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Christmas Holiday homework
Last Days of WWI
Germany under the Nazis
Master or Weak?
Rise of Stalin
Middle East 1914-1949
Allied Diplomacy in WWI
Post war Middle East
(Includes Arab-Israeli -SL)
1956 Suez Canal Crisis
The Last Shah - BBC
1967 Six Day War
1973 Yom Kippur War
PLO & activism
Countdown to War
WWII & post war Europe
Battle of Britain 1940
Case Study: UK
Post WWII PMs
Opposition & Dissent
The Fuehrerprinzip (Fuehrer Principle) of the National Socialist German Workers' Party
(2) The Fuehrerprinzip (Fuehrer Principle). (a) Essential elements.
1. Complete and total authority is vested in the Fuehrer.
"The Fuehrer Principle requires a pyramidal organization structure in the details as well as in its entirety.
"The Fuehrer is at the top.
"He nominates the necessary leaders for the various spheres of work of the Reichs direction, the Party apparatus and the State administration." (1814-PS)
"He shapes the collective will of the people within himself and he enjoys the political unity and entirety of the people in opposition to individual interests.
"The Fuehrer unites in himself all the sovereign authority of the Reich; all public authority in the state as well as in the movement is derived from the authority of the Fuehrer. We must speak not of the states authority but of the Fuehrers authority if we wish to designate the character of the political authority within the Reich correctly. The state does not hold political authority as an impersonal unit but receives it from the Fuehrer as the executor of the national will. The authority of the Fuehrer is complete and all-embracing; it unites in itself all the means of political direction; it extends into all fields of national life; it embraces the entire people, which is bound to the Fuehrer in loyalty and obedience. The authority of the Fuehrer is not limited by checks and controls, by special autonomous bodies or individual rights, but it is free and independent, all-inclusive and unlimited.
"The Fuehrer-Reich of the (German) people is founded on the recognition that the true will of the people cannot be disclosed through parliamentary votes and plebiscites but that the will of the people in its pure and uncorrupted form can only be expressed through the Fuehrer." (2771-PS)
"Thus at the head of the Reich, stands a single Fuehrer, who in his personality embodies the idea which sustains all and whose spirit and will therefore animate the entire community." (2780-PS)
As stated in the Organization Book of the Nazi Party:
"The will of the Fuehrer is the Party's law." (1814-PS)
The first commandment for the Party members declares
"The Fuehrer is always right." (1814-PS)
"He (the Fuehrer) is responsible only to his conscience and the German people." (1814-PS)
Hess, in a speech broadcast at Cologne on 25 June 1934, characterized the position of the Fuehrer as follows:
"It is with pride that we see that one man is kept above all criticism — that is the Fuehrer.
"The reason is that everyone feels and knows: he was always right and will always be right. The National Socialism of us all is anchored in the uncritical loyalty, in the devotion to the Fuehrer that does not ask for the wherefore in the individual case, in the tacit performance of his commands. We believe that the Fuehrer is fulfilling a divine mission to German destiny! This belief is beyond challenge." (2426-PS; see also additional statements of the Nazi conspirators designed to condition the German people to blind acceptance of the decisions of the Fuehrer and his co-conspirators, as translated in 237-PS.)
2. The Fuehrer's power descends to subleaders in a hierarchical order.
In the words of the Organization Book of the NSDAP:
"The Party is the order of fuehrers.
"All political directors (Politische Leiter) stand as appointed by the Fuehrer and are responsible to him. They possess full authority towards the lower echelons. (1893-PS)
"He (The Fuehrer) nominates the necessary leaders for the various spheres of work of the Reichs' direction, the Party apparatus, and the State administration." (1814-PS)
The effect of this was aptly expressed by Hitler in 1933:
"When our opponents said, 'It is easy for you: you are a dictator' We answer them, 'No, gentlemen, you are wrong; there is no single dictator, but ten thousand, each in his own place.' And even the highest authority in the hierarchy has itself only one wish, never to transgress against the supreme authority to which it, too, is responsible." (2771-PS)
3. Each subleader is bound to unconditional obedience to his immediate superior and to the Fuehrer.
As Hitler said,
"We have in our movement developed this loyalty in following the leader, this blind obedience of which all the others know nothing and which gave to us the power to surmount everything." (2771-PS)
The duty of obedience is so fundamental that it is incorporated as the second of the NSDAP commandments for party members:
"Never go against discipline!" (2771-PS)
As Ley said:
"Our conscience is clearly and exactly defined. Only what Adolf Hitler, our Fuehrer, commands, allows, or does not allow is our conscience." (2771-PS)
The obedience required was not the loyalty of a soldier to the Fatherland, as was the case prior to the Nazi regime. On the contrary, the obedience exacted was unconditional and absolute, regardless of the legality or illegality of the order. The oath taken by political leaders (Poltische Leiter) yearly was as follows:
"I pledge eternal allegiance to Adolf Hitler. I pledge unconditional obedience to him and the Fuehrers appointed by him." (1893-PS)
4. Each subleader is absolute in his own sphere of jurisdiction.
The Nazi Party Organization Book lays down the same principle with respect to the successive tiers of its leaders:
"The Fuehrer Principle represented by the Party imposes complete responsibility on all party leaders for their respective spheres of activity ....The responsibility for all tasks within a major sphere of jurisdiction rests with the respective leader of the NSDAP: i.e., with the Fuehrer for the territory of the Reich, the district leader for the territory of the district, the local leader for the territory of the local group, etc.
"The Party leader has responsibility for the entire territory under his jurisdiction on the one hand, and on the other hand, his own political fields of activity appertaining thereto.
"This responsibility for the complete or partial performance of task entails a relationship of subordination of the leaders among themselves, corresponding to the fuehrer principle." (2771-PS)
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