‘We want to work on people until they have capitulated to us, until they grasp ideologically that what is happening in Germany …’1. Weimar Germany, a place of squalor; painted red with bliss by the promise of idyllic fulfilment, the bedrock of which rested solely with consent of disenfranchised Germans, turned its face from democracy to autocracy. To a demagogue who embodied human ideals,2 promised fraternity for One-thousand years,3 but whose strings of power were kept taught by master puppeteers enticing the captive audience with mainly carrot; but also sticks.
The insurmountable foundation upon which the 3rd Reich rested was the consent of the German populous. The extent to which the Nazi’s believed they needed to persuade citizens to actively support the regime; is where the manoeuvrability occurs. For example, the terror state in the 3rd Reich acted as a gyroscope, in the unstable years of establishment, 1933-1934, and the decline, 1944-1945, it stabilised Weimar with its truncheon; as it saw support to be insufficient, whilst it remained mainly inert during the interim years as support was sufficient; superseded by the SS which only posed the threat to do so; which was sufficient to quell any burning fires of dissent. When support was seen to wan, more radical forms of discipline were enforced; with the end goal of retaining the consent of the German people at any cost.
The extent to which the german population supported the nazi regime can be inferred from the amount of resistance in wiermar. This within itself requires a definition of ‘resistance’, which Nazi perceptions of differ from today conventional view.
The support within Wiermar can be inferred from resistance against the ragime, as no legitimate elections were held after 1933.
* the consent of the people was paramount
* Different sources suggest different methods for keeping the control
* (Source A and D) suggest that Germans were pre-orientated towards a strong leader. This meant that they could use less coercive tactics. However his allowed the Nazi’s to radicalise; as the more extreme policies were accepted, this allowed even more radical policies to be introduced ( the final solution)
* (Source B and C and partially D) suggest that the German people needed to be controlled. This means that more coercive tactics needed to be used, but this was in the minority. Propaganda was normally sufficient, key evidence of this was the Hitler myth (Source C); which elevated Hitler above his party, to a state of demi-god.
1 Jeremy Noakes & Geoffrey Pridham, Nazism 1919 – 1945: Volume 2; State, Economy and society 1933 – 1939, University of Exeter Press, United Kingdom, 1983, Page(s) 186 – 187, Joseph Goebbels, making a keynote speech on the 15th of March 1933, 2 days after the ‘Reich Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda’ was established.
2 Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889 – 1936: Hubris, Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2001, Page(s) 427, Erich Ludendorff to President Paul von Hindenburg, 30th of January 1933, explaining how by appointing Hitler chancellor, he ‘handed over our sacred German fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time’.
3 GERMANY: Second Revolution?, TIME Magazine, 2nd of July 1934, Adolf Hitler, explaining to a British correspondent how people were foolish to laugh at him gaining power, much like they were to laugh at ‘The Third Reich lasting 1000 years’.
Assess the view that the most important element in maintaining Hitler’s regime in power between 1933 and 1945 was the consent of the German people.