The March 1 editorial “ An assault on democratic values ” stated that a number of authoritarian rulers, including Adolf Hitler, achieved power “through the ballot box.” That is not quite the case.
The Nazis never received more than 37 percent of the popular vote in any free national election. In the 1932 election, Paul von Hindenburg handily beat Hitler and remained president of Germany. Hitler came to power in 1933 as German chancellor, an appointed position, only after Hindenburg asked him to form a coalition government, which he was able to. Hitler achieved the ultimate power as German fuhrer (leader) only after Hindenburg’s death in 1934 and legislative action of the German Reichstag, which was controlled by the Nazis. A vote on the transfer of power did, however, receive 90 percent support from the public, due in part to intimidation and fear of communists.
Julian Klazkin, Bethesda