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Yesterday I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and I was wondering how exactly the Death Eaters took the Ministry? In the movies we never saw that. Later I checked on Wikipedia's book article and it just said that they kill the Minister. Was it a Coup d'état or a conspiracy? Why didn't any of the authorities help the Ministry?

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    the Minister of Magic was slowly surrounded by Voldemort's supporters or people under the Imperius Curse – user13267 Sep 12 '14 at 14:29
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    Who do you have in mind when you say “authorities”? The Ministry are pretty much the top authority in the (British) magical world. – alexwlchan Sep 12 '14 at 14:43
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Many wizards working in the ministry were put under the Imperius curse like for example Pius Thicknesse, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement etc. , so that facilitated getting to the Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour.
Scrimgeour was captured tortured by Voldemort for information on Harry's whereabouts, but when he refused to talk, he was killed.
The Imperiused Thicknesse then was appointed as a (puppet) minister.

Will add quotes later, when I have the books handy.

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They slowly infiltrated the Ministry, mainly by using Imperio.

The Death Eaters stealthily worked to take control of the Ministry by putting officials under the Imperius Curse.

“My Lord, I have good news on that score. I have – with difficulty, and after great effort – succeeded in placing an Imperius Curse upon Pius Thicknesse.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)

They wanted to make sure enough people they controlled were in the Ministry first, before attempting to take down the Minister himself.

“It is a start,’ said Voldemort. ‘But Thicknesse is only one man. Scrimgeour must be surrounded by our people before I act. One failed attempt on the Minister’s life will set me back a long way.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)

Their plan once they had him was to use Thicknesse to work against the other Department heads, since he was high-ranking and had contact with the other high-ranking officials they wanted to take control of.

“Yes – my Lord, that is true – but you know, as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Thicknesse has regular contact not only with the Minister himself, but also with the Heads of all the other Ministry departments. It will, I think, be easy, now that we have such a high-ranking official under our control, to subjugate the others, and then they can all work together to bring Scrimgeour down.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)

By the time they’d successfully Imperiused Thicknesse, they’d already had several people in the Department of Magical Transportation, so they did have others as well as Thicknesse by then.

“We are at an advantage there, my Lord,’ said Yaxley, who seemed determined to receive some portion of approval. ‘We now have several people planted within the Department of Magical Transport. If Potter Apparates or uses the Floo Network, we shall know immediately.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)

Once they’d taken over enough of the Ministry, they killed Scrimgeour, giving the cover story that he resigned, and replaced him with Pius Thicknesse, who they control by the Imperius Curse.

“The coup has been smooth and virtually silent,’ said Lupin. ‘The official version of Scrimgeour’s murder is that he resigned; he has been replaced by Pius Thicknesse, who is under the Imperius Curse.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)

Then, their control of the Ministry was solidified. They had the Ministry behind them, with Thicknesse as a puppet Minister and enough other officials subjugated that they wouldn’t be able to fight them from within.

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