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Analyse the Role of the Legal System in the Third Reich with Particular Reference To, and the Lynguistic Importance of "verordnung Des Reichsprð"¤sidenten Zum Schutz Von Volk Und Staat"

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Analyse the role of the legal system in the third Reich with particular reference to, and the lynguistic importance of "Verordnung des ReichsprÐ"¤sidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat"

Introduction

Not even a month after Hitler became "Reichskanzler", he enforced his first law. He used heroic names, that when we look back today had nothing to do with the laws or decrees themselves. After the Reichstags fire had taken place, in Berlin on the 27 of February 1933, Hitler declared the state of Germany in an emergency status, giving himself the right to rule under on of these decrees. The next day he put his signature on an important decree, the "Reichstagsverordnung".

The two days in February 1933 play a very important role in Hitlers seizure of power and the outcome of the election in March 1933. I will attempt to explain what impact his decree, the "Reichstagsverordnung" had on the German people and why. I will also emphasize on trying to explain and the law itself from a linguistic point of view, why I think Hitler chose to name the law "Verordnung des ReichsprÐ"¤sidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat". I will initially give a background to explain the situation and tension that was in Germany at this time.

Background

After the 30 of January Hitler had become "Reichskanzler" for the coalition government in Germany the tension between the SPD(socialist party), KPD (communist party) and the NSDAP had grown. A few days later, on the 2nd of February came the decree "Zum Schutze des deutchen Volkes" which basically was the first step towards the legal persecution of the opposition.

Later that same month, on the 27 of February 1933 the Reichstag burned. It was the "Reichstagbrand". Who the arsonist was no one really knows (the Dutch syndicalist van der Lubbe was arrested by GÐ"¶ring the same day but there was, and still is, no evidence) but some historians think Hitler had a part to play in the "Reichstagbrand". What we do know is this; Hitler saw this as a chance to rid himself of all competition for the upcoming election on the 5th of March the same year. Like Norbert Frei (1993) wrote "Then, on the 27 of February 1933, when the Reichstag went up in flames, the political fate of the Communists was sealed. The fire gave the government the unhoped for reason and justificationÐ'...". This quote summarises most of what happened next. Hitler blamed the communists and socialists for the fire and a nation-wide persecution of the "scapegoats" began. Concerning the invoking of the "Verordnung des ReichsprÐ"¤sidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat" Frei writes "On the afternoon of 28 February the cabinet med again and hurriedly ratified the draft of a decree Ð'... The Reichs PrÐ"¤sident put his signature to it the very same day.". By using Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, Hitler got the right to rule by a decree in case of an emergency which he stated that the country of Germany was in.

What is "Verordnung des ReichsprÐ"¤sidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat"

The decree, or "Verordnung" was actually a collection of laws. A decree called the "Reichstags Fire decree" or "Reichstagsbrandverordnung". Broszart and Frei (1999) give us a summary on the content of the law: "Freiheit der Person, Meinungs-, Presse-, Vereins-, Versammlungsfreiheit, Post- und Fernsprechergeheimnis. Unverletzlichkeit von Eigentum und Wohnung: Ð'§2 ermÐ"¤chtigt die Reichsregierung Befugnisse der obersten LandesbehÐ"¶rden vorÐ"јbergehend wahrzunehmen.". All of these, a wide range of restraints in peoples private lives were still passed, the day after the "Reichstagsbrand" and more than a month before Hitler even could become elected. This law strongly suggests that people no longer had control of their private matters, to the full extent.

The law is written with heroic language, which will be discussed later, and it talks of "Landesverrat" for those who break the law, which is one of the worst crimes to a nation that you can be convicted of.

A very important fact is that at the time, as seen in the law (see appendix), at the time Hilter himself is not the dictator of Germany nor the ReichsprÐ"¤sident. But the decree allowed him to rule and after this decree was signed he was one step closer to assuring his place as lone ruler of Germany.

Analysing the law

We now know what the background was, why Hitler passed such a law, when he did it and why. But what I find interesting, and what I want to analyse deeper is why he choose to call it "Verordnung des ReichsprÐ"¤sidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat".

When you read the law it is very strongly worded, even for a law, and especially on one that from a neutral point of view has nothing to do with its content. Of course, after the Reichstags fire, Germany was declared an emergency state and an emergency requires drastic measures and Hitler took great advantage of this.

Starting off, the fact that he puts the role of the ruler (soon to be Hitler) in the middle, "Verordnung des ReichsprÐ"¤sidenten": "The Reichspresidents decree", is a very interesting thing. Why would he put himself that close to something that allows invasion of personal privacy of people

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