The “Führerprinzip” and Cult of the “Führer”

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Hitler’s aggrandizement as “Führer” was a central factor of the Nazi’s expansion of power. The “Führerprinzip” or leadership principle rendered Hitler’s authority absolute within the Nazi power structure. Nazi propaganda controlled by Goebbels heightened the veneration of Hitler in the populace to a “cult of the Führer”, celebrated in holidays, parades, monuments, verse and the naming of streets and squares.

The “Führerprinzip” functioned as an element to implement “Gleichschaltung” by orienting every domain of life in society (“one Volk”) toward an omnipotent and omnipresent Führer figure (“one Führer”). Every form of social distinction was removed for the benefit of the Nazi “Volksgemeinschaft” (“one yes”). The figure of the Führer and the “Führerprinzip” became the guiding institutional principle, which advanced the coordination of parties, unions, organizations, etc.

Following an archaic notion of leadership, Hitler, as “Führer”, was also given the position of chief justice to avert danger. Hitler was thus able to make laws himself and fully controlled the legislative branch. The propagandistic focus on a “Führer figure” seemingly exonerated individual Germans from mature and personally accountable participation in sociopolitical affairs.

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