What Was It Like Inside Hitlers Regime?
Many people realize that Nazi Germany was an oppressive, dangerous place that was full of paranoia. While some people were able to “fly under the radar” and avoid trouble with the authorities, no one was ever safe. Jewish people were constantly under threat of deportation and summary execution, either in the streets or in the death camps. However, this destructive culture was not limited to Jewish people and other Holocaust victims.
Throughout the Nazi period, people suffered daily from the predations of the Nazi regime. Young children were taught to spy on and to report about their own relatives, for example, if they had any opinions or activities that were considered “un-German.” Likewise, this culture of fear and paranoia pervaded up to the very top levels of Hitler’s regime.
Hitler wanted to ensure that no one else in Germany could wield the authority that he had. As a result, he made sure that there were many different Nazi leaders who were all in charge of different aspects of the government and Party. He made sure that rivals were forced to work against each other to expand their authority. Each one fought to expand his rank and to show greater racial cruelty to Jewish people and other “undesirables” in order to be one of Hitler’s chosen.
For example, Hitler was known to be a fan of art, especially painting and sculpture. During the lavish birthday celebrations that were held every year to honor Hitler, his top lieutenants would each compete to get him the most outstanding gifts. Artworks and other items that they presented to Hitler during these ceremonies were almost always stolen from Jewish families or from others who were dispossessed and deported. After the invasion of France, many French artworks found their way into Nazi hands.
Not only this, but many of the top Nazis were already working to replace him early in their regime. This led to secretive campaigns of in-fighting and violence in which ordinary Germans, Jews, and other innocent people were frequently swept up.
Far from the image of a society in which all were completely loyal to Hitler, the Nazi Party actually created a society in which suffering was commonplace for everyone. This culture of fear, hatred, and violence pervaded all society of the time and helped to contribute to the awful and inhumane crimes that so many Nazis willingly participated in, staining Europe with the nightmarish Holocaust.