To what extent was Nazi Germany a totalitarian state before 1939?

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To what extent was Nazi Germany a totalitarian state before 1939?

Although the Nazi state appeared to be an efficient and organised totalitarian government, they were only successful in controlling some aspects of German life, they were never in complete control of the country, greatly due to their lack of organisation and efficiency. They were not completely effective in controlling opposition either, which grew with time.

The Nazi government seemed to be a totalitarian state in complete control of Germany; they tried to control all aspects of German life and were quite successful in a few occasions. They imposed fear and crushed opposition with a huge police force, the SS and the Gestapo, a secret police force. All political parties, except for the Nazi party, were banned and many political opponents were persecuted and murdered. They tried to have power over Germany's education system by rewriting schoolbooks to fit Nazi theories and closely watching teachers and professors. German boys had to join the Hitler youth and girls had to join the league of German maidens and so Nazis could control youth. They were quite successful in controlling Germany's economy, they banned trade unions and abolished strikes, controlled what industries produced and so, managed to end unemployment and the recess Germany was going through. Communications and the media were severely controlled; radio, newspapers, books, theatre, films, music and even art were thoroughly supervised and censored, making it hard to express any sort of opinion opposing the Nazi rule. Religion was also controlled to some extent. In 1933, Hitler did sign a concordat with the Roman Catholic Church, agreeing not to interfere with German Catholics if the church would agree to stay out of politics, but he soon broke it and when the Catholics protested, their schools were closed down and thousands of priests and nuns were sent to concentration camps. The church's opposition is quite good proof that the Nazi's weren't completely successful in forming a totalitarian state: from the very beginning of the Nazi rule, the Protestant church opposed them, and although many pastors were sent to concentration camps, the Protestants were still able to form a breakaway confession church. The Catholic Church was in agreement with the Nazis at first, but around 1937 they became disillusioned with them, there were many leaders who openly criticised Nazi dictatorship, and when they protested against Hitler's Euthanasia campaign, Hitler publicly ordered it to stop. The Catholics were also very critical of Hitler's persecution of Jews.
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I don't think that the Nazi state was a fully successful totalitarian state because I believe in the structuralist argument that their system of government was actually quite chaotic. Hitler was not in complete control of the government, according to his assistants, he was easily bored with paperwork, he hated making decisions and refused to most of the time, and he had extremely short working hours. It is suggested that he was quite happy in allowing organisations to make independent decisions and create policies they assumed he would approve of, and only stopping some, once in a while ...

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