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National Studies GERMANY 1918 – 1939 Nazism in Power Hitler’s Role By S. Angelo Head Teacher History East Hills Girls Technology High School 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "National Studies GERMANY 1918 – 1939 Nazism in Power Hitler’s Role By S. Angelo Head Teacher History East Hills Girls Technology High School 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Studies GERMANY 1918 – 1939 Nazism in Power Hitler’s Role By S. Angelo Head Teacher History East Hills Girls Technology High School 2009

2 Where did power lie in the 3 rd Reich? How powerful was Hitler? –Relationship with German people All powerful because he represents the will of the people (Huber, 1935; Frank, 1938)

3 Ian Kershaw: The Hitler Myth Why did it develop and gain credence? Reaction to Weimar Satisfied German emotional need for strong gov’t Reinforced authoritarian leadership tradition Developed from Nazi Fuhrerprinzip Sustained by Hitler’s successes Enhanced by propaganda What was it? * carefully cultivated image personified nation unselfish understood German people architect of Germany’s economic recovery represented popular justice defended Germany against enemies responsible for major successes Effects??? Hitler’s personal popularity 90% in late 1930s Sustained Nazi regime Inherent instability Military failures led to a declining belief in myth

4 What role did Hitler play in decision making in the Nazi regime? Leader principle = Fuhrerprinzip Führer und Reichskanzler Total authority Mein Kampf Volkischer Beobachter Haphazard, unbureaucratic approach Spent much of his time in Berchtesgaden in the Berghof Peterson: The Limits of Hitler’s Power –The man who does not decide – surrounded by an anthill of aspiring and fearing people trying to please “the great one” –Regime divided into thousands of little empires of ambitious men, domains largely unchecked by law Dietrich: Twelve Years with Hitler (memoirs) –Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that ever existed in a civilized state –He systematically disorganised the upper echelons of the Reich leadership in order to develop and further the authority of his own will until it became a despotic tyranny

5 The operation of Hitler’s government

6 Why were Nazi policies implemented?

7

8 Was Hitler an all-powerful dictator? View 1: Tradition (Rich, Bracher) Hitler makes all the decisions He is a strong leader View 2: Revisionist (Mommsen) Hitler is a weak dictator Not very involved in most gov’t directives Allows others to decide Unwilling to make decisions View 3: Complex picture (Kershaw ) Key activator Policy reflects Hitler’s vision No effective opposition to his will Mobiliser, legitimiser of policies, does not initiate many policies

9 Decision Making in the 3 rd Reich 1935 Nuremburg Laws Anti-Semitic views of Hitler Few moves against Jews until 1935 with SA attacks Hitler intervenes in the dispute between radicals an moderates on the Jewish question Anti-Semitic Nuremburg speech This led to the hastily written Nuremburg laws passed in 1936 Hitler also intervened to stop street violence against Jews for the Olympics in 1936 Kristallnacht anti-Semitic violence erupted on the streets again 8/11/1938 a Polish Jew assassinates a Nazi official in Paris Goebbels suggests to Hitler that the anti-Semitic violence should increase Hitler assents Kristallnacht was the result

10 Radicalisation of 3 rd Reich Lack of formal restraints Collective system of government decays Institutional constraints have been removed Hitler’s popularity Successful policies Successful propaganda Shifts responsibility for failures and less savoury aspects onto others

11 Traditional Power Structures?? Reichstag Enabling Act –Legislative power given to Hitler –Renewed every 4 years –Reichstag rarely met Cabinet Retained but lost purpose Had legislative power but laws really issued by Hitler Reich Chancellery drew up laws Reich Chancellery headed by Lammers Roles expanded Responsible for co-ordinating responses of departments to new legislation Bureaucratic centre New Party & state sections created Civil Service Traditionally conservative committed to serving the state Transferred happily to the 3 rd Reich compulsory membership of the Nazi Party 1939 Wearing of uniform 1939 Lost influence by end of 1930s

12 Local Government Taken over by Nazi appointed officials Agents of central government Gauleiter held power Courts & Legal System Franz Gurtner – non-Nazi Justice Minister 1933 – 1941 Supported authoritarian state operating within the law Nazi ideas penetrated SS& Gestapo gain power People’s Court and Special Courts – March 1933 Foreign Office Remained largely intact Konstantin von Neurath Foreign Minister to 1938 Foreign policy taken over by Goering, Goebbels, Ribbentrop, special missions Became more nazified Army Hitler weakened the SA Personal Oath sworn to Hitler Army could pose a potential danger Generally co-operated and was left structurally unchanged until 1938 Army policies changed to reflect Nazi policies Hitler took direct command in 1938

13 Role of the Nazi Party Gauleiter Regional party leaders –Karl Hanke – Lower Silesia –Kark Kaufmann – Hamburg –Fritz Sauckel – Thuringia Gau = Reichstag electoral district Gauleiter = Reich Governor –Ensure people in his district “toe the line” –Ran a hierarchical party machine

14 Illustration showing Nazi Organisation

15 Key Leaders Hans Heinrich Lammers The Bureaucrat Chief of the Reich Chancellery Martin Bormann Hitler’s Fixer Hitler’s secretary Head of Party Chancellery Rudolf Hess Sycophant or flatterer Deputy Fuhrer


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