5 March 1933 was the day of the last multi-party election in the German Reich.
Worth noticing is that the Nazis did not win a majority of the votes despite taking over the government in January and having already implemented the first repressive policies – as we all know, nationalist conservatives played a significant role in the process leading to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor and nationalist conservative parties and associations delivered the final parliamentary seats which the Nazis needed to unleash their reign of terror on Germany and Europe.
I discussed Danish political mistakes and blunders in some earlier posts, but I think it it worth remembering that Germany had a very bad run during most of the 20th Century – especially the first part of the century – with an incredible succession of incompetent and misguided, if not outright criminal, political leaders. Max Weber’s discussions and analyses of the politics of the Wilhelmine Empire are still eerily prescient.
It took a devastating world war and a shrewd politician like Konrad Adenauer to stabilise things – if only in the western part of the country.