This sample essay on Was Hitler A Weak Dictator provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
For many reasons Hitler could be described as weak dictator because he failed to control all aspects of the NSDAP effectively largely down to his lazy attitude. This is a view put forward by the structuralist school of thought. However, there is also evidence from intentionalist school of thought that all the major decisions came about from Hitler’s decision, such as the outbreak of war in 1939, the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 and the final solution in 1941.
Therefore, Hitler could be seen as a very strong and effective dictator.
Therefore, both sides of the argument have to be analysed to discover the strength of his dictatorship. In the Nazi state, Hitler made all laws. His power was unlimited and was granted the position of Fuehrer for life.
He was the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, leader of the Government and Head of State. This was known as “Fuehrer power. ” The Hitler myth was created by Goebbels and Hitler was seen as political genius who had been destined to be great since birth.
The German people became devoted to him and even during the lowest points of the war Hitler had the vast support of the German public, which highlights his power. The party was organised around Hitler as a pyramid, with Hitler at the top of the Nazi hierarchy, followed by 36 Gauleiters or district leaders including high-ranking Nazi’s such as Hermann Goring and Joseph Goebbels.
All laws came from either Hitler signing the decree or from Hitler’s orders and he had the final say in any dispute.
Similarly all the major decisions came about from Hitler’s decision, such as the outbreak of war in 1939, the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 and the Final Solution in 1941, therefore, suggesting that Hitler was a strong dictator. However, it is unconceivable that one man could be in charge of the entire government like “Fuehrer power” suggests. This meant that Hitler had to rely heavily on other leading Nazi’s such as Goering, Goebbels and Himmler. In recent years, historians have begun to see a different image of Hitler, compared to the view of Hitler in Nazi Germany.
One historian wrote Hitler was “unwilling to take decisions, frequently uncertain, exclusively concerned with upholding his prestige and personal authority, influenced in the strongest fashion by his current entourage, in some respects a weak dictator. ” These structuralists believe that Hitler forsook everyday government business for an indolent life instead paying little attention to the running of the country. He hated committees and gradually removed the government cabinets. These were the traditional methods of running the country. In 1933, the cabinet met 72 times, while in 1935 just 12 times and it was removed by 1938.
Rather than concentrating on the problems the party faced, Hitler would immerse himself in pet projects such as architecture. Albert Speer, who redesigned much of Berlin in the Nazi regime described how “adjutants often asked me: ‘please don’t show any plans today’”, depicting this latest view of Hitler. This “idleness” gives an insight into why the Nazi government was so disorganised. Decisions throughout the party were all attributed to the “will of the fuehrer and were made by Nazi officials following Hitler around and picking up on his rambling.
At every level of the party there was rivalry for power and many were doing the same job as each other. Even at the very top of the hierarchy the four main Nazi’s behind Hitler – Goering, Goebbels, Roehm and Himmler had an intense rivalry for power each trying to out do each other to increase their power. An example of this is Himmler and Goering plotting to remove Ernst Roehm from power leading up to the Night of the Long Knives, by complying a file claiming Roehm was be paid by the French to remove Hitler.
Another example is that Goebbels inspired Krystalnacht. However, despite this heated competition, Hitler managed to hold the party together adding weight to the intentionalist claim that Hitler was a strong dictator, although it could be argued that it was a weakness that allowed the personal empires to grow, possibly threatening his position, for example Roehm before the Night of the Long Knives. The battle for power could also be attributed to Hitler’s desire for Social Darwinism throughout the party so it would always be strong.
Hitler believed that things would sort themselves out without interference and this can be seen in his policy with conquered countries during the war. Rather than tell Nazi’s in the respective countries how they should run the country, he just told them that in ten years time, the country must be Nazified, again showing that Hitler’s running of the government was largely haphazard indicating his weakness as a dictator. The Night of the Long Knives is a good example of how Hitler was a strong dictator.
The Night of the Long Knives was a very successful and efficient way of removing the enemies of the party, organised by Hitler. In that single night, Hitler managed to remove all power from a potential rival to his power the SA, who had been causing trouble threatening Hitler’s support from the established German society and Ernst Rohm who was encouraging a second revolution. It also gained the support of the army, which would be vital for the establishment of a totalitarian state and future foreign policy and expansion.
However, this event also shows Hitler’s failing as a dictator. That fact that Hitler allowed the SA to get out of hand shows that he was a very ineffective dictator. It can also be said that Hitler had very little to do with the Night of the Long Knives. Going and Goebbels organised the attack by complying a dossier on Rohm and persuaded Hitler to act against his long time friend. Various sources suggest that Hitler was in fact reluctant to act. The intentionalist view of Hitler could also be challenged.
Structuralists believe the Third Reich was largely down to a nationalist movement. Therefore, it can be seen why German intentionalists would be willing to blame all the atrocities of the war on a dead leader, claiming they had to obey, absolving all blame from themselves. In the early years of the Nazi party, Hitler can be seen as a strong dictator who played a vital part in their rise to power. However, as time progressed he can be seen as indolent and heavily reliable on his inner circle of Nazis.
Power seemed to rest with the individuals who chased personal power for example Himmler, who elevated himself up the party hierarchy. There are various examples of Hitler being inspired on particular products, but many sources describe that this enthusiasm was rare and for the majority of the time Hitler was very idle and the inner circle of Nazis did the work of the party. Evidence suggests that from the mid 1930s onwards, Hitler was merely a figurehead for propaganda as he was worshiped by the public and although he had unlimited power, he rarely used it.