Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934) was a respected military officer and politician who exercised a great deal of control over German policy in the second half of WWI. Other things you should know about von Hindenburg? He served as the elected President of Germany from 1925 until his death in 1934, which is one year after Hitler was appointed as Chancellor. Coincidence? I think not!

von Hindenburg, who was a conservative and anti-socialist, actually appointed Hitler as Chancellor himself, in the (vain) hope that he could be controlled and prevented from gaining absolute power. As you and I both know, this couldn’t have failed more. Luckily for von Hindenburg, Hitler didn’t gain complete power while he was still alive.

This is because, at the time, the Nazis did not have a majority in the Reichstag – the German word for Parliament. Only two other members of the cabinet were Nazis, which significantly limited the amount of power Hitler could have as Chancellor. On top of this, since he was still President, Hindenburg had the power to fire Hitler if he stepped out of bounds – until he died, that is.