120Nazism in Power new notes.docx - MODERN HISTORY u2013...

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MODERN HISTORY – NAZISM IN POWER 01/01/2015 Hitler’s role in the Nazi State Fuhrerprinzip, the principle which Hitler made the basis of the party, placed all authority in the hands of the leader. Propaganda built up the “Hitler myth.” The Hitler Myth presented Hitler as: -Leader of the coming Germany -Youthful and dynamic -Loved young children -Young children confided in him Hitler represented the national will and worked tirelessly for his people. Polycratic government. Nazism as totalitarianism Definitions often say: Led by a dominating and often ruthless leader Single political party or group No opposition groups allowed People are constantly subjected to propaganda that praises the leader. Secret police and arbitrary imprisonment keep people submissive. Was Hitler’s Nazism totalitarianism? German historian Hans Mommsen: he was easily swayed, moody, erratic and not in direct control of the affairs of state. American historian Norman Rich: vital, powerful. Hitler rarely consulted the cabinet before making a decision. Who helped Hitler? Goering Control of the air force and the Four-Year plan. He was a decorated war hero from WW1. Was involved with implementing Nazi anti-semitic policies. Himmler had the SS and the Gestapo Supreme director of Nazi terror Goebbels Propaganda Hitler’s most devoted follower Responsible for creating and sustaining the Fuhrer Myth. Ley – labour
MODERN HISTORY – NAZISM IN POWER 01/01/2015 Bormann Party and administration. Worked behind the scenes. Hitler’s private secretary WAS HITLER A WEAK DICTATOR? YES NO The Nazi system of government was “polycratic.” The people just below Hitler had the real power; he was just a figurehead. The structure of the government might have been polycratic, but Hitler was still the most important person in Germany. Hitler’s work habits were lazy and erratic. He didn’t follow up on his decisions. Hitler could be lazy, but he made all the final decisions on matters that he thought were important, such as foreign policy. Hitler was not decisive. He often delayed or avoided making decisions. This gave more power to others who were prepared to be decisive. Hitler created the Nazi Party idea of the “leadership principle.” This made him the key figure in the party. Hitler often became preoccupied with “pet” projects; for example his building plans and architectural ideas with Albert Speer. As a result, he didn’t always know what was going on in government. Hitler encouraged the polycratic structure. It was part of a deliberate plan of “divine and rule.” Hitler was part of a “power sharing” arrangement within his own party, the government, the army, the old ruling class and “big business.” Hitler made alliances and gave power to others, but he was the dominant figure in all alliances and could take power away from anyone when, where and as he chose.

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