Zyndall
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"THIS DAY IN HISTORY": AUGUST 19
The German public ratified and voted 90 percent in favor of Adolf Hitler becoming Leader and Chancellor of Germany. A referendum on merging the posts of Chancellor and President was held in Germany after the death of President Paul von Hindenburg seventeen days earlier. The German leadership sought to gain approval for Adolf Hitler's assumption of supreme power. The overwhelmingly positive result of this referendum allowed Hitler to claim public support for his activities as the de facto head of state of Germany. In fact, he had assumed these offices and powers immediately upon von Hindenburg's death and used the referendum to legitimize this move, taking the title Leader and Chancellor (Führer und Reicheskanzler). (Image 4) The wording of the referendum question was: 'The office of the President of the Reich is unified with the office of the Chancellor. Consequently all former powers of the President of the Reich are demised to the Führer and Chancellor of the Reich Adolf Hitler. He himself nominates his substitute. Do you, German man and German woman, approve of this regulation provided by this Law?' Support for merging the offices of president and chancellor was greatest in East Prussia, where 96% voted in favour. Support was lowest in urban districts. It was weakest of all in Hamburg, where just under 80% voted affirmatively (20.4% against). In Aachen, 18.6% voted against. In Berlin, 18.5% of votes were negative and every district reported negative vote share greater than 10%. In the former communist stronghold of Wedding it was 19.7% against. Overall support for the government was lower than in the referendum of November 12, 1933. Where the referendum of 1933 had received support from 89.9% of the total electorate, that of 1934 had only 84.3% support. The next day, August 20, mandatory loyalty oaths were introduced throughout the Reich... "Article 1. The public officials and the soldiers of the armed forces must take an oath of loyalty on entering service.  Article 2 1. The oath of loyalty of public officials will be: 'I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws, and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God.' 2. The oath of loyalty of the soldiers of the armed forces will be: 'I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.' Article 3. Officials already in service must swear this oath without delay according to Article 2 number 1." The oath of loyalty of the soldiers of the armed forces will be: 'I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.' Hitler now wielded absolute power in Germany, beyond that of any previous traditional head of state. He had become, in effect, the law unto himself.
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