Führer

Führer (German pronunciation: [ˈfyːʁɐ], spelled Fuehrer when the umlaut is not available) is a German word meaning "leader" or "guide". As a political title it is associated with the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Nazi Germany cultivated the Führerprinzip ("leader principle"),[1] and Hitler was generally known as just der Führer ("the Leader").

The word Führer in the sense of "guide" remains common in German, and it is used in numerous compound words such as Oppositionsführer (Leader of the Opposition). However, because of its strong association with Hitler, the isolated word usually has negative connotations when used with the meaning of "leader", especially in political contexts. The word Führer has cognates in the Scandinavian languages, spelled fører in Danish and Norwegian which have the same meaning and use as the German word, but without necessarily having political connotations.

History

Origin of the title

Führer was the title demanded by Adolf Hitler to denote his function as the head of the Nazi Party; he received it in 1921 when, infuriated over party founder Anton Drexler's plan to merge with another antisemitic far-right nationalist party, he resigned from the party. Drexler and the party's Executive Committee then acquiesced to Hitler's demand to be made the chairman of the party with "dictatorial powers" as the condition for his return.[2] It was common at the time to refer to leaders of all sorts, including those of political parties, as Führer. Hitler's adoption of the title was partly inspired by its earlier use by the Austrian Georg von Schönerer, a major exponent of pan-Germanism and German nationalism in Austria, whose followers commonly referred to him as the Führer, and who also used the Roman salute – where the right arm and hand are held rigidly outstretched – which they called the "German greeting".[3] According to historian Richard J. Evans, this use of "Führer" by Schönerer's Pan-German Association, probably introduced the term to the German far right, but its specific adoption by the Nazis may have been influenced by the use in Italy of "Duce", also meaning "leader", as an informal title for Benito Mussolini, the Fascist Prime Minister, and later dictator, of that country.[4]

As a political office

After Hitler's appointment as Reichskanzler (Chancellor of the Reich) the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which allowed Hitler's cabinet to promulgate laws by decree.

One day before the death of Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler and his cabinet decreed a law that merged the office of the president with that of Chancellor,[5][6] so that Hitler became Führer and Reichskanzler – although eventually Reichskanzler was quietly dropped.[7] Hitler therefore assumed the President's powers without assuming the office itself – ostensibly out of respect for Hindenburg's achievements as a heroic figure in World War I. Though this law was in breach of the Enabling Act, which specifically precluded any laws concerning the Presidential office, it was approved by a referendum on 19 August.[8][9][10]

Hitler saw himself as the sole source of power in Germany, similar to the Roman emperors and German medieval leaders.[11] He used the title Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Chancellor), highlighting the positions he already held in party and government, though in popular reception, the element Führer was increasingly understood not just in reference to the Nazi Party, but also in reference to the German people and the German state. Soldiers had to swear allegiance to Hitler as "Führer des deutschen Reiches und Volkes" (Leader of the German Reich and People). The title was changed on 28 July 1942 to "Führer des Großdeutschen Reiches" (Leader of the Greater German Reich). In his political testament, Hitler also referred to himself as Führer der Nation (Leader of the Nation).[12]

Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer

One of the Nazis' most-repeated political slogans was Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer – "One People, One Empire, One Leader". Bendersky says the slogan "left an indelible mark on the minds of most Germans who lived through the Nazi years. It appeared on countless posters and in publications; it was heard constantly in radio broadcasts and speeches." The slogan emphasized the absolute control of the party over practically every sector of German society and culture – with the churches being the most notable exception. Hitler's word was absolute, but he had a narrow range of interest – mostly involving diplomacy and the military – and so his subordinates interpreted his will to fit their own interests.[13]

Military usage

According to the Constitution of Weimar, the President was Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Unlike "President", Hitler did take this title (Oberbefehlshaber) for himself. When conscription was reintroduced in 1935, Hitler created the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, a post held by the Minister for War. He retained the title of Supreme Commander for himself. Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, then the Minister of War and one of those who created the Hitler oath, or the personal oath of loyalty of the military to Hitler, became the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces while Hitler remained Supreme Commander. Following the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair in 1938, Hitler assumed the commander-in-chief's post as well and took personal command of the armed forces. However, he continued using the older formally higher title of Supreme Commander, which was thus filled with a somewhat new meaning. Combining it with "Führer", he used the style Führer und Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht (Leader and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht), yet a simple "Führer" since May 1942.

Germanic Führer

Advertentie voor Mijn Kamp - Adolf Hitler - Steven Barends - De Amsterdamsche Keurkamer 1939
Advertisement for the Dutch translation of Mein Kampf. Hitler is referred to as "the Führer of all Germanics" (1939)

An additional title was adopted by Hitler on 23 June 1941 when he declared himself the "Germanic Führer" (Germanischer Führer), in addition to his duties as Führer of the German state and people.[14] This was done to emphasize Hitler's professed leadership of what the Nazis described as the "Nordic-Germanic master race", which was considered to include peoples such as the Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, Dutch, and others in addition to the Germans, and the intent to annex these countries to the German Reich in 1933. Waffen-SS formations from these countries had to declare obedience to Hitler by addressing him in this fashion.[15] On 12 December 1941 the Dutch fascist Anton Mussert also addressed him as such when he proclaimed his allegiance to Hitler during a visit to the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.[16] He had wanted to address Hitler as Führer aller Germanen ("Führer of all Germanics"), but Hitler personally decreed the former style.[16] Historian Loe de Jong speculates on the difference between the two: Führer aller Germanen implied a position separate from Hitler's role as Führer und Reichskanzler des Grossdeutschen Reiches ("Führer and Reich Chancellor of the Greater German Empire"), while germanischer Führer served more as an attribute of that main function.[16] As late as 1944, however, occasional propaganda publications continued to refer to him by this unofficial title.[17]

Military usage

Führer has been used as a military title (compare Latin Dux) in Germany since at least the 18th century. The usage of the term "Führer" in the context of a company-sized military subunit in the German Army referred to a commander lacking the qualifications for permanent command. For example, the commanding officer of a company was (and is) titled "Kompaniechef" (literally, Company Chief), but if he did not have the requisite rank or experience, or was only temporarily assigned to command, he was officially titled "Kompanieführer". Thus operational commands of various military echelons were typically referred to by their formation title followed by the title Führer, in connection with mission-type tactics used by the German military forces. The term Führer was also used at lower levels, regardless of experience or rank; for example, a Gruppenführer was the leader of a squad of infantry (9 or 10 men).

Under the Nazis, the title Führer was also used in paramilitary titles (see Freikorps). Almost every Nazi paramilitary organization, in particular the SS and SA, had Nazi party paramilitary ranks incorporating the title of Führer. The SS including the Waffen-SS, like all paramilitary Nazi organisations, called all their members of any degree except the lowest Führer of something; thus confusingly, Gruppenführer was also an official rank title for a specific grade of general. The word Truppenführer was also a generic word referring to any commander or leader of troops, and could be applied to NCOs or officers at many different levels of command.

Führerstand 411
The word Führerstand translates to a "driver's cab"

Modern German usage

In Germany, the isolated word "Führer" is usually avoided in political contexts, due to its intimate connection with Nazi institutions and with Hitler personally. However, the term -führer is used in many compound words. Examples include Bergführer (mountain guide), Fremdenführer (tourist guide), Geschäftsführer (CEO or EO), Führerschein (driver's license), Führerstand or Führerhaus (driver's cab), Lok(omotiv)führer (train driver), Reiseführer (travel guide book), and Spielführer (team captain — also referred to as Mannschaftskapitän).

The use of alternative terms like "Chef" (a borrowing from the French, as is the English "chief", e.g. Chef des Bundeskanzleramtes) or Leiter (often in compound words like Amtsleiter, Projektleiter or Referatsleiter) is usually not the result of replacing of the word "Führer", but rather using terminology that existed before the Nazis. The use of Führer to refer to a political party leader is rare today and Vorsitzender (chairman) is the more common term. However, the word Oppositionsführer ("leader of the (parliamentary) opposition") is more commonly used.

See also

Terms derived from Führer

Other

References

  1. ^ "Means Used by the Nazi Conspiractors in Gaining Control of the German State (Part 4 of 55)".
  2. ^ Evans, Richard J. (2003) The Coming of the Third Reich. New York; Penguin. p. 180. ISBN 0-14-303469-3
  3. ^ Mitchell, Arthur H. (2007). Hitler's Mountain: The Führer, Obersalzberg, and the American Occupation of Berchtesgaden. Macfarland, p. 15
  4. ^ Evans, Richard J. (2003) The Coming of the Third Reich. New York; Penguin. pp. 43, 184. ISBN 0-14-303469-3. Schönerer also invented the "pseudo-medieval" greeting "Heil", meaning "Hail".
  5. ^ Gesetz über das Staatsoberhaupt des Deutschen Reichs, 1 August 1934:
    "§ 1 The office of the Reichspräsident is merged with that of the Reichskanzler. Therefore the previous rights of the Reichspräsident pass over to the Führer and Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler. He names his deputy."
  6. ^ Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 226–27. ISBN 978-0-671-62420-0.
  7. ^ Richard J. Evans (2005) The Third Reich in Power. New York: Penguin Books. p. 44. ISBN 0-14-303790-0
  8. ^ Thamer, Hans-Ulrich (2003). "Beginn der nationalsozialistischen Herrschaft (Teil 2)". Nationalsozialismus I (in German). Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  9. ^ Winkler, Heinrich August. "The German Catastrophe 1933–1945". Germany: The Long Road West vol. 2: 1933–1990. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0-19-926598-5. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Führer – Source".
  11. ^ Schmidt, Rainer F. (2002) Die Aussenpolitik des Dritten Reiches 1933–1939 Klett-Cotta
  12. ^ "NS-Archiv : Dokumente zum Nationalsozialismus : Adolf Hitler, Politisches Testament".
  13. ^ Joseph W. Bendersky (2007). A Concise History of Nazi Germany: 1919–1945. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 105–06.
  14. ^ De Jong, Louis (1974) (in Dutch). Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de tweede wereldoorlog: Maart '41 – Juli '42, p. 181. M. Nijhoff.
  15. ^ Bramstedt, E. K. (2003). Dictatorship and Political Police: the Technique of Control by Fear, pp. 92–93. Routledge.
  16. ^ a b c De Jong 1974, pp. 199–200.
  17. ^ Adolf Hitler: Führer aller Germanen. Storm, 1944.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of Führer at Wiktionary
Berghof (residence)

The Berghof was Adolf Hitler's home in the Obersalzberg of the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany. Other than the Wolfsschanze ("Wolf's Lair"), his headquarters in East Prussia for the invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler spent more time at the Berghof than anywhere else during World War II. It was also one of the most widely known of his headquarters, which were located throughout Europe.

Rebuilt, much expanded, and renamed in 1935, the Berghof was Hitler's vacation residence for ten years. In late April 1945, the house was damaged by British aerial bombs, and it was again in early May by retreating SS troops, and looted after Allied troops reached the area. In 1952, the Bavarian government demolished the burnt shell.

Columbus Globe for State and Industry Leaders

The Columbus Globe for State and Industry Leaders (also known as Hitler's Globe or the Führer Globe) was a globe designed specifically for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.

Made in Berlin in the 1930s, the Columbus Globe for State and Industry Leaders was located in Hitler's office throughout most of its existence. It became widely known in the United States after comedian Charlie Chaplin parodied it in his 1940 film The Great Dictator. Comedy group The Three Stooges also made fun of it in two of their short subject comedies. One of the two limited editions was looted by John Barsamian, a private in the U.S. Army, at Hitler's summer retreat shortly after the war and sold 60 years later at an auction in San Francisco for $100,000. The globe in Hitler's office replaced Ethiopia with Italian East Africa and was known for its size as well as manufacturing cost.

Das Deutsche Führerlexikon 1934/1935

Das Deutsche Führerlexikon 1934/1935 was a German 'Who's Who' first published in May 1934, with official approval from the Nazi regime. It featured biographies of significant individuals connected with the Nazi Party, as well as diplomatic officers and military figures. A corrected version, featuring blank spaces where the biographies of purged individuals had previously appeared, was produced in August.Historian David Lerner used the Führerlexikon as the basis for an analysis of prominent individuals in the Nazi Party and the Third Reich. This was first published in 1951 under the title The Nazi Elite, and later reproduced in the book Lerner co-authored with Harold D. Lasswell, World Revolutionary Elites: Studies in Coercive Ideological Movements (1966).

Felsennest

At the start of the Western European campaign of 1940, the Felsennest ("Rocky Eyrie" in English) was the codename for one of Hitler's Führer Headquarters near Bad Münstereifel, Germany. It was much more cramped than Adolf Hitler's other field bunkers, having only four rooms. Hitler was at the Felsennest in the autumn of 1939, because there were plans to invade France and the Low Countries. He was there again on May 10, 1940 when the invasion took place.

Führer Headquarters

The Führer Headquarters (Führerhauptquartiere in German), abbreviated FHQ, were a number of official headquarters used by the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and various other German commanders and officials throughout Europe during the Second World War. The last one used, the Führerbunker in Berlin, where Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945, is the most widely known headquarters. Other notable headquarters are the Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) in East Prussia, where Claus von Stauffenberg in league with other conspirators attempted to assassinate Hitler on 20 July 1944, and Hitler's private home, the Berghof, at Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden, where he frequently met with prominent foreign and domestic officials.

Führerbunker

The Führerbunker (German pronunciation: [ˈfyːʁɐˌbʊŋkɐ]) was an air raid shelter located near the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex constructed in two phases in 1936 and 1944. It was the last of the Führer Headquarters (Führerhauptquartiere) used by Adolf Hitler during World War II.

Hitler took up residence in the Führerbunker on 16 January 1945, and it became the centre of the Nazi regime until the last week of World War II in Europe. Hitler married Eva Braun there on 29 April 1945, less than 40 hours before they committed suicide.

After the war, both the old and new Chancellery buildings were levelled by the Soviets. The underground complex remained largely undisturbed until 1988–89, despite some attempts at demolition. The excavated sections of the old bunker complex were mostly destroyed during reconstruction of that area of Berlin. The site remained unmarked until 2006, when a small plaque was installed with a schematic diagram. Some corridors of the bunker still exist but are sealed off from the public.

Führerprinzip

The Führerprinzip [ˈfyːʀɐpʀɪnˌtsiːp] (listen) (German for "leader principle") prescribed the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich. This principle can be most succinctly understood to mean that "the Führer's word is above all written law" and that governmental policies, decisions, and offices ought to work toward the realization of this end. In actual political usage, it refers mainly to the practice of dictatorship within the ranks of a political party itself, and as such, it has become an earmark of political fascism.

Führersonderzug

The Führersonderzug (lit. Führer's special train) was Adolf Hitler's personal train. It was named Führersonderzug "Amerika" in 1940, and later in January 1943, the Führersonderzug "Brandenburg". The train served as a headquarters until the Balkans Campaign. Afterwards, the train was not used as Führer Headquarters, however Hitler continued to travel on it throughout the war between Berlin, Berchtesgaden, Munich and other headquarters.

Hitler's Chancellery

Hitler's Chancellery, officially known as the Kanzlei des Führers der NSDAP ("Chancellery of the Führer of the Nazi Party"; abbreviated as KdF) was a Nazi Party organization. Also known as the Privatkanzlei des Führers ("Private Chancellery of the Führer"), the agency served as the private chancellery of Adolf Hitler, handling different issues pertaining to matters such as complaints against party officials, appeals from party courts, official judgments, clemency petitions by NSDAP fellows and Hitler's personal affairs. The Chancellery of the Führer was also a key player in the Nazi euthanasia program.

List of Adolf Hitler's directives

Adolf Hitler's directives or Führer's directives (Führerbefehle) were instructions and strategic plans issued by Adolf Hitler himself. They covered a wide range of subjects from detailed direction of military units in World War II to the governance of occupied territories and their populations. Under the Nazi system, they were binding, to be followed to the letter and superseded any other law. They should not be confused with the Führer's orders, issued late in the war, which were more precise and low-level and could be written or oral. They were as binding as the more general directives.

Martin Bormann

Martin Ludwig Bormann (17 June 1900 – 2 May 1945) was a German Nazi Party official and head of the Nazi Party Chancellery. He gained immense power by using his position as Adolf Hitler's private secretary to control the flow of information and access to Hitler. After Hitler's suicide on 30 April 1945, he was Party Minister of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Bormann joined a paramilitary Freikorps organisation in 1922 while working as manager of a large estate. He served nearly a year in prison as an accomplice to his friend Rudolf Höss (later commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp) in the murder of Walther Kadow. Bormann joined the Nazi Party in 1927 and the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1937. He initially worked in the party's insurance service, and transferred in July 1933 to the office of Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess, where he served as chief of staff.

Bormann used his position to create an extensive bureaucracy and involve himself as much as possible in the decision making. He gained acceptance into Hitler's inner circle, and accompanied him everywhere, providing briefings and summaries of events and requests. He began acting as Hitler's personal secretary on 12 August 1935. Bormann assumed Hess' former duties, with the title of Head of the Parteikanzlei (Party Chancellery), after Hess' solo flight to Britain on 10 May 1941 to seek peace negotiations with the British government. He had final approval over civil service appointments, reviewed and approved legislation, and by 1943 had de facto control over all domestic matters. Bormann was one of the leading proponents of the ongoing persecution of the Christian churches and favoured harsh treatment of Jews and Slavs in the areas conquered by Germany during World War II.

Bormann returned with Hitler to the Führerbunker in Berlin on 16 January 1945 as the Red Army approached the city. After Hitler committed suicide, Bormann and others attempted to flee Berlin on 2 May to avoid capture by the Soviets. Bormann probably committed suicide on a bridge near Lehrter station. His body was buried nearby on 8 May 1945, but was not found and confirmed as Bormann's until 1972; the identification was reaffirmed in 1998 by DNA tests. Bormann was tried in absentia by the International Military Tribunal in the Nuremberg trials of 1945 and 1946. He was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging.

Nazi Party

The National Socialist German Workers' Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei , abbreviated NSDAP), commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party (English: ), was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; DAP), existed from 1919 to 1920.

The Nazi Party emerged from the German nationalist, racist and populist Freikorps paramilitary culture, which fought against the communist uprisings in post-World War I Germany. The party was created to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism. Initially, Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric, although this was later downplayed to gain the support of business leaders, and in the 1930s the party's main focus shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes.Pseudo-scientific racist theories were central to Nazism, expressed in the idea of a "people's community" (Volksgemeinschaft). The party aimed to unite "racially desirable" Germans as national comrades, while excluding those deemed either to be political dissidents, physically or intellectually inferior, or of a foreign race (Fremdvölkische). The Nazis sought to strengthen the Germanic people, the "Aryan master race", through racial purity and eugenics, broad social welfare programs, and a collective subordination of individual rights, which could be sacrificed for the good of the state on behalf of the people.

To protect the supposed purity and strength of the Aryan race, the Nazis sought to exterminate Jews, Romani, Poles and most other Slavs, along with the physically and mentally handicapped. They disenfranchised and segregated homosexuals, Africans, Jehovah's Witnesses and political opponents. The persecution reached its climax when the party-controlled German state set in motion the Final Solution–an industrial system of genocide which achieved the murder of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other targeted victims, in what has become known as the Holocaust.Adolf Hitler, the party's leader since 1921, was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. Hitler rapidly established a totalitarian regime known as the Third Reich. Following the defeat of the Third Reich at the conclusion of World War II in Europe, the party was "declared to be illegal" by the Allied powers, who carried out denazification in the years after the war.

Nazi salute

The Nazi salute, Hitler salute (German: Hitlergruß, lit. 'Hitler Greeting', IPA: [ˈhɪtlɐˌɡʁuːs], also called German: deutscher Gruß, lit. 'German Greeting' by the Nazi Party, or Sieg Heil salute, is a gesture that was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany. The salute is performed by extending the right arm from the neck into the air with a straightened hand. Usually, the person offering the salute would say "Heil Hitler!" (Hail Hitler!), "Heil, mein Führer!" (Hail, my leader!), or "Sieg Heil!" (Hail victory!). It was adopted in the 1930s by the Nazi Party to signal obedience to the party's leader, Adolf Hitler, and to glorify the German nation (and later the German war effort). The salute was mandatory for civilians but mostly optional for military personnel, who retained the traditional military salute until the failed assassination attempt on Hitler on 20 July 1944.

Use of this salute is illegal in modern Germany and Austria (Verbotsgesetz 1947), and is also considered a criminal offense in modern Poland, Slovakia, and Austria. In Canada, the Czech Republic, France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Russia, displaying the salute is not in itself a criminal offence, but constitutes illegal hate speech if used for propagating Nazi ideology.

Paul Kummer

Paul Kummer (22 August 1834 – 6 December 1912) was a minister, teacher, and scientist in Zerbst, Germany, known chiefly for his contribution to mycological nomenclature. Earlier classification of agarics by pioneering fungal taxonomist Elias Magnus Fries designated only a very small number of genera, with most species falling into Agaricus. These few genera were divided into a large number of tribi ("tribes"). In his 1871 work, Der Führer in die Pilzkunde, Kummer raised the majority of Fries tribi to the status of genus, thereby establishing many of the generic names for agarics that are in use to this day.

From 1857 to 1863, he worked as a private lecturer, then served as a curate in Zerbst (1863–1877). From 1877 onward, he was a minister in Hann Munden.

Reichssicherheitsdienst

The Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD, lit. "Reich security service") was an SS security force of Nazi Germany. Originally bodyguards for Adolf Hitler, it later provided men for the protection of other high-ranking leaders of the Nazi regime. The group, although similar in name, was completely separate from the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) which was the formal intelligence service for the SS, the Nazi Party and later Nazi Germany.

Its role also included personal security, investigation of assassination plots, surveillance of locations before the arrival of Nazi dignitaries and vetting buildings as well as guests. The RSD had the power to request assistance from any other SS organisations and take command of all Ordnungspolizei (order police) in its role protecting the Nazi functionaries.

Rudolf Hess

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (Heß in German; 26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987) was a German politician and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, Hess served in that position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom during World War II. He was taken prisoner and eventually convicted of crimes against peace, serving a life sentence until his suicide.

Hess enlisted as an infantryman at the outbreak of World War I. He was wounded several times over the course of the war and was awarded the Iron Cross, 2nd class in 1915. Shortly before the war ended, Hess enrolled to train as an aviator, but he saw no action in that role. He left the armed forces in December 1918 with the rank of Leutnant der Reserve.

In 1919, Hess enrolled in the University of Munich where he studied geopolitics under Karl Haushofer, a proponent of the concept of Lebensraum ("living space"), which became one of the pillars of Nazi ideology. Hess joined the NSDAP on 1 July 1920 and was at Hitler's side on 8 November 1923 for the Beer Hall Putsch, a failed Nazi attempt to seize control of the government of Bavaria. While serving time in jail for this attempted coup, he assisted Hitler with Mein Kampf, which became a foundation of the political platform of the NSDAP.

After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Hess was appointed Deputy Führer of the NSDAP and shortly received a post in Hitler's cabinet as Minister without Portfolio. He was also appointed in 1938 to the Cabinet Council and in 1939 to the Council of Ministers for Defense of the Reich. Hitler decreed in 1939 that Hermann Göring was his official successor, and named Hess as next in line. In addition to appearing on Hitler's behalf at speaking engagements and rallies, Hess signed into law much of the legislation, including the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which stripped the Jews of Germany of their rights in the lead-up to the Holocaust.

On 10 May 1941, Hess made a solo flight to Scotland, where he hoped to arrange peace talks with the Duke of Hamilton, whom he believed to be a prominent opponent of the British government's war policy. Hess was immediately arrested on his arrival and was held in British custody until the end of the war, when he was returned to Germany to stand trial in the Nuremberg Trials of major war criminals in 1946. During much of the trial, he claimed to be suffering from amnesia, but he later admitted this was a ruse. He was convicted of crimes against peace and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes and was transferred to Spandau Prison in 1947, where he served a life sentence. The Soviet Union blocked repeated attempts by family members and prominent politicians to win his early release. While still in custody in Spandau, he died by hanging himself in 1987 at the age of 93. After his death, the prison was demolished to prevent it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

SS-Begleitkommando des Führers

SS-Begleitkommando des Führers ("SS Escort Command of the Führer"), later known as the Führerbegleitkommando (Führer Escort Command; FBK) was originally an eight-man SS squad formed from a twelve-man security squad (known as the SS-Begleitkommando) tasked with protecting the life of Adolf Hitler during the early 1930s. It was expanded and remained responsible for Hitler's personal protection until his suicide on 30 April 1945.

Wolf's Lair

Wolf's Lair (German: Wolfsschanze; Polish: Wilczy Szaniec) was Adolf Hitler's first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. The complex, which became one of several Führerhauptquartiere (Führer Headquarters) in various parts of Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union – in 1941. It was constructed by Organisation Todt.The top secret, high security site was in the Masurian woods about 8 km (5.0 mi) east of the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg (now in Gierłoż, Kętrzyn County, Poland). Three security zones surrounded the central complex where the Führer's bunker was located. These were guarded by personnel from the SS Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht's armoured Führerbegleitbrigade. Despite the security, the most notable assassination attempt against Hitler was made at the Wolf's Lair on 20 July 1944.Hitler first arrived at the headquarters on 23 June 1941. In total, he spent more than 800 days at the Wolfsschanze during a 3½-year period until his final departure on 20 November 1944. In mid-1944, work began to enlarge and reinforce many of the Wolf's Lair original buildings. The work was never completed because of the rapid advance of the Red Army during the Baltic Offensive in late 1944. On 25 January 1945, the complex was blown up and abandoned 48 hours before the arrival of Soviet forces.

Wolfsschlucht II

Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschlucht II (English: Wolf Canyon) or W2 was the codename used for one of Adolf Hitler's World War II Western Front military headquarters located in Margival, 10 km northeast of Soissons in the department of Aisne in France. It was one of many other Führer Headquarters throughout Europe but was used only one time by Adolf Hitler, June 16 and 17, 1944 for a meeting with Field Marshals Erwin Rommel and Gerd von Rundstedt about the Normandy Front.

At the meeting, Rommel advocated, among other things, for ending the war, to Hitler's fury. During the meeting, an allied air raid forced the group to descend into a bomb shelter. Later, a malfunctioning V-1 flying bomb struck the site, after which Hitler departed for Germany, never to return.

Politics
Events
Places of residence
Personal life
Personal belongings
Perceptions
Family
Other
Leader
History
Party offices
Publications
Notable members
Derivatives
Related articles

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.