The Ways to Destroy Democracy | The Nation
There are more ways of destroying a democracy than sending troops into the streets, storming the radio stations, and arresting the politicians, as Adolf Hitler discovered after the failure of his beer-hall putsch in 1923. Ten years later, on January 30, 1933, when he was appointed head of the German government, Hitler was the leader of the country’s largest political party, the National Socialists. Even five years earlier, in May of 1928, he’d been a political nobody, with the Nazis gaining less than 3 percent of the vote in national elections. But in the elections held in July 1932, they won 37 percent of the vote—and six months later, Hitler was in power. He seemed to have come from nowhere.