On March 23, 1933, the newly elected members of the German Parliament met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler's Enabling Act. If passed, it would effectively mean the end of democracy in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.
On the day of the vote, Nazi storm troopers gathered in a show of force around the opera house chanting, "Full powers - or else! We want the bill - or fire and murder!!" They also stood inside in the hallways, and even lined the aisles where the vote would take place, glaring menacingly at anyone who might oppose Hitler's will.
He also promised an end to unemployment and pledged to promote peace with France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. But in order to do all this, Hitler said, he first needed the Enabling Act.
A two thirds majority was needed, since the law would actually alter the German constitution. Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it. He got those votes from the Center Party after making a false promise to restore some basic rights already taken away by decree.
However, one man arose amid the overwhelming might. Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrats stood up and spoke quietly to Hitler.
The vote was taken - 441 for, only 84, the Social Democrats, against. The Nazis leapt to their feet clapping, stamping and shouting, then broke into the Nazi anthem, the Hörst Wessel song.
They achieved what Hitler had wanted for years - to tear down the German Democratic Republic legally and end democracy, thus paving the way for a complete Nazi takeover of Germany.
From this day on, the Reichstag would be just a sounding board, a cheering section for Hitler's pronouncements.