislation was ostensibly passed at the Kroll Opera House, where the legislators were surrounded by, and threatened by, Nazi troops. The Communists had already been banned and were therefore not present and not able to vote, while several Social Democrats were kept away as well. In the end, nearly all the parties present voted for the act, with the Social Democrats being the only ones voting against.

Portrayal in films

The film Hitler: The Rise of Evil contains a scene portraying the passage of the Enabling Act. The portrayal in the film is inaccurate, with the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree (which in practice, as the name states, was a decree issued by President Hindenburg weeks before the Enabling Act) merged into the Act. Non-Nazi members of the Reichstag, including Vice-Chancellor von Papen, are shown objecting. In reality the Act met little resistance, with only the centre-left Social Democratic Party voting against passage.

The same film also shows Hermann Göring, the then speaker of the house, begin singing Deutschland Lied. Nazi representatives then stand and immediately join in with Göring; bizarrely, all other party members join in too, with everyone performing the Hitler salute. In reality, this never happened.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Enabling Act of 1933" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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