The NAZI Party was organized on a hierarchial basis. At the top of the Party structure was German Führer Adolf Hitler. This was both a party and government post Hitler assumed in the death of President Hindenburg (1934). Hitler thus combined the Party leadership and Chancelor positions he already held with that of the presidency. His title at that time became Führer. Hitler's successor designate was first, Hermann Goering (until the last weeks of the Reich), and second, Rudolf Hess (until his flight to Scotland in 1941). The leadership corps of the Party began with Hitler as was divided into six levels below him: 2. Reichsleiter (ministers)
3. Gauleiter (3 through 7 known collectively as Hoheitstraiger) |
The Party was also organized into several leadership groups and associated federations. These varied somewhat over time, both in numbers and responsibilities.
The NAZI Party was organized on a hierarchial basis described as the Fuehrerprinzip or Führer Principle. At the top of the Party structure was German Führer Adolf Hitler. This was both a party and government post Hitler assumed in the death of President Hindenburg (1934). Hitler thus combined the Party leadership and Chancelor positions he already held with that of the presidency. His title at that time became Führer. Hitler's successor designate was first, Hermann Goering (until the last weeks of the Reich), and second, Rudolf Hess (until his flight to Scotland in 1941). The leadership corps of the Party began with Hitler as was divided into six levels below him: 2. Reichsleiter (ministers)
3. Gauleiter (3 through 7 known collectively as Hoheitstraiger)
The Party Chancellory (Chef der Parteikanzlei) was Hitler's immediate staff.
This office was adminitered by Hitler's Deputy Rudolph Hess (1933-41) and then after Hess's flight to Scotland by Martin Bormann (1941-45). With Hitler's physical decline and preoccupation with the War, Borman assumed a major role in running the Party, depite the fact that he had almost no real base of power in the Party.
There were 16-18 Reichsleiter (the number varied somewhat over time) can be translated as government leaders. These included some ministers of the German government agencies, but Reichsleiter was not synomanous with Reichminister. The Reichsleiter made up the Party Directorate (Reichsleitung) or principal party leadership. It was these leaders who were primarily resonsible for implementing Party policies throughout the German Government. Reichsleitet were given responsibility for at least one office within the Party Directorate. They held a range of other posts such as the leadership of Party formations, associated federations, and a range of supervised organizations. Some were also appointed ministers of state or the head of smaller governmental organizations. The Reichsleitung is thus the basic horizontal organization of the party based on a functional bass. Each office within the Party Reichsleitung carried out specific tasks assigned by the Führer or by the Party Chancellory. Several Reichsleitern were very important in the NAZI Party. Alfred Rosenberg was the Führer's for Ideological Training and Education of the Party (Der Beauftragte des Fuehrer's fuer die Ueberwachung der gesammten geistigen und weltanschaulichen Schulung und Erziehung). Hans Frank headed the Party's Legal Office (Reichsleiter des Reichsrechtsamtes). Baldur von Schirach was the Leader for Youth Education (Leiter fuer die Jugenderziehung). Robert Ley was the Leader of the Party Organization (Reichsorganisationsleiter der NSDAP) and Leader of the German Labor Front (Leiter der Deutschen Arbeitsfront). One of Hitler's favorites had virtually no following within the Party, but played a major role in rationalizing war production, especially after the the death of Fritz Tot. One of the actions he took was to seize control of the massive Tot Organization.
The Party was also organized into several leadership groups. These organizations controlled party organizations were essentially the actual Party or party structure. These included the most impottant party leadership and cadre formation organizations. The SA had been the Paty muscle, but after the Night of the Long Knives (1934), the SA was replaced in authority by the SS. SA commander Roehm and the top leadership was arrested and executed by the SS. The SS became the premenent power in Germany. The SS was not only a Party Organization, but came to include the Government police and internal security organizations as well. The Hitler Youth Organization became a massive national youth movement given the responsibility for youthful cadre formation. Most Party memnbers belonged to one of these organizations.
Hitler ws a highly emotive speaker. Non-German speakers can preceive that from the news reels of his speeches without understanding what he was saying. As he perfected his speaking skills, he became highly effective in arousing great pasion among his audience, especially anger and hate. As a result, vandalism and violence often followed his orations. Hitler even personally participated in this violence. After leading a mob which attacked a rival politican, the police arrested him and he received a 3-month prison sentence (September 1921). The experienced convinced him that the Party needed its own army. He named the new group the Sturm Abteilung (Storm Section) (SA). The SA became knwn as the Stormtroopers or Brownshirts. The Stormtroopers in World War I were the elite troops used to lead attacks or blunt enemy offenses. The Brownshirts was derived frim the brown-colored military styled uniforms. Hitler employed the SA to attack rivals and break up their meetings and to prevent rival paeties from doing the same. Captain Ernst Roehm who Hitler had convinced to join the Party played a key role in recruitung the SA. A dashing World War I flying ace, Hermann Goering, was initially placed in command. Goering during the War had been second in command for Manfred von Richthofen's Flying Circus and replace him when he was killed. Many early SA recruits were unemployed members of the Freikorps (right-wing soldiiers) that had organized after the War. The NAZIs purchased a surplus supply of khaki military shirts from the Army. (The Army had planned to use them in Africa.) The SA also had grey jackets (grey is the color most associated with the German Arny), swastika armbands, ski-caps, jodphurs, and combat boots. The SA soon took to parading in the streets with loud bands, ans swastika flags and other party banners. After the march Hitler would guive one of his emotional speeches and not uncommonly their would be violence durected at Communists or other left-wing politicanns and Jews.
The SS was initially organized as Hitler's personal bodyguard. Under Heinrich Himler it was organized as an elite group strongly enfused with German concepts of Volk and blood (race). The SS was Hitler's principal tool for carrying out the "Finl Sollution". SS ReichFührer-SS in October 1939, following the invasion of Poland, set up a new SS section to deal with deportations and emigration. Himmler was obsessed with Arayanizing occupied Polish terrtories. Himmler had no quams about using force to accomplish this process. Himmler and the SS had considerable experience at killing and brutalizing Germans that opposed the NAZIs. Toward Jews and other peoples judged "subhuman," Himmler and the SS felt no compunction to act outside the normal rules of civilized behavior. And under Himmler's leadership, the SS emerged as the most powerful element in the NAZI Germany, essentially a state within a state. Just before Hitler launched World War II, all aggencies of state security were centalized within the SS, bluring the lines between a NAZI Party agency and a government police agency. . And after the War began, The SS developed a powerful military formation. Irionically as the NAZI fortunes of war declined, the SS formations became an increasingly important element if German combat strength.
The Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth), the NAZI party's youth movement, indoctrinated German youth to perpetuate the "1,000 year Reich." The Hitler Youth movement emphasized activism, physical training, NAZI ideology, especially nationalism and racial concepts, and absolute obedience to Hitler and the NAZI Party. Indoctrinating children in National Socialist idelogy was a key goal of the NAZI Party. Once Hitler assumed control over the German state, he used the Goverment to make the Hitler Youth the country's all encompasing youth movement. Hitler and other NAZIs leaders saw the indoctrination of young Germans as of critical importance. In the same year that they took power, the NAZIs organized German youth organizations into two branches of the Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugen), one branch for boys and one for girls. Membership was eventually made compulsory and all boys had to report to a neigborhood office to have his racial background checked and be registered for membership. There was then a typically elaborate introduction ceremony on the Füherer's birthday. The Hitler Youth was not just a German version of the Boy Scouts. The Hitler Youth were more similar to the Soviet Young Pioneers, but even with the Pioneers there were major differences. Hitler from the beginning saw the Hitler Youth movement as a tool to hardening boys for their future role of soldiers. He wanted a generation of "victorious active, daring youth, imune to pain." There was to be no "intelectual" training for the boys of the New Order, he saw intelectual pursuits as damaging to German youth. The NAZIs used the Hitler Jugend to educate German Youth " in the spirit of National Socialism " and subjected them to an intensive programme of Nazi propaganda. The NAZIs established the Hitler Jugend as a source of replacements for the Nazi Party formations. The Hitler Youth leadership in October, 1938 entered into an agreement with Himmler under which members of the Hitler Jugend who met SS standards would be considered as the primary source of recruitment for the SS. The NAZIs also used the Hitler Jugend for pre-military training. Special units were set up whose primary purpose was training specialists for the various military branches. HNC has compiled the following information on the Hitler Youth movement and the uniforms the boys wore.
We have also noted references to the Deutsche Studentenschaft. We do not know if these were the same or differet groups.
There were several associated NAZI Party federations, known as supervised organizations. These varied somewhat over time, both in numbers and responsibilities. These were not Party leadership organizations, but rather the organizations primarily to enforce the Party's dictates to the German public. Partly this was done through the implied use of force and in part through professional advancement and other benefits such as a secure job or welfare benefits.
These organizations were nominally independent. They had legal representation and owned property. They were supported by the Nazi Party in many ways, such as requiring membership. Many of these organizations were labor units. The largest was Deutsche Arbeitsfront/German Labor Front. There were also professionl organizations in which membership was needed to practice. Some were created by the NAZIs. Others were organizations that already Nazified under the Gleichschaltung policy. Gleichschaltung mean something like 'coordination' or 'bringing into line'. It was the process the NAZIs used to construct a totalitarian system with its tentacles into every aspects of national society. Thee organizations were use to punish people who were not politically relable and to isolate and impoverish Jews and others. The Volkswohlfahrt/People's Welfare Organization (NSV) replaced the churches (by controling fund raising) as the primary welfare organization. These organizations may seem benighn compared to organiaztions like the SS and SA, but in fact they played a role in the Holocaust and other NAZI babarities. The NSV for example created political and racial tests as to who received benefit. As a result, while not involved in the better known killing operations, these organizations were complicit in the Holocaust. They were involved in the infmous T-4 euthenasia campaign. These were also involved in prorams like sterilzing people identified by racial hygene courts. Lehrerbund/Teacher Federation (NSLB) played a major role in NAZIfying German education and inculcating the vicious attitudes that the German Wehrmacht displayed in atrocity after atrocity throughout Europe.
The Zentralverlag der NSDAP was the central publishing house for the NAZI Party. NSDAP was the abreviation for the National Socialist German Workers Party. The corporate orgins were a small Munich publishing company founded by Franz Eher. This is why on title pages it often reads Franz Eher, Nachfolger GmbH, variously abbreviated. Nachfolger means Successors. We are not sure why they continued to mention Eher. The Party purchased the company for 115,000 Papiermark (1920). The Zentralverlag published NAZI Party propaganda tracts, but did not limit itself to such material because it needed to make money to support its operations. It published novels, maps, song books, calendars, and other items. It published all the important NAZI newspapers, including the Völkischer Beobachter and the Illustrierter Beobachter. They of course published Hitler's Mein Kampf (1925). Reich Press Leader Max Amann, took over management of the firm in the 1930s. Using the power of the power of the NAZI police state, he acquired many other publications and publishing houses, turning the Zentralverlag into one of the largest publishing concerns in the world.
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