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Video:The Nazi Hierarchy

with David Wilson

Adolph Hitler surrounded himself with men he knew and trusted, who made up the inner circle of the Nazi Hierarchy. Learn about the role each of these dangerously powerful men played in the Nazi party and WWII.See Transcript

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Transcript:The Nazi Hierarchy

Hi, my name's David Wilson. I'm an historian and a teacher of U.S. and World History, here today for About.com and we're going to be discussing the Nazi Hierarchy.

The Beginning of the Nazi Party

The Nazi Party stands for the National Socialist German Workers' Party, which ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. It originally was founded as the German Workers' Party in 1919; Adolph Hitler joined it in that year and became its leader in 1921. The Nazi Hierarchy was more of a loose association of people that Adolph Hitler had confidence in, had known for many years, and trusted, rather than a rigid structure.

The Nazi Hierarchy After 1933:

Adolph Hitler

After 1933, when Hitler was granted dictatorial powers for Germany, he sat at the top of the Nazi Hierarchy. Every decision of meaning ultimately came directly from Adolph Hitler, or was approved by Adolph Hitler.

Hermann Goering

Hermann Goering was considered to be the second most powerful Nazi leader. He established the Gestapo, which was the Nazi secret police, later handing over control of the Gestapo to Heinrich Himmler in 1934. He also commanded the Luftwaffe, Germany’s air force, and was very loyal to Adolf Hitler.

Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels played the role of Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in the Nazi Hierarchy. Goebbels was often present around Hitler, and his job was to present Adolph Hitler in the best public light. Goebbels regulated all German media; propagated anti-Semitism; attended book burnings; and led the production of Nazi propaganda films; as well as orchestrated public speaking events where Hitler would speak to thousands of Germans.

Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler was another of Adolf Hitler’s trusted followers and ranked very high in the Nazi Party Hierarchy. As mentioned earlier, Himmler controlled the Gestapo from 1933 to 1945, as well as presided over Germany’s many concentration camps.

Martin Bormann

Another important member of the Nazi Hierarchy – by some accounts, one of the most important – was a man named Martin Bormann. Martin Bormann became Hitler's secretary and had incredible power as he controlled Hitler’s appointments. He leveraged this power to build his own personal value, as well as feed Hitler’s most extreme tendencies.

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