There out of the chaos left behind by World

There
are many arguments when assessing the success of Hitler as a leader and perhaps
it is easier to dismiss him as successful as under his rule Germany not only
lost the Second World War but Hitler himself committed suicide in August 1945.  In addition, one could argue that a man
responsible for the outbreak of WW2 and the mass extermination of an entire
race cannot be considered a successful leader. 
However, if we remove morality for a moment and consider his
achievements; improving the German economy, virtually removing unemployment,
invaded and capturing most of Europe, the building of the Olympic stadium, the
autobahns and the creation of the Volkswagen factory, it is hard to argue that Hitler
was not a successful leader. 

When
Adolf Hitler joined the NSDAP in 1919 after World War One it was the power and
delivery of his speeches which enabled him to become leader by 1921 as it was
believed that without Hitler the party could not attract the support it needed.  At this time German society was polarized and
people began to join radical groups such as the communists or Nazis.  It was Hitler’s oratory skills which increased
Nazi support, particularly ex-soldiers who returning from the front believed
they were stabbed in the back by the government, and according to ex-soldiers
such as Emil Klein (Kershaw, 2009) Hitler had convinced
him through the power of speeches that he was the man to lead Germany out of
the chaos left behind by World War One.

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It
was Hitters ability to capture the mood of the people which enabled his support
to grow, he was able to lead people with a shared purpose, a visionary style of
leadership showing the German people what could lay ahead for Germany.  Hitler spoke with a sense of purpose and
people listened, he captured the crowd’s attention with words and told them
exactly what they wanted to hear.  His
words and charisma, particularly due to the impact of the First World War and
the economic crisis of 1929, supported by powerful rhetoric and propaganda moved
the country to do unforgivable acts.

Hitler’s rhetoric and charisma was supported
by his unwavering belief in his own destiny and his belief that what he was
doing gave his country a new purpose and identity, Hitler offered this through his
strength and conviction which the people needed in a time of crisis.  It was Hitler Charisma, which for good or
evil purposes reflect the transformational leader, it was Hitler’s Charisma
which allowed him to adopt a special personality which generated fanatical support
allowing him to drag his followers and Germany to his will.   One can stress the point the Hitler may not
be a transformational leader because of his evil deeds but has been referred to
as pseudo transformational leader (Northouse, 2013) , however
nonetheless Hitler can arguably be seen as a transformational leader who
manipulated crisis after crisis to gain leadership with in Germany, we refer to
the economic crisis of 1929 or even the Treaty of Versailles which Hitler exploited
to his advantage throughout the early 20s and the later thirties on the road to
war.

Hitler according to Weber demonstrates all the attributes
of a charismatic leader, showing a personal devotion and duty to the role,
with Hitler happy to take full control as the people followed with blind
obedience.  To add to the charisma
Hitler told millions that they were important and significant, they were the
special and racially pure Aryans who would naturally prevail over others which cemented
the relationship between Hitler as the leader and his followers, the god-like messianic
super hero who would lead his followers to a greater but combined destiny.

It was Hitler ability to understand human
nature which allowed him to play this role and he knew that this was a necessity
if he was to be an effective leader.  He was
able to use life experience to understand how to motivate people, drawing on
his experiences as a Corporal in World War one or even his hardships while sleeping
on the streets of Venice, this ability to use life experience and refer to past
events that people could relate to enabled the Nazi party following to grow.  Hitler’s high level of emotional intelligence
allowed him to identify the need of the people, their desire, their wants and emotions
allowing him to deliver speech after speech of powerful rhetoric which people
could understand and support.  Roger Moorhouse supports this view that Hitler
understood the power of emotion, Hitler spent hours analyzing his movements,
gestures and body language so that he could deliver the perfect speech.  It was Hitler’s ability to disguise his
feelings that allowed him to manipulate others, Jochen
Menges agrees that it is the ability to recognize emotion in others and
control your own emotions enabling indoctrination and manipulation of people, a
speech packed with emotion, which Hitler delivered with strength and charisma,
is hard to criticize and easy to follow. 

Hitlers charisma allowed the Nazis to tell a
story which can be crucial in leadership, at the center of the story, the hero
was Adolf Hitler who was portrayed as the savior of Germany, and in Hitler the
Nazis possessed a man who could play the role with great effect.  Hitler began to believe in his own destiny
and the Fürher Cult which people began to believe in.  To enable the story to work and boost
Hitler’s popularity the Nazis created the enemy, he spoke of being stabbed in
the back in November 1918 and being betrayed by Marxists and Jews, convincing
many Germans of the World Jewish Conspiracy and that it is he who would defend
Germany from the enemy from within.  It
was Hitler’s own personal belief in his destiny that convinced people that he
could be the next leader of Germany, Carl Jung describes Hitler, after a
meeting with Mussolini in 1939, “as inhuman, a man so determined and driven in
his pursuit to renounce all excising threats from within Germany and build the
third Reich”, this points out the effectiveness and development of the Führer cult.
(see) McGuire) &) Hull,) 1977

The cult of the Führer would lead to what Kershaw (Kershaw, Life
in the Third Reich, 1985) refers to as the Hitler Myth, Germany
had always had the one strong leader who challenged the existing powers to
bring what was owed to Germany, and although the Kaiser failed in his attempt
in 1918, as according to Hitler he was betrayed by Marxist and Jews within the
government, Hitler would be the man to restore Germany and remove them of their
enemies.  A turning point for Hitler was
the failure of the Munich Putsch, Hitler now firmly believed that it was his
destiny to assume complete control of the party restoring Germany to
glory.  The Cult of the Führer was now
firmly placed in his own party and slowly spreading throughout Germany, by the
late 1930s this small fringed party could no longer be ignored or dismissed
outside Bavaria.  Hitler, as Kershaw (Kershaw, Life
in the Third Reich, 1985) points out, was portrayed as a man of
the people, who with humble beginnings would push aside the old order and
return Germany to its rightful place through strength and achievement.

Hitler expressed, in a public figure, the true
values of being German (Kershaw, Life in the Third Reich,
1985)
courage, manliness, integrity, loyalty and devotion to the cause.  Hitler’s own book Mein Kampf reaffirmed this
belief, but as Kershaw points out, there may have been people who opposed Hitler
had it not been for the weak democratic government, the feeling was that Hitler
was better than what they had.  This
point is reinforced throughout the economic crisis of the 1930s as the
government went from the failure of the “Grand Collation” to Brünings
government which was based on presidential power and the use of article 48,
after its failure there was a shift form parliamentary government to that of presidential
government which Hitler and the Nazis would exploit as the Germany continued in
its depression. (SOURCE VOTEING PATTERN) It was the inability of the Weimar
government to function that allowed the Nazis to increase their support and by September
1930 they had increased their seats from 12 to 107 seats.  Brünings inability to solve the economic crisis
and his reliance on presidential decrees led Germany into financial ruin, with
bank closes and a rise in unemployment allowed the Nazis to increase their seats
to 230 by July 1932 and impressively after the failure of the Von Papen and Schleicher
administrations to 288 in March 1933.  It
was Hitlers ability to manipulate the failure of the government and thus
advertise himself as the leader who could turn round Germanys fortunes.

Supporting Hitler in his manipulation of the
people was his propaganda machine, led by Josef Goebbels.  The constant bombardment of propaganda
through the use of media allowed a nation to align with the Nazis cause and Hitler’s
personal crusade.  The power of
propaganda cannot be underestimated and although we all believe we act
independently and on our own instincts we do follow others as we have an
evolutionary desire to confirm and fit in with the crowd, we are after all social
animals and best kept alive by sticking together.  Hitler was a believer in evolution and that
natural selection chooses leaders, which Goebbels portrayed in his use of
propaganda.  Hitler showed this dominance
and alpha male status during his speeches which were supported by this
propaganda allowing the party to control information not only within its own organization
but throughout the country. 

Propaganda allowed Hitler and the Nazis to
showcase their success and how they would create the Volksgemeinschaft, perfect
Aryan community, placing Hitler at the center of this story in a god-like way,
a man you would save Germany, in addition, propaganda was used to discredit the
opposition and indoctrinate the people of Germany to confirm to the German Way.  Goebbels as Kershaw (Kershaw, Life
in the Third Reich, 1985) points out not only created the Fuhrer
myth but linked it to the rebirth of Germany and how this can only be achieved
through complete loyalty to Hitler, it was Goebbels ability to use Hitler
sparingly which enabled him keep his God-like image and diverted peoples
frustrations onto the political system and establishment rather than onto
Hitler himself.  This was reinforced
through the power of cinema, with directors such Riefenstahl employed to create
powerful films such as the triumph of the will and
of course the filming of the Olympic games in 1936.   The Nazis also used new technology in their
propaganda machine, radio was used more in Germany than any other country and
in 1939 the Nazis were broadcasting to almost 16 million Germans.  Although the propaganda was a success it also
had to be supported and could only be sustained as long as the Nazis began to
solve economic crisis the Weimar Republic left behind and brought success and
reward to the German people.

To support
Hitler bold claims, the Nazis extended the Work schemes introduced by the
earlier Von Papen and Schleicher administrations in June 1933 with the Law to
reduce Unemployment which provided new jobs by building the autobahns and other
public amenities, while in 1935 the Nazis reintroduced conscription which
further reduced the unemployment figures, the governments attempts to reduce
unemployment were successful and by 1936 it had been reduced to 7.4% from 25.9%
in 1933.  This added to the Hitler Myth
and increased Hitler’s image as savior of Germany, which Goebbels portrayed in
his propaganda (added here) which was also supported by Robert Ley
introduction of the Beauty Work and the Strength through Joy originations, all
adding to the idea and belief in that the Führer was creating a greater
Germany.

Hitler popularity
increased further with the removal of his opponents within the Nazi party and the
wider political arena, enabling Hitler to consolidate his power.  Hitler identified, with the support of
Himmler and Heydrich, that Ernst Röhm and the SA had become too powerful and
were hindering his attempt at a compete take over, with Rohm and Hitler arguing
with their own personal interpretations of the Nazi Revolution.  Hitler also realised the threat posed by the
SA and the need for the support of the Armed forces to consolidate his power,
thus the SA removal over the weekend of June 1930 enabled Hitler to consolidate
his leadership within the party and Germany, highlighting the fact the Hitler
was as ruthless as he was charismatic when it came to him as establishing himself
as the leader of the party and Germany.

The
issue of Hitler’s style of leadership, particularly that of Charismatic
leadership was that Hitler was in charge and did not tolerate being argued with
and did not tolerate any mistakes, Hitler relied on victories to keep power,
there is a direct collation as Kershaw points out, in Hitler appearances in
public and the defeats, in particular on the Eastern Front in 1944 and 1945,
the myth of the Führer declined with every defeat.

McGregor also points out
that it was Hitler inability to communicate with his generals as a major
problem, often becoming angry and frustrated and not listening to sound
military advice.  It was his refusal to
work with the generals which perhaps cost the war, Hitler’s desire to take full
control of the military leading to catastrophic errors and personal crusades
such Stalingrad.  The idea of the
Führerprincip meant that Hitler took control and ultimate power rested with him,
his generals would argue that he was ineffective and responsible for Germanys collapse,
however if one looks at the early years of the war Hitler’s military tactics
were excellent and decisive, France were defeated by 1940 and Britain stood alone
and on the verge of collapse.  This was
perhaps the cause of his downfall as the years progressed, Hitler attributed
these victories to himself rather than his generals and therefore distrusted
his officers as the defeats began to increase.

Hitler’s
military leadership was one of (source here) instinct rather than military know how or expertise, it was the superior
race and the will to win which would see them to victory.  Hitler would try to command small troop
movements from hundreds of miles away, demanding to be informed at times and
not allowing officers to make decision, his no retreat policy at Stalingrad was
infamous which would have allowed the armies to regroup rather than be
surrounded and virtually destroyed signaling the start of the end for Nazi
Germany.  In addition, Hitler would put
off decision for weeks, the invasion of Britain was delayed, the attack on
Kursk in 1944 was put back from April to July by which time the Soviets were
fully prepared for the German attack, and became a significant turning point in
the war as after this the German army were no longer able to mount a major
offensive in the East.

Perhaps one could argue that Hitler due to his early
success was blindly convinced of his own natural abilities whem it came to
leading the armed forces.  Hilter waged
war against the British’s with no real plan, changing the invasion dates and
calling off the attack of air bases during the Battle for Britain.  Operation Barbarossa was, although his
preferred target for ideological reasons, in hindsight a military failure, no
real plan was made as Hitler supported by earlier success was convinced of an
easy victory and no plan was made when this was not forthcoming.  Hitler against the advice of his Generals had
led Germany into a war they could not win and was ill-equipped to deal with the
fallout.  As the failure on the front
lines came consistently after 1943 the ideas of the Hitler Myth began to disappear
as the charismatic Leader disappeared and was rarely seen as the end came
near.  Hitler power of leadership relied
on success and victory.

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