Cult of Personality: The Fuhrer Principle

cult of personality“And then unto us was born a child in Brannau.” (Rudolf Hess)

“The Lord has sent us Adolf Hitler.” (Robert Ley)

World War I and the subsequent financial collapse of the German economy had brought about crises in which the average  citizen had lost all confidence in the government such as it was. They were looking for a way to be rescued from all their troubles
Hitler manipulated his outer identity to drive his leadership cult. His image was designed to become the face of the Nazi state, presenting himself as the nation’s guardian while also depicting himself as a man of the people. He also created the emblematic Nazi salute by combining Mussolini’s Roman salute with the greeting “hail to Hitler”. This infamous salute came to represent total loyalty towards Hitler and the Nazi party. Through cultivating this image, Hitler was able to achieve an intimate connection with the German people.

In 1933 the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned about the dangers of a leader who submitted to no one and as such was set up to become an ”anointed one”…

If [the leader] understands his function in any other way than as it is rooted in fact, if he does not continually tell his followers quite clearly of the limited nature of his lack and of their own responsibility, if he allows himself to surrender to the wishes of his followers, who would always make him their idol – then the image of the leader will pass over into the image of the misleader, and he will be acting in a criminal way not only towards those he leads, but also towards himself, the true leader must always be able to disillusion. It is just this that is his responsibility and his real object. He must lead his following away from the authority of his person to the recognitions of the real authority of orders and offices….He must radically refuse to become the appeal, the idol, i.e. the ultimate authority of those whom he leads…. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Fuhrer Principle)


Hitler’s Leadership Style
BBC History

The Fuehrer Principle
History Learning Site

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Fuhrer Principle, by Bruce Norquist
Converging g Zone

“Der Führer Prinzip”
The Brothers of John the Steadfast

The Führer Principle
Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida

The Cult of Personality – Adolf Hitler’s Transformational Leadership
Penn State University

Following orders: How Hitler ruled from the grave
The Australian

Blind obedience had dire consequences to Nazi Germany and Hitler
Andre Wazzopardi


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