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The Abyss: The Racial State 1933-1934

The Rise and Fall of the Nazis (4/10)

Recently elected Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler clamps down on all opposition. In less than two years he transforms Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship.

52 min
52 min
Video verfügbar bis 07.05.2031, in Deutschland

What is particularly noteworthy is Hitler’s adherence to the law – creating regulations and laws from his measures. In apparently free elections and Referenda he secures the support of the German people.

After the Reichstag fire in 1933, President of the Reich, Paul von Hindenburg, signs a decree suspending freedom of speech and assembly. The Nazis are always careful to respond to alleged threats to German society, such as the brutal repression of Communism.

Communism and Concentration Camps

The historian, Moshe Zimmermann clarifies this position: “"It must be emphasized that Nazi propaganda was successful because of the mentality of the time. It conjured up a serious threat of communism, which met with broad approval in society." Yet their seizure of power would not have been possible without terror.

The first concentration camps are not set up in secret. Rather, they are announced publicly flanked by major reports in newspapers and magazines. The German public are aware of their existence and their purpose, yet as they only affected political opponents and minorities, the majority granted their silent support. But those who, like the Jewish lawyer Ludwig Marum, fell into the clutches of the Nazis often paid with their lives. This Social Democract was strangled to death in the Kislau concentration camp in 1934. His family fled abroad

What facilitated the rise of the Nazis?

With this 10-part documentary series "The Abyss - Rise and Fall of the Nazis" ZDFinfo is using the power of film to take a stand against ignorance towards the past. The project tells the story of the rise and fall of National Socialism from an international perspective, examining the causes of the rupture in civilization at the hands of Germans, which led from a crisis-ridden democracy to war and genocide.

Rare, and newly discovered film and photo footage, as well as 40 field-leading experts such as Richard J. Evans, Mary Fulbrook, Peter Longerich, Moshe Zimmermann, Alexandra Richie, and Götz Aly, offer new perspectives on the history between 1918 and 1948.

Based on the latest research, the series focuses on both the motives of the perpetrators, but also on the responsibility of a significant portion of the German people What facilitated the rise of the Nazis. What paved the way for the genocide of the Jews? This is the story of how humanity's darkest hour took place. The Abyss.

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