On July 14, 1933, led by Aldof Hitler, the Nazi political party banned all other political parties in Germany. Hitler had just become the chancellor of the country on January 30, the same year. As soon as he took the reigns of power, Hitler utilized the Gleichschaltung policy and took complete control of all the country’s political and economic institutions.
The events that followed were a long journey of struggles and conflicts. Finally, on February 27, the government parliament building (Reichstag building) was set on fire. Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist, was found inside the building on that occasion. According to the Nazi party, the plot was an attempt to overthrow the government.
In reaction to the incident, Hitler issued the “Reichstag Fire Decree” to protect the state and the people. This ruling allowed for the arrest of all communist leaders. The argument that the fire was the Nazi’s excuse to reinforce the Reichstag Fire Decree is still debated.
Also during the March elections, the Nazi political party gained a small minority. With the Communist leaders in prison, the ruling party passed the Enabling act of March 23. This law took up all the legislative powers of Reichstag, creating room for a dictatorship system of government.
The only party that voted against this act was the Social Democratic Party, chaired by Otto Wels. After passing the law, Otto gave an emotional speech stating, “Freedom and life can be taken from us, but not our honor.”
Endowed with full control of the country, the Nazi leadership outlawed the Social Democratic Party, the only opposing party in the government. Hitler also disbanded other small parties, including those that supported his election to power.
The Catholic Centre Party remained for a short period of time. However, it was disbanded when Hitler signed a Concordat with the Vatican. The agreement saw into the Nazis’ vehement anti-Bolshevism, and the church decided to refrain from political activism. As a result, the government would spare the church.
On July 14, after doing away with all political parties, the Nazi government passed a law banning the formation of political parties in the country. According to this law, “The National Socialist German Workers Party constitutes the only political party in Germany.”