3: Hitler

Nazi Indoctrination of an Absolutist Ideology and the Personality Cult of Adolf Hitler

National Socialism was perceived by its originators as a Weltanschauung [world view] and revolutionary movement. It claimed that German, "Aryan" people are bonded by their innermost disposition as a organic community, and thus at one with a political party which recognizes the intrinsic value of blood, personality, and soil which identifies them as a race. Hitler asserted that the National Socialist world view would stand in opposition to pacifistic international democracy in its effects and consequences. Culture, art, technology, productivity in general, and superior talent is race determined and based on racial attributes. That endeavor is race determined was claimed by the Nazis, a belief rapidly accepted by a majority of educated as well as formally uneducated Germans. In their propagated ideology, Hitler and his cohorts were successful in taking advantage of the people's frustrated expectations by persuading them to believe that the Great War was lost because they had been stabbed in the back by Jewish exploiters and that now Germany's existence was threatened by communists and social democrats. Further, it was claimed that the people were being ruined economically by war reparations imposed on them by the victorious Allies in the form of the Versaille Treaty, as well as other external, unfair, exploitative demands.

The core of National Socialism/Hitlerism was racial anti-Semitism. Hitler declared the Jewish religion to be the product of an inferior, subhuman race who were born genetic criminals. Jews were held responsible for all the evil, inequities and problems in German society. In contrast, Germans, Hitler declared, were a superior race of Aryans, a heroic master race. Anyone who felt defeated, inferior, down-trodden, and experiencing existential angst eagerly embraced such notions and accepted those who advocated them.

Hitler promised the people employment and the return to socio-economic well-being. He presented himself as a prophet and was so portrayed by his paladins and followers. He possessed charismatic appeal and was experienced by multitudes as a captivating orator who gave them hope and they willing submitted to his wishes and dictates. Joseph Goebbels and other Nazi leaders availed themselves of modern technology to spread Nazi ideological propaganda to reinforce Hitler's personal power and appeal. A personality cult was developed which made the people stand in awe of Hitler. Hitler was accepted as supreme leader who could not fail and do no wrong.

According to Hitler's secretary, Christa Schroeder, this was his favorite photograph of himself.

Hitler's publications, Folk and Race and Bolschevismus from Moses to Lenin (by Dietrich Eckart).

Postal stamps of various denominations bearing Hitler's image, 1941/44.

Hitler and leading Nazi cohorts after a war timeconcert in Berlin, conducted by Maestro Furtwängler.

Hitler Away from the Work Day. Photographs of Hitler taken by his "court photographer," Heinrich Hoffmann.

This propaganda piece by Heinrich Hoffman documents Hitler in the midst of "his" German youth. It illustrates his ability to relate readily to all segments of the population. He was able to mold his audience with his appeal and recruit followers. Young people were an especially important target in his campaign.

Christa Schroeder, right, with another secretary, "Dara", the secretary described by Hitler as "the one with the greatest sex appeal".