To What Extent Did the Nazis Establish a Volksgemeinschaft? Essay

To What Extent Did the Nazis Establish a Volksgemeinschaft? Essay

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In order to successfully address this question, one must first consider the definition of the very nebulous term Volksgemeinschaft. It was an expression used to depict the harmonious, classless national community ideal made up of the Herrenvolk, or master race. As a term used polemically by the Nazis to engender a form of "identity politics" and therefore oppose any notion of politics based on universal and objective class interests that it aimed to transcend, it helped them gain collective support from an already economically, psychologically and politically distraught post-war nation. The Volksgemeinschaft ideal was one of the key elements of Nazi ideology and was used to legitimate much of the regime's social policy whilst also providing support for their opposition to liberal individualism and Marxist class antagonism. Although to some extent rather imaginary and mythical, it was the key component to encompass the National Socialist dogma of the party, one which integrated the collective Nationalist spirit with the Socialism of diminished class divisions. It operated as a form of psychological Gleischaltung toward the increasingly totalitarian restructuring of German society in a very radical way that disrupted traditional loyalties between members of the same social class, religion and group organisation towards a more Nazified awareness and consciousness. Every single German was obligated to unite with this community, to embrace and share the common faith. According to Hitler "No one is excepted from the crisis of the Reich. This Volk is but yourselves. There may not be a single person who excludes himself from this obligation." However, the Volksgemeinschaft ideal was flawed, it was duplicitous like much of Nazi policy. Con...


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...hed as such and remained on the most part a psychological concept, one that served as a technique of Gleischaltung towards the increasing totality of state authority. The classless society ideal remained as inherently flawed and never could be established given the economic climate, foreign policy goals and the various inconsistencies and paradoxes within government policy. The Volksgemeinschaft was established perhaps through perception, but through reality it remained a superficial, idealised myth towards which the German people could motivate themselves. However, if Germany remained uninterrupted by war, then it could have been possible for the Nirvana of national harmony to be established to a greater extent after this period of catharsis and thus renewal had completed. Nevertheless, once Germany went to war the fabric of the Volksgemeinschaft was torn apart.

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