Hitler wasn’t “voted into power” by a majority

FILE-In this May 7, 1933 file photo, German chancellor Adolf Hitler speaks to 30,000 uniformed Nazi storm troopers at Kiel, Germany. In March 1933, six years before the war began, Adolf Hitler’s storm troopers violently shut down a small German newspaper, the Munich Post , that had devoted close to a decade warning about Hitler’s dangers to a free society. A recent biography published by The Associated Press called, “Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler” by Terrence Petty, captures the early era of Nazi Germany. (AP Photo)

A letter to the editor in the Feb. 20 edition of The Salt Lake Tribune includes the following paraphrasing of Rachel Maddow (edited, but I don’t think I changed the meaning.) “What happened in Germany in 1932 didn’t happen in a vacuum. Hitler was voted into power in a legitimate election … Either a majority of the country truly wanted a dictator or … the majority couldn’t be bothered to show up and a minority prevailed in the election.”

I lived in Germany for several years and have studied pre-WWII German politics a little. It bugs me that this misinformation or misunderstanding of German politics in 1932/33 is repeated over and over.

In the July 1932 German federal election the Nazi Party won 37% of the seats in the Reichstag and in the November 1932 federal election this dropped to 32%. In neither election was Hitler “voted into power” (elected chancellor) by a majority. In fact the Nazi representation in the Reichstag decreased between July and November 1932. There was political intrigue and political chaos in Germany 1932, and early 1933, and Hitler was appointed to power (appointed chancellor) by President Paul Von Hindenburg in January 1933 even though the Nazi Party had less than 1/3 of the seats in the Reichstag.

Note that I totally agree with the intent of the letter (“just show up”), seldom disagree with Rachael Meadow, and I am terrified of damage to the country (and world) if Trump is elected. Please vote for democracy in November.

Don S. Bloswick, Salt Lake City

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