Modern History Notes

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To what extent can Nazism in power be seen as totalitarianism in the period 1933-1939?

Introduction

Within a year Hitler coming into power 1933 German democracy no longer existed and Germany had a ruthless dictatorship •Totalitarianism is defined as a system of Gov in which power and all aspects state affairs are in the hands of one party, including total control over all aspects of life, and who seek to shape the way society thinks and acts by imposing the will of the party in power – this was certainly Hitler’s Germany

P1
-Hitler’s concept of leadership expressed in Mein Kampf was to rule unrestricted -Nazi’s given power and moved quickly to set up totalitarian state; intended to establish a dictatorship in which the Nazi Party would be the sole political force in Germany -Mere two months of chancellorship had achieved this aim with Enabling Act -Nazi regime governed using combination of persuasion and violence -Took forms of propaganda and terror – two essential elements of totalitarian state -Propaganda sought to influence majority to accept the state, set out to reinforce ideology National Socialism so Germans would accept philosophy of party “Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer!”

P2
-Fuhrerprinzip – principle which made Hitler the basis of the party and placed all authority in his hands -All-powerful leader who would end divisions and weaknesses of the democratic system and replace them with an authoritarian state -Hitler set about to establish absolute person rule

-Tactic to use the constitution to alter the constitution
-Volkischer Beobachter reminded Germans from now on ‘our constitution is the will of the fuhrer’ -Leader would receive total and absolute obedience of the people as he fulfilled his mission and led the German people towards their destiny -New Government projected as Gov of revival – Nazi’s spoke of bridging divisions in society and the creation of a new sense national unity -Day of Potsdam 1933 – Nazi’s presented themselves as legitimate Gov -Totalitarianism seeks to impose the will of the party in power and uses modern science and technology to be pervasive

P3
-Hitler Myth – deliberate and persistent effort to promote the fuhrer as the heroic leader of the German people -In controlled mass media and deliberate and structured images of the fuhrer, Hitler projected as a moderate and reasonable leader chosen by fate to lead German people -Kershaw “Even allowing for manipulation and lack of freedom, it has to be concluded that the vast majority of the German people backed him” – totalitarianism based on element popular support -Hitler created bond between Fuhrer and his people that grew in years of victory -Played on theme of communist conspiracy against the State

-Decree for Protection of People and State 1933 – basic freedoms of German people suspended -K Mason Basis of the totalitarian state was established under cover of legality

P4
-What existed from 1933 was a permanent state of emergency which gave the regime the legal ‘authority’ to carry out acts of terror and persecution and control all aspects of life -Enabling act allowed Gov to move quickly to bring key agencies and institutions of the state under the control of the Nazi Party -Kershaw “Germany had bound itself to the dictatorship it had created” -Period of Gleichschaltung

-Germany was to be nazified so that the philosophy of National Socialism and control of the party pervaded every aspect of German life -Germany in the process of becoming a totalitarian state in which total and control and authority rest with Nazi Party -Civil Service – Law for the restoration of the professional civil service 1933 -Civil servants of Jewish decent or those who lacked qualifications removed -Essential aim Nazi party to win support working class – Abolished free trade unions -German Labour Front DAF led Dr Robert Ley

-July 1933 all parties except Nazi’s...
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