Photo Gallery 80 Years after Hitler's Rise to Power

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, marks the 80th anniversary of Hitler's rise to power in Germany. Correspondence from foreign diplomats in Berlin at the time reveals just how much they underestimated the dangers of the Nazi Party.
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Jan. 30, 2013 marks the 80th anniversary of Hitler's rise to power in Germany. Many foreign diplomats in Berlin at the time believed that the real power in Hitler's cabinet lay in the hands of Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen.

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The Völkischer Beobachter was the Nazi Party's newspaper. On Jan. 31, 1933, one day after assuming power, Adolf Hitler appeared on its front page.

Foto: Heribert Proepper/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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"The makeup of the present cabinet, with its normally discordant elements, furnishes a fertile field for trouble," wrote US ambassador Frederic M. Sackett in 1933. (Front row from left to right: Hermann Göring, Adolf Hitler, Franz von Papen. Second row standing from right to left are: Alfred Hugenberg, Werner von Blomberg, Wilhelm Frick, Johann Ludwig Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, Paul Freiherr Eltz von Ruebenach and Franz Beldte.)

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Paul Dinichert (left) served as Swiss ambassador to Germany from 1932 to 1938: Along with other observers, diplomats in Berlin in 1933 did not immediately recognize that the appointment of the new government marked a historical turning point. At that early stage, no one predicted that the Nazi regime would last for 12 years and end with a disaster on the scale of World War II.

Foto: Robert Sennecke
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(left to right) Hilter, Franz von Papen and Werner von Blomber outside Berlin's Staatsoper: Initially, Hitler's cabinet was viewed as just another in a series of more or less short-lived German governments. US Ambassador Frederic M. Sackett, for example, did not believe the National Socialists were strong enough to govern.

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Members of the SA, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party also known as the "brownshirts," marches with torches near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Jan. 30, 1933 to celebrate Hitler's taking power that day.

Foto: AP
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Head of the US Consulate in Berlin from 1930 to 1934, George S. Messersmith wrote on Feb. 3, 1933 that "it is impossible to make any definite forecast" about how the Nazis would rule. A few months later, he would write that "there is every reason to believe that (...) 'the new Germany' will strive in every way to impose its will on the rest of the world."

Foto: Garcia/ AP
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