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Reece Jordan

Reece Jordan


Total Article : 168

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.8


But his argument that it is fatuous to rely “on a cultural view of the Germans as a uniquely odd people peculiarly susceptible to a crazed authority figure”[1] is a strong one, especially when he accentuates the circumstances looming over Germany at the time as well as the subsequent popular policy the Nazis implemented as a more important factor.

Therefore, it seems that both arguments struggle to come to a distinct and untarnished argument regarding Hitler’s role and whether this made the regime popular. Gellately fixates on the plebiscites too frequently to sustain a solid argument, yet Rees is too dismissive of Hitler’s role, or, rather, the image projected of Hitler by the regime’s role, in cultivating a popular following. It appears that neither has a completely legitimate argument, though Rees’s assertion that Hitler’s appeal derived from popular policy is a credible one.





Overall, it is clear that Michael Burleigh’s argument is deeply flawed. His notion that the regime resided on a false veneer that relied wholly on its apparatus of terror is a weak one. It fails to acknowledge the evidence that suggests that there was a degree of complicity within the German populace in assisting this very terror state. His argument is also self-contradictory in that he too contributes to this very contrasting image. His disregard of plebiscites is where his argument is strongest, and assists in dissecting others’, but because this is such a small part of his argument, it cannot be extended to say that it makes for an overall strong one. Rees’s assertion that there existed a wide degree of popularity is more plausible. However, the means with which he portrays this argument (a reliance on interviews) renders it flawed. The conflation of opinion from those interviewed with those whom we cannot ever know is a far too presumptuous means to uphold an argument. The evidence he does use to accentuate public complicity, especially with denunciations, is not always sufficient, and his counter-argument to the role of Hitler fails to address the propagandised image of Hitler and the effect this would have had on the people. Gellately’s argument, though also flawed, appears to be the strongest. His nuanced opinion on denunciations seems the closest to reality in that he portrays a capacity to go against his original thesis (that the German people backed the regime), to display an evaluation of the evidence provided. Though his assertion that popular policy created a complicit population needed to be backed up by sources outside of his work, the premise is convincing. With these arguments, as well as an acknowledgement of the propagandised image of Hitler, Gellately’s does not provide a perfect answer as to whether the Nazi regime was genuinely popular, but it does provide the most credible.


[1] Rees, L, ‘The Nazis’ – pg.63


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