Confidence in the Führer Is Unshaken
SD reports recorded the seismic waves of the initially gradually, then rapidly growing loss of confidence. Time and again, according to a report from November of 1943, the question is being raised whether the leadership has really “done everything right”, both in terms of military operations as well as actions at home (Boberach, Meldungen aus dem Reich 15, 6064).
Hitler, however, remained largely exempt from all of these complaints – as a report to the Party Chancellery from November 19, 1943 reveals:
The first serious tremors began with the setbacks of the last two winters of war in Russia. At that time, doubts arose for the first time whether the leadership is still wholly capable of assessing the huge problems of this war and whether they are still capable of fully coping with them. As this year has proceeded, the question has been raised more and more frequently whether the leadership has really “done everything right”, both in terms of military operations as well as actions at home.
People making such comments make a very clear distinction between the Führer and other leaders. Whereas a loss in confidence in individual leaders or positions of leadership is observable comparatively more frequently, confidence in the Führer is virtually unshaken.
While it has been subjected to tests of its endurance of varying intensity, above all after the fall of Stalingrad, confidence in the Führer has been shown to be growing stronger over the course of recent months despite the setbacks on every front. … People frequently see the guarantee of a successful conclusion of the war solely in the person of the Führer. The idea that something might suddenly happen to the Führer is unthinkable to the German public (Boberach, Meldungen aus dem Reich 15, 6064).
The Hitler myth (Kershaw) in the early years of the “Third Reich” – which had assumed more or less religious dimensions through the successes of the “blitzkriegs” in 1939-40 – continued to have an influence: Initially, criticism and dissatisfaction were concentrated largely on the Party’s representatives. The clearer the catastrophic and hopeless situation became even to the last “German citizen” however, the more the Hitler myth also deteriorated. It disintegrated entirely in the final months of the war. Silent embitterment supplanted erstwhile glorification of the Führer.
Source / title
- Professional Assassin, public domain