The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Consolidation Of Power
(Part 2 of 2)

[THE PRESIDENT (LORD JUSTICE LAWRENCE, Member for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) continues]

[Page 8]

From the earliest days of the NSDAP, anti-Semitism had occupied a prominent place in National Socialist thought and propaganda. The Jews, who were considered to have no right to German citizenship, were held to have been largely responsible for the troubles with which the Nation was afflicted following on the war of l914 to 18. Furthermore, the antipathy to the Jews was intensified by the insistence which was laid upon the superiority of the Germanic race and blood. The second chapter of Book 1 of Mein Kampf is dedicated to what may be called the "Master Race" theory, the doctrine of Aryan superiority over all other races, and the right of Germans in virtue of this superiority to dominate and use other peoples for their own ends. With the coming of the Nazis into power in 1933, persecution of the Jews became official state policy. On 1st April, 1933, a boycott of Jewish enterprises was approved by the Nazi Reich Cabinet, and during the following years a series of anti- Semitic laws was passed, restricting the activities of Jews in the civil service, in the legal profession, in journalism and in the armed forces. In 9/1935, the so-called Nuremberg Laws were passed, the most important effect of which was to deprive Jews of German citizenship. In this way the influence of Jewish elements on the affairs of Germany was extinguished, and one more potential source of opposition to Nazi policy was rendered powerless.

In any consideration of the crushing of opposition, the massacre of 30th June, 1934 must not be forgotten. It has become known as the "Roehm Purge" or "the blood bath" and revealed the methods which Hitler and

[Page 9]

his immediate associates, including the Defendant Goering, were ready to employ to strike down all opposition and consolidate their power. On that day Roehm, the Chief of Staff of the SA since 1931, was murdered by Hitler's orders, and the "Old Guard" of the SA was massacred without trial and without warning. The opportunity was taken to murder a large number of people who at one time or another had opposed Hitler.

The ostensible ground for the murder of Roehm was that he was plotting to overthrow Hitler, and the Defendant Goering gave evidence that knowledge of such a plot had come to his ears. Whether this was so or not it is not necessary to determine.

On 3 July the Cabinet approved Hitler's action and described it as "legitimate self-defense by the State."

Shortly afterwards Hindenburg died, and Hitler became both Reich President and Chancellor. At the Nazi-dominated plebiscite, which followed, 38 million Germans expressed their approval, and with the Reichswehr taking the oath of allegiance to the Fuehrer, full power was now in Hitler's hands.

Germany had accepted the dictatorship with all its methods of terror, and its cynical and open denial of the rule of law.

Apart from the policy of crushing the potential opponents of their regime, the Nazi Government took active steps to increase its power over the German population. In the field of education, everything was done to ensure that the youth of Germany was brought up in the atmosphere of National Socialism and accepted National Socialist teachings. As early as 7th April, 1933, the law reorganizing the civil service had made it possible for the Nazi Government to remove all "subversive and unreliable teachers" and this was followed by numerous other measures to make sure that the schools were staffed by teachers who could be trusted to teach their pupils the full meaning of the National Socialist creed. Apart from the influence of National Socialist teaching in the schools, the Hitler Youth Organisation was also relied upon by the Nazi Leaders for obtaining fanatical support from the younger generation. The Defendant Von Schirach, who had been Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP since 1931, was appointed Youth Leader of the German Reich in June, 1933. Soon all the youth organisations had been either dissolved or absorbed by the Hitler Youth, with the exception of the Catholic Youth. The Hitler Youth was organized on strict military lines, and as early as 1933, the Wehrmacht was cooperating in providing pre- military training for the Reich Youth.

The Nazi Government endeavored to unite the Nation in support of their policies through the extensive use of propaganda. A number of agencies was set up, whose duty was to control and influence the press, the radio, films, publishing firms, etc., in Germany, and to supervise entertainment and cultural and artistic activities. All these agencies came under Goebbels' Ministry of the People's Enlightenment and Propaganda, which together with a corresponding organisation in the NSDAP and the Reich Chamber of Culture, was ultimately responsible for exercising this supervision. The Defendant Rosenberg played a leading part in disseminating the National Socialist doctrines on behalf of the Party, and the Defendant Fritzsche, in conjunction with Goebbels, performed the same task for the State.

The greatest emphasis was laid on the supreme mission of the German People to lead and dominate by virtue of their Nordic blood and racial purity; and the ground was thus being prepared for the acceptance of the idea of German world supremacy.

[Page 10]

Through the effective control of the radio and the press, the German People, during the years which followed 1933, were subjected to the most intensive propaganda in furtherance of the regime. Hostile criticism, indeed criticism of any kind, was forbidden, and the severest penalties were imposed on those who indulged in it.

Independent judgment, based on freedom of thought, was rendered quite impossible.

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