After Hitler was made chancellor in 1933 and Fuhrer after Hindenburg’s death, there were a number of factors that secured his status as Fuhrer with many legal and violent methods. His use of the Gestapo and the SS was certainly important to his ability to stay in power after 1933. This was not the only reason why he stayed in power, propaganda, his use of the state and party and social benefits all contributed to him staying as Fuhrer. Of course being leader, Hitler himself was a reason with his personal skills as the leader. Fear of the Gestapo and the SS was a important factor of this but their were certainly other reasons for Hitler’s status to be secured.
Fear of the Gestapo and the SS was a reason why Hitler stayed in power after 1933 as both organisations’ techniques of spreading terror over Germany. This fear would have significantly reduced the number of people and groups standing against the Nazis as everyone knew the consequences for their actions could be severe. There is no doubt that the two organisations had a bad reputation for being very violent towards opposition and people that upset Hitler but it is debatable whether they actually had a huge impact on Hitler’s ability to stay in power. The traditional view was that terror was a part of everyday life in Nazi Germany but recent historians have challenged this view. An action of the SS was their slaughter of the thuggish SA in the Night of the Long Knives which helped Hitler greatly as the SA appeared as a threat to Hitler at the time and Hitler was not scared to use violent means to get rid of this threat. After this the SS gained their reputation and became extremely powerful, emerging as the chief political arm of the Nazi party and it was also found later by Sax, and American Historian that the SS was not just a police organisation, it also was used to create the racially pure Volkmeingeschaft.
The Gestapo on the other hand had a traditional image of a Totalitarian police state shown in propaganda and films but historians have recently questioned this view as the Gestapo had been found to only have around 40,000 men for the whole of Germany and most of their work was prompted by public informers. So the Gestapo was certainly not as important to Hitler’s success as the SS.
The Nazi Propaganda was a reason why Hitler kept his power after 1933.Hitler and Goebbels knew how important propaganda was from the very beginning of the Nazis and they had considerable resources put towards the Nazi propaganda machine. They wanted to glorify the Nazi Regime, spread Nazi Ideology and to win over the people. They made good use of technology such as bringing in the radio, making it cheap so as many Germans could hear the Nazi messages as possible. Their control of the printing press was not as easy as the radio, there were 4700 newspapers in Germany at the time and Goebbels struggled to gain complete control of all of them but when they did control the majority of them, there was a decline in newspaper sales. The creation of Nazi rituals was a part of the Nazi propaganda machine. These rituals included the salute, the anthem and new public holidays to celebrate anniversaries of significant events such as Hitler’s birthday or the day he became chancellor. It is difficult to see how important the propaganda was to Hitler and most historians agree that it strengthened Hitler’s reputation and German nationalism. The propaganda had actually failed in some areas such as denouncing the Christian Church or develop a distinctive Nazi culture so the propaganda had not been entirely successful in Nazi Germany.
The use of the state and party was a factor that contributed to Hitler’s success as well, Germany had been made a one-party state with all other parties banned. Even thought Hitler did have this power now, he didn’t seem to have complete control over the state. He had definite control over the civil service, legal system and the local government. There had been few changes to the civil service and it had become less important as was the local government which as long the Gauleiters were taking Hitler’s ideas then the local government didn’t pose any threat to the Nazis. The SS and Gestapo had been used to bring the courts and legal system in order as they dealt with enemies to the party and this secured control for the Nazis. The party and the state clashed, which was called dualism and confusion was created as their was often two different views on how to run the country The party strengthened the Nazi regime by being turned into more than just an organisation and competing for influence over the established state institutions.
The Nazis used social benefits as another method of persuading Germans to support their regime. It was a plan called ‘Volkmeingeschaft’and it was a number of plans, each specifically aimed at a social group such as small farmers or big businesses. For Industrial workers, they abolished Trade unions which already was a move that the workers would have been unhappy at this decision but the Nazis set up the DAF, German Labour Front. And the ‘Beauty of Labour’, which both attempted to improve working conditions. Although these changes were thought to be good, the workers didn’t actually benefit as it took a long time for wages to actually rise and working hours had been increased for many workers so they were far from happy with the Nazis as their conditions were worse off. The Nazis Plans for peasants and small farmers were that they wrote off debts for them and made the Reich Food Estate and the Reich Entailed Law which gave security to farmers and supervised agricultural production and wages for the farmers. Wages were lower in these rural areas and the Reich Entailed Law caused family resentment because of it’s one child inheritance policy but the farmers generally seemed to benefit from the Nazi regime.
The Big businesses would have been very important to Hitler as with the Businesses in support of the regime, the workers for those businesses would follow as well and the Nazis did well to please the big businesses by improving management salaries and increasing the share price index. The war also provided big opportunities to take foreign land for these businesses so the Nazis had persuaded them to support their regime. The Nazis also used social tools to control the population, they formed a group called the Hitler Youth for the German youth which offered good opportunities for the young people but was really political indoctrination for Hitler which would have helped Hitler gain followers for the future. Hitler used similar methods in the education system with the system only used as a tool for consolidation with education being dominated by teaching of subjects relating to Nazi ideas such as German nationalism. The use of social benefits to help the Nazi regime was not entirely successful for Hitler but some of the benefits used certainly contributed to Hitler staying in power after 1933 as social groups like the Big Businesses only benefited from the Nazi policies.
Hitler was the leader at the time and for his regime to work and people to support him at the time it was obvious he needed a good image and good leadership skills. There has always been a lot of historical debate over whether Hitler was actually a great leader. He had unlimited power over Germany as it was a one party state and he was the undisputed leader of that party. The traditional role is that Hitler was a powerful, charismatic leader and he certainly appeared that way but there have been many new interpretations of his real effect on Nazi Germany.
The Intentionalist view was that Hitler played a key role in the development of the Third Reich and the confusion and division in the government was a purposeful tool of ‘divide and rule’ which let Hitler maintain his absolute control. The Structuralist view is that Hitler had very little control over the policies of the Third Reich. They say he was a weak leader and never could control the key institutions like the army. Recently, Historian, Ian Kershaw has said that he believe that Hitler was crucial in the shaping of the Third Reich and created and environment which had people that agreed with him around him in his government, with those who had other ideas were got rid of, Kershaw called this the ‘charismatic domination’. It is clear that is not certain that he was the powerful leader he was originally thought to be but even though many historians have had their doubts and contrasting views, he must have had a reasonably good image and leadership skills to control the country in the way he did as he did have unlimited power.
There were many reasons why Hitler was able to stay in power after 1933, propaganda may not have had a huge influence over this but factors such as the use of the state and party and the use of social benefits helped Hitler. Hitler himself is a debatable factor as many historians such the structuralists have said he was a weak factor but the traditional view was that he was a strong leader with a good image which would have undoubtedly helped him. Fear of the SS and Gestapo was an important factor as both organisations, particularly the SS made an impact on everyday lives of the German people making sure they knew the consequences of actions that opposed or upset Hitler, in Pastor Niemoller’s famous poem he had said that most Germans were grateful that they were not being targeted like the many scapegoats in the country at the time so were accepting of the Nazi regime.