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To What Extent Was Hitler a Totalitarian Dictator?

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Introduction

Essay Title: To What Extent Was Hitler a Totalitarian Dictator? Before I begin to answer the question, "to what extent was Hitler a totalitarian dictator", I must first expand on the meanings of these two widely used political terms. In the "Reader's Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary", the definition of totalitarian dictator is as follows: "Totalitarian (adjective). Of, pertaining to, r�gime which permits no rival loyalties or parties and arrogates to itself all rights including those normally belonging to individuals." In short, totalitarian means a political system that has complete control over all aspects of people's lives. The very same tome that I previously quoted from contains this definition of dictator: "Dictator (noun). Absolute ruler, usually temporary or irregular, of a State; person with absolute authority in any sphere." These terms elaborated on, I will attempt to explain and dissect all aspects of Hitler's dictatorship and comment on how each of them contributed to Hitler's complete control. On the twenty-seventh of February 1933, the Reichstag burnt down. The Reichstag was much like the House of Commons, with the Reichstrat acting in a similar way to the House of Lords. A Dutch communist by the name of Marius Van de Lubbe was caught near to the scene in possession of matches and firelighters. He was taken away by the Nazis and 'questioned'. He is reported to have confessed, and was tried for treason. This gave an excuse for the Communist party to be banned from the government an thus eliminated opposition to Hitler as the Communist party was the second largest in Germany, and contributed to his rise to complete control by providing him with a viable scapegoat and disposing with a major rival. Also in 1933, the Enabling Act was passed. This allowed a single person, in this case Hitler, the chancellor, complete control over a country in crisis. These measures may seem quite harsh but the idea of the Enabling Act is quite a common one, having been used in Germany for five years and being used at the same time in the USA. ...read more.

Middle

Finally, as well as the other minority groups, Homosexuals were targeted by the Nazis because the role of adults was to produce babies, and homosexuals couldn't carry out this role. The Weimar republic had allowed gays some freedom, but despite some leading Nazis, such as R�hm being homosexuals, the Nazi made Homosexuality illegal. These measures eliminated opposition by disposing of the groups that Nazi policy targeted, and allowed Hitler to have complete control by instilling fear into the German population and making them conform completely to nazi ideals to avoid persecution. To gather all of the targeted groups into small, remote areas was a function carried out by the concentration camps. The camps were set up as soon as Hitler gained power, and were initially just makeshift prisons. After a while they became purpose centres for the containment and destruction of anyone who the Nazis decided should go there. The camps were run by the SS Death's Head, who enforced harsh discipline. The food was very limited and prisoners did hours upon hours of gruelling hard labour - many prisoners died of natural causes, but random executions were also carried out among the weak prisoners - the strong ones were more valuable. Anybody who criticised Hitler or the Nazis was sent there, along with Jews, Gypsies, Vagrants, Blacks, Homosexuals, Communists, Trade Unionists, Churchmen and Socialists. This eliminated opposition by taking the un-ideals of society and putting them in a place where they could not cause trouble. This allowed Hitler complete control by, once again, using terror to manipulate the people of Germany. Adolf Hitler was seen as a near godlike figure. He made the German people, who had no self-esteem, feel good about themselves. He constructed a myth where he claimed that the German people were blond haired and blue-eyed Aryans - descended from the noble Teutonic Knights of days gone by. Hitler himself wasn't in possession of true Aryan looks, but he said that he didn't have to be Aryan because he was ...read more.

Conclusion

In the beginning, both the Protestant and Catholic churches supported Hitler. In 1933, Hitler signed an agreement with the Pope to basically stay out of each other's business, but soon things got sour. The Catholic Church realised that the Nazis couldn't be trusted. There was a rival youth group in to the Hitler Youth in Germany called the Catholic Youth, but this was made illegal so all parents had to send their children to the Hitler Youth. Also, the Church ran a number of schools and the children that attended these schools were subjected to less propaganda than children in regular schools. Hitler began to ban religious symbols from the schools and took them out of Church control. Catholic priests were sent to concentration camps and others were simply stopped from preaching. However, the Protestant Church still mainly supported the Nazis, but there were many groups that opposed them, such as the 'Confessing Church' which attempted to air anti-Nazi views, but it's leader Pastor Martin Niem�ller was arrested and sent to the camps. The factors of Nazism and anti-Catholicism got rid of opposition by eliminating the bodies which stood in Hitler's way and allowed him to have complete control by stopping anti-Nazi messages being given to people. Taking in to account all of the sections of the essay, I believe that Hitler did not have absolutely complete control of Germany. Referring back to the definitions of the words 'totalitarian' and 'dictator', a totalitarian dictator must have supreme authority in all spheres. I believe that these terms are in a sense virtual - it is nigh on impossible for someone to control all aspects of people's lives even if nearly all of them are controlled. With this in mind, I conclude that Hitler was to the greater extent a totalitarian dictator, and that it would be a fitting term for him. However, because there were many rival factions and groups that opposed him and were not completely destroyed, he did not have complete and absolute authority in every single sphere and therefore was not a complete totalitarian dictator. ...read more.

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