German Fascism

Once in power Adolf Hitler turned Germany into a fascist state. Fascist was originally used to describe the government of Benito Mussolini in Italy. Mussolini's fascist one-party state emphasized patriotism, national unity, hatred of communism, admiration of military values and unquestioning obedience. Hitler was deeply influenced by Mussolini's Italy and his Germany shared many of the same characteristics.

The German economic system remained capitalistic but the state played a more prominent role in managing the economy. Industrialists were sometimes told what to produce and what price they should charge for the goods that they made. The government also had the power to order workers to move to where they were required.

By taking these powers Hitler's government was able to control factors such as inflation and unemployment that had caused considerable distress in previous years. As the government generally allowed companies to maintain their profit margins, industrialists tended to accept the loss of some of their freedoms.

Under fascism, most potential sources of opposition were removed. This included political parties and the trade union movement. However, Adolf Hitler never felt strong enough to take complete control of the German Army, and before taking important decisions he always had to take into consideration how the armed forces would react.

By the time Hitler gained power he had ceased to be a practising Christian. He did not have the confidence to abolish Christianity in Germany. In 1934 Hitler signed an agreement with Pope Pius XI in which he promised not to interfere in religion if the Catholic Church agreed not to become involved in politics in Germany.

The individual had no freedom to protest in Hitler's Germany. All political organizations were either banned or under the control of the Nazis. Except for the occasional referendum, all elections, local and national, were abolished.

All information that people in Germany received was selected and organized to support fascist beliefs. As Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels kept a close check on the information provided by newspapers, magazines, books, radio broadcasts, plays and films.

Adolf Hitler, who had been deeply influenced by his own history teacher, was fully aware that schools posed a potential threat to the dominant fascist ideology. Teachers who were critical of Hitler's Germany were sacked and the rest were sent away to be trained to become good fascists. Members of the Nazi youth organizations such as the Hitler Youth, were also asked to report teachers who questioned fascism.

As a further precaution against young people coming into contact with information and the government disapproved of, textbooks were withdrawn and rewritten by Nazis.

© , September 1997 - April 2014