How popular and effective was the Nazi Regime in the years 1933-39?


Evidence the regime was popular

A series of plescibites were held in Nazi Germany over various issues- these results indicated Hitler's policies were popular, for example 95% of Germans agreed with pulling out of the LoN in 1933. Kershaw comments and says this was 'plescibistary acclamation' where Hitler regularly reviewed his mandate to rule by holding referenda which his policies would get a lot of support- reinforcing the idea his regime was popular and legal.

Lack of opposition

No significant attempts to overthrow the regime- plots came from lone individuals like Georg Elser and they didn't support public opinion.


Gellately- regime was a 'consensus dictatorship' because it heavily relied on the collaboration from ordinary people who were supportive of the Nazi regime. E,g, in his work- The Gestapo and German society-in the city of Wurzberg there was no extensive network of terror, only 21 Gestapo officers covered the area and didn't have the time to surveillance everyone so relied on ordianry people to report activitiy,means many wanted to work for Nazis.

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A consensus dicatorship?

Weimar republic- People saw that democracy had failed, unemployment, political instability, lack of censorship. People were used to authoritarian rule.

Popular policies- some of their policies were quite popular and did improve the lives of ordinary Germans, especially in areas such as the economy and foreign policy.

Economy- unemployment fell by 1 million by January 1935

  • 'Strength through joy' programmes allowed the working classes to have leisure activities, e.g. 28,500 workers able to take a holiday due to the programme.

FP- army succesfully and peacefully remilitarised the Rhineland in 1936 and unify Austria in 1938.

Social policy- 'Aryan' pregnant women given free health care. 1938-2.5 million families benifitted from it.

Propoganda- Ministry of popular enlightenment and propoganda by Goebells est 1933 which saw newspaper editors being censored, annual Nuremberg rallies, 4.5 million radio pillars

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Against the 'consensus' dictatorship?

Note- past slide- propoganda is most effective when it is built on peoples existing prejudices.

THM- Goebells strived to create a positive impression of Hitler, he was shown as a modern day Teutonic Knight, prophetic- speech to the Reichstag on the intl. Jewry. 1936 Olympics- presented as representative of the whole nation which stood above politics.

  • Evidence from SOPADE,Gestapo, SD reports show there to be dissatisfaction with the Nazi party, and cyncism around gov propoganda.
  • Broszat- develops the idea of 'resistenz' to the regime, it came from ordinary people, elite and senior army generals- e.g. teenagers who were out of tune with the movement.  In his Bavaria project, civil disobediance and non conformity to nazi ideals were quite common. Any action like jazz music, buying from Jewish shops=opposition. Hofer opposes B- and says non conformity did not mean people wanted to overthrown the state, resistenz is overexagerated.
  • Tim Manson- working class unease about living standards pushed Hitler into war earlier than planned in the 30s.
  • Bracher and J Evans argue the regimes terror structure made it impossible for people to express their dissatisfaction and therefore the lack of opposition was not neccesarily an indication of consent.
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Types of opposition

Peukert- Edelweiss pirates and Swing Youth, who did take active resitance like trying to overthrow the regime in the Bomb Plot 1944.....Catholic Priest read from encyclical- criticising Nazi idealsSo there was some resistence.

Why was there conformity? = TERROR AND REPRESSION.

Left- 1933 SA broke up SPD meetings and arrested, imprisoned and murdered members of SPD and KPD. Armed SA men also took over trade uniouns.Concentration camps built to detain opponents- max of 200k kept in 1933. Between 36-39, numbers rose to 21,000- some labelled as anti social

The terror state:- Loss of the ability to free speech and freedom of assembly

  • Gestapo could hold and arrest anyone in custody and a law of 1933 made seeking constitutional change a treason.  Courts used to supress violence- 1935-5k accused of treason- 23k political prisoners
  • Gestapo-small but with infornmants, monitored local areas- active during plescibites
  • Gleichschaltung- nazis in control mostly
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So was it a consensus dictatorship?

Quite hard to justify it as a consensus dictatorship when the right of free speech was taken away, as well as political freedom-those who opposed the state were taken away, and people were manipulated on existing ideals. There may have been collaboration, and people who liked Hitler for his personality and charisma, but there were opponents- so it was never fully consensual.

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