Nazi System of Government

Nazi System of Government, Censorship and Propaganda

System of Government

Central Government

·         A dual state emerged when Hitler came to power as he wanted to maintain links to Germany’s past whilst also emphasising the new regime.

·         The Reich Cabinet met at regular intervals until the passing of the Enabling Act which caused it to slowly fade away.

·         Although many Nazi ministers were appointed up to 1937-38, seven key positions were still held by Conservative-Nationalists.

·         The central departments of state how their powers increased by the weakening of the federative system.

·         The civil service was mainly untouched as Hitler did not want to lose key workers. Only in 1939 did new entrants have to be Nazi Party members.

Supreme Reich authorities

·         Several new departments combined both party and state responsibilities.

·         Their leaders reported directly to Hitler and thus could force their own policies independently of other departments.

·         The Inspector-General of German Roads, Fritz Todt, was given the necessary power to implement the autobahn programme despite opposition from the Ministries of Interior, Finance and Transport.

·         Other Supreme Reich authorities were the Labour Service, the Hitler Youth and the Four Year Plan.

·         The challenges between the authorities and the ministries undermined the effectiveness of the Reich government.

The Role of the Nazi Party

·         Röhm and several veteran Nazis believed that the Party and the SA should change the social and political structure of Germany.

·         This was not shared by Goebbels, Göring and Wilhelm Frick who were immensely powerful.

·         In 1933, Hitler considered setting up a National Socialist Senate but abandoned the idea as he thought it would undermine his own power. Instead, he declared that the ‘party had now become the state’ and that all power lay with the Reich government.

·         In practice, the Party’s role was to carry out propaganda and generally support the government.

·         Many ministers, including leading Nazis, blocked any of the Party’s attempts to interfere with their departments. The Nazi Party had to settle into an uneasy coexistence with the state although the government was destabilised by State-Party rivalries.

 Revival of Nazi Party Influence, 1938-39

·         Joachim von Ribbentrop, a Nazi, was appointed Foreign Minister in 1938.

·         In the same year Hitler sacked the Commander-in chief of the army, General von Fritsch, and the Defence Minister, General von Blomberg, over alleged scandals.

·         The Defence Ministry was dismantled and a new High Command of German Armed Forces (OKW) was set up to report directly to Hitler.

·         The Anschluss of Austria and the annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938 as well as the annexation of Bohemia in 1939 strengthened the Nazi Party. By seizing power through armed force, the Nazis did not have to make concessions to any elites (as had been the case in the Old Reich).

·         The Nazi Commissioners of…


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