Adolf Hitler Never Won a Legitimate Election

I always yell at the television when some ill-informed political pundit falsely claims Adolf Hitler was democratically elected. Bernie Sanders made this claim a few years ago, and a Washington Post fact-checker gave him 4 Pinocchios–their highest falsehood rating. Last week, Bill Maher again repeated this myth on his show, Real Time, and a guest agreed with him. Maher has regurgitated this lie numerous times in the past, but there is no way for an average shmuck like me to contact him and set him straight. Maybe someone can bring this article to his attention, but I doubt it.

Adolf Hitler ran for President of Germany during 1932 and lost to Von Hindenburg twice. He lost the first election by over 19% points and the second by almost 17% points. The results were not close. However, Hitler did take advantage of the democratic process to gain power, so perhaps the Washington Post’s 4 Pinocchio rating given to Bernie Sanders was too harsh. I’d give him 1 Pinocchio or the mostly false rating used by Politifact fact-checkers.

Results of the 1932 German Presidential Election and the Run-off. Von Hindenburg beat Hitler twice. From wikipedia.
Von Hindenburg was the only person in Germany who could have stopped Adolf Hitler. Instead, he appointed him chancellor to form a coalition government. He could have formed a coalition government with the Christian Democrats, but he hated the more liberal party. In contradiction to the tone of this photo, Hitler thought Hindenburg was a doddering old fool and Hindenburg called Hitler a damned corporal, and he made fun of his Austrian accent.
The Nazis burned down the Reichstag (the German Congress building) and blamed it on the communists. Von Hindenburg approved of the Enabling Act which gave Hitler dictatorial powers based on this crisis manufactured by the Nazis. Photo from the Smithsonian magazine.

During the 1928 German parliamentary elections the Nazis garnered just 2.6% of the vote. Then the Great Depression began, the economy collapsed, and the Nazi Party won 37% of the seats for the Reichstag during the July 1932 parliamentary election. This was more than any other party but not enough for a majority. Von Hindenburg was forced to broker negotiations for a coalition government. Von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor–the most important cabinet position. He also appointed 2 other Nazis (Goring and Frick) to other positions, while the 8 other cabinet positions went to members of other political parties. Von Hindenburg did not have to do this. He could have formed a ruling coalition between the the moderate Christian Democrats, his own Centre Party, and a number of minor parties that could have pushed them over the top in the Reichstag. But Von Hindenburg hated the Christian Democrats. His own Centre Party was right wing and supported by the Conservative Catholic Church, and they despised the more liberal Christian Democrats. The former Chancellor, Von Pappen, still had influence with Von Hindenburg, and he persuaded him to appoint Hitler as Chancellor. Hitler had promised to make Von Pappen Vice-Chancellor in exchange for convincing Von Hindenburg to appoint him. Moreover, 22 leaders of German industry lobbied Von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler because they feared the communists, and they felt Hitler was the best leader who could prevent the spread of Bolshevist revolution. Von Hindenburg, himself an extreme right winger, actually agreed with all of Hitler’s positions, except for his persecution of the Jews. One can understand why Von Hindenburg appointed Hitler, but he wasn’t forced into it.

Another parliamentary election was called in November of 1932 and the Nazis lost 35 seats but still held more than any other party. Here again, Von Hindenburg could have sacked Hitler and replaced the coalition government, but he did not. During February 1933 the Nazis set fire to the Reichstag building and blamed it on the communists. They did such a good job of hiding the real arsonists that historians couldn’t prove the Nazis were behind the Reichstag fire until as recently as 2013. Hitler used this crisis to influence the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act, a law that suspended civil liberties and gave him more power than anyone other than Von Hindenburg who Hitler knew was dying of cancer. The law was not passed democratically. Members of the Reichstag who were Christian Democrats or Communists were arrested and prevented from voting against it. During his time as Chancellor Hitler gained control of the police and the military. After Von Hindenburg died during August of 1934 Hitler combined the office of the President with that of the Chancellor and called it the Fuhrer meaning supreme leader. He appointed himself Fuhrer. That does not sound like a democratic election to me.

After Hitler made himself dictator, there were elections but they were all rigged to make it look like the Nazis won in a landslide every time. Hitler ruled Germany for 11 years before killing himself in a bunker when he couldn’t deny that he had led Germany to its destruction.

Reference:

Shirer, William

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

MJF Books 1961

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2 Responses to “Adolf Hitler Never Won a Legitimate Election”

  1. capn toni old boi night fish Says:

    Thank you, GeorgieBeforePeople, for your writing here. My Mother and her Family were all from East Germany, Chemnitz, Saxony region. She, my Grandmother, Grandfather, and Aunt (who was an infant at the time), all managed somehow to survive the war and escape to the U.S.
    The only way to diffuse the effect of lies (such as the political ones you wrote of), is to keep battering them with the truth.
    Blessings* …..

    “Cap’n” Toni with my Pups Lady Coco, Maya and Carly and All the Animal-Kids of the lil Haus….
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania….

    *non-religious, general, all-purpose Blessings

  2. Adolf Hitler Never Won a Legitimate Election - FDR DEMOCRATS Says:

    […] Adolf Hitler Never Won a Legitimate Election Share […]

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