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Mobilizing for total war : the National Socialist leadership and social and labour prerequisites for intensifying the German war effort, 1941-1945

Hancock, Eleanor Iris Margarete

Description

This thesis examines the differing concepts of total war, and the resulting policies and strategies for their acceptance pursued from 1941 to 1945 by four prominent National Socialist leaders, Martin Bormann, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels and Albert Speer. Speer and Goebbels suggested, and later historians have agreed, that the National Socialist government only reluctantly oriented its economic and social production to the war effort. A study of the policies and ideas of these men is...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHancock, Eleanor Iris Margarete
dc.date.accessioned2013-10-29T23:47:55Z
dc.date.available2013-10-29T23:47:55Z
dc.date.created1988-06
dc.identifier.otherb17008852
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/10668
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the differing concepts of total war, and the resulting policies and strategies for their acceptance pursued from 1941 to 1945 by four prominent National Socialist leaders, Martin Bormann, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels and Albert Speer. Speer and Goebbels suggested, and later historians have agreed, that the National Socialist government only reluctantly oriented its economic and social production to the war effort. A study of the policies and ideas of these men is important to see whether this was the case. In examining the policies of the leadership, the thesis argues that previous interpretations of the National Socialist political system as either polycratic or monocratic have become too polarised. Instead it shows the existence at this level of both monocratic and polycratic elements of authority; but finally it emphasizes the importance of Hitler's authority for the pursuit of total war policies. It suggests the origins of this authority should be seen in the charismatic nature of his rule. The changing policies which these men pursued both in their own areas of responsibility and in the wider German society indicate that they supported total war. There were differences in the emphasis on the policies to be followed. Early efforts to win more German workers to the armaments industry and the front in 1941-42 foundered on the availability of foreign labour and a failure to realize the seriousness of Germany's position. Speer and Goebbels supported a more economically efficient and rational use of resources and labour in the period 1943-44. Their efforts to make women liable for labour and to close inessential businesses met with some support from Hitler after Stalingrad, when a Committee of Three was set up to enforce the measures. This committee failed to make all the changes the two men thought necessary but their expectations were unrealistic. From 1943 on there was also support in the leadership for ideological mobilization and, eventually, paramilitary forces as a contribution to preventing defeat. In addition to their emphasis on the economically rational use of resources, Goebbels and Speer were also aware of the need for burdens of the war to appear to be equally distributed. Himmler supported total war but his interpretation was more ideological. He supported administrative simplification and sought to increase the role of the SS in economic production. By 1944 he was willing to abandon certain ideological precepts to prolong the life of the regime. Bormann's view of the need to orient the home front for the pursuit of the war was also more ideological; he also represented Hitler's opinions. For Goebbels in particular the policies of total war were to be combined with moves towards a compromise peace to allow the regime to remove itself from the war. The thesis demonstrates that these members of the leadership did agree on the need for total war; in particular on the need for administrative simplification and greater use of labour reserves. Some of their policies foundered on opposition from Hitler; in other cases their expectations of what else could be achieved were unrealistic or foundered on other systemic constraints.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleMobilizing for total war : the National Socialist leadership and social and labour prerequisites for intensifying the German war effort, 1941-1945
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorKent, Bruce
dcterms.valid1988
local.description.notesSupervisor: Dr. Bruce Kent. This thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2013-10-30
local.contributor.affiliationAustralian National University; Department of History
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d77884b4e574
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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02Whole_Hancock.pdfWhole Thesis9.94 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail


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