BERLIN, Aug. 2, 1934 (UP) -- Adolf Hitler, former Austrian house-painter, became sole dictator of the German people today on the death of President Paul Von Hindenburg.
Herr Hitler's Cabinet made him President-Chancellor, absorbing all the powers of both offices. He has control of the powerful Reichswehr army, whose members have taken an oath of unswerving loyalty to him.
President Hitler thus has greater sway than any dictator on earth. Even Premier Mussolini has a king who outranks him, albeit with little authority.
The Chancellor wrote to Dr. Wilhelm Frick, Minister of Interior, asking him to submit to a referendum as soon as possible today's law conferring the President's functions on him.
He said he did not want to assume the title Reichspresident because it was inseparable from Herr von Hindenburg's name. He added that he wished to be addressed as "Fuehrer and Reichschancellor" in the future.
He signed the letter "Adolf Hitler, Reichschancellor of the German people."
Whatever Herr Hitler may chose to call the office, he is expected to seek life tenure. A referendum will be held between Aug. 19 and 26 for the people to ratify his ascendancy. The exact date has not been set.
The President-Chancellor's bold assumption of power was considered a decisive blow at potential opposition, whether of "reactionary" or Nazi extremist character. The conviction was general that only a revolution could upset him, but there is no organization in Germany at present inclined to start one, or strong enough to do so.
The army is regarded as loyal to President Hitler, transferring its allegiance from von Hindenburg, to whom it was devoted.
The Nazi extremists are not strong enough to do harm. The June 30 "purging" demonstrated their weakness. The army was expected to use its influence with Herr Hitler to obtain new measures against the extremists if they should start trouble.
President Hitler will speak to the nation on Monday at services for Hindenburg at the Kroll Opera House here. Then he will fly to Neudeck and may speak there. Herr von Hindenburg will be buried Tuesday in the Tannenburg, not far from Neudeck.
The oath binding the Reichswehr to absolute loyalty to Herr Hitler as commander-in-chief was taken by every German soldier.
The oath is--- "I swear by God this holy oath:-- that I shall be absolutely obedient to Der Fuehrer of the Geman Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, supreme head of the army, and that I will be ready as a brave soldier to give my life for this oath."
The Nazi machine functioned with utmost precision.
At 9:45, forty-five minutes after the President's death, Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, announced over the radio:
"Deutches volk! Reichspraesident von Hindenburg ist am 9 nhr vormittags in der ewigheit fortgegangan."
(Translated:--- "German people! Reichspresedent Hindenburg at 9 A.M. passed into eternity.")
Soon afterward an announcer said: "There will be another announcement shortly."
At 10:15 Herr Goebbels announced that Chancellor Hitler was President.
He explained: In consequence of a law passed by the Cabinet last night the Leader takes over all the powers of the President.
The old order was past. It had overlapped the new, as personified by Herr Hitler, by sixteen months.
"President von Hindenburg's bequest to the German people is Adolf Hitler! Faithfulness to Hindenburg is faithfulness to Hitler!" Rudolph Hess, deputy leader of the Nazi party, later said over the radio.
It was an apparent confirmation, though indirectly, of the Nazi intimation that Herr von Hindenburg, in a political testament, willed the sole leadership of the people to the Nazi chieftain.
"He invited Hitler to be the leader of the nation, thus opening a new epoch in German history."
This was obviously a reference to his summoning Herr Hitler, before the "Leader" had a parliamentary majority, to be Chancellor-- but the rest was of his "bequest".
As the Nazi leader spoke into the microphone, housewives who at their work heard the death announcement were passing it from door to door, and it went from street to street and from town to country all over Germany.
When the announcement came that Herr Hitler was leader at last without the stubborn hand of President von Hindenburg to oppose him when old and new clashed, householders and porters were just bringing out their black flags or Nazi flags draped in crepe.
The flags on public buildings were half-staffed.
Traffic on Berlin's work went on.
Knots of people began gathering at street corners.
The huge swastika and the black, white and red flag on the Reichstag Building drooped on their poles in the quiet air.
Officials and public servants were ordered to wear mourning bands on their left sleeves.
Defense Minister Werner von Blomberg, Herr Goebbels announced, ordered that all army officers wear mourning for two weeks. Those of the First, Third and Sixteenth regiments, with which the President was associated, will wear mourning for four weeks.
The guard of honor for Herr von Hindenburg's bier was drawn from the Third.
Twenty-one gun salutes by all warships were ordered for 8 A.M. tomorrow and 8 A.M. on the funeral day.
It was ordered that the church bells should toll between 7 and 8 P.M. today instead of as originally announced, and from 8 to 9 P.M. on following days until the funeral. Special mourning services were decreed at all churches for 9 o'clock.
On the funeral day traffic will be halted for one minute and factory workers will stand idle.
Herr Goebbels finished his announcements after talking ten minutes.
An orchestra played the old soldier song:--- "I Had a Comrade."
The new phase of the Third Reich had started.
For the first time in his sixteen months in office Herr Hitler was in charge not only of the Nazis and the police, but of the treaty-limited army of 100,000 that is regarded as the finest in the world.
It had been admitted that the Reichswehr, which was under President von Hindenburg as Commander-in-Chief and to a man was for him, could have crushed Nazism.
In the chancellery and the other government buildings here there was the epitome of life, as at the chateau of Neudeck there was the epitome of death.
It was evident that the death had long been anticipated and provided for.
Order and efficiency showed in the way the death was announced, the mourning proclamations read, and the announcements of how the nation would be conducted.
There seemed not a thought for former Kaiser Wilhelm at Doorn, who ordered out the German army while Herr Hitler was hanging wallpaper twenty years ago.
As if it were a routine affair, the law passed by the Cabinet making Herr Hitler a parallel in office to the President of the United States was promulgated. It said: "Article I -- The office of Reich President will be united with that of Chancellor. In consequence the previous prerogatives of the President are transferred to the leader and Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who will appoint his deputy.
"Article II -- This law is effective with the death of President von Hindenburg."
Undoubtedly many Hindenburg followers will support Herr Hitler with less enthusiasm -- the Junkers or great landowners, the industrialists and the high Reichswehr officers. These are all expert intriguers, but it seemed not a moment for intrigue.
Death brought a truce between the Nazis and the Roman Catholic Church. Among the first of the diplomatic corps to visit the Presidential Palace in the Elmstrasse with condolences was the Papal Nuncio, Mgr. Cesare Orsenigo. Following went others, hastening to be high up on the list of those who entered their names in the book of condolence signatures.
Herr Hitler named Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, president of the Reichsbank, acting Minister of Economics today. The appointment was for six months and was announced as due to the illness of Minister of Economics Kurt Schmidt.
While Herr Hitler announced the appointment today, it was actually the last Presidential act of von Hindenburg, who approved it on Monday, shortly before his fatal illness set in.
It was said unofficially that later Dr. Schacht might be confirmed permanently in the post if Herr Schmitt's condition did not improve.
Herr Hitler also appointed Dr. Schact acting Prussian Minister of Economics, thus taking over Herr Schmitt's Prussian state office for six months.
It was stated officially that Dr Schacht has taken part in all Cabinet meetings lately.
(Copyright 1934 by the United Press)