Presentation on theme: "Where did power lie in the 3rd Reich?"— Presentation transcript:
1Where did power lie in the 3rd Reich? Nazi GermanyWhere did power lie in the 3rd Reich?
2Hitler & the German people Hitler is all-powerful because he represents the will of the people.Yes! Leader, we will follow you!”The Führer is the bearer of the people's willIn his will the will of the people is realised . [Huber – Nazi theorist]
3How much power did Hitler have? The Führer is supreme judge of the nationConstitutional law in the Third Reich is the legal formulation of the historical will of the Führer [Hans Frank]All historians agree that Hitler dominated Germany from 1933 to 1945, though they do not agree on how he exercised such power
4The extent of Hitler’s power Hitler's power was based on his unique relationship with the German peopleHis will was absolute because it was the will of the peopleIt was based on his mission in history and the will of the Führer as a revelation of the German people's destinyThere were no institutional restraints on him.
5Why was he given so much power? Germans looking for a MessiahHitler was all powerful in the party – this now applied to Germanyseen as 14 years of weak, divided governmentA combination of successful policies and powerful propaganda created the Hitler Myth
6What was the Hitler Myth? Hitler was portrayed as someone whoPersonified the nation and stood aloof from selfish interestsUnderstood the German peopleWas the architect of Germany's economic miracleWas the representative of popular justiceDefended Germany against its enemiesWas responsible for all the major successes of government
7Why did the Myth grow and retain credibility? It was a reaction to the divisions and weaknesses of the old Weimar systemIt satisfied people's emotional need for strong governmentIt reinforced a German tradition of authoritarian leadership.It developed from the long established Führer principle in the Nazi PartyIt was sustained by Hitler's successes after 1933.It was enhanced by propaganda.
8How were the German people affected? The myth contributed to Hitler's great personal popularityIt sustained the regime, and brought most Germans together through its strong emotional appealelements of the personality cult had attained far wider resonance and ... affected the vast majority of the populationHitler stood for at least some things they admired, and for many had become the symbol and embodiment of the national revival which the Third Reich had in many respects been perceived to accomplish.
9How did H’s obvious popular support strengthen his position at home & abroad? Plebiscites legitimised actions at home & abroadAllowed him freedom from conservative elitesHitler’s personal position became unassailableHigh level of support enabled him to carry out extreme policies
10How were decisions taken in Nazi Germany? Hitler provided overall vision & those round him provided policiesHitler acted like an absolute monarch, surrounded by those aiming to carry out his wishesTook little active part in making decisionsMuch of policy and decision making done by bureaucrats seeking promotionHitler’s word was law – no need for formal decision making processHitler had very casual approach to his work!
11In the twelve years of his rule in Germany Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilised state. During his period of government, he removed from the organisation of the state all clarity of leadership and produced a completely opaque network of competences. It was not all laziness or an excessive degree of tolerance which led the otherwise so energetic and forceful Hitler to tolerate this real witch's cauldron of struggles for position and conflicts over competence. It was intentional. With this technique he systematically disorganised the upper echelons [levels] of the Reich leadership in order to develop and further the authority of his own will until it became a despotic tyranny. From Twelve Years with Hitler, the memoirs of Otto Dietrich, Hitler s Press Chief, published in 1955
12“Hitler normally appeared shortly before lunch, quickly read through Reich Press Chief Dietrich's press cuttings, and then went into lunch. So it became more and more difficult for Lammers and Meissner to get him to make decisions which he alone could make as head of state ... He disliked the study of documents. I have sometimes secured decisions from him, even ones about important matters, without his ever asking to see the relevant files. He took the view that many things sorted themselves out on their own if one did not interfere.”Fritz Wiedemann, one of Hitler's adjutants in Der Monn, der Feldherr Werden Wolite (The man the soldier wanted to be),
13Was Hitler an all powerful dictator? Was strong leaderMakes all major decisionsWas ‘Master in the 3rd Reich’Führer was omnipotent – responsible for all lawsWas weak dictatorLittle involved in decisionsAllowed others to make decisionsUnwilling to decide
14Current consensus (Kershaw) Hitler was key activatorPolicy reflects Hitler’s overall visionNo effective opposition to his willHe is the mobiliser, legitimator of policies, but does not specifically initiate many policiesKershaw has argued that elements of both views are correct; that Hitler was often uninvolved in decisions, but that this illustrates his great power. To maintain his image as the infallible leader, he could not be involved in factional struggles, but just let the strongest official win