Was Nazi Germany a totalitarian state?

The key features of a totalitarian state are as follows:

  • A one party state. No other political parties are allowed. (the Nazi party)

  • One all powerful leader or dictator makes all of the decisions. They are worshipped, almost like a God. (Nazified church)

  • The use of propaganda to control and indoctrinate its citizens is common.

  • The use of terror by the security services to ensure total obedience.

  • The Government has total control over the economy so that industrial and agricultural production is co-ordinated to meet the Government's aims.

Evidence that Nazi Germany was a totalitarian state:

  1. After the enabling act was passed in March 1933, the Nazis banned all political parties.

  2. Hitler created a new Christian-type religion in which the Bible was replaced by a copy of Hitler's book Mein Kampf

  3. The Nazis supplied radios to all households which played speeches and propaganda.

  4. The Nazis used newspapers to show Nazi propaganda which promoted them as strong, but also made Jews look inferior.

  5. During the war, all sources of entertainment were closed, except cinemas which only showed Nazi propaganda films.

  6. During votes, the SA stood next to voters to intimidate them.

  7. Anyone that showed opposition to Hitler were executed, some publicly.

  8. The Nazi party started that mass killings of the SA as they were now seen as possible opposition.

  9. Trade unions were banned.

  10. The Nazis transformed the economy into a war economy to control resources and production so the German war effort was supported.

Evidence that Nazi Germany was not completely a totalitarian state:

  1. There was an attempt on Hitler's life, for which he only survived because of the large meeting table which was in the way of the bomb's blast.

  2. Although the Nazis tried to indoctrinate young people through Nazi youth groups like the Hitler Youth and BDM, some young people paid little attention to their political ideas.

  3. Big businesses kept their independence and made huge profits from rearmament contracts.