1b: 2 - The Nature of the Nazi Government, 1934-39 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 1b: 2 - The Nature of the Nazi Government, 1934-39 Deck (43):

What was the significance of Hitler's distinctive governing style?

It allowed for the 'cumulative radicalism' of the Nazi regime.
It meant that he held a glorified role in being the only person able to settle the inevitable disputes.


What is meant by the term 'Polycratic Regime'?

By definition, a polycratic state is one which has a number of centres of control. Hitler gave overriding duties to different personnel within different organisations so that duties would overlap. This would allow for confusion/chaos that only he could resolve, and it reflected his social darwinist beliefs.


What were some new ministries in existence under the Nazi regime?

Ministry of Aviation - April 1933, with Goering as head.
Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda - March 1933 , Goebbels as head.


What were some ministries that already existed but which remained, and what was the significance of this aspect of continuity?

Ministry of the Armed Forces, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Economics

Meant that people felt that Nazism was rooted in the law as there was seemingly much continuity from the WR.


What departments stood?

Department of Economics, department of propaganda and the department of labour.


Supreme Reich Authorities: Todt Organisation

Todt Organisation - Civil and military engineering group that built the autobahns (1933-38) and carried out other projects on occupied territories, like the construction of the Atlantic Wall (1942-44)


Supreme Reich Authorities: Deutsch Arbeitsfront (DAF)

DAF - Replaced 169 trade unions in May 1933, led by Robert Ley. Reduced unemployment by employing 2.3 million but favoured employer and cut wages by 3.3% between 1932-38 whilst capital businesses grew by 9.2% - and workers were paying 1.5% of their wages.


Supreme Reich Authorities: FYPO

Aimed to achieve autarky between 1936-39 by increasing agricultural production and producing ersatz goods.


What were the issues with the polycratic state?

Had the detrimental effect of allowing inefficient administration as organisations worked competitively and not cooperatively.
E.g. whilst Ministry of Economics tried to establish trade links with South America in 1936, FYPO wanted autarky- so undermined each other's efforts.


What is meant by the term 'prerogative state'?

This refers to the idea that power within government (1933-39) was fundamentally sourced from Hitler's prerogative (right to rule), rather than the rule of law. This was because he was seen as an embodiment of the common good. Though some aspect of lawfulness was needed.


How did Hitler legalise the killings of c.85 at the Night of the Long Knives?

The Law Regarding Measures of State Self Defence (3rd July 1934).


What did Übermensch mean?

This was an idea introduced by Friedrich Nietzsche in the 1880s in reference to a superior individual able to overcame the boundaries of Christian morality to enforce his own legislation.

Hitler was ÜBERMENSCH.


What was meant by Führerprinzip?

The idea that the Nazi government was composed so that there were positions of hierarchy at each level. Nobody but Hitler held a considerable amount of authority, whilst everyone remained under control, and without discouraged independent thought.

Structure taught obedience to superiors and control of inferiors.


Why did the Nazi State effectively resemble an army?

Because there were no political meetings and consultations; so leaders at each level established the direction of government themselves.


Why was the term Führer used?

No political connotations, so it imposed no legal implications.


Explain how the cumulative radicalisation process worked using Anti-Semitic legislation in the 1930s as an example.

1937 - Goering sets out laws confiscating Jewish property and wealth.
1938 - Heydrich's SD force Jews to emigrate.
1938 - Kristallnacht by Goebbels.
1938 - Himmler's SS force Jews into ghettos with no money/property.

Yet Goering undermines Heydrich's efforts as other nations won't accept impoverished refuges. Kristallnacht by Goebbels undermines ghetto scheme of Himmler as there is less property/wealth to attain.


What was the authority of the Führer?

Only he could settle factional disputes between his lieutenants. Presented him honorifically as he brought order to an otherwise chaotic regime.


What is the significance of Martin Bormann?

He was Hitler's personal secretary (1935-45) and an example of someone who worked towards the Führer as he kept notes on his informal conversations to decipher his wishes and accordingly develop policies. Used his position in German bureaucracy to ensure he was always involved in decision making and to limit other people's access to the Führer.


How did Hitler's personality influence state structure?

He was very chilled out: he'd sleep until noon, read newspapers after lunch and watch films until the early hours of the morning. He spent many afternoons at the Berghof. Reflected his idea that effective government policy could not be drawn from meetings, but that it was best to just wait for inspiration to strike.

Cabinet meetings:
1933 - 1-2 a week
1934 - 19
1936 - 12
1938 - 0

He wanted to express legislation orally and not write it down because he hated formal legislation.


What is meant by the idea that Hitler was a non-interventionist dictator?

He didn't actively engage in much of political affairs. He designated roles to others and just interfered where necessary e.g. Night of the Long Knives.

But the real question: laziness or social darwinism?


Give an example of what happened due to the lack of organisational clarity within the Nazi state.

Although Martin Bormann was technically secretary to deputy Führer, Rudolf Hess, Bormann technically held more power as his role as Hitler's personal secretary meant that he could limit Hess' access to Hitler.


What aspects of government did Hitler engage himself in and what did he reject?

Hitler headed foreign policy moves throughout the 1930s, including the remilitarisation of the Rhineland (1936) and Anschluss (1938) yet he left most economic affairs to Schacht until 1936 then Goering thereafter.


How did Hitler's attitude to government change in the face of WWII and what were the consequences of this?

He became less engaged in daily administrative affairs.

There was increased chaos and instability due to a rise in faction fighting and lawlessness.


Why did the power of the SS grow during WWII?

They were responsible for controlling the many territories that Germany occupied during WWII.


What were the 3 phases of the German war effort, 1939-45?

INITIAL VICTORY (1939-41) - Blitzkrieg tactics used to secure many eastern European countries, before non-Vichy France. Operation Barbarossa initially successful.

STALEMATE (1942) - Lack of gains in Russia.

DEFEAT (1943-45) - Defeats in Russia and opposing advances from all sides before surrender on 7th May 1945.


What evidence is there of administrative anarchy within the German government of WWII?

The relations between the NSDAP, government departments, Supreme Reich Authorities and government ministries were not clearly defined so they continued to work inefficiently and uncooperatively, though it was needed more than ever at a time of crisis.

Hitler was more engaged in military affairs than anything else so the tensions/infighting couldn't be resolved; especially as he refused to delegate a coordination role to any senior Nazis.

Different government authorities fight for scarce resources. Goering created tension through use of his senior role as Vice-Chancellor to delegate greater resources to his airforce.


How did senior Nazis fail to impose order during WWII?

The Committee of Three was set up to coordinate senior government figures, Nazis and army members. They met 11 times in 1943.

Yet Hitler was eager to limit their power and officials, including Goering and Goebbels, refused to collaborate with it, so this attempt to impose order failed.


What kind of faction fighting took place during WWII?

It was prevalent between senior Nazis throughout the whole war, and it made work uncooperative whilst creating instability.

April 1945: Bormann and Goebbels try to turn Hitler against Goering and Himmler, even though war was clearly over.


Why did lawlessness increase during WWII?

War, a time of crisis, could justify laws that had no legal roots.


Why did radicalisation increase during WWII?

There was increased lawlessness and secrecy in government affairs so it could be justified.

People became more determined than ever to please the Führer, and Hitler was too heavily engaged in military affairs to resolve the disputes that led to radical policies.


How did the role of the Gauleiter increase during WWII and why was this a bad thing?

They became Reich defence commissars, and this gave them more extensive powers over their local populations.

Their role created greater infighting because it conflicted with those of central ministries and Supreme Reich Authorities.


Who were the centres of power within Germany's WWII government that allowed for reasonable efficiency?

Himmler (controlling SS)

Bormann (controlling NSDAP)


What was the role of the SS, 1933-39?

To run the concentration camps, established from 22nd March 1933 with Dachau, that dealt with asocials and political threats.


To what extent did the Waffen SS (SS army) grow between 1942-44?

Power grew ninefold between 1942-44 between 100,000 and 900,000.


Why did the power of the SS grow during WWII?

They built and ran concentration camps, which were a manifestation of arguably the most radical Nazi policy to ever exist: the Final Solution. The Jewish Virtual Library estimates that there were about 15,000 in all of occupied Europe.

They ran government administration in occupied territories. Locals were to be used as Helotenvolk (serf people) to fulfil German labour shortages. This applied to all aged 14-60 in Poland.
Education was bare minimum: enough to work for Germany and nothing more. High schools and unis were closed down.

They sourced raw materials from occupied territories and sent it back to Germany. This was significant because shortages were a cause of increased faction fighting.


What was the Nazi government like in 1945?

Berlin was the victim of 363 bomb raids which meant that 40% had fled by May 1945, and the work of central authorities was hindered by the fact that bombing raids in 1945 forced them to evacuate.

Lacked communication due to damage caused by bombings.

Yet Gauleiters kept local services running and Hitler was supported until his death.


What did Himmler see to be an alternative to surrender?

An anti-USSR alliance with the British and the American governments.


When did Hitler commit suicide?

30th April 1945


Who was Hitler's successor as President of the German Reich?

Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz


Why did fighting continue until 7th May 1945?

The Allies demanded an unconditional surrender, which did not come until 7th May 1945, at which point the USSR controlled Berlin.


Why was the name 'Führer' chosen?

It had no legal significance, unlike the terms of president and chancellor, so it rendered Hitler's lawlessness more acceptable: his power wasn't limited by the Weimarer Verfassung.


What was the nature of the Nazi constitution?

The Weimarer Verfassung remained the official constitution of Germany until 1945. This offered a desirable level of continuity which meant that Germans didn't feel alienated by the regime.

Yet Hitler was still able to ignore many constitutional rules because of the Enabling Act (23rd March 1933) and the Reichstag Fire Decree (28th February 1933).


What personal rivalries existed within the Nazi government?

It could be seen that personal rivalries came to head as a significant motivating force behind the Night of the Long Knives (30th June 1934), largely headed by Himmler and Goering.

Himmler and Goering fought for control over the state police. Both Himmler's SD and Goering's Gestapo worked to monitor/suppress Nazi opponents. Whilst some cooperation could be seen in the fact that Goering made Himmler head of the Gestapo in 1934, Himmler and Heydrich worked to remove Goering's influence altogether. They won by law court in 1934 then Hitler authorised this and made Goering relinquish all of his control over the Gestapo in 1936. This affected the runnings of the state as the Gestapo became a nationwide organisation, with 32,000 members across Germany by 1944.

People hated Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SD, because of his arrogance and tendency to sleep with other Nazis' wives and daughters. With concern as to the threat he posed to the regime, he was made head of Nazi administration in Bohemia and Moravia (away from Germany in the Czech Republic), so he was more likely to be killed, as he was by Czech freedom fighters in 1942.