Kershaw's Hitler Myth


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The Hitler Myth
What Was It?
A carefully drawn up image which much evidence suggests was widely believed. Hitler was displayed
as somebody who;
Personified the nation and stood aloof from selfish interests.
Understood the German people.
Was the architect of the German economic miracle.
Was the representation of popular justice.
Defended Germany against Bolsheviks, corrupt SA and extremists.
Was responsible for all the major successes of government.
In Foreign Affairs, he;
Was the rebuilder of Germany's strength.
Was a mighty defence against the nations enemies.
Why did the Hitler myth develop and gain credence?
Kershaw identifies the following reasons;
It was a reaction to the divisions and weaknesses of the old Weimar system.
It satisfied people's emotional need for a strong government.
It reinforce a German tradition of authoritative leadership.
It developed from the long established Fuhrer principle in the Nazi Party.
It was sustained by Hitler's success after 1933.
It was enhanced by propaganda.
How was it conveyed?
Through the powerful propaganda machinery lead by Goebbels.
What were the effects?
It contributed to Hitler's great personal popularity.
Only a small minority rejected the Hitler Myth.
It sustained the regime and brought most Germans together through its emotional appeal.
Helped to cover up the regime's inconsistencies and failures.
Day-to-day failings could be blamed on minor leaders rather than the great party leader.
The Myth eventually contributed to the decline of the Third Reich.
Such a personal system, without formal constraints, was unstable.
Hitler's popularity gave him more freedom from the elite and led to a radical momentum that
weakened the regime.
Hitler became a victim of his own Myth.
He came to believe himself infallible (never wrong).
He moved away from being a calculated, opportunist politician.
The major military failings after 1941 led to a declining believe in the Myth.


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