How were the Reichstag Fire and the Night of Long Knives significant when it came to the rise of Adolf Hitler?

The Reichstag Fire and the Night of the Long Knives were significant when it came to the rise of Adolf Hitler because they helped Hitler consolidate his power. The Reichstag Fire allowed him to declare a state of emergency and take control of legislative powers. This effectively made Hitler Germany's dictator. The Night of the Long Knives was a purge of potential enemies and political opponents. It removed whatever domestic threats Hitler felt he still had in Germany.

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These two violent events played a significant role in propelling Hitler, and the Nazi Party in general, into power. On February 27, 1933, when the Reichstag (the German parliament) burned, the Nazi Party was quick to blame it on the Communists. It is actually likely that the fire was set by Nazi agents. Hitler had recently won the chancellorship, but the Nazis had failed to win a majority of parliamentary seats. The fire allowed Hitler to declare a state of emergency and assume the role of dictator. He used the atmosphere of fear created by the fire to convince the Reichstag to transfer all legislative power to the Chancellorship and the Cabinet. This gave Hitler unchecked control of the German government.

The so-called Night of the Long Knives secured further power for Hitler. On June 30, 1934, Hitler ordered the SS to murder numerous real and perceived opponents. This included the leaders of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Although the SA had first propelled Hitler into the spotlight in the previous decade, he feared that they were growing too powerful and saw them as a personal threat.

This purge also saw the murder of the previous chancellor and a number of other political rivals. Some of these were even fellow members of the Nazi Party. With no potent threats to his power left alive in the German government, Hitler was given a free hand to tighten his dictatorial control over the nation. It also endeared Hitler to the military leadership, which saw many of those killed in this purge as threats as well.

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