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THE TOTALITARIAN NAZI STATE
Written by Alexander Kimel - Holocaust Survivor.
Within three years after ascending to power Hitler drowned Germany in sea of uniforms, marched the Germans in ceaseless exercises, torch parades, shouting Heil Hitler. They marched to his beat and loved every minute of it. Germany was infected with the virus o madness and accepted the Austrian Corporal as the Messiah. A few years later over 12 millions of people were murdered by the orders of the Fuhrer, without a trace of a written order, without a trace of public discussion, without a voice of protest. Thousands of citizens became executioners and murderers without a sign of dissent. How was this possible? What was structure of the state in which this could have happened? To understand this we have to understand the structure of the Totalitarian State of Nazi Germany.
The Nazi State lacked completely of any structure but rested solidly on four pillars:
1. Hitler's enormous popularity.
2. Reckless terror.
3. Ceaseless propaganda.
4. Blind obedience to authorities.
Popularity-Terror-Propaganda-Obedience were the pillars that supported the Hitler's rule.
LACK OF STRUCTURE.
"To understand Nazism you have to understand Wagner" - Hitler said on many occasions. Wagner's Teutonic world with its main God Woltan and the mixture of semi-gods, dragoons, semi-mortal, spending their time cheating , raping each other and fighting for world domination and power, is very similar to Hitler's Germany. Hitler played the role of the main God, he was the source of power for all the Nazi Paladins, cheating, and fighting with each other for power, authority, domination, honors, and favors of the Fuhrer. The Semi-gods like Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Speer, and Ribbentrop the all engaged in intrigues and fights. Hitler's Court was surrounded by a web of Byzantine type intrigues and fights between rival satraps; an underground battle for influence, power. Occasionally the echo of those struggles would reach Hitler and provoke an outburst of fury, bringing about a short interlude in the underground battles.
The German totalitarian state developed within a very short period of time, within a short span of 3-4 years. During the years 1935-1939 Germany underwent a drastic revolution; all the judiciary was stripped of any independence, the Reichstag became a rubber stamp institution, the Wehrmacht was removed from the leadership of the professional generals and placed under direct command of Hitler. Concentration camps were created where thousand of citizens perished, the SA the rowing bands of Brown shirts were dissolved and their leader Rohm murdered, Germany became a fully totalitarian state. The most revolutionary development was the creation and development of the SS, a State within a State, with their own Jurisdiction, economic enterprises, completely independent from the State, and taking orders only from Himmler.
When Hitler got to power he did not have a blueprint for the organization of the new society. In Mein Kampf he only stated the simple Fuhrer Principle; the society should be run an superior individual, making all the decisions. Hitler was interested in gaining recognition as the greatest German leader of all times, and extending the frontiers of Germany to gain lebensraum (living space). His aims could be only achieved through war and Hitler was preparing Germany to war, this was his main preoccupation and concern. Running of the country and creation of new institutions he left to his minions: Goebbels, Goering, Himmler. Hitler was master opportunist who did not initiate changes leaving to others the experimentation, but once he recognized the usefulness of the experiment, he vigorously supported it. The Nazi Government lacked any formal structure, and the Nazi big shots were left to themselves to carve out a part of the turf.
In a democracy there are various branches of governments: the judiciary, the legislative, the executive branches creating the inner structure of the government. Each branch of the government is checking and balancing the power of the other branches to protect the rights of the individual against the abuses of power by the authorities. In Nazi Germany there was no system of check and balance, there was no system at all. The formal government was only a rubber stamp and all institutions were created only to transmit the wishes of the Fuhrer. The were no meetings of the Council of Ministers, no discussions, real power rested with the individual paladins acting on behalf of Hitler while Hitler was engaged in spinning his web of intrigues and preparing for his life's mission - war and world domination.
In democracies the development of laws and institutions is based on the development of a consensus by the governing majority, and implementation of the consensus through legislation, court rulings or executive orders. In the Nazi Germany the development of laws and institutions was pushed by individual semi-gods and implemented and accepted upon receival of the consent of the Fuhrer; consent of the Fuhrer versus consensus of the majority. Most of the Nazi institutions sprang to life by accident: The Gestapo was created by Goering, trying to suppress and dismantle the autonomy of the local States.
The concentration Camps were created by Himmler under the prodding of Heydrich. Breaking up the Labor Unions and the organization of the Nazi Labor movement was the idea of Labor minister, Lee. The SS organization was created as a body guard organization comprising of 240 people, and under the adept leadership of Himmler and Heydrich it grew into a multinational force of 350,000 people at the end of the war. Goebbels invented the modern propaganda, based on a simple notion, that a simple lie repeated often is perceived as truth.
In a modern society there are millions of decisions to be made daily, on each level of government and this could not be done by one man. Hitler believed in leadership through the will of one man, in reality the government was run by Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Ribbentrop etc. Each big shot had different ambitions, different ideology, and there were not clearly divided responsibilities, no precedence and so the clique was engaged in a constant struggle for power, shifting alliances, constant bickering. Himmler fought with Ribbentrop, Goering hated Goebbels, the Wehrmacht was competing with the SS, various branches of police and intelligence were fighting for the turf, the Party was fighting the SS, and everybody hated Himmler.
The complete lack of structure is highlighted by the fact that during the war, it was Goebbels who effectively run the country, issuing decrees how the German women have to dress, or assigning raw materials and fuels to various industries. The propaganda minister was running the whole home front.
The Nazi State was a loosely connected structure. without any chain clearly defined responsibilities and policies. The lack of a formal governmental structure was the outcome of Hitler's lack of self-discipline, complete paretic detachment from reality and his desire to avoid the limitation that a bureaucracy might impose in fulfilling his desires and wishes. In no other system could a 360,000 private SS army exist outside the structure of the government, an army maintained or responsible to the State, but supported by the exploitation of slave labor and wealth of its victims. Only in such a loose power structure could 12 million of people put to death without as trace of any written documents, without any court order, without any public discussion or even a small notice in the newspapers, just on the strength of the wishes or oral order of the Fuhrer.
THE ROLE OF THE ADJUTANTS
A modern state can not run without coordination between various interdependent authorities this function was performed by a Adjutants. In the Nazi Germany only the Fuhrer could not make all the decisions himself; and he could not dictate all his wishes to all the ministers, the ministers could not make decisions of their own being afraid to evoke Hitler's displeasure. There was no War Cabinet to coordinate the functioning of the of the industry, distribution of raw materials, armaments, transport, mobilization of the manpower, and so the coordination had to be arranged on a personal contacts. Instead of various Councils created in the democracies, the Nazi system created a Court of Adjutants, who acted as go between leader and various agencies and performed the coordination in his name.
Felix Kersten stated:
" The adjutants played a curious role in the National Socialist State, when they could get together they could almost run the Third Reich." (SS Alibi p. 220).
Hitler was a power addict with a messianic fervor. After gaining power Hitler established a pyramidal Power Structure, the population was divided into many layers, with each layer required to show total blind obedience to their superiors, in exchange for privileges and power over the underlings. Terror - Obedience - Privileges, were the stick and carrot of the power structure. Blind obedience was enforced with terror; compliance paid with privileges. At the top of the Pyramid stood the Fuhrer, under him directly the top clique of the Nazis; Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, etc. Below them the Reich's Ministers, the Top SS leadership, etc., then came the functionaries of the Nazi Party, the governmental officials, the German People, and below the conquered Western Nations like Frenchmen, Danes, Norwegians, and below the Slavic people considered by Hitler as Sub- humans, and at the bottom were the Jews.
In a democratic society the power of the politicians is limited by the division of power and the rights of the ruled protected by the judiciary process. In a totalitarian regime the rights and freedom of the people are removed, and a tremendous pool of power created, to be exercised by the Fuhrer and the variety of sub-Fuhrers who exercises power in his name. The power is like an aphrodisiac, the more you have the more you need it. Power hungry individuals gravitated toward the Nazi regime.
In a democratic society there exists a check and balance system, based on the division of the government into legislative, executive and judiciary branches and in addition the power is diffuse to different levels of governments, federal, state and local. In Nazi Germany, there power system was set up to concentrate all the power in the hand of the Fuhrer. Various branches of police, party and government institution were checking and counterbalancing each other to assure that the will of the Fuhrer is implemented without deviation.
The Nazis Revolution was based on the theories of Social Darwinism developed by a mediocre, ird grade philosopher - Chamberlain, who took Darwin's theory of the development of the species and adopted it to human societies. The basic difference between the behavior of animals and human lies in the fact that animals are guided by instinct in satisfying their need for food and procreation. Animal follow instincts to secure the survival of the individual as well as the survival of the species. The humans do have a graduated scale of needs, the basic need for security of life, food and shelter and higher needs connected with the ego satisfaction.
Man is guided with conscience, empathy, feeling of belonging, and a whole range of feelings that ontrol his behavior. The role of religion is to adjust the behavior of people to make it humane to differentiate from the behavior of the animals. It is the role of religion to teach man social responsibility, to limit the level of violence, to protect the proverbial "orphans and widows", to provide the basis for law and order.
Marxism assumed that people are basically consumers, and satisfaction of their material needs, is the only thing they need for happiness. There is no place and need for idealism and spiritual life. But man does not live on bread alone and the outcome of those misguided assumptions were proven disastrous. Nazism assumed that the lives of the people are governed by the laws of natural selection, like the animal world. The strongest, the more brutal people survive. Strength was equated with violence and brutality. Spiritual and intellectual needs of human nature were denied completely. Nazism assumed that people behaved like animals and in consequence treated people like animals, denying them individualism, ability to make they own decisions on matters pertaining to their own life.
Social Darwinism was adapted to the human society by treating men like breeding animals. The theory called the blond, blue eyed humans a superior race, so the Germans were induced to breed along those lines. Himmler established breeding farms where German girls were impregnated by the blue eyed, blond SS men, to give birth to a child for the Fuhrer. In the animal world the sick and handicapped animal is unable to feed and is killed by the predators, the Nazi established an euthanasia program under which about 500,000 German handicapped, and cripples were gassed or starved to death.
Adolf Hitler was a popular leader, adored and worshipped by the Germans. After the defeat of the World War II Germany was in a difficult political and economical position. Under the Versailles Treaty, Germany had to disarm, give up land and pay heavy reparations. The devastated country suffered from widespread unemployment, runaway inflation, and low national morale. In 1919 the Weimar Republic was established. The Germans were used to a strong autocratic regime and here they had to deal with a fractionalized democratic Reichstag with many parties: Communists, Socialist and Rightist and live under a constant threat of a communist revolution.
In this unstable chaotic situation Hitler used his strong nationalistic convictions and oratory skills to the fullest. His message was simple: Germany did not loose the war but was stabbed from the back by the Jewish and socialist traitors. The Versailles Treaty is the root of all evil and had to be denounced. The Jewish capitalists and the Jewish communists are the mortal enemies of the German people. The Germans are a superior race destined to rule the World; the Fuhrer is infallible in all matters of life and death and the destiny of Germany is in his hands. The message was well received, Hitler was telling the Germans what they wanted to hear.
Immediately after becoming Germany's Chancellor, Hitler started an extensive process of consolidating his power, using the stick and carrot method. On the home front Hitler started an intensive process of rearmament coupled with high expenditures on public projects connected with military potential like building an extensive highway system (the autobahn), extension of the Navy and Air Force, and similar programs. Hitler increased the size of the army to 500,000 and introduced compulsory service in the Labor Corp, thus additionally reducing the unemployment. In the thirties the world depression was receding, and Germany's economic situation was improving. The improved economy coupled with high government expenditures, wiped out the unemployment. The Germans gave Hitler full credit for the improvement of the economic situation.
On the international scene, Hitler embarked on a series of high risk adventures; he renounced the Treaty of Versailles, occupied the Saar Land, annexed Austria, dismembered Czechoslovakia. The success in the gamble and adventures improved the national morale; Hitler became very popular, he became the symbol of Germany and its Messiah.
The Germans did want not see the danger signs, on rearmament alone Hitler spend over 45 billion mark, a staggering amount for a national economy ravaged by war, inflation and unemployment. In a short period of time the amount of money in circulation tripled, increasing the inflationary pressures. To fight inflation Hitler used his normal methods, terror and brutality. But even terror and brutality could not cover the fact that there were not enough goods and services available to satisfy the demand caused by increased supply of money. In 1939 Schacht, the finance minister, resigned, unable to convince Hitler to cut the spending on armaments. Hitler facing a collapse of the economy, embarked on a new international adventure, attacking Czechoslovakia and raising the stakes and violence. It may be said that the rearmament were paid by mortgaging of the future conquest and not by the mortgaging of the future earnings as is customary. Hitler behaved like a perpetual gambler, who facing bankrupting losses habitually doubles the stakes, the vicious cycle developed culminating in the World War II catastrophe. The reckless expenditures on armaments and the threat of inflation caused explosive pressures requiring constantly new victims: Austria, and Czechoslovakia. After the situation did not improve he increased the stakes by attacking Poland and later France, until he reached the biggest gamble in his life - the attack on Russia.
Hitler was a good actor and was playing the role of a benevolent ruler. ".In words that sounded like music in the ears of the Germans, he exhorted the population that Germany had not lost the war, it had been betrayed! His enrapt listeners swallowed this big lie as they swallowed his little ones. One day the inhabitants of a Bavarian town expecting his visit strewed flowers on the entering road. As the automobile approached the beautiful roses, lilacs, daffodils and geraniums, Hitler stopped the car and walked around the gorgeous and perfumed pavement so as not to crush a single flower, his apologists argued that this demonstration of sentiment and tender feeling made very unlikely the stories that he was torturing political dissidents in concentration camps."
Hitler provided economic stability, he put everybody to work and he was also a master of propaganda, extensively using symbols like the swastika, theatrical settings, he was able to play on the emotions of the masses, bypassing and discarding rationality and rational behavior. Hitler became the symbol of Germany, he was idolized. "The public credited Hitler with the achievements of economics and foreign policy of that period. They regarded him as the leader who had made a reality of their deeply rooted longing for a powerful, united Germany. "
Wherever Hitler went people paid homage to him, showered him with flowers, waited for his appearance for hours, women were fainting on his sight, to touch the Fuhrer was a lifetime honor. The whole Germany was plastered with his images. The streets were full with marching bands of the SA and the Hitler Jugend, Germany was turned in one camp for basic training, everybody belonged to some Nazi organization and showed off his uniform. At the same time thousands of victims were languished in concentration camps. The Germans failed to realize that the newly established order was based on lawlessness, and not the Law and Order necessary for a development of a working society. The Germans failed to realize that the economic well being was based not on mortgaging the future earnings but on mortgaging the future conquest to be paid with blood of the Germans and their victims. The raising of the national consciousness, the newly developed German pride was based not a lasting values of a society proud of its achievements, but on downgrading their victims and especially the Jewish part of the population.
Germany was dazzled by Adolf Hitler and million Germans joined the Nazi Party, and hundreds of thousand of young Germans had done the black SS uniform and too the oath of blind obedience to Adolph Hitler. The die was cast, the enthusiastic support of the masses silenced the opposition, and gave Hitler the consensus necessary to lead Germany on the path of war.
Hitler supported and idolized by the enthusiastic majority could not be resisted. The silent minority, the people that did not support Hitler and his crimes either left the country, wounded-up in concentration Camps.
"But against those who looked with alarm and foreboding on the violence of Nazism, there were those who could not resist the glory, pomp, and circumstance of war, nor the greed of unbridled domination. They accepted Hitler with fervor and passion because they believed Hitler could lead them to a gratification of their bloated vanity and lust for power, position and luxurious living."
Hitler projected an infinite power, power that only God can claim, and this was mesmerizing the German people. Power has innate erotic qualities that were amplified by Hitler's guttural voice, his screaming performances on the radio broadcasts, his appeal to the primitive parts of man. Hitler had great contempt for the German Volk, and believed that they could be easily managed by playing on emotions with words and through clever propaganda: " One should guard against believing that great masses are more stupid than they are." ..."Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise...Particularly the broad masses of the people can be moved only by the power of speech. All great movements are popular movements, volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotional sentiments . A movement with great aims therefore must therefore be anxiously on its guard not to lose contact with the broad masses. The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and hence to the heart of the broad masses.
Hitler had a very close relationship with the German masses, he needed their adulation, admiration and acceptance. Hitler's repressed sexuality provided the tremendous energy drive when in front of the masses, the response and adulation gave him an emotional high; he lived for the glory. Hitler did not have a normal family life, he could not experience any joy or sorrow, he had no empathy for people, driven by his megalomania, paranoia and delusions, he needed the approval and adulation of the masses to dissolve his inner tensions, to confirm his bloated self-image.
Hitler was the first man in history to recognize the power of the newly popularized mass media; the radio and the films. The ceaseless propaganda based on a simple distorted truth and showmanship was bypassing the rational thinking appealing to the people on a subconscious level. The process of brainwashing was similar to the appeal of the moonies or revivalist meetings but on a grandiose scale.
One of the secrets of Hitler's spectacular rise to power were his oratory skills and ability to manage the German masses. "Both Goebbels and Hitler had understood how to unleash mass instincts at their meetings, how to play on the passions that underlay the veneer of ordinary respectable life. Practiced demagogues, they succeeded in fusing the assembled workers, petits bourgeois, and students into a homogenous mob whose opinions they could mold as pleased, and in turn were molded by the mob itself, guided by its yearnings and its daydreams. Of course Goebbels and Hitler knew how to penetrate through to the instincts of their audiences; but in the deeper sense they derived their whole existence from these audiences. Certainly the masses roared to the beat set by Hitler and Goebbels's baton; yet they were not the true conductors. The mob determined the theme. To compensate for misery, insecurity, unemployment, and hopelessness, this anonymous assemblage wallowed for hours at a time in obsessions, savagery, license. This was ardent nationalism. Rather, for a few short hours the personal unhappiness caused by the breakdown of economy was replaced by a frenzy that demanded victims. By lashing out at their opponents and vilifying the Jews that gave the impressions and direction to fierce primal passions."
Hitler had an uncanny ability to generate mass enthusiasm and to manipulate individual as well all sectors of the German society, he could sway mass audiences as well individual leaders.
blockquote>"It is Hitler's ability to play upon the unconscious tendencies of the German people and the actions (killings) as hatred spokesman that his enabled him the mobilize their energies and direct them into the same channel through which he believed he had found a solution to his personal conflicts. The result has been an extraordinary similarity in thinking, feeling, and acting in the German people. It is as though Hitler had paralyzed the critical functions of the individual German and has assumed the role for himself. .. This phenomena lies at the very root of the bond that exists between Hitler, a person, and the German people."
Although Hitler gained tremendous popularity, he also developed a extensive system of concentration camp where all the dissident were reeducated, and taught lessons in compliance. During the Nazi years about 500,000 Germans passed through the Concentration Camps, but at the same time about 14 millions of Germans joined the Nazi Party and Nazi sponsored organizations. Hitler's popularity on the Home Front was the foundation of his regime, the Germans followed their adored Fuhrer on the path of destruction.
MEN TREATED LIKE ANIMALS.
Nazism with the acceptance of social Darwinism, equated man with animals, rob him of individual freedom of making choices, the ability to think for themselves. Brutality, terror, mendacity and ruthless exploitation of man by men became the norm of behavior. If man is ruled by the same laws of natural selection like the animals, when the spark of the divine is removed from man's consciousness than men can be treated like an animals; he can be bred artificially, and treated like cattle. For example the war and the reckless conduct of the war brought very high casualties. Hitler tried to improve the situation, not by cutting losses, but by improving the breeding methods. In the Angel of Death - Mengele was conducted "scientific " experiments on twins, killing them, dissecting them, trying to figure out how to improve the breeding methods, to double the output of the German women. The Germans were treated like breeding animals the S.S.-their shepherds and their master breeder - their Fuhrer. The Germans were treated like prize cattle, other nationalities were treated like ordinary cattle and the Jews like vermin.
THE HIJACKING OF THE NAZI REVOLUTION.
Webster defines revolution as a overthrow of a government, form of a government or social system with another taking his place. Definitely, coming Hitler to power was a revolution; the form of government changed, and the social system changed in its entirety. The initial changes were minimal compared with the changes introduced by Himmler with the creation of a Totalitarian, Police State. By the creation of the concentration camps, expansion of the S.S. into an all encompassing organization, the Nazi revolution was hijacked.
The anti-Semitism helped the duo Himmler - Heydrich in hijacking the Nazi revolution and in the development of the Totalitarian State, by playing on Hitler's compulsive hatred of the Jews. In Nazi Germany the power was concentrated into the hands of the nazi Paladins who like feudal overlords controlled segments of the national life. One area of responsibility that was not assigned to any satrap was the Jewish policy, and this was the most rewarding area in terms of finding access to the Fuhrer and reaping the awards by plundering the Jewish properties. There was strong competition between the Nazi elite to get control over the Jews: in 1938 it was Goebbels the propaganda minister that organized the pogrom of the Kristalnight, Ley was also known as a Jew Baiter. The easiest way for advancing in the Nazi hierarchy was the initiation of anti-Jewish measures.
The execution of the Final Solution gave the duo Himmler-Heydrich the opportunity to gain Hitler's support and amass a tremendous amount of power. By creating the a powerful S.S. organization, they created a state within a state, and imposed on the German people a system based on cruelty, and complete control of the individual by the S.S. State. In 1942 some Nazi circles realized the dangerous development and started, to late, to fight this development. Hans Frank, the legal adviser to Fuhrer, realized in 1942 that the Nazi revolution has been hijacked by Himmler and his S.S. organization, and started to warn the German people. On June 1942 Frank declared in Berlin:
" Without law - or contrary to law- no German Reich is conceivable. A people cannot be ruled by force, a community without law is unthinkable... It is intolerable that the State should be able to deprive a member of the community of honor, liberty, life and property, declare him an outlaw and condemn him..."
In Vienna University he declared on July 1, 1942 :
" I shall continue to assert with all the force at my command, that it would be bad if the Police State were to be presented as ideal of National-Socialism...in no circumstance can a State be endangered by being humane... Even in wartime, a mode of life based on the rule of law is important for the development of the community...force alone cannot make the State strong. Brutality is never synonymous with strength. "
But it was to late, Franks voice was a voice in the wilderness. Hitler dismissed him from his Party positions and dismissed him as a Reichsminister. Hitler did not accept to his resignation as Governor-General of Poland, perhaps to counteract the growth of the Police State.
Hitler himself was aware of this state of affairs, and it looks like that he purposely nominated Heydrich as the Protector of Czechoslovakia, to break up the duo. Without Heydrich's brains Himmler was not threatening.
It is interesting to note that only in 1936 Dr. Hans Frank, then Commissioner of Justice and Reich Law Leader, told the German Jurists that the National Socialist ideology is the foundation of all basic laws, explaining :
" There is no independence of law against National Socialism. Say to yourself at every decision which you make : " How would the Fuhrer decide in my place?" In every decision ask yourselves : " Is the decision compatible with the National Socialist conscience of the German people ?"
The basic aim of Hitler was self-glorification through glorification of Germany, establishing a 1000 year Reich based on the conquest of Europe and this could only be achieved through war. Hitler dreamed about a war that will give him a chance to remake the world into his image. The Nazi "revolution" and the creation of the Totalitarian State, was an effort to remove all the restraint of civilization on the Germans and free them to act in accordance with instinctual drives of their leader.
The development of a totalitarian state was based on Hitler's popularity, and reinforced with terror. Hitler used extensive propaganda to manipulate the population, obtain enormous popularity, and then used the popularity as a consensus for his brutal policies. Any sign of popular discontent would have stopped those policies, like the protest of euthanasia.
In Hitler's Germany everybody was following orders, nobody dared to ask questions. People that raised objections were sent to the concentration camps for reeducation. Hitler's most powerful tool was the devoted, ruthless SS organization, a powerful private army controlled by Himmler. In this climate any wish of the Fuhrer, even the most insane, was executed promptly with military precision.