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Reece Jordan

Reece Jordan

Email: reecejordan98@hotmail.co.uk

Total Article : 200

About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.

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How Popular was the Nazi Regime? pt.6

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As this survey was conducted in 1951, when the Germans knew the full reality of the wartime extermination camps, it is a telling statistic”[1]. Although this statistic alone is very ‘telling’ and supports Rees’ argument based on interviews, Rees doesn’t actually cite the details of this survey and so its reliability is left in limbo.

            Overall it seems that, whilst Burleigh is rather concise on the subject and simply states that Hitler and the Nazi regime were agents of exploitation within a climate of turmoil, both Gellately’s and Rees’ arguments reach very similar conclusions. The basis for their argument, however, is debatable: Gellately relies too heavily on dubious statistics, and though the premise of his argument may hold some validity, the need for other statistical evidence outside of his work renders his argument as vague and presumptuous. Rees conflates the opinions of one German and millions of others whom he has not conducted research on, and this, more so than Gellately, is far too presumptuous and makes his whole argument appear unfounded – it lacks any diversity of opinion from those who lived throughout Nazi Germany.

 

The Cult of Hitler

 

Another factor, albeit one that Burleigh appears mute on within his argument in discussion, is that of the role of Hitler as a key factor in eliciting popular opinion from the German population towards the Nazi regime. Whilst Gellately suggests that the role of Hitler and the attitudes towards him were significant in cultivating a Nazi following, Rees overtly downplays the factor, and instead argues that such an argument is not only insufficient for an explanation into an understanding into the popularity of the Nazi regime, but also a complete fallacy.

 

 

According to Gellately, “Hitler’s own popularity provided one of the main foundations on which the regime was founded and built”[2], and that he “was able to make the transition from rabble-rousing political speaker, into the deeply beloved Fuhrer of the German people in a remarkably short time.”[3] Here, Gellately is alluding to the notion that there existed a cult that revolved around Hitler, wherein he was exalted as a somewhat messianic figure. With this argument, Gellately, as well as many others, assert that had there not existed such a fantastical allure surrounding the Fuhrer, the Nazi regime would not have gained as much popularity as they had. We know that Hitler was a particularly gifted orator, and would often give rousing speeches, particularly on the subject of restoring Germany’s honour, might and getting the people back to work. Gellately makes direct reference to this: “the German people […] found themselves ready to place their trust and understanding in someone who could re-connect them to what they felt were sounder elements of German traditions.”[4], and this may have been true. Rees alludes to the use of propaganda as a means of supplementing the German people with this message: “this is the explanation of the Nazi rise of power that Josef Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, wanted the whole world to have”[5].

 

[1] Rees, L, ‘The Nazis’ – pg.63

[2] Gellately, R, ‘Backing Hitler’ – pg.3

[3] Gellately, R, ‘Backing Hitler’ – pg. 9-10

[4] Gellately, R, ‘Backing Hitler’ – pg.10

[5] Rees, L, ‘The Nazis’ – pg.14

 

Image Credits: rarehistoricalphotos.com

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