The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter VII
Means Used by the Nazi Conspiractors in Gaining Control of the German State
(Part 14 of 55)


B. The Nazi conspirators curtailed the freedom of popular elections throughout Germany. Under the Weimar Republic there existed constitutional and legislative guarantees of free popular elections. The Weimar Constitution guaranteed the universal, equal and secret ballot and proportional representation. (2050-PS) These general principles were implemented by the provisions of the Reich Election Law of 1924, particularly with respect to the multiple party system and the functioning of proportional representation. (2382- PS)

In Mein Kampf Hitler stated the conspirators' purpose to subvert the system of popular election:

"Majority can never replace men. *******The political understanding of the masses is not sufficiently developed to produce independently specific political convictions and to select persons to represent them." (2883-PS)

The occasional national elections after 1933 were formalities devoid of freedom of choice. Bona fide elections could not take place under the Nazi system. The basic ideological doctrine of the Fuehrerprinzip (Leadership Principle) dictated that all subordinates must be appointed by their superiors- in the governmental hierarchy. In order to insure the practical application of this principle the Nazis immediately liquidated all other political parties and provided criminal sanctions against the formation of new parties. (For further discussion see Section 2 on the Acquisition of Totalitarian Political Control.)

Although the Reichstag, unlike all other elective assemblies in Germany, was allowed to continue in existence, elections no longer involved a free choice between lists or candidates. At these elections there were usually large bands of uniformed Nazis surrounding the polls and intimidating the voters. (2955-PS)

The surreptitious marking of ballots (e.g. with skimmed milk) wa also customary, to ascertain the identity of the persons who cast "No" or invalid votes. (R-142)

Although it had already become practically impossible to have more than one list of candidates, it was specifically provided by law in 1938 that only one list was to be submitted to the electorate: (2355-PS)

By the end of this period, little of substance remained in the election law. In an official volume published during the war there

[Page 221]

are reprinted the still effective provisions of the law of 1924. The majority of the substantive provisions have been marked "obsolete" (gegenstandslos) (2381-PS).

The comprehensive Nazi program for the centralization of German government included in its scope the whole system of regional and local elections, which soon ceased to exist. Article 17 of the Weimar Constitution had required a representative form of government and universal, secret elections in all Laender and municipalities (2050-PS). Yet in early 1934, the sovereign powers (Hoheitsrechte) of the Laender were transferred by law to the Reich, and the Land governments were placed under the Reich control:

"The popular assemblies (Volksvertretngen) of the Laender shall be abolished." (2006-PS)

Pursuant to the German Communal Ordinance of 30 January 1935, the mayors and executive officers of all municipalities received their appointments "through the confidence of Party and State" (Article 6 (2)). Appointments were made by Reich authorities from lists prepared by the Party delegates (Article 41). City councillors were selected by the Party delegates in agreement with the mayors (Article 51 (1)). (2008-PS)


The original plaintext version of part one or part two of this file is available via ftp.

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