USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

Nazi Germany on the Eve of War

The Nazi state was at war well before the beginning of WWII. In fact, the Nazis presided over a ceaseless drive toward violence and the eradication of opposition from the moment they took power after the Reichstag Fire in 1933, as we have seen. In a previous section, we have discussed the building blocks of the Nazi ideology. Here, we will describe the main attributes of the Nazi state as it developed into its mature form by the end of the 1930s. The following characteristics formed the basis of the Nazi state. 1) Führer (leader) principle and the unity of the Volk under the leadership of the Führer; 2) Permanent crisis; 3) Terror; and 4) Autarky.

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