Adolf Hitler was a German dictator and prominent leader of the Nazi party who gained power in 1933 and held it until 1945. During his time in power, Hitler had both the authority to promote and demote anyone in the military. However, the question is whether he had the actual power to demote and promote anyone directly or not. Depending on which sources we consult, there are varying opinions about this matter.
One of the most important sources to answer this question is the German Wehrmacht Order of September 21, 1939. According to the document, Hitler had the full authority to promote and demote anyone in the army, on his own authority. There were no specific guidelines or regulations needing to be adhered to. This is further supported by the examples of War Economy Directive 40 and the Directive on Dismissal of Civil Servants which both state that Hitler had the right to promote and demote anyone in the army independently.
A number of expert historians have addressed the question of whether Hitler had the power to directly promote and demote. According to Professor Richard Overy, Hitler had some limited power to directly promote and demote, although this was only within certain specific figures such as the head of the Wehrmacht. Professor Overy also argues that Hitler did not have absolute power to promote or demote and that those decisions were often taken by other members of the high command.
The German historian Karl Dietrich Brauer takes a slightly different approach and argues that Hitler had absolute power to promote and demote, as he was the overall commander in chief of the German Armed Forces. He notes that whilst Hitler may have not been personally involved in all promotions and demotions, he held the ultimate responsibility over such decisions and his orders were generally followed.
From an analysis of the available sources, it appears that Hitler had both limited and absolute power to promote and demote depending on the circumstances. It is possible to draw a few general conclusions from this. Firstly, it appears that Hitler had the power to promote and demote within the higher echelons of the German military, specifically in relation to the Warmacht and some senior figures. Secondly, it also appears he had some level of autonomy over other promotions and demotions that took place, although it seems that the majority of such decision making was done by the High Command. Thirdly, it can be seen that whilst Hitler held ultimate authority over such decisions, he did not necessarily take a hands on approach and instead his orders were generally followed by the High Command.
Further Expert Perspectives
Professor Omer Bartov of Brown University has echoed Professor Overy’s views that Hitler had limited power to promote and demote. He has argued that the majority of leaders who were promoted and demoted during Hitler’s reign were appointed by the High Command and that this decision making was done independently and without Hitler’s input. He has also indicated that it was not the case that the High Command ever received direct orders from Hitler and that General Guderian’s reports appear to support this.
Another professor, Gerhard Weinberg of Harvard, has taken the view that Hitler actually had very little authority over such decisions. He has argued that the High Command played a prominent role in promotion and demotion decisions, with Hitler only playing a limited part. Weinberg has noted that there is evidence that Hitler wasnot involved in most of the promotion and demotion decisions and only gave orders in limited cases.
Analysis of Perspectives
From looking at the various perspectives of the experts, it can be seen that there is some disagreement over the authority of Hitler in relation to promotion and demotion decisions. On the one hand, some experts argue that Hitler had some level of autonomy in this regard, whilst others suggest that he had limited powers in such matters. It is clear that the High Command was heavily involved in such decisions and played the most significant role. It also appears that Hitler’s orders were generally followed by the High Command, even if he had limited power in the overall decision making process.
Overall, it appears that Hitler had some level of power to promote and demote within the higher echelons of the German military. In addition, it seems that whilst he did not have absolute control over such decisions, his orders were generally followed by the High Command. However, it is evident that the majority of such decisions were taken by the High Command independently, without any direct involvement from Hitler.
Perspective of German Civilians
The majority of German civilians at the time were largely unaware of the authority Hitler had to promote and demote within the military. There were few instances of civilians being directly involved in the decision making process and most of the information on such matters remained confidential. As a result, the average citizen was generally unaware of the actual power Hitler had to promote and demote.
Analysis of Public Opinion
It is evident that the general public had a limited understanding of the power Hitler had to promote and demote. This is largely due to the fact that most promotion and demotion decisions remained confidential and were not widely publicised at the time. However, it appears that the public had some understanding that Hitler was in charge of such decisions, even if they lacked specific details.
Public Perspectives Today
In the current day and age, the general public is more aware of the power Hitler had in relation to promotion and demotion decisions. This increased knowledge is largely due to the extensive research that has since been conducted and the widespread spread of information. As a result, the public is now more informed on the extent of Hitler’s authority in this regard and can more accurately assess the role he played in military promotions and demotions.
Analysis of Modern Opinion
It can be seen that public opinion today is much different than it was during Hitler’s reign. People now have a better understanding of the power he had, although this does not detract from the fact that the majority of promotion and demotion decisions were put forward by the High Command without his direct involvement. This shows that even though Hitler may have had some level of power in relation to military promotions and demotions, the High Command had ultimate authority in this regard.