The Government of the Nazi State Essay Sample
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The Government of the Nazi State Essay Sample
How far do you agree with this opinion? Explain your answer, using the evidence of Sources V, W and X and your own knowledge of the issues related to this controversy.
Sources W and X agree with this suggestion as the Nazi state was extremely chaotic there was ‘no fundamental disagreement over the fact that the government of Nazi Germany was chaotic’, Source V differs from this thought as it suggests that the characteristics of Nazism does not define chaotic nature, however what it does consent to is the idea portrayed in all three sources that the Nazi state lacked coherence and consistency, and this therefore could explain why people saw and believed the Nazi state to be chaotic.
Source V suggests that the government was characterised with ‘incoherence’ suggesting that it lacked consistency, this is further reflected in Source X whereby it states that there was a ‘lack of coordination’ in the third Reich. When considering whether the Nazi state is chaotic, source V suggests that it was ‘bordering on chaos’ however, ‘the exceptional nature of Nazi governmental chaos can be pushed too far’ implying that the chaotic nature of the Nazi state is exaggerated by various interpretations of how the state was run ‘factional intrigues and personal rivalries’. Additionally the interpretations of the ‘competing agencies’ cannot be seen as an explanation of how the ‘Nazis went about achieving their goals’. Therefore one can argue how various interpretations could have exaggerated the idea that the Nazi state was chaotic; nonetheless this does not discredit the view in sources X and V that the Nazi state did in fact lack coherence in the years 1933 to 1939.
On the other hand there is clear evidence that the Nazi state portrayed some chaotic nature as it was nicknamed ‘authoritarian anarchy’ Authoritarian’ refers to a system of government in which an individual or group had absolute control, whereas ‘Anarchy’ would refer to a lack of government, suggesting that the government system could not exist without being completely redefined, further reflecting the idea that it was chaotic. Overall it suggests how the Nazi state was chaotic but didn’t also coherent the ‘structure of Nazi state formed a complex mosaic of party and state agencies’ of which were all ‘striving to obtain a monopoly of power’ and Goring set up power bases by ‘combining government and party offices’. Ultimately, everyone had their own view of working towards the Fï¿½hrer and within that everyone interpreted it in different ways.
‘Historians are in no fundamental disagreement over the fact that the government of Nazi Germany was chaotic in its structure’ this statement suggests how the Nazi state was in effect extremely chaotic, ‘it is of course easy to exaggerate the ordered character of any modern governmental system’ suggesting that all government are chaotic, however they were not to the extremes they were in Nazi Germany. Source X then implies that there was a ‘lack of coordination in the internal administration’ The third Reich was ‘conflicting’ and ‘contradictory’ and these existed to such ‘an extreme degree’ that when evaluating the ‘spheres of authority’ the Nazi state can be labelled as ‘chaotic’. Mommsen and Broszat further stress that the power structures in the Nazi State evolved and changed partly because of poorly defined roles of both agencies and individuals within the Nazi State; for example in the economic sphere. Yet, this contradicts Source V, whereby it states that it does not explain the chaotic nature of the Nazi state ‘characteristic of Nazism also typifies many other government, then this alone can hardly explain a regime rare of destructiveness’.
Structuralist historians have certainly succeeded in highlighting a lack of planning and organisation on Hitler’s part they proposed that Hitler had very little to do with the day to day running of the Nazi State. Hitler’s weaknesses and limitations lead to poor leadership, he was in capable of making effective decisions and as a result, the government lacked a clear direction, further reflecting the idea that the Nazi state was chaotic.
On top of this there were personality clashes which led to personal rivalries and ambitions at the expense of efficient government. The historian Feuchtwanger emphasises the conflicting responsibilities of Hitler’s subordinates. He suggested that the Nazi state was on a ‘state of near anarchy’ and a chaotic system of rival empires. However the Intentionalist school of thought suggests at the heart of the Nazi state was the ideology, personality and leadership of Hitler. Hitler had a clear world view and the aims of it were defined in Mein Kampf and he remained consistent to these aims throughout his political life. Hitler had been a ‘strong dictator’, obsessively controlling everything around him. This suggests that the Nazi state was not chaotic and did not lack coherence as Hitler had a full plan, almost blueprint-like, for the Final Solution, and the structure of his government reflected this, with a clearly ordered system of command, suggesting that the Nazi state was. Although all political decisions were made by Hitler; the Nazi state was a monocratic state, there was political infighting and chaos but this was a deliberate policy of divide and rule.
Yet, the extent to which this was a policy of divide and rule is questionable as From 1934 Hitler showed little interest in decision making and the number of cabinet meetings declined from 72 in 1933 to none in 1938. Hitler rarely read important documents before making a decision and disliked signing official papers. Instead subordinates sought a verbal agreement or a nod of the Fuhrer’s head. Sometimes contradictory orders led to confusion, and it therefore can be said that the Nazi state was chaotic, however did not lack coherence, everyone had their own view of working towards the Fï¿½hrer and within that everyone interpreted it in different ways.
Arguably, the Nazi regime was chaotic as Hitler was unwilling to regulate or create an ordered system of government as there was a lack of clear planning and direction, which is clearly portrayed in sources W and X. Yet, it can be suggested that Hitler’s chaotic structure was purposeful and it was an intentional divide and rule policy. However although it was chaotic, it did not lack coherence, as portrayed In source W, everyone had their own view of working towards the Fï¿½hrer and within that everyone interpreted it in different ways. It also is possibly wrong to suggest that this meant that little was achieved as by 1935 Hitler had made many strides for Germany in its foreign policy, this therefore provide various evidence revealing executive power of the Fuhrer and the achievements of the system, thus suggesting that there must have been some levels of coordination and coherence.