Strength of Hitler

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This question concerns the extent and strength of Hitler’s power and refers to the controversy concerning the efficiency of the Nazi regime; the debate between intentionalist and structuralist viewpoints. S stracturalist:

To further these opinions stracturalist historians would refer to Hitler’s reliance on the power of the Gauleiter, as shown when he could not support Frick in trying to subordinate them. In 1934 the Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich meant Frick tried to put the newly created Reich Governors under his control as head of the Ministry of the Interior; thereby centralising control. It did not work because most of the governors were also Gauleiter with large local power bases. In the end Hitler agreed to place them nominally under Frick’s control but in reality they could appeal directly to the Fuhrer. On top of that, The setting up of rival agencies to that of the traditional state which created political chaos and the use of Fuhrer orders which were often contradictory. The latter was notably the case when in 1935 both Hess and an official from the Ministry of the Interior were given contradictory orders with regards to whether it would be best for the Jews to be allowed to stay in Germany. HOWEVER To accept the evidence of Stewart-stracturalist -in supporting the viewpoint of a lack of power would be to show a misunderstanding of Hitler’s role and significance. His absorption of the powers of Chancellor and President combined with the army’s oath, both in 1934, gave unassailable power. This then allowed Hitler to be presented as a demigod who was worshipped by the German people, most notably in the Triumph of the Will which portrayed the Nuremburg Rally. In short Hitler’s dictatorship was so powerful that he could distance himself from the detail of government and furthermore this helped maintain power as blame for any unpopular measures would be directed to subordinates and not as an attack against the Fuhrer himself. Thus the bohemian lifestyle and competing agencies that were left behind do not show weakness in power but completely the opposite. Fuhrer’s will’ Hitler’s power as head of party, state and military was unassailable. The ‘Triumph of the Will’ showed him as a demigod worshipped by the German people and it was this propaganda that distanced him from the need to be involved in day to day decisions. The crucial peacetime decisions were made by Hitler; most notably the Night of the Long Knives. However this chaos does not show a lack of comprehensive power as within this vacuum the agencies were competing to ‘interpret the Fuhrer’s will’. In fact a situation where all were trying to find the right method to achieve an element of the world view at the right time shows a much higher level of power. This viewpoint can clearly be supported by analysing how the policy towards the Jews was formulated. Frick’s ‘Aryan Clause’, Wagner’s speech leading to the Nuremburg laws, the street violence following Anschluss, the 1938 legislation to isolate the Jews and Goebbels’ green light for Kristallnacht were all methods and legislation formed by those ‘working towards the Fuhrer’; trying to come up with the right method at the right time. Instead it was Hitler’s hand off approach that allowed a much higher level of power to develop. By distancing himself from government Hitler left a vacuum that was filled by competing agencies and ministries all trying to form a method that fully interpreted his world view. Kershaw is correct to adopt this viewpoint as this style of government did create chaos but it was this competing chaos to please and gain influence from Hitler, supported by the representation of Hitler as a mystical religion in propaganda, that show the true totality and comprehensiveness of the Fuhrer’s power. * Revision:Hitler - Weak Dictator or Master of the Third Reich TSR Wiki > Study Help > Subjects and Revision > Revision Notes > History > Hitler - Weak Dictator or...
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