Adolf Hitler’s name is synonymous with evil. He was responsible for one of the most horrible and frightening periods in human history and was responsible for millions of deaths and untold suffering that impacted future generations. As a result, many people ask if Adolf Hitler ever served as President of the German nation. The answer is no, he did not serve as President of Germany.
Instead, following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler merged the offices of President and Chancellor together to act as ‘Führer’ (Leader) of the German state. Therefore, some say that Hitler became the absolute ruler of Germany. Although he was referred to as ‘Führer’ and had been given many of the authority of a president, he was not the president of Germany. Despite this, Hitler was given a great deal of power and commanded the respect of the entire nation.
Hitler rose to prominence within the German government for his exceptional oratory and charisma, as well as a burning ambition for dominance and control. His oratory masked a cruel and ruthless nature and a determination to eradicate any opposition to him and his views. At the same time, he used his influence to galvanize the German public while advancing an aggressive foreign policy abroad.
Hitler used his position of authority to lead Germany into a period of extreme violence, oppression and war. He formed alliances with foreign powers like Benito Mussolini in Italy and imposed severe restrictions on internal dissent. He led the country into the Second World War and caused devastating loss of life and destruction in Europe. Hitler’s actions transformed Germany into an oppressive state, with millions living in fear.
Hitler’s beliefs and rigid curtailing of individual freedoms were not just confined to Nazi Germany: other totalitarian nations, such as Stalin’s Soviet Union and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, emerged in the years following World War II and followed a similar model. Thus, Hitler’s impact is still felt today as tyrannical governments and ideologies remain a source of instability and conflict across the globe.
The constitution of the Weimar Republic in 1919 saw the President of Germany elected to a seven-year term by the Reichstag. It was during this period that Hitler rose to power. He was initially appointed by Germany’s President, Paul von Hindenburg, to the chancellorship in 1933. Hindenburg had hoped to use Hitler to build a viable conservative party and suppress the growing power of the Communist Party.
However, by 1934 the Reichstag had passed the Enabling Act which gave Hitler the authority to make decisions and laws without the President’s consent. This effectively placed a significant portion of the presidency’s powers within the hands of Hitler. From then on, he was referred to as the Führer of Germany and was viewed as having absolute authority and power.
Hitler’s power was expanded further in August 1934, when Hindenburg died and Hitler assumed the offices of President and Chancellor merging them into one entity: the Führer. This marked a clear departure from the German constitution, which had always specified separate powers for the President and Chancellor.
Reign of Terror
During Hitler’s rule — which lasted from 1933 to 1945 — the Nazi party implemented numerous laws, designed to suppress and control the German population. Jews were persecuted, homosexuals were criminalized, and political dissidents were imprisoned and sometimes killed.
Under the Nazi regime, dissidents were arrested, tortured and sent to death camps. Concentration camps located around Germany, Poland and Austria were used to house Jews and other undesirables, where many died from starvation, torture and abuse. Hitler’s campaign against the Jews — known as The Holocaust — saw the murder of six million Jews.
Hitler’s reign of terror also extended to other countries. Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and soon after occupied France, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. Hitler built an alliance with Italy’s Benito Mussolini and provided military assistance to Japan — forming the Axis powers. By 1945, the war had cost over 50 million lives in Europe and beyond, with millions more displaced.
Legacy of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler’s name is synonymous with tyranny, dictatorship and genocide. His actions had an immense impact on history, as he was responsible for some of the worst human atrocities committed during the 20th century. His actions caused mass-murder, displacement and suffering, and left a scar on Europe that is not easily forgotten.
The legacy of Adolf Hitler’s rule has been a mixed one. While he was at the center of a brutal era and his name is still used as a shorthand for evil, some experts have argued that he also held a great degree of respect from the German people and had a few good policies. However, no matter how his legacy is judged, he altered history profoundly and may never be forgotten.
Controversial Views on Hitler
Hitler’s legacy and life remain controversial, both for his actions and for the circumstances that allowed him to come to power. Many of his policies and actions have been widely condemned, but in recent years some extremist organizations have sought to claim him as a hero and role model. This has raised serious questions in many countries, as to why subgroups continue to support and promote a figure surrounded by so much hatred and violence.
Nonetheless, the majority of historians remain in agreement that Hitler’s actions were destructive and that his legacy should not be praised. This is in line with the verdict of the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg, which found him guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Today, despite his death in 1945, the influences of Adolf Hitler can still be seen across the world. His vision of a Nazi-led Germany is still remembered by many people, both for its flagrant abuses of power and for its massive loss of life of innocent individuals. His ideas and beliefs continue to be debated in classrooms and political circles, as people reflect on his impact and seek to learn from history’s mistakes.
In addition, the international criminal justice system established at Nuremberg was a major impetus in developing the modern system of international law. The framework used to try Nazi war criminals is widely understood to have served as a model for modern international law. Some view this as a positive outcome of the era of Nazi Germany, providing a mechanism to protect people from similar atrocities in the future.
The legacy of Adolf Hitler has become increasingly relevant in recent years, due to the rise of extreme far-right ideologies in many countries. A number of organizations, parties and individual politicians have sought to latch onto some of his rhetoric and ideas, particularly in relation to race, immigration and nationalism. These issues have caused consternation among members of the public and politicians, as they highlight to what extent some of Hitler’s ideas have infiltrated society.
Therefore, while Adolf Hitler never served as President of Germany, his influence remains strong and he continues to have an impact on the world today. His actions and belief systems are widely rejected and abhorred, leading many to question why they continue to have traction in modern times. For this reason, it is vital to remain conversant with the history and consequences of the Nazi regime, so that we can understand the present and make better decisions for the future.