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article imageNew footage shows Hitler taking office as Chancellor 80 years ago

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 30, 2013 in World
Berlin - Today, Germany marks the 80th anniversary of Hitler's rise to power. New footage shows Adolf Hitler taking office as German Chancellor exactly 80 years ago today on January 30, 1933.
Little did the world know at the time that his rise to power would lead to the most destructive war in human history.
According to the Daily Mail, the photos are part of a gallery published by newsreel company British Pathe. It shows Hitler giving cameramen a thumbs up.
The Daily Mai reports that the original caption used by British Pathe on its footage in 1993 was prophetic. It said that Hitler was now master of his own destiny and suggested uncertainty for the future.
The caption compared Hitler to Otto von Bismarck, 19th century German statesman who unified Germany. The caption read: "BERLIN... ADOLF HITLER assumes Bismarck's mantle as Germany's chancellor. He is now master of his adopted country's destiny and a wondering world awaits... what?"
A spokesman for British Pathe said: "Hitler's appointment as Chancellor was significant in his rise to power and the footage from 80 years ago is an important piece of history because of what followed."
Merkel urges Germans to resist complacency
Chancellor Angel Merkel used the opportunity of the 80th anniversary of Hitler's assumption of office as Chancellor to remind Germans to fight for their principles and resist falling into a state of complacency that swept the Nazi regime to power.
AP reports she spoke at the opening of a new exhibit at the Topography of Terror memorial which documents Hitler's election. Merkel recalled how German academics and students supported the Nazi rise to power and participated happily in the burning of "subversive books."
The Topography memorial is built around the site of ruins of the complex of offices from where the Gestapo secret police, the SS and the Reich Security Main Office helped Hitler run his Nazi police state, AP reports.
Chancellor Merkel said: "The rise of the Nazis was made possible because the elite of German society worked with them, but also, above all else, because most in Germany at least tolerated this rise."
Hitler's rise to power
After he won only about a third of the votes at the 1932 election, Hitler successfully pressured the infirm President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint him chancellor. Hindenburg came under pressure from influential politicians, industrialists and businessmen to appoint Hitler Chancellor after elections failed to yield a majority government.
The president appointed Hitler to head a coalition government formed by Hitler's party, the National Socialist German Workers Party, and the German National People's Party.
The cabinet was sworn in on 30 January 1933.
Hitler began consolidating his hold on power as soon as he came to office by limiting several key freedoms with the backing of industry leaders, businessmen and influential politicians. AP reports that about a month after he was appointed chancellor, he exploited the torching of the Reichstag parliament building to finalize his plans to impose a totalitarian regime.
Within six months of his coming to power in 1933, Germany had become a one party state, with the Nazi Party the only political party. He styled himself the "Fuhrer" and assumed absolute powers.
At her address marking the 80th anniversary of Hitler's assumption of office as Chancellor, Merkel said the fact that Hitler could dismantle German democracy in six months serves a warning against complacency and public apathy. She said:"Human rights do not assert themselves on their own; freedom does not emerge on its own; and democracy does not succeed on its own. No, a dynamic society... needs people who have regard and respect for one another, who take responsibility for themselves and others, where people take courageous and open decisions and who are prepared to accept criticism and opposition."
Hitler had been scheming for power for more than a decade. He attempted a coup in 1923, the Beer Hall Putsch, in which the NSDAP interrupted a public meeting at a beer hall, the Bürgerbräukeller, in Munich, and declared a new government had been formed.
He spent a year in prison after the coup failed. It was during that year that he wrote his rambling "Mein Kampf," an autobiographical statement of his ideology and vision for Germany based on race and ethnicity.
He rode to power after his release from prison on the back of the seething discontent of the masses, especially after the Great Depression during which ordinary people suffered extreme economic hardship.
After his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he inaugurated the Third Reich, and imposed a single-party state dictatorship based on Nazi race ideology elaborated in his "Mein Kampf." He launched a campaign against Jews and began a war that plunged Europe into darkness and stark savagery.
Memories
AP reports that a Jewish Berliner, Inge Deutschkron, 90, still has memories of the excitement Germans felt at Hitler's rise to power. She remembered her family's growing unease and sense of insecurity as weeks passed under the Nazi regime in a city in which Hitler's SA thugs controlled the streets. She said: "Often, I couldn't get to sleep in the evenings and listened for footsteps in the staircase. If they were boots, I became afraid they could be SA men coming to arrest my father."
Deutschkron's father escape to England before the war. Berliner friends hid the family in the final years of the war. She recalled the apparent indifference of Germans to the plight of Jews under Hitler: "The majority of Germans I met in the streets looked away when they saw this star on me — or looked straight through me."
She also recalled that soon after the war most Germans "had simply erased from their memory the crimes for which the German state had set up its own machinery of murder."
She recalled that West Germany's first chancellor after the war, Konrad Adenauer, claimed that most Germans had not supported the Nazi regime. She said wryly: "If only that had been the truth."
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