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Consolidation and Maintenance of Power / Challenges to Power

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Kristy Kong

on 12 December 2013

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Transcript of Consolidation and Maintenance of Power / Challenges to Power

The Political Structure of the Third Reich/ Was Hitler a 'weak' dictator?
• Huge rallies, marches, torchlit processions and meetings

• Normally took place during the summer and the aim was to show the German people the power of the state and convinced them that “every other German” fully supported the Nazis.

• Bands, marches, flying displays and Hitler’s speeches to indoctrinate the people.

• 7 - 8 days

Most participants in the rallies were young people who were part of the Hitler Youth and The League of German Maidens.

• They celebrated victory, freedom, strength, honor and peace. For example, In 1936 the theme was "Honour and Freedom"; warning of the Bolsheviks, encouraging self-sufficiency and lebensraum (major political ideology in Nazi Germany; served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a greater Germany).
The Role of Terror
Consolidation and Maintenance of Power / Challenges to Power
How did the Nazis consolidated and maintained their grip on power?
How propaganda was used to helped maintain power?
The Political Structure of the Third Reich/ Was Hitler a weak dictator?
Opposition to the Nazis
Kristie, Georgie, Chiara, Kristy

How was propaganda used to helped maintain power?
Opposition to the Nazis
Role of Terror
Events from the Reichstag Fire through to the Death of Hindenburg
Looking from pictures or footage of Nazi Germany, one might come to the conclusion that the Nazi party was one that believed to be in complete order. Their parades, with thousands of people lined up perfectly and marching in unison, are enough to convince someone of this fact. However, the order of the Nazi Party was just an illusion they created as a way to hide the truth about the chaotic system behind it.

Although they took part in democratic
elections as soon as they came into power
they suppressed democratic process. They
used terror and anti-communist paranoia in
order to make Germany a single party state.
In the first few months after Hindenburg
appointed Hitler chancellor, the Nazis came
up with a policy of “coordination” which
was the alignment of individuals and
institutions with Nazi goals. The Nazis now
controlled culture, the economy, education
and law.

Social Democrats, Communists and Industrial Workers

- Established sophisticated underground organize to continue to oppose the Nazi regime (exiled leadership, newspapers and party activists)
- End of 1938 - Gestapo continue success in search and arrest of SPD underground resistance groups --> Exiled SPD leadership: Ended underground resistance activities as they are too dangerous
- From 1939, SOPADE reports: Most Germany had been won over to supporting the Nazi regime --> Reluctantly accepted it as a “fact of life”
- Conclusion: Nazi regime could be overthrown only by a coup led by the German army

Case study: New Beginning
- Left of the SPD
- Met secretly in private houses and flats --> Discuss future direction of German politics
- Believed key reason Hitler came into power: Left-wing disunity
- Felt a lift-wing coalition (SPD + KPD) = Best means of combating Nazism
- 1935: Most active members were arrested by Gestapo --> Rest despite in a much depleted form, continued to operate
- Autumn 1938: Decimated by a further wave of arrests by Gestapo
- Reason why they survived for so long: Members had attempted to conduct their opposition through discussions in private
The Gestapo (Geheime Staatzpolizei)
The Nazis controlled the media strictly
• Internal police force created in 1933
• Herman Göring
• 45,000 members of the Gestapo during WW2
• employed 160,000 agents & informers
• created to help solidify Nazi control
• instrumental in the destruction of European Jews during the Holocaust
- Books could not be published without Goebbels’ permission
1933- public burning of books - Nazi students came together to burn any books that included ideas unacceptable to the Nazis

- Newspapers were also censored. Only articles supporting the Nazis were allowed to be published.

- The “Der Sturmer” newspaper was devoted primarily to the hatred of the Jews, it was the best selling newspaper in the 1930s.

- Propaganda posters were plastered around Germany proclaiming the successes of Hitler

- People's radios were sold very cheaply, but broadcasts were controlled
Loud speakers in public places blared out Nazi propaganda. They had only one station and limited range.

“The name of Himmler sent shivers down the spine... The ordinary German no longer felt free.” - A German citizen interviewed in a 1980s TV program
- Active --> Clandestine underground resistance: Faced multitude of dangers - Most died in struggle (360,000 - 1933-35: around 36,000)
- Faced lonely, hopeless struggled, following by inevitable known on the door from a member of the Gestapo, detention in a concentration camp and execution
- 2 predominant types: Skilled members of the working class, operating in factories, and unemployed workers living in inner-city areas
- 1933-1939: 150,000 Communists detailed in Nazi concentration camps, further 30,000 executed
- KPD leader, Ernst Thälmann, executed in Buchenwald concentration camp - Aug 18 1944
- Strategy: Distribution of anti-Nazi literature (~1 million leaflets and newspapers, Radio Free Gemany
- Aim: Keep on step ahead of the Gestapo --> Proved increasingly difficult task
- Resistance never ceased inside Nazi Germany
What did the Gestapo do?
• instrumental in the destruction of European Jews during the Holocaust
• identified and arrested anti-Nazi agents, foreign agents and resistance fighters in Germany
• Göring encouraged his officers to root out and arrest communists and others he considered to be a threat to the Nazi government
• oversaw the enforcement of the Nuremburg Laws

Films, both fictional and factual, carried the pro-Nazi message and against their opponents.
The Reich Film Chamber regulated the content of German and foreign films. Films were classified in to categories such as “politically and artistically valuable” and “ culturally valuable”.

Most films produced had no overt propaganda and so they appeared to be more effective in keeping support for the regime than indoctrinating people with Nazism.
• February 10, 1936: the Nazi government officially decreed that the Gestapo was not subject to judicial review
- no legal restraints on detention of suspects
- no legal restraints on evidence collection,
- no legal restraints on police violence (ranging from comparatively mild censorship and intimidation through warnings and job dismissal to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, a period in a concentration camp or even execution)
= huge control - could arrest people on suspicion of doing wrong with no limits
• Hindenburg’s decree of 1933 allowed imprisonment without trial for an indefinite period for anyone deemed dangerous to the state.
• Gestapo had stream of informants, including the dreaded ‘block wardens’,
• paid regular visits to individuals’ homes, creating an image of power that must have helped to reinforce obedience.

Industrial Workers
Variety of forms: Absenteeism from work, sabotage of industrial machinery, army refusal to serve in the German army and to give the Hitler salute, Protests over rises in food prices in 1935, Built motorways in mid 1930s, Deliberate slow working in armaments factories
Most sympathetic to the KPD or members of it --> Towards the end of the war, industrial unrest greatly increased
21,833 prisoners serving time for political opposition to the Nazi regime --> Recorded occupation as “industrial worker”

Case Study: Georg Elser
- An individual worker from Würteemberg, resisted alone
- Always voted for the KPD in elections
- Aggrieved over the destruction of workers’ rights
- Nov 8 1939 - Planted a bomb in a Munich beer hall where Hitler was due to give a speech
- Bomb planted exploded at the exact time when Hitler would have been speaking if he had arrived on time --> Bad weather and good luck - Hitler’s plane to Munich delayed, arrived late for speech
- Arrested and executed for attempting to assassinate the Nazi leader
Youth Protest
- Grew as war progressed, despite Hitler Youth
- Rebellious expressions

Case Study: Student Protest: the White Rose (Jun 1942 - Feb 1943)
- Put an end to Nazi regime --> Treatment to Jews and others
- Founded by Hans and Sophie Scholl
- Influenced by the German Youth Movement --> Afraid
- Openly campaigned against Hitler and WWII (believed they lost in 1942)
- Encouraged members to engage in sabotage
- Anti-Nazi and ant-war leaflets for the public --> Appealed to German intelligentsia
- Feb 1943: Launched a risky graffiti campaign around Munich (Struck 29 sites in the city)
- Found guilty and executed --> Apr - Jul 1943: “People’s Court” treason

Case Study: Edelweiss Pirates (Eidelweisspiraten) - 1937
- Composed of multiple gangs --> Started in Rhineland
- Mainly working class male youths
- Wore bohemian clothing (Hitler Youth - semi-military)
- Sang songs and played music banned by Nazis
- Created areas within a town where Hitler Youth not tolerated
- Never a danger to the Nazi regime - Youthful irritant
- Became more political towards the end
- Many imprisoned by SS or executed
Christian Churches
- Catholic and Protestant
- Ethnical prognosis: Christian communities in Nazi Germany were poor
- Nazis infiltrated the Protestant churches under the banner of the German Christian movement (Alfred Rosenberg) --> Sprang up movements
- Less effective resistance --> Lack of cohesion
- Protested about: anti-Christian attitudes, anti-Semitism, Gestapo brutality, concentration camps
- Many arrested
- 1941: Nazis admitted that silencing Christian churches failed

Case Study: "Pastors Emergency League" (The Confessing Church)
- Formed by Pastor Martin Neimoller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others
- Actively protested against the Nazi regime and its anti-Semitic policies
- Sought to end Nazi manipulation of the churches
- Initially concerned with the policy of exclusion that the Aryan Paragraph advocated
- Believed the exclusion of Jews from the church community = Direct violation of Christian teaching, contradiction with the idea of spreading the Gospel
- Bonhoeffer liasoned with the military resistance (some involved in the July 20th bombing)
The Nuremburg Laws
The Nuremburg Laws were anti-Jewish statutes enacted by Germany on September 15, 1935
aimed at removing Jewish influences from Aryan society
- deprived Jews of German citizenship
- prohibited Jewish households from having German maids under the age of 45
- prohibited any non-Jewish German from marrying a Jew
- outlawed sexual relations between Jews and Germans.

• Hitler claimed during a Reichstag session that the Nuremberg Laws would actually help the Jews by creating "a level ground on which the German people may find a tolerable relation with the Jewish people."
• this statement was a "blatant deception, aimed at the outside world."
• not only persecuted people of Jewish descent, but also Aryan Germans with Jewish spouses
• anyone who married a Jew was an inferior German
• Any children born to such parents did not deserve any better treatment than Jews, since their German half was not really worth protecting.

The SS
• The SS was under Heinrich Himmler and his deputy, Reinhard Heydrich
• the SS centralized the German political police forces with the Gestapo.
• used ruthless methods to identify and arrest political opponents and others who refused to conform to the policies of the Nazi regime.

• SS were responsible for running the concentration camps
• Everyone was scared of being arrested by the Gestapo and being put in a concentration camp.
• Reporters compiled on any form of opposition- tell anti-Hitler jokes, refusing to give Hitler salute, not flying the Nazi flag

Concentration Camps
• Majority of concentration camp prisoners were political opponents of the Nazi regime
• Minorities of Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials.
• Although the concentration camps were not extermination camps in the years before 1939, they were brutal places.
• Between 1933 and 1939, around 225,000 Germans were convicted of political crimes
• a further 162,000 were placed in ‘protective custody’ in prison without trial.
It is widely believed by many people that Nazi germany was totalitarian however it is much more suitable to say that the Nazi regime had more of a polycratic system. Unlike totalitarianism, there is more than one person in a position of power. Although Hitler was in control, he passed on many responsibilities to his close friends and followers. These people would often fight over the positions. An example of this is the conflict between Hermann Goering and Albert Speer over the power over the German economy in 1942.

As talked about above people would fight in order to gain power
which many believed created a confusing and chaotic system.
However Hitler believed in Social Darwinism, which is the belief that
Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ can be applied to political
and social situations. So he usually would not choose who to
promote but allow people to fight amongst each other until who ever
was the “strongest” would prevail.

In 1925, a member of the Nazi Party wrote to Hitler listing the reasons why he believed he should be made leader of his local branch. When one of Hitler’s closest confidants replied to him he told him that it was not Hitler’s job to appoint leaders and suggested that he should take over leadership of the branch seeing as most of the members had confidence in him.

Military Resistance Against Hitler
- Began since early days of Hitler’s rule --> His background
- Leery of SA --> Threat to own power --> “Night of Long Knives” alleviated fears
- Some angry at Hitler due to the assassination of Gerneral Schleicher and his assistant
- Some due to the Fritsch Affair --> Fear for Hitler’s intimidation techniques
- Opposed to Hitler’s aggressive war policy (i.e. General Ludwig Beck)

Case Study: 20 July 1944 - Stauffenberg and the bomb attempt on Hitler’s life
- Summer 1944: Believed that Hitler’s leadership --> Dooming Germany to defeat in a matter of time
- Hitler (& inner circle) aware of the assassination attempts --> 1944 onwards - Wolf’s Lair - Heavy security
- Key figure: Stauffenberg --> Severely disabled war hero, had actual contact with Hitler on a regular basis, few problems in going into the Wolf’s Lair
- Briefcase moved, hence directed away from Hitler --> clothes singed, a cut to his hand, damaged ear drums
- Gave Mussolini a tour of the damage done to the map room after 4 hours of the incident
- Planned coup d'état in Berlin that was to follow the assassination was a disaster - Clearly not well thought out
- Conspirators based in the War Office were rounded up --> Shot by a firing squad, but was only the start of Hitler’s revenge
- Many stood trial before Roland Freisler, the Nazi judge who showed no mercy to anyone.

Propaganda was used to discourage popular phenomenon of the time eg. Jazz music. Jazz was associated with racial overtones. In the poster shown above, the poster reads “Degenerate Music” and the player is also wearing a Star of David, in reference to show how anything associated with Jews was considered “degenerate”.

The Nazis targeted children, youth, and students in their propaganda.

Created a strong sense of communal organization, as was seen in the Hitler Youth programs.

The Hitler Youth (HJ) were viewed as future “Aryan supermen” and were indoctrinated in anti- Semitism.
Despite Hitler’s charisma and enthusiasm towards his own cause, general government business did not interest him. He would usually sleep in late and would rather spend his days watching movies, reading the paper and taking walks. Hitler was a very stubborn man and did not like to listen to others and when he did, he would only listen to what he wanted to hear. He would often sign government papers without reading through them properly. He believed that many things would sort themselves out eventually if you did not interfere.

However this of course is not the image that was portrayed to the public. He was seen as confident and strong leader whose speeches talked about
building a new and powerful Germany.

Despite his apparent disinterest in detailed policies,
he did have ideas about what he wanted for Germany.
He would talk about these ideas and ambitious Nazis
would listen to what he said. They would then take his
visions and come up with ways that these ideas
could be made reality. They came up with the detailed
policies themselves and claimed that they were
acting in the will of the Fuhrer.
1933- Burning of books
Karl Abiker
True art as defined by Hitler was linked with the country life,with health, and with the Aryan race. "We shall discover and encourage the artists who are able to impress upon the State of the German people the cultural stamp of the Germanic
race . . . in their origin and in the picture which they present they are the expressions of the soul and the ideals of the community."
(Hitler, Party Day speech, 1935; in Adam, 1992
Arno Breker

The most common belief is that Hitler was a strong and good dictator. This is how an “intentionalists” would view Hitler and his rule. The public was also subject to the ideal image of Hitler that was built up by the Nazi. They saw him as an almost invincible leader.

The ‘Hitler Myth’ built up and used as a device to integrate the party and to fend off other leadership challenges and to win new members.

The myth was seen as a very powerful tool in binding the German people in loyalty and submission. The German people were extremely bitter about the great war and felt humiliated by what had happened.

Ian Kershaw, a famous historian, states “Hitler stood for at least some things they [German people] admired, and for many had become the symbol and embodiment of the national revival which the Third Reich had in many respects been perceived to accomplish"

The Hitler Myth

The Nuremberg Rallies

This question is one that has been debated quite a lot over the years.

On one side, many historians believe that he wasn’t a weak dictator as his influence over the people was so great. Hitler was a very powerful orator. In his speeches, he provided the German people with a convenient scapegoat for the failure of Germany recently – the Jews. He was also was an opportunist. He knew what to do and when to do it and he knew who he needed to help his achieve his ambitions. Both of these traits contributed greatly to the fact that he was able to influence the country so greatly.

However, those who look at the structure of the system of the Third Reich can see that in many aspects he was a weak dictator.The definition of a dictator is someone who has complete control over a country. Hitler certainly did have complete control. However there were many aspect that he did not feel interested in and so he mostly left these things in the control of others. As stated before he would often not read documents before signing them and many of their detailed policies might have been originally orated by them but he did not have much part in actually putting these ideas together and making them possible.

In conclusion, it can be argued that Hitler was a weak dictator. However it can not be disputed that Hitler was a terrible Tyrant.
Was Hitler a weak dictator?
Only Nazi-approved painters could show their works Usually sculptures of heroic-looking Aryans, military figures or images of the ideal Aryan family.
Official art(ists) for the Third Reich
Events from the Reichstag Fire through to the Death of Hindenburg.

30th Jan 1933:Hitler becomes chancellor by legal means

27th Feb 1933: Reichstag Fire (Berlin)

Hitler took this opportunity to get rid of the Communists. He blamed the
communists for the fire.
Communists were arrested days after the fire because of the fear of other
communist threats
Hitler used this fear of communists threats to create more fear so that people would choose Nazism over Communism

Significance of this event were that the Nazi party had partially eliminated the opposition from the communists by turning the communist followers against the communists leader by giving fear to the citizens by blaming the communists for the Reichstag fire

23 March 1933: German Reichstag passed the Enabling Bill.

Hitler proposed the enabling bill giving him dictatorial power.
Eliminated 2 out of the 3 Nazi competitions. Banning both Communism and Social
Democrats from taking part in future elections.
Both Communists and Social Democrats were sent to concentration camps.
Deal made with the Catholic Center Party (Concordat) If the Catholics stayed out of the election and out of the way of Hitler, Hitler would uphold their religious freedom.

The significance of this event is that the Nazis had now eliminated both communists and social democrats as political oppositions and had a good control over the catholics through the concordat deal.

May 1933: All Trade Unions dissolved.

Workers forced to join the German Labour Front

Significance of this event is that the Nazis had better control over the working population of Germany because if the Trade Unions existed they would have issues with the workers rebelling for their rights.

14 July 1933: Nazi is the only political party left
Concordat deal is concluded with Catholic Center Party
Catholic church is banned from political activity, in return for a promise that their religious freedom would be upheld.
Germany is now a One Party State

Significance of this is that now the Nazis had total control over Germany as seen in the 1933 elections where the state only had one party to vote for.

November 1933: Elections
Nazi party won 92.2% of the votes

30 June 1934: Night of the Long Knives
85 major officials perished
Army leadership supports Hitler because he got rid of the SA.
SS have dominant control over Germany.

The significance of this event is that Hitler was able to get rid of any left over opposition and with the support of the SS and the army leadership, the Nazis had both political and man power to consolidate his power.
"The enforcement of standardization and the elimination of all opposition within the political, economic, and cultural institutions of a state"
The End!
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