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To what extent was Hitler's 'charismatic authority' the basis of Nazi control in the period from 1933 to 1939?

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Introduction

To what extent was Hitler's 'charismatic authority' the basis of Nazi control in the period from 1933 to 1939? Despite the general and traditional intentionalist or 'Hitlocentric' view of those such as Fest, that 'no one evoked so much rejoicing, hysteria, and expectation of salvation as he'1 or that 'Nazism was Hitlerism, pure and simple.'2 Adolf Hitler was indeed 'charismatic' as a leader but no distinctly authoritive. It is not plausible to maintain that 'to a virtually unprecedented degree, he created everything out of himself and was himself everything at once: (nor) his own teacher, organizer of a party and author of its ideology, tactician and demagogic saviour, leader, statesman and for a decaded the entire 'axis' of Germany.'3 Indeed, there were both numerous and significant factors equating to the success of Nazi control 1933-1939, 'he seemed to embody the very type of the 'agent,' one who acts for others.'4 Hitler's 'charismatic authority' and the establishment of the Fuhrer image functioned, 'in mobilizing the boundless energy and misplaced idealism of the fanatics and activists through orientation towards long-term 'cosmic' and 'utopian' goals.'5 Thus, 'Hitler's increasing aloofness from the State bureaucracy and the major organs of government marks, it seems, are more than a difference of style with Stalin's modus operandi.'6 Nazi Germany, however, politically was not only a personal dictatorship, it was also a one-party state, therefore claiming supreme political authority. ...read more.

Middle

ideological enemies such as threats to national morale, 'asocials' and biological outsiders were crucial to the maintenance and success of Nazi Germany, including Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and the mentally ill. Seemingly, 'an obsession with Aryanism and eugenic theory was the catalyst for Nazi policies of repression and extermination against gypsies and other 'asocials,' yet the extent of Hitler's direct involvement in exercising these practices is contentious. However, Hitler's extensive involvement in the manifestation of doctrines in schools to reinforce the Hitler youth (Hitler Jugend) should not be downplayed. Through the political aims and policies of the Nazi party, Hitler was indeed 'charimatic' but not authoritive. The underlying presence of 'unfretted competeition is one of the least understood features of the National Socialist regime. More significantly, the orthodox intentionalist interpretation of Hitler's foreign policy in relation to Lebensraum has been altered. Jackel views Hitler's ideas as a guideline for his foreign policy actions, which were often adapted to deal with specific problems.12 In implementing terror and propaganda, Hitler maintained a charismatic leadership. The significance and importance of terror and propaganda is undisputed, as Hitler's polycratic regime thrived on the emphasise of control. Despite Hitler's teleo-logical association with 'heroic' leadership, 'this notion...(was) widespread in right-wing circles before Hitler's rise to prominence.'13 Hitler's role within the pursuit of Nazi economic policies was but again 'charismatic' but lacking an authoritive stance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nazi success and efficiency in stabilising the faltering German economy and producing sustained recovery after 1933 aided in exercising political control through unification and the establishment of a disciplined community. 'What he had always lacked was an awarness of the problems involved in translating policy into action.'22 1 Fest, J.C, Hitler, pp. 3 2 Kershaw, I., Hitler and the Uniqueness of Nazism 3 Fest, J.C., Hitler, pp.3 4 ibid, pp. 9 5 Kershaw, I., The Hitler Myth: Image and reality in the Third Reich, (1994), pp. 205 6 Kershaw I., 'Working Towards the Fuhrer: reflections on the nature of the Hitler dictatorship.', pp. 91 7 Noakes, J., Documents on Nazism, (1974), pp. 8 ibid 9 ibid 10 Noakes, J., Documents on Nazism, (1974), pp. 11 Welch, D., Nazi Propaganda and the Volksgemeinschaft: Constructing a People's Community 12 Jackel, E., Hitler in history, (1984), London 13 Kershaw, I., The Hitler Myth, History Today, (1985) 14 Heyl, J., Hitler's economic thought: A reappraisal, (1973) 15 Lee, S., Hitler and Nazi Germany, pp. 71 16 ibid 17 McDonough, F., Hitler and Nazi Germany, Cambrdige University Press 18 ibid 19 Kershaw, I., The Hitler Myth: Image and reality in the Third Reich, (1994), pp. 198 20 Kershaw I., 'Working Towards the Fuhrer: reflections on the nature of the Hitler dictatorship.', pp. 91 21 Noakes, J., Documents on Nazism, (1974), pp. 22 ibid ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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