Did Adolf Hitler Rule a Totalitarian State?
The government of Nazi Germany was a fascist, totalitarian state. Totalitarian regimes, in contrast to a dictatorship, establish complete political, social, and cultural control over their subjects, and are usually headed by a charismatic leader. Fascism is a form of right-wing totalitarianism which emphasises the subordination of the individual to advance the interests of the state. Nazi fascism's ideology included a racial theory which denigrated "non-Aryans," extreme nationalism which called for the unification of all German-speaking peoples, the use of private paramilitary organisations to stifle dissent and terrorise opposition, and the centralisation of decision-making by, and loyalty to, a single leader.
Because it was claimed that Hitler fulfilled the vital law of the German people, his personal will as Fuehrer was granted the right of unrestricted realisation. Totalitarian subjectivism, the unlimited claim of a single person to dominate an entire people, found its undisguised expression in the sentence, "Hitler is Germany--Germany is Hitler."
Since the authentic will of the people manifested itself solely in the will of the Fuehrer, Hitler could also act "against the subjective opinions of individual members of the nation and a misguided popular mood." On this point, then, the National Socialist concepts led to the same practical ends as did the Communist ones: the totalitarian regime imposes on the people what is allegedly the people's real will.
However, many historians have made comments on and questioned whether or not Hitler was in complete control of Germany or whether his subordinates ran the country with the power they had. One of these historians is Hans Mommsen, he has claimed that Hitler was not a strong and decisive leader but was in fact merely a figure head and unifying force for the Nazi party and the county itself. He supports...