Mommsen's "From Weimar to Auschwitz"

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Hans Mommsen’s book, From Weimar to Auschwitz, presented an interesting look at Hitler within the Nazi Party. The overriding themes in the chapter “Hitler’s Position in the Nazi System” were the stubbornness and charisma of Hitler and the chaos within the Nazi Party. The weak leadership of Hitler along with the inability to concentrate power to one position helped lead the Third Reich to be a very frenzied and unorganized government. Throughout the span of Hitler’s rule, there was constant confusion within the Third Reich. Hitler’s government was not a monolithic government; instead, there were many different centers of power, including the different military branches and different ministries. The “administrative anarchy” led to constant rivalries and conflicts between and within different ministries and committees. Some of the regime’s biggest decisions, Mommsen noted, were “taken without rational bureaucratic considerations playing any role whatsoever” (179). If a project had to be completed and other authorities were neglecting it, Hitler would create a new position that had would have the power to take all steps necessary to finish the project. No Nazi official could be sure that his job was secure because any task could be spread out among different agencies, and any agency could cease to exist with the order of Hitler. The consistent competition to be on Hitler’s good side had the different agencies implementing laws without coordinating with other ministries, creating a huge communication gap within the government. The creation of the concentration camps for use on the Jews was not the sole idea of Hitler; it was a process of escalation starting with the holding of Soviet Union prisoners of war. The need for the camps originally was for the “special treatment” of Soviet officers, later using the prisoners in tests of the German euthanasia. The escalating brutality had the German soldiers from both the SS and army feeling numb towards their job of...
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