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Flashcards in The Hitler State Deck (23):
1

What Are the Strengths of Hitler’s Dictatorship?

1. Gift of propaganda + public speaking - Mein Kampf refers to propaganda - way of maintaining popular support + controlling opposition
2. Hitler’s magnetic personality - influenced people + convinced them that he was special
3. Effective dictator - strong will = power/energy/determination - vision for Germany = working towards Fuhrer
4. Belief in own genius to achieve his aims + ability to convince others of genius (even in dark times)
5. Established a strong dictatorship without too much opposition
6. Engendered loyalty from party - party dependent on Hitler - leading members remained loyal until bitter end (Fuhrerprinzip)

2

What are the Weaknesses of Hitler’s Dictatorship?

1. Neurotic - anxious + emotionally upset
2. Horrified by prospect of own death - became dependent on drugs
3. Did not like making decisions - believed things would work themselves out
4. Found it difficult to keep set routine - had huge implications for those who worked with him
5. Easily board + quite lazy
6. Strange working hours

3

What is Totalitarian State?

- Every aspect of life controlled by one person/party
- Dictatorship is in total control of all aspects of the state

4

Was Nazi Germany a Totalitarian State?

- Highly unlikely that it was a Totalitarian State in the true sense - Hitler did not have total control + not the monolithic
- Hitler’s State was a Polycratic State - consisted of a number of powerful agencies/individuals with overlapping interests

5

Define Polycratic

- An alliance of different power blocks not in union but which are dependent on each other + work with each other

6

Process of Radicalisation
Consolidation of Power 1933-1934

- Establishment of dictatorship + one party State
- Removal of political opposition
- Removal of internal threats
- Consensus with key groups (e.g. churches/army/businesses)

7

Process of Radicalisation
Authoritarian Regime 1934-1937

- Not barbaric dictatorship- viewed as conservative dictatorship which has removed radical left wingers (e.g. KPD+SPD)
- Restoration of national pride/honour through rearmament- examples = occupation of Rhineland/economic polices/Berlin Olympics 1936
- Repression of opposition inside/outside Germany - viewed as reasonable - Communities need to be crushed
- Conservative elements from Weimar (e.g. Schacht+Bloomberg) in prominent positions
- Nuremberg Laws (1935) moderate steps against Jews
- SA leader seen to be out of control - Hitler correct in countering threat posed by Rohm

8

Process of Radicalisation
Radicalisation + Destruction 1938-1945

- Structures established earlier in regime started to expand considerably -
1. Goering’s Four Year Plan (1936) dominated economy - resulted in resignation of Schacht (1937)
2. SS under Himmler controlled all internal security + had own military wing (Waffen SS) - SS responsible for implementing Hitler’s racial polices
3. Purge of army officers in 1938 removed corps (e.g. Bloomberg) + replaced with like-minded officers (more aggressive) - little opposition from army 1938-1944
4. 1939 = all key agencies working towards Fuhrer

- Aggressive foreign policy threatens peace in Europe - occupation of Austria/Sudetenland/Czech/Poland

- Declaring war on USA (1941) seen as open attack on Jews of the world

- Radicalisation of racial polices (Kristallnacht/Euthanasia/Racial war in east/Final Solution

- Orders given in 1945 to destroy all economic resources left in Germany in a final act of total annihilation

9

Compare Hitler’s Dictatorship in 1934-1937 to his Dictatorship in 1938-1945

1934-1937
- Respectable
- Moderate
- Revising treaty of Versailles
- SA seen as threat
- Restoring pride
- Removal of communism - justified
- Bloomberg + Schacht

1937-1945
- More aggressive in general
- Goering's Four Year Plan - controlled economy
- Got rid of respectable/conservative members (e.g. Bloomberg)
- SS = more power
- Aggressive foreign policy (e.g. anschlus)
- Aggressive racial elements (e.g. Kristallnacht)

10

Describe Hitler’s Authority

- Power was not challenged
- Power was not constrained (no limits)
- Power was absolute - he alone could interpret the will of the people + interpretation became law
- Hitler was true source of power - kept regime together - loyalty to Hitler was most important thing
- During war years Hitler became even more remote - lost some power? - Bormann became increasingly influential - Himmler + Goering arrangement with Western Allies - Abandoned idea of working towards Fuhrer

11

Briefly Describe the Relationship between Party + State?

- Appeared well-organised

- Relationship between structure + role of Nazi party and the apparatus of the German state was never clarified satisfactorily
- Army independent but slowly becoming under Hitler's control (oath)
- Party + State became united
- Violence/fear/Nazism
Good for Hitler ---- Divide + Rule
/
/
Led to Confusion
\
\
Bad for State ---- 1936 = controlled by Nazi
(Army/Police/etc)

12

What Was the Relationship Between Party + State in 1933/34?

- 1933 = Separate entities
- 1934 = Hitler claimed the party was to control state
- Gradual Process - easy because many Germans were committed to working for the Fuhrer
- Even stubborn/reluctant people found something to work towards (e.g. reversing Versailles) - better chance of maintaining status/job?
- Party wasn't unified - made up of many smaller groups (e.g. SS/SA/HS/DAF/BDM/Gestapo)

13

How did Nazi Party Change from 1932-1939?

- Party membership 1932 = 850000
- Party Membership 1939 = 8 million
- Most important members joined before 1930
- Rush to join after March 1933 (people known as March Violets
- Nazi elites tended to be drawn from lower middle classes/rural areas - industrial/urban working class = underrepresented

14

What Effect Did the Nazi Party Have at a Local Level?
Who were the Gauleiters?

- Significant Impact
- "ever-present and intrusive .... became ingrained into the fabric of day to day life" - {Collier}
- Abolition of the states allowed Nazis to appoint 32 Gauleiters to govern the regions
- Gauleiters were virtually all powerful + resisted interference from outside bodies - had personal accesses to Hitler + were totally loyal

15

Describe the Gaus

- Every Gau divided into 760 Kreise (districts)
- Headed by a Kreisleiter
- Block wardens appointed to keep close eye on people

16

Who did the Party Attempt to Positively Affect People's Lives (1933/34)?

- This was a kind of paternalism
- Strength Through Joy = entertainment for workers (e.g. theatre trips/sporting events/holidays) - Organised by DAF
- Beauty of Labour = Improving working conditions (e.g. improved ventilation/heating/potted plants)
- Winterhelp = collections for the homless

17

What was the Party's Relationship with the Civil Service?

1934-1937
- Civil Service was keen for Nazi Government - opposed Weimar
- Lots of co-operation
- Did not object purge of Jews/Socialists (restoring order)
1937-1945
- As the regime became more radical CS became increasingly concerned
- Top CS were increasingly monitored by Nazis (e.g. phones tapped)
- Felt that they losing their independence
- Collapse of cabinet government led to chaos + confusion - made it difficult for CS to operate
- Remained loyal to regime + participated directly in crimes being committed by Nazis (e.g. attending Wannsee Conference)

18

What was the Relationship Between Party + Legal System?

- Judges + Lawyers naturally conservative + disliked Weimar/feared communism
- Did not protest/object to being coordinated into Nazi Lawyers Association in 1933
- Law passed in wake of Reichstag Fire dominated legal proceedings + allowed Nazis to by-pass courts/leagl system.

19

Why was the Support of the Army So Important to Hitler?

- Vital for Political stability
- A regime which fails to maintain the support of the armed forces will lack credibility domestically/internationally
- Traditional + Respectable (used in Potsdam Day)

20

What was the Relationship Between the State + the Army 1934-1937?

- Cordial
- Oath to Hitler
- Night of Long Knifes
- Rearmed - modernised + conscription
- New air force (Luftwafte)
- Conquered foreign lands (e.g. Rhineland)
- Same ideology

21

How Did the Relationship Between State + Army Change in 1937?

- Purge of Moderate Army Officers
- 11/37 = Hitler outlined new foreign policy -WAR
- Bloomberg (War Minister) + Fritsch didn't agree
- Bloomberg resigned in 1938 (wife was a prostitute) + Fritsch resigned (accused of homosexuality)
- Hitler took control of the army
- "free reign to wage war; the armed forces were docile + obedient" {Collier}

22

What was the Relationship Between State + Army in 1938-1945?

- 1938 Onwards = army's ability to shape political developments was drastically reduced - Hitler was strong enough to mould the army more closely to his requirements (army tamed to new master)
- Plan to arrest Hitler 1938 by disillusioned generals in event of war = proof of deterioration in their relationship
1938-1942
- Military policy = successful - plan/arrest didn't work
- Resistance = treason/unpatriotic
1943-1945
- Defeat in Stalingrad/North Africa = more opposition of army
- Involvement of army leaders in July Bomb Plot marked end powerful/position of army in society (Gestapo arrested/executed these officers)
- Last traces of army independence subsumed within regime

23

Describe the Relationship Between State + Big Businesses

1933 - 1936
- position on BB began to improve (world economy + destruction of trade unions)
- Small businesses being squeezed out
- Building/coal/steel industries = prospered
- Consumer goods = Suffered
- BB maintained independence
1936 - 1939
- Four Year Plan = turning point
- Only influential group left was electro-chemical sector (crucial role in rearmament)
- Schacht's authority no longer existed (valued consumer goods)
- BB accepted primacy of politics/fearful of resistance to state intervention only make situation worse.
1939-1945
- BB worker with regime until the end
- Party controlled+directed everything - fatally compromised War production in early years
- BB likened to conductor on buses - no control over actions of driver but keeps collecting passengers' fares until final crash