Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)


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In the long run, it paid for this shortsightedness with increasing inefficiency and a lack of coordination of diverging policies. The chronic inclination to ignore available raw material and manpower resources originated in the overestimation of the impact of sheer willpower and the built-in competition of rival agencies. Thus, the political system gradually lost its internal controls, which in turn accelerated its disintegration.

During the period between July - when Mussolini was dismissed by the Fascist Grand Council - and July the ruling elite in the Nazi regime began to realize that the neverending series of military failures had brought on a critical situation. The defeat and surrender of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad, which ultimately destroyed the myth of the German army's invincibility, appeared as an especially acute warning sign that was not be overlooked. Less than three weeks after that catastrophe Goebbels in his famous speech at the Berlin Sport Palace on February 18, , announced the necessity of initiating a "total war.

Despite attempts to regenerate the Reich Defense Council and, after these failed, to install a Three Men's Committee to enforce long overdue rationalization measures, the lack of coordination within the Reich government persisted throughout the critical year of The replacement of Wilhelm Frick by Heinrich Himmler as Reich interior minister did not reduce the growing administrative chaos and infighting between party and state agencies that absorbed most of the energies of the subaltern leaders.

Himmler was not interested in the agenda of the Interior Ministry; he neglected to devise efficient measures in its general administration and transferred some of its responsibilities to the SS. Not until the crisis of July did Goebbels's efforts to create a more effective central government gain Hitler's reluctant approval. The German dictator timidly avoided any fundamental reform of the leadership structure and was an obstacle to the implementation of the necessary and overdue mobilization of the country's economic and manpower resources.

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Thus, Hitler rejected almost all of Goebbels's and Martin Bormann's reform initiatives because he feared that measures of this kind might run into opposition among lower-level leaders or affect his personal prestige. Actually, Hitler had to be carefully shielded from the influence of external advisers in order to preserve at least a certain degree of continuity with regard to governmental decisions. In this constellation of indecision, the crucial impetus to continue the German war effort came from Albert Speer, the minister of armaments and war production who had taken over almost all of the prerogatives of the Four Year Plan.

Due to his personal access to Hitler, Speer became one of the most influential satraps in the regime. He used the same unorthodox methods as the party chieftains and did not hesitate to circumvent ordinary administrative channels and legal procedures.

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This strategy proved to be remarkably successful in the short run and enabled him to multiply the armaments output although much of it was the result of his predecessor's skillfully manipulated production statistics. Confronted with the crisis on the eastern front, Speer sent a detailed memorandum to Hitler that advocated an immediate increase in armaments production.

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Blaming the Three Men's Committee for its obvious shortcomings and inefficiency, Speer pleaded for the installation of responsible leadership entrusted to personalities who were not involved in the continuous infighting between party and state and who would not lose their nerve, even in critical situations. These demands were tantamount to nominating a plenipotentiary for domestic political affairs similar to the economic dictator proposed in late Weimar.

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Before this initiative, the rumor that Speer might be named Hitler's successor increased the envy of party chieftains. Bormann, the chief of the party chancellery, and Goebbels were especially alarmed at the prospect that Speer might outflank them and gain decisive influence with Hitler, who himself tended to neglect day-to-day politics and whose energies were almost completely absorbed by the military operations in the East. By this time Hitler had taken over command of the military himself.

Speer's memorandum countered Goebbels's repeated proposal to establish an internal dictatorship and to restore the unity of the Reich government. Goebbels supported Speer's demands in a widely read article in Das Reich. Goebbels knew very well that the biggest obstacle to implementing the plan was Hitler's notorious mistrust and fear of tarnishing his personal prestige.

In the aforementioned article Goebbels argued that Speer's proposal had found overwhelming approval among the German public. There was some truth in this, but the arguments served mostly to overcome Hitler's apprehension. The timing of Goebbels's initiative was perfect and strengthened his hand at a leadership meeting convened by Hitler on July 22 to discuss the Speer memorandum. Keenly aware of Hitler's typical hesitancy, he requested a unanimous vote for his nomination. Nobody dared contradict him. As Goebbels had anticipated in a remark in his diary, however, the new position did not comprise "the domestic leadership.

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Furthermore, the minister for propaganda grossly overestimated his ability to interfere in almost all vested interests with regard to the intended mobilization of additional manpower, the closing of shops, and the retooling of consumer industries. This was partly the consequence of his specific perception of politics that stressed the role of propagandistic indoctrination while ignoring the impact of bureaucratic factors. Goebbels saw his role more as setting things in motion and as acting as a catalyst.

Actually, the mixed committees that consisted of representatives of the party, the regional administration, and the German Labor Front DAF - founded to speed up military mobilization - turned out to be rather inefficient and only increased the amount of red tape. Thus, the implementation of Goebbels's announced total mobilization fell far behind expected results.


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However, he chose to emphasize the propagandistic effect of the whole enterprise and was well aware that the immediate output of his mobilization campaign would take a few months before any increase of new conscripts and available laborers could be realized. But he was convinced that the campaign was indispensable if the pronouncement of total war was not to lose its credibility. He saw the main effect of the campaign as an "incredible improvement in the public mood" and renewed motivation that was engendering "fresh hope. The practical consequences for the mobilization of the labor force were therefore secondary.

The main consideration was to demonstrate by means of sweeping action that the Volksgemeinschaft people's community possessed a "massed will to action. Goebbels wanted to fight the notion of possible German defeat through the cultivation of a fanatical will to hold on; he was less concerned with marshalling still available resources, which might have been viewed as the means for attaining these ends.

Goebbels, Bormann, and Robert Ley Reich organization leader of the NSDAP responded to the crisis, albeit in an uncoordinated fashion, with an all-encompassing ideological mobilization. Crucial in this respect was their common conviction that only the party was able to achieve a turnabout in German and world history by implementing the revolutionary program that had been but partially fulfilled during the regime's early years.

In the effort to paint itself as the true bearer of the mobilization "of the [nation's] remaining strength" the NSDAP revived the propaganda methods it used during the so-called Kampfzeit time of struggle , that is, the period leading up to Hitler's appointment as Reich chancellor. The experiences of the Kampfzeit were repeatedly referred to in order to demonstrate that through heroic exertion the imminent crisis could be overcome, and for this the party was indispensable. The provisional defeat of the movement on November 9, , was taken as proof that only the party would be able to reverse serious setbacks.

A Party Chancellery directive dated September declared: "The National Socialist movement has mastered every situation!

It has never let itself be led astray through occasional setbacks and severe difficulties. Meanwhile, Bormann had started an internal offensive to increase the unity and fighting strength of the movement after the mass party had become numerically bloated but politically sterile and to mold it into a political combat instrument. In this regard he could rely on the support of Ley who, besides being the head of the Labor Front, still held the influential position of the Reich organization leader of the NSDAP. Both recognized the party's obligation to support the war effort and its primary task of improving public morale.

To achieve this and restore the badly shaken public reputation of the party and its affiliated organizations, Bormann tried to energize the rank and file by continuously arranging obligatory membership assemblies, propaganda marches, and public demonstrations. Bormann also tried to improve the party's image by introducing special office hours, so-called Sprechabende, when visitors could report their grievances to local functionaries. These steps held the functionaries in line, but they did not significantly improve the party's negative image. More effective were Bormann's efforts to polish the party's image by stepping up its involvement in the welfare sector.

The party took up the care of those Volksgenossen who lost their homes in the Allied air offensive or who had to flee combat zones.


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This tactical move helped to repair the party's image to a certain extent because an increasing percentage of the German population had to rely on the support of the NSV and the party apparatus due to war damages, air attacks, and migration from war zones in the East. In addition to ongoing efforts to reorganize the party and regain a positive public image, Bormann increasingly put pressure on the public administration and tended to usurp additional functions on the local and regional levels.

This process of "partification" - the term was coined by Dietrich Orlow 25 - was fueled by the role of the Gauleiter in their function as Reich defense commissioners and culminated in a growing percentage of them also becoming chiefs of civil administration. The NSDAP became increasingly engaged as an auxiliary of the Security Police SD and the Gestapo; it also was made responsible for the construction of defenses and fortifications, as well as the sheltering of evacuees.

This development coincided with the perception that only the party could secure the "final victory," which resulted in the conviction that only by eliminating non-Nazi elements could this aim be achieved. The division of labor between the party and the bourgeois elite that had been accomplished during the era had to be revised.

Hence, the idea to complete the Nazi revolution - arrested in - was revived and led to the idea that the crisis could be resolved by establishing unrestricted party rule in all relevant political realms. In the Nazi leaders' view the military and political crises resulted from the fact that the movement's energy had been sapped by the interference of conservative bureaucrats, who lacked either dynamism or willpower and too often reached half-hearted compromises. Only the party and its spirit could achieve an overall mobilization of the nation's strength and its resources, which had hitherto been prevented by the sharing of political authority with the bourgeois elites.

Therein lay the real source of the current setbacks: The precondition for realizing the "unity of will" consisted not only of the elimination of Jews and other racial aliens but also of the cleansing of clandestine opponents or dissidents in order to achieve racial and political homogeneity. This voluntary attitude, rooted in the Nietzschean cult of the will, and the rejection of mature historical structures had been symptomatic of the movement's early stages, in which the current bleak reality could be overcome only through envisioning future victory.

Under the pressure of imminent defeat, it again came to the fore. The all-embracing ideological mobilization of the party that Bormann pushed for fit precisely into this picture. The party's retreat into the memories of the Kampfzeit coincided with Hitler's personal conviction that the final victory was the predestined outcome of Germany's internal and external fight against the Jewish archenemy. In his mind the unity of will was a pledge to achieve ultimate success. In his last radio speech of January 30, , he argued that the internal unity of the German people, the realization of which he attributed to himself and the Nazi movement, was a unique world historical achievement that had proved its invincibility.

Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)
Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)
Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)
Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)
Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)
Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)
Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)
Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition) Adolf Hitler und die Geschichte der NSDAP Teil 2: 1938 bis 1945 (German Edition)

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