Weltanschauung of Hitler

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With respect to Adolf Hitler, his Weltanschauung was the set of ideas that he, as a charismatic leader, was destined to realize.[1] The German word is usually translated "world-view", but it is broader than the English suggests. The term, which was used by Hegel and Nietzsche among others, is certainly not unique to Hitler, but his usage is the focus of this article.

When part of authority in governance, it is almost invariably intertwined with a specific leader, with "supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities"[2] that entitle him to rule according to his conscience? It certainly does not imply popular sovereignty, but there is typically some sharing of ideals between leader and led.

That infallible rule by conscience, in the case of Hitler, was the Fuehrerprinzip or "leader principle." His closest disciples recognized it with comments such as that of Hermann Goering to Hermann Rauschning, "I have no conscience. Adolf Hitler is my conscience."[3]

Origins

While he worked on Mein Kampf, his more world-experienced editors, such as Bernhard Stempfle and Ernst Hanfstaengel, tried to "wean" him away from the more provincial view of advisers such as Alfred Rosenberg and Rudolf Hess.[4] He generally rejected this advice, and, while he later moved Rosenberg to a minor role, Hitler certainly was influenced by him, as well as by Dietrich Eckhart.

References

  1. Joseph Nyomarkay (1967), Charisma and Factionalism in the Nazi Party, University of Minnesota Press, p. 10
  2. Max Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, Oxford University Press, 1947, p. 358, quoted by Nyomarkay, p. 10
  3. Hermann Rauschning, Gespraeche mit Hitler, 1930, p. 77, quoted by Nyomarkay, p. 15
  4. John Toland (1976), Adolf Hitler, Doubleday, pp. 211-212