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To what extent was Hitler a weak dictator?

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Introduction

To what extent was Hitler a weak dictator? For many reasons Hitler could be described as weak dictator because he failed to control all aspects of the NSDAP effectively largely down to his lazy attitude. This is a view put forward by the structuralist school of thought. However, there is also evidence from intentionalist school of thought that all the major decisions came about from Hitler's decision, such as the outbreak of war in 1939, the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 and the final solution in 1941. Therefore, Hitler could be seen as a very strong and effective dictator. Therefore, both sides of the argument have to be analysed to discover the strength of his dictatorship. In the Nazi state, Hitler made all laws. His power was unlimited and was granted the position of Fuehrer for life. He was the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, leader of the Government and Head of State. This was known as "Fuehrer power." The Hitler myth was created by Goebbels and Hitler was seen as political genius who had been destined to be great since birth. ...read more.

Middle

Albert Speer, who redesigned much of Berlin in the Nazi regime described how "adjutants often asked me: 'please don't show any plans today'", depicting this latest view of Hitler. This "idleness" gives an insight into why the Nazi government was so disorganised. Decisions throughout the party were all attributed to the "will of the fuehrer and were made by Nazi officials following Hitler around and picking up on his rambling. At every level of the party there was rivalry for power and many were doing the same job as each other. Even at the very top of the hierarchy the four main Nazi's behind Hitler - Goering, Goebbels, Roehm and Himmler had an intense rivalry for power each trying to out do each other to increase their power. An example of this is Himmler and Goering plotting to remove Ernst Roehm from power leading up to the Night of the Long Knives, by complying a file claiming Roehm was be paid by the French to remove Hitler. Another example is that Goebbels inspired Krystalnacht. However, despite this heated competition, Hitler managed to hold the party together adding weight to the intentionalist claim that Hitler was a strong dictator, although ...read more.

Conclusion

Various sources suggest that Hitler was in fact reluctant to act. The intentionalist view of Hitler could also be challenged. Structuralists believe the Third Reich was largely down to a nationalist movement. Therefore, it can be seen why German intentionalists would be willing to blame all the atrocities of the war on a dead leader, claiming they had to obey, absolving all blame from themselves. In the early years of the Nazi party, Hitler can be seen as a strong dictator who played a vital part in their rise to power. However, as time progressed he can be seen as indolent and heavily reliable on his inner circle of Nazis. Power seemed to rest with the individuals who chased personal power for example Himmler, who elevated himself up the party hierarchy. There are various examples of Hitler being inspired on particular products, but many sources describe that this enthusiasm was rare and for the majority of the time Hitler was very idle and the inner circle of Nazis did the work of the party. Evidence suggests that from the mid 1930s onwards, Hitler was merely a figurehead for propaganda as he was worshiped by the public and although he had unlimited power, he rarely used it. Nick Clarke - 1 - ...read more.

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