1. Make a Firm Commitment to Democracy…At First
After the Beer Hall Putsch, the NSDAP was in shambles and the subject of ridicule among the German people who were then drunk on cheap American loans. While Adolf Hitler was in prison in 1924, he explained to Nazi financier and fundraiser, Kurt Ludecke:
“When I resume active work it will be necessary to pursue a new policy. Instead of working to achieve power by armed coup, we shall have to hold our noses and enter the Reichstag against the Catholic and Marxist deputies. If outvoting them takes longer than outshooting them, at least the result will be guaranteed by their own constitution. Any lawful process is slow . . . Sooner or later we shall have a majority – and after that, Germany.”
1923 had taught the Nazis an important lesson: “Armed struggle” might be the masturbatory fantasy of Marxists everywhere, but the average person has little taste for perpetual, violent revolution. The Spartacist coup launched by the Communist Party of Germany was still fresh in the minds of the German people and they remained clamorous for peace and prosperity.
2. Be A Great Community Organizer With A Big Tent Philosophy
The first step was to secure the party’s finances. In 1925, the number of dues-paying members of the NSDAP was 27,000. By 1929, it was 178,000. Not bad in an era where it was impossible to spam the electorate with obnoxious fundraising emails.
In keeping with the new policy, Hitler restructured the NSDAP to mirror the political structure and social structure of Weimar Germany. Each of the Reichstag districts had an gauleiter personally appointed by Hitler. The districts were subdivided into Kreises, each led by a kreisleiter. The smallest subdivision was an Ortsgruppe.
As the famous Democrat Party leader, Tip O’Neill, once said, “all politics is local.”
Additionally, the NSDAP organized a state-within-state, appointing its own officials responsible for coordinating Nazi policy on law, agriculture, commerce, labor, transportation, culture, engineering, foreign affairs, etc. In 1936, after he was installed as Chancellor, Adolf Hitler revealed the purpose behind having such an intricate organization before policymaking power was ever acquired.
that it is not enough to overthrow the old State, but that the new State must previously have been built up and be practically ready to one’s hand. . . . In 1933 it was no longer a question of overthrowing a state by an act of violence; meanwhile the new State had been built up and all that there remained to do was to destroy the last remnants of the old State – and that took but a few hours.
This NSDAP innovation of a “Shadow Government”, ready to be deployed by the opposition, would be implemented in Britain after the war by Churchill opponent Hugh Gaitskell of the Labour Party in 1955.
And of course, the individual special interest groups could not be neglected. The NSDAP created organizations for adolescent men of 15 to 18, the Hitler Youth. For boys, there was the Deutsches Jungvolk. For the women, there was the N.S. Frauenschaften. For the girls, there was the Bund Deutscher Maedel. Other groups and occupations had separate organizations under the NSDAP umbrella, such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, bureaucrats, intellectuals, and artists.
3. Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste
All that serves to precipitate the catastrophe . . . is good, very good for us and our German revolution.”
– Gregor Strasser, NSDAP politician
Three weeks after the death of German financial wizard Gustav Stresemann who had moved heaven and earth to put the Weimar Republic on track to paying off its war reparations, the Great Crash of 1929 happened. Like a partygoer waking up after a night of binge drinking, the world had awoken up from a binge of cheap credit and the American lenders were demanding repayment of loans made to Germany. Millions of Germans were thrown out of work. Millions of unemployed, disaffected young men were looking for some hope of a stable future. (Sound familiar yet?)
The NSDAP had that ever-ready panacea of all political ills and misfortunes that result from the poor political choices of the electorate: Blame someone else and demand the keys to the state. The NSDAP propaganda helpfully pointed out these hidden enemies: The enemies who defeated and subjected Germany to the Treaty of Versailles, the Marxist rabble-rousers stirring up trouble in the streets and the unions, and the greedy bankers and industrialist who profited from the German people’s misery (especially the Jewish bankers and industrialists).
It seemed to have worked well. In 1928, the NSDAP received 810,000 votes and 12 seats. By 1930, it had6,409,600 votes and 107 seats. Practically overnight, the NSDAP went from the ninth-largest party in Germany, to the second. However, they were shut out of the ruling government by a coalition of the Social Democrats, As the Great Depression deepened and German unemployment grew from The next election in 1932 saw the NSDAP seize the Reichstag with over 13 million votes and 230 seats.
As the world would soon learn, elections, with over 80% voter turnout, have consequences.
4. Accept Tribute From Wealthy Industrialists While Smearing Them Publicly
The hallmark of powerful people is knowing how to stay close to, and in the good graces of, people of equal or greater power. In 1930, the NSDAP star was rising and the captains of industry were lining up to pay tribute to the new German Caesar named Adolf Hitler and his Nazi legionnaires. By this time, the S.A. and the S.S. were larger than the German army, so Hitler had a lot of mouths to feed. NSDAP propagandists Gregor Strasser, Joseph Goebbels, and Gottfried Feder publically denounced the moneyed industrialists whose greed had betrayed Germany. In private, Adolf Hitler allayed their fears and reassured them cooperation with the soon-to-be Nazi government meant the preservation of their power and wealth.
There are no exact figures as to how much the business interests paid to the NSDAP to keep their industrial fiefdoms, but whatever it was appeared to have worked in their favor for at least awhile.
5. Rock The Vote
Now it will be easy to carry on the fight, for we can call on all the resources of the State. Radio and press are at our disposal. We shall stage a masterpiece of propaganda. And this time, naturally, there is no lack of money.”
– Joseph Goebbels, February 3, 1933
There is a liberal principle of office-seeking: Let the office seek the man, and not the man seek the office. Men who are anxious to fill offices are not best-fitted to fill them.
A good Nazi has no time for that nonsense. Hitler, following a legal maneuver that allowed him to become a German citizen in time to run for President of Germany in 1932, campaigned like a madman. The Nazis hung millions of posters, distributed millions of pamphlets and newspapers, and held thousands of meetings throughout Germany. Hitler, thanks to the high-tech invention of the charter plane, held 3 to 4 rallies per day.
The office went to Hindenberg, with a clear majority, but only after a second election. However, the 85-year-old Hindenberg lacked the vitality to effectively govern and the newly minted Nazi Reichstag made clear that they intended to be “ungovernable” by anyone but Hitler. And they would get their wish when Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany at noon on January 30, 1933.
6. Use Government Power to Silence and Harass Your Enemies
Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searchers, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.
– Decree for the Protection of the People and the State
The NSDAP wasted little time in securing its political power. The new Chancellor banned Communist meetings and newspapers. Social Democrat rallies were broken up and members publically beaten of the S.A . Hermann Goering, Reichsstatthalter of Prussia, ordered police to raid the Communist Party headquarters in Berlin (most of its members fled by this time).
Marinus van der Lubbe, a feeble-minded Dutch Communist and serial arsonist, started the Reichstag fire on February 27, 1933, for which the Nazis speedily tried and beheaded him. The fire was grounds for the Nazis to push for the signing of the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State on February 28, suspending civil liberties and permitting Nazi officials to impose death sentences for a variety of offenses.
7. Use Journalism Is A Public Service…to Protect the Political Narrative
In this matter the Eher Verlag, together with publishing concerns owned or controlled by it, expanded into a monopoly of the newspaper publishing business in Germany . . . The party investment in these publishing enterprises became financially very successful. It is a true statement to say that the basic purpose of the Nazi press program was to eliminate all the press which was in opposition to the party.
– Max Amann
Once the Communists and Socialists had been sufficiently chastised or exiled, the NSDAP turned its attentions on newspapers and radios. October 4, 1933, the government passed the Reich Press Law. The law declared that journalism was a “public vocation.” And as we know, those who accept the mantle of “public service” must submit to public control. And because the NSDAP represents the voice of the public…you get the idea. The law placed German citizenship requirements on employment, barred Jews from the industry, and placed subject-matter restrictions on content.
The Berliner Tageblatt, the Frankfurter Zeitung, and the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, were all allowed to survive after divesting themselves of any unfortunate Jewish ownership interests and staff. The surviving Berlin newspaper editors were required to personally attend Joseph Goebbels, now Minister of Propaganda, and receive instruction on what they would and would not print, how it would be written, and how it would be delivered. And the press eagerly prostituted themselves to Nazi truth in the name of their survival.
8. Seize Control of the Schools Through the Federal State
When an opponent declares, ”I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say, ’Your child belongs to us already . . . What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short tune they will know nothing else but this new community.’
– Adolf Hitler, November 6, 1933
The NSDAP quickly took control of the schools by two prongs of attack: seizing the teachers and seizing the youth. Teachers, from kindergarten to the university, were legally required to join the National Socialist Teachers’ League. The subsequent Civil Service Act of 1937 required teachers to be “the executors of the will of the party-supported State.” Male teachers were required to have been members of the S.A., the Labor Service, or the Hitler Youth. Additionally, all teachers were required to attend “observation camp” where Nazi psychologists assessed them for “political reliability” before they could receive a license to teach.
Schools and universities that had once been controlled by the states were brought under the purview of the Minister of Education, who had the power to appoint rectors, deans, student union leaders, and lecturers’ union leaders. The Nazis also introduced courses in Rassenkunde (racial science). The University of Berlin offered 25 courses in this “burgeoning” field. Going one step further, the Nazified academics of Germany perverted the natural sciences by prefixing them with German and teaching them as a sub-field of “racial science.”
Compare and contrast:
”German Physics? ’But,’ it will be replied, ’science is and remains international.’ It is false. In reality, science, like every other human product, is racial and conditioned by blood.”
– Professor Philipp Lenard of Heidelberg University
“Modern Physics is an instrument of [world] Jewry for the destruction of Nordic science . . . True physics is the creation of the German spirit . . . In fact, all European science
is the fruit of Aryan, or, better, German thought.”
Professor Rudolphe Tomaschek, director of the Institute of Physics at Dresden
On the youth side, the NSDAP seized control of the German Youth Association, performed a shotgun wedding between it and the Hitler Youth, and banned all non-Nazi youth organizations. Training followed a strict line for boys to be admitted into the Hitler Youth, and later, the Labor Service or Army. The girls followed a similar path, although they passed into the Bund Deutscher Maedel rather than the Hitler Youth. Parents who attempted to withhold their children from the Nazis’ compulsory educational program were subjected to imprisonment.
That’s the list. Hope you enjoyed it.