GLEICHSCHALTUNG - Govt & Administrative Changes

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  • Govt. and Administrative Changes
    • Gleichschaltung = Nazifying of German society
      • enforced by SA ('revolution from below') and directed by Nazi leadership ('revolution from above')
      • trying to co-ordinate as many aspects of German life along Nazi lines
      • 'merging' German society with Party institutions
      • many Nazi creations had to live alongside existing bodies but eventually replaced them
      • much of Germany's cultural, educational and social life became increasingly controlled
    • Centralisation of power & control over govt
      • 1919, the Weimar Constitution agreed on a federal structure with 17 Lander (regional states)
        • marked a contrast to the Nazi idea of a fully unified country
      • July 1932, the Prussian state had been dismissed by Papen and a Reich Commissioner was appointed to run the state
        • by 1933, Goering replaced them
      • Nazi activists exploited the climate of Feb-March 1933 to intimidate opponents and infiltrate the federal govts
        • Hitler had to call for restraint due to fear of losing support from the conservatives
      • 31st March 1933 - regional parliaments (Landtage) were dissolved and then reformed dominated by Nazis
      • 7th April 1933 - Reich Governors created who more often than not were the local Nazi party leaders with full powers
      • January 1934 - state assemblies were abolished and the govt of the states were formally subordinated to the govt of the Reich
      • February 1934 -  the Reichsrat was abolished (parliamentary assembly to which the state subordinated to the govt of the Reich)
    • Trade Unions
      • Germany's trade union movement was powerful due to mass support and strong connections with socialism and Catholicism
      • 1st May (traditional day of celebration for international socialist labour) - Nazis declared a national holiday, which gave the impression to trade unions that there was some room for co-operation
        • However, the following day trade union buildings were occupied by SA and **, union funds were seized by the Nazis and many leaders arrested and sent to concentration camps. Independent trade unions were banned
      • All Germans' workers organisations were absorbed into the German Labour Front (DAF)
        • DAF became the largest organisation in Nazi Germany with 22 million members. But, it acted more as an instrument of control than as a genuine representative body of workers interests and concerns.
    • One Party State
      • Nazism openly rejected democracy and any alternative opinions. In the Nazi 'Volksgemeinschaft' there could only be the Nazi party
      • Communists had been outlawed since the Reichstag Fire
      • the assets of the Social Democrats were seized and they were officially banned on 22nd June 1933
      • Most of the major remaining parties willingly agreed to dissolve themselves in themselves in 1933 - even the Nationalists
      • Catholic Centre Party followed on 5th July 1933
    • Control of the Civil Service
      • higher ranks of the Civil Service were recruited almost entirely from aristocracy and many were extremely conservative
      • however, the Nazis forced local officials to resign and replaced them with Nazi party appointees, most of whom had no experience
      • party officials were placed in some govt offices to ensure that civil servants were carrying out the orders of the regime
      • most welcomed Hitler's appointment as Chancellor and believed that the conservatives ministers in Hitler's cabinet would restrain the Nazis and allow the Civil Service to continue serving the state in much the same way it had done under the Kaiser
    • Success of Gleichschaltung in 1933: well advanced in many areas of public life. But it was far from complete. It had failed to make any impression on role/influence of churches, big business & the army. Civil service and education had only been partially co-ordinated. Internal party conflict due to limitations of Gleichschaltung due to Hitler wanting to avoid upsetting the establishment, SA wanted more.


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