How far do you agree with the view that in the years 1933-39, Hitler was a 'weak dictator'?
Hitler has been categorised as a weak and a strong dictator by structuralist and intentionalist historians respectively, intentionalist for the importance of Hitler, and structuralist for the importance of those around him. Timothy Mason, a British Marxist historian, is an example of a structuralist historian, believing that Hitler was heavily reliant on those around and supporting him. There is also Ian Kershaw, who believed in the ‘Working towards the Fuhrer’ ideology, where Hitler exploited the attitudes of the German people in an attempt to have them work towards him.
Timothy Mason, a British Marxist historian was certainly believed that Hitler was a weak dictator, in agreement to the question. Hitler was meant to be an all-powerful Fuhrer, being the only person who really knows what Germany and Germans want and need, yet he as Mason describes, “…had a preference for creating new organs of state to carry out specific projects.” If Hitler had been an all-powerful Fuhrer, he would not have required new organs to help him carry out tasks, he would have just been able to dictate and organise everything himself. This was shown in the massacre of the Night of the Long Knives This shows that Hitler in fact was a weak dictator, who did not have control over everything that happened in Nazi Germany, and he needed the support of the Nazi backroom to help him run the country. Mason also described, in about how Hitler would give jobs to other people to carry out. He realised that he wasn’t cut out to be leading certain jobs, and therefore he chose, ‘the right man for the job’. This is no more apparent than in the appointment of Goebbels as Propaganda Minister. Hitler wanted someone better than himself to arrange the propaganda appearances and meetings for himself, and Goebbels was clearly the best man for the job, as shown by his arrangement of the Night of the Long Knives...
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