German Totalitarianism Essay

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Definition of totalitarian state according to Fredrich's 'six point syndrome' - must consist of an official ideology, a single mass party, terroristic police control, monopoly control of the media, a monopoly of arms, and central control of the economy. Despite some success in exerting a tight control over the media and army, with Hitler as Fuhrer and his ministers in control of certain aspects of German social, political, legal, economical, and cultural life during the years 1934 to 1939, there are significant features of the Nazi party that simply do not fit this all-embracing concept of totalitarianism. The existence of an official ideology of a rigid, organised, monolithic party led by an omnipotent figurehead is central to the concept of totalitarianism. Within the Nazi Party, power rested in individuals and not in party structure, which lead to administrative structures becoming increasingly fragmented and dislocated, intensifying interpersonal frictions and feeding them back into the system; and the scope for rational and accountable decision making, let alone long term policy making, became more and more constrained. The central proposition here is that the relentless dynamism and the commitment to a politics of struggle that had carried the Nazi movement into power were dispersed into the political system as a whole after 1933, depriving it of any stability or predictability. As leaders improvised agencies and policies in the competition to define and enact the amorphous will of the regime and its leader, the result was pre-emptive, cumulative radicalization of the regime's political direction. The most radical policy of all, the extermination of the Jews, could also be understood not primarily as the step by step realization of Hitler's own ideological programme by responsive and obedient henchmen, but as the outcome of the perverse, proliferation
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