The Nazi regime: summary |


A Hitler rally in 1933 —
Source: getty-images

In the middle of ’34 the totalitarian Nazi state was constituted.
Hitler he did not modify either the Constitution or the Republic. Instead, he took away the autonomy of parliament, government, judiciary and public administration. There were no longer institutions that could go against the will of the single party. The Führer (title assumed by Hitler), was the sole source of law and absolute power in every sector; he proceeded alone, without any obstacles.


In reality the Nazi system consisted of multiple centers of power run by men loyal to Hitler:

  • The matchwith central and regional structures;
  • There Gestapothe secret police of the regime;
  • Special institutions like the Todtthe four-year plan for economic development and consensus organizations.

Hitler was the synthesis of these institutions, in which he had the last word. This organization can be compared to a sort of “neo-feudalism”, where formal and legal acts had the value of personal loyalty to the boss, to whom those in charge responded.


The SS and the Gestapo they were the repressive tools used to eliminate any form of opposition. But Nazi power was structured in such a way that it could control and regiment all civil activities. Of great importance was the labor front, an organization run by the party which directly controlled all aspects of working and productive life. L’propaganda ideology of work was one of those which the regime fought hardest against, both against German citizens and against foreign citizens, forced to work for the Third Reich (this is how the Nazi German state was called).


Similarly Nazism controlled young people, culture and science. Paul Goebbels was in charge of culture and propaganda, and made the latter the fundamental weapon of the regime to acquire and maintain consensus, through the great means of mass communication and collective rituals (rallies under the shadow of the swastika ).

Nazism was not a simple dictatorship, but was based above all on the direct relationship between the Fuhrer and the masses. He not only used terror, but integrated the masses into his great work; this was the way the regime maintained and managed power: by mobilizing the masses.

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For the Nazis, violence was not only aimed at gaining and maintaining power, but also at transforming Germany into a warrior nation, in order to racial purification. Three basic directions of Nazi violence can be identified: political repression, social repression, racial politics. Political repression eased as the regime consolidated. Social repression was intended to “cleanse” German society of people deemed unworthy: the so-called antisocials and homosexuals, threat to the morality and procreation of the race. Finally the racial violencethe most destructive, had the aim of the biological rehabilitation of the German people, which had a growing radicalization with respect to other forms of violence, which affected beings qualified as “subhumans”.


In 1943 the sterilization of people affected by physical and mental handicaps considered hereditary began, and theeuthanasia operation decided and carried out secretly in the autumn of ’39. This operation had nothing to do with the current euthanasia, but consisted inelimination of some categories of mental patients through “gassing” or lethal injections.

In the summer of 1941, after protests by members of the Catholic Church, Hitler decided to interrupt the operation, fearing that it could further weaken the regime in an already critical phase of the war. This operation was a very important test of the genocide of the Jews during the Second World War.


The persecution against the Jews grew, first they were excluded from the public administration and then, with the Nuremberg laws of ’35non-Aryans were stripped of their German citizenship and “mixed” marriages were forbidden.

This was followed by the devastation and requisition of Jewish property, their imprisonment, and deportation to concentration camps. the obligation to wear the Star of David on clothes. Finally the genocide.


In the economic field, the Nazis implemented a autarkic politics and a fort dirigisme. The dominant presence of the state accentuated the monopolistic nature of the economy. The interests of the large industrial groups and the economic choices of the regime went hand in hand. The aims of the regime were to achieve a high level of employment, and it succeeded. This goal was a positive point for the consensus of the regime.

The state financed massive public works and developed a large replacement policy. Military spending, at the dawn of World War II, made up 50% of state expenditure. In fact, the aim of Nazi economic policy was to prepare the country for war. In Nazism the link between politics, economy and ideology was very close. The public deficit created to finance the war necessarily presupposed a foreign policy aimed at making Germany acquire a hegemonic position in the international economy, which would allow it to exploit the new wealth. It was always going in this direction conquest of living space. The latter was located in Eastern Europe, a land of Slavs and Jews.

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The Nazi regime: summary |