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Having failed to achieve an outright majority in the election of 5 March 1933, Hitler proposed to the new Reichstag a new law that would give him the power he longed for. The proposed Enabling Law (see above) would effectively give Hitler control of parliament and the country.
At the opening of the Reichstag on 21 March, in the presence of Hindenburg, Hitler made a speech that likened the Nazi Party to the traditional elites of Germany.
Two days later the Reichstag met at the Kroll Opera House to discuss the Enabling Law. Communists were banned from the meeting, whilst those who were in attendance were subjected to heavy intimidation from members of the SA.
In order to gain the votes of the Catholic Centre Party Hitler made a promise to respect the rights of the Catholic Church and uphold moral and religious values.
Hitler had gained 444 votes for the Enabling Act with 94 against. Only the SPD had voted against.
By passing the ‘Enabling law’ the Reichstag had effectively voted itself out of existence; giving the Hitler and the Nazi Party the power to make laws without parliamentary approval. Within a few short weeks of coming to power, Hitler had dismantled the failing Weimar Constitution and established in its place the Nazi dictatorship.
Later, Josef Goebbels wrote in his diary:
"The authority of the Führer has now been wholly established. Votes are no longer taken. The Führer decides. All this is going much faster than we had dared to hope."