Third Reich Government, uncontrollable?

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Caldric
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Third Reich Government, uncontrollable?

Post by Caldric » 10 Aug 2002 19:39

I have been reading recently about some major problems that the Nazi government started having at the end of the 30's and early 40's.

Hitler did not have the power to bring the war to the conclusion he wanted. And, within Germany, he was powerless to prevent the governance of the Reich from slipping increasingly out of control. The tendencies already evident before the war - unresolved Party-State dualism, unclear or overlapping spheres of competence, proliferation of ad hoc establishment of improvised "special authorities' (Sonderbehorden) empowered to handle specific policy areas, administrative anarchy, - were now sharply magnified.


Kershaw Nemesis pp 311.

Kershaw uses for reference of Broszat "The Hitler State", which the book is really expensive, so I have not spent the money on it yet. Anyone read it?

At any rate, it would appear that the Reich was not so efficient as many have been lead to believe. It actually appears to have been a monster of bureaucracy and poor administration. The "Radicalization" and supreme power seems to have made the Reich a short-term success, of which the gains made in the mid 30's appear to have been catching up to the Reich in the early 40's. Not to mention that Hitler had little time for governance of the state since he was running the war. And as Kershaw states he "shied away from genuine delegation of powers". These issues seem to have spurred the high amount of corruption and incompetence from the lowest to highest ranks in the government.

I suppose my question would be has anyone done any research into this area of the Reich and would have anything to add or correct?

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Scott Smith
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Proverbial Nazi Efficiency?

Post by Scott Smith » 10 Aug 2002 21:13

It depends on how one defines "efficient." Yes, the TR was an oligarchy, not the comic-opera dictatorship of lore. Hitler retained ultimate authority, though; don't ever forget that. It is just that as the war became more intense and demanding of his time, he became diverted with that, which allowed others like Bormann and Himmler to horn-in far beyond their proper roles.

However, in some other context, division of powers and competition would be a celebrated advantage. So, the Nazis get slammed because they were a command system (not really true) and they get slammed because they were not a command system, but an oligarchy that valued competition amongst those who held power. In the U.S. we call this gridlock, and it is supposed to be a good thing. It prevents anything from middle-of-the-road reforms from being made and occasional mischief. It's also why we have a thousand companies making widgets and jockeying for market-share.

Actually, a major advantage of the Third Reich over parliamentary democracies, related to but not the same as efficiency, is that applying the military Leadership Principle to politics tended to cut through gridlock and actually get things done, because the only competing interest was the national party. As the saying goes, Mussolini "made the trains run on time." In theory, the Führer decided what was in the national interest, not party politics or litigation. But during the war, Hitler increasingly delegated unwisely to people who would merely cause him less distractions and not the best possible subordinates. He neglected his unique political duties to micromanage the war (which, despite the postwar whining of the generals, may have been the only way it could have been done).

Yes, the TR was a bureaucracy, with all of the red-tape, irrationality and contradictions associated with that--but so are all European states by American standards.

I haven't read Kershaw yet but my impression so far is just more of the same feel-good Democracy-Capitalist apologia. It is really bothersome to the moral elite that the Nazis still have admirers after an unprecedented half-century of propaganda. But, for all the faults of National Socialism, it at least intended great changes. It intended to be reforming and revolutionary and to upset the old order. This makes it an Idea that at least strove to think outside of the box. And the most frightening aspect of it, from a D-C perspective, is that it convinced the majority of Germans and many non-Germans to work and fight for this Leader and his Idea, almost with one voice.

No, I'm not trying to argue that it was pluralistic by any means--war itself is Totalitarian--it is just that no matter how much the Germans disagreed on many things, they agreed on Hitler's core aims. He was the only one dedicated to overthrowing the Versailles encirclement, something that both the Left and Right hated. I'm also not arguing that Hitler did not abandon his more idealistic and progressive social and economic reforms to fight his war, but that doesn't make those goals phony either. And, yes, I know that the NSDAP never won a majority in a popular election--neither did President Dubyah. They did, however, have plurality.
:)

Caldric
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Post by Caldric » 10 Aug 2002 21:25

I haven't read Kershaw yet but my impression so far is just more of the same feel-good Democracy-Capitalist apologia. It is really bothersome to the moral elite that the Nazis still have admirers after an unprecedented half-century of propaganda.


I would disagree, he is not writing feel-good apologia, it is actually been rather neutral in tone. Or at least in my opinion. But then perhaps it is not propaganda? Maybe you should stop considering anything that does not praise the TR as simple propaganda but perhaps just facts? :)

I would say many of the admirers are a little off in what they admire. I can see admiring equipment military prowess etc. But I can not fathom admiring a totalitarian government system that was much more wasteful then say Capitalism, in both natural resources and human resources. Economics were completely geared to the military complex of the industrial elite, you complain about American Capitalism but praise German system? Talk about being a slave to industry, they took it to a whole new level in the TR, as Speer claimed it was actual slavery.. :)

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 11 Aug 2002 13:33

Caldric wrote:
Scott wrote:I haven't read Kershaw yet but my impression so far is just more of the same feel-good Democracy-Capitalist apologia. It is really bothersome to the moral elite that the Nazis still have admirers after an unprecedented half-century of propaganda.

I would disagree, he is not writing feel-good apologia, it is actually been rather neutral in tone. Or at least in my opinion. But then perhaps it is not propaganda? Maybe you should stop considering anything that does not praise the TR as simple propaganda but perhaps just facts? :)

Well, I can't really say much about him because I haven't read his books. I did read a review and Kershaw said that his motivation was to make sure that Hitler was tarnished because too many people admired him (or something like that). That seems pretty partisan to me. However, he was not hysterical about slamming Hitler, as Bullock and other biographers have been. Kershaw is said to have wanted to make sure that Hitler is a real-life villain, not a comic-opera villain, which nobody can believe in. That sounds like writing propaganda to me. I thought that Toland's biography was reasonably balanced, though.

I would say many of the admirers are a little off in what they admire. I can see admiring equipment military prowess etc. But I can not fathom admiring a totalitarian government system that was much more wasteful then say Capitalism, in both natural resources and human resources. Economics were completely geared to the military complex of the industrial elite, you complain about American Capitalism but praise German system?

I think it is an apples-and-oranges comparison because the Third Reich was always at war or gearing-up for the war that the Nazis knew would come once Germany became powerful again. I think Capitalism is just as wasteful of human life and resources but takes longer to destroy people under its impersonal heel.

Talk about being a slave to industry, they took it to a whole new level in the TR, as Speer claimed it was actual slavery.. :)

Speer was a sell-out and a liar who is lucky to have emerged from Nuremberg with his life. But Hitler, in the same breath, is criticized for not mobilizing industry and labor for war fast enough.
:)

Caldric
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Post by Caldric » 12 Aug 2002 08:56

Well, I can't really say much about him because I haven't read his books. I did read a review and Kershaw said that his motivation was to make sure that Hitler was tarnished because too many people admired him (or something like that). That seems pretty partisan to me. However, he was not hysterical about slamming Hitler, as Bullock and other biographers have been. Kershaw is said to have wanted to make sure that Hitler is a real-life villain, not a comic-opera villain, which nobody can believe in. That sounds like writing propaganda to me. I thought that Toland's biography was reasonably balanced, though.


Well as we discussed once about the IHR, one must look read and decide for themselves. If I listened to critics I would have read maybe 2 books.. :mrgreen:

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Post by Scott Smith » 12 Aug 2002 09:25

Caldric wrote:
Well, I can't really say much about him because I haven't read his books. I did read a review and Kershaw said that his motivation was to make sure that Hitler was tarnished because too many people admired him (or something like that). That seems pretty partisan to me. However, he was not hysterical about slamming Hitler, as Bullock and other biographers have been. Kershaw is said to have wanted to make sure that Hitler is a real-life villain, not a comic-opera villain, which nobody can believe in. That sounds like writing propaganda to me. I thought that Toland's biography was reasonably balanced, though.


Well as we discussed once about the IHR, one must look read and decide for themselves. If I listened to critics I would have read maybe 2 books.. :mrgreen:

I fully agree. It is on my reading list but the two volumes appeared almost as daunting as Mein Kampf. Maybe I should take a hiatus from the board to get my reading caught-up. :idea:
:)

Caldric
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Post by Caldric » 12 Aug 2002 09:31

Well even if you do not agree with the content the man is most assuredly a master writer. Easy read. Mien Kampf I never finished, perhaps it is the translation or just the mind set, at any rate it was very difficult to follow.

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