Enabling Act of 1933: “Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”

Enabling Act of 1933

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Hitler’s Reichstag speech promoting the bill

The Enabling Act (German: Ermächtigungsgesetz) was passed by Germany’s Reichstag and signed by President Paul von Hindenburg on 23 March 1933. It was the second major step, after the Reichstag Fire Decree, through which Chancellor Adolf Hitler legally obtained plenary powers and established his dictatorship. It received its name from its legal status as an enabling act granting the Cabinet the authority to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag. The act stated that it was to last for four years unless renewed by the Reichstag, which occurred twice.

The formal name of the Enabling Act was Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich (English: “Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”).

Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation
Der Reichstag hat das folgende Gesetz beschlossen, das mit Zustimmung des Reichsrats hiermit verkündet wird, nachdem festgestellt ist, daß die Erfordernisse verfassungsändernder Gesetzgebung erfüllt sind: The Reichstag has enacted the following law, which is hereby proclaimed with the assent of the Reichsrat, it having been established that the requirements for a constitutional amendment have been fulfilled:
Artikel 1 Article 1
Reichsgesetze können außer in dem in der Reichsverfassung vorgesehenen Verfahren auch durch die Reichsregierung beschlossen werden. Dies gilt auch für die in den Artikeln 85 Abs. 2 und 87 der Reichsverfassung bezeichneten Gesetze. In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution, laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich. This includes the laws referred to by Articles 85 Paragraph 2 and Article 87 of the constitution.[2]
Artikel 2 Article 2
Die von der Reichsregierung beschlossenen Reichsgesetze können von der Reichsverfassung abweichen, soweit sie nicht die Einrichtung des Reichstags und des Reichsrats als solche zum Gegenstand haben. Die Rechte des Reichspräsidenten bleiben unberührt. Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.
Artikel 3 Article 3
Die von der Reichsregierung beschlossenen Reichsgesetze werden vom Reichskanzler ausgefertigt und im Reichsgesetzblatt verkündet. Sie treten, soweit sie nichts anderes bestimmen, mit dem auf die Verkündung folgenden Tage in Kraft. Die Artikel 68 bis 77 der Reichsverfassung finden auf die von der Reichsregierung beschlossenen Gesetze keine Anwendung. Laws enacted by the Reich government shall be issued by the Chancellor and announced in the Reich Gazette. They shall take effect on the day following the announcement, unless they prescribe a different date. Articles 68 to 77 of the Constitution do not apply to laws enacted by the Reich government.[3]
Artikel 4 Article 4
Verträge des Reiches mit fremden Staaten, die sich auf Gegenstände der Reichsgesetzgebung beziehen, bedürfen für die Dauer der Geltung dieser Gesetze nicht der Zustimmung der an der Gesetzgebung beteiligten Körperschaften. Die Reichsregierung erläßt die zur Durchführung dieser Verträge erforderlichen Vorschriften. Treaties of the Reich with foreign states which affect matters of Reich legislation shall not require the approval of the bodies of the legislature. The government of the Reich shall issue the regulations required for the execution of such treaties.
Artikel 5 Article 5
Dieses Gesetz tritt mit dem Tage seiner Verkündung in Kraft. Es tritt mit dem 1. April 1937 außer Kraft, es tritt ferner außer Kraft, wenn die gegenwärtige Reichsregierung durch eine andere abgelöst wird. This law takes effect with the day of its proclamation. It loses force on 1 April 1937 or if the present Reich government is replaced by another.
 

Hitler’s speech before the passing of the Enabling ActIn his speech before the Reichstag on March 23, 1933, just before the Enabling Act is passed, Adolf Hitler speaks out:

By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values. The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society. It will observe the agreements drawn up between the Churches and the provinces; their rights will not be touched. The Government, however, hopes and expects that the task of national and ethical renewal of our people, which it has set itself, will receive the same respect by the other side. The Government will treat all other denominations with objective and impartial justice. It cannot, however, tolerate allowing membership of a certain denomination or of a certain race being used as a release from all common legal obligations, or as a blank cheque for unpunishable behavior, or for the toleration of crimes. [The national Government will allow and confirm to the Christian denominations the enjoyment of their due influence in schools and education.] And it will be concerned for the sincere cooperation between Church and State. The struggle against the materialistic ideology and for the erection of a true people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft) serves as much the interests of the German nation as of our Christian faith. …The national Government, seeing in Christianity the unshakable foundation of the moral and ethical life of our people, attaches utmost importance to the cultivation and maintenance of the friendliest relations with the Holy See. …The rights of the churches will not be curtailed; their position in relation to the State will not be changed.[4]

Background

After being appointed chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, Hitler asked President von Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag. A general election was scheduled for March 5, 1933.The burning of the Reichstag six days before the election, depicted by the Nazis as the beginning of a communist revolution, resulted in the Reichstag Fire Decree, which (among other things) suspended civil liberties and habeas corpus rights. Hitler used the decree to have the Communist Party’s offices raided and its representatives arrested, effectively eliminating them as a political force.Although receiving five million more votes than in the previous election, the NSDAP had failed to gain an absolute majority in parliament, depending on the 52 seats won by its coalition partner, the German National People’s Party, for a slim majority.To free himself from this dependency, Hitler had the cabinet, in its first post-election meeting on March 15, draw up plans for an Enabling Act which would give the cabinet legislative power for four years. The Nazis devised the Enabling Act to gain complete political power without the need of the support of a majority in the Reichstag and without the need to bargain with their coalition partners.

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3 Responses to “Enabling Act of 1933: “Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich””

  1. Tweddy1810 Says:

    SHALL: It be, Heil Newt, Heil Mitt, Heil Michelle, Heil Sarah!!??

  2. this is just the wikipedia page copied and pasted……

  3. Yes that is what is says at the top, “from wikipedia”

    Bill

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