The summer of 1934 was moved to Hitler, "crucial," as François Poncet, the French ambassador in Berlin, began by starting his first interview with Mussolini. They met in Venice on June 16 with a negative result because of their mutual prejudices: Mussolini, at the summit of power, saw Hitler at an upstart with a dubious future; He was irritated that the Duce wore an ostentatious uniform, while he was a countryman and judged him uneducated, insensitive to the beauty of art. More important was the "Night of the Long Knives", from June 30 to July 1, in which Hitler eliminated the uncomfortable leaders of the SA, the Nazi brown militia, which became a serious problem because with its four million members it constituted a bottomless pit and a serious threat to the Chancellor himself: his chief, Rohm, intended to convert the SA into a national militia, armed and trained by the Army, which clashed with both the military and President Hindenburg himself. In the "Night of the Long Knives" 200 people were killed, the SS became the Nazi militia and the repressive apparatus passed to Himmler and Heydrich.
Another critical date was July 25: while Hitler enjoyed "The Gold of the Rhine" in Bayreuth, Austrian Nazis murdered Chancellor Dollfuss (as we already had days ago) in order to eliminate the main obstacle to the union with Germany. But Mussolini was a close friend of the murdered and sent five divisions to the border threatening to attack Germany if Vienna requested Italian intervention. It was a deadly threat: Germany – almost disarmed – would have been defeated and Hindenburg, ill and pressured by the military, would have conjured up the war threat by handing over the head of his chancellor to Vienna. He saved Von Papen's ability and the sacrifice of some Austrian Nazis. A few days, luck encrusted him in power. Hindenburg had left Berlin at the beginning of June, wanted to die in Prussia, on his estate in Neudeck, and rest with his wife, and at the end of July he entered the pre-gonian state.
Hitler arrived in Neudeck on the 31st and, despite the opposition of the doctors, he could see the president for a few minutes. On leaving he declared that Hindenburg, in a few moments of lucidity, had transmitted his last wishes. The doctors doubted him, but Göbbels turned the supposed legacy into gold: whatever happened to Hitler was the last wish of the marshal, who died on August 2, 1934.
His body had not cooled when a decree was published whereby the presidency was linked to the Chancellery and all presidential powers "converge on the person of the Führer-Chancellor Hitler, who will appoint his closest associates." Thus, the Government was essentially Nazi.
General Von Blomberg, who maintained the Defense portfolio, signed a decree by which the members of the Army would take an unprecedented and transcendent oath, since only death could break it: «I swear by God unconditional obedience to the German Reich Führer, of his people and supreme head of the Army, Hitler, and I am willing as a soldier to offer my life for the sake of this oath. Von Blomberg issued the order that the military should address Hitler as Mein Führer. But Hitler wanted a public testimony of the support of the Germans. Supported by the Nazi and state propaganda apparatus and by the threatening power of the SS and the Gestapo, he convened a plebiscite in which on August 19, 38.3 million voters voted him as head of state. The Führer was not happy: he did not ignore that five million, playing freedom and life, voted against or blank.
Marshal Hinderburg: playing with the weaknesses of an old man
Hindenburg He joined the Army, distinguished himself as an officer in the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars of 1866 and 1870. During the following 30 years he provided multiple protocol services to the monarchy until, already general, he retired in 1911. But at The outbreak of the Great War rejoined the service as head of the VIII Army that defended the eastern part and, with forces far inferior to the Russians, beat them in the battles of Tannemberg and the Masurian Lakes, causing 170,000 casualties against some 12,000. With high prestige, he acceded to the headquarters of the General Staff in 1916 and to the headquarters of the Army, where he achieved some successes until, in 1918, before the exhaustion of the Central Empires, he recommended capitulation. In 1925, the right led him to the presidency of the Weimar Republic and, in 1932, voters ratified him in office against Adolf Hitler, the main opponent. He was a very monarchist and really conservative man. The president, with 86 years, yielded to the pressures of his clique and, in January 1933, appointed Chancellor Hitler, head of the main opposition force in the Reichtag. The Nazi leader played with the weaknesses of the old president of the Weimar Republic, laying the foundations of his dictatorship in the 16 months he ruled with his support.
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