Hitler has been categorised as a weak and a strong dictator by structuralist and intentionalist historians respectively, intentionalist for the importance of Hitler, and structuralist for the importance of those around him. Timothy Mason, a British Marxist historian, is an example of a structuralist historian, believing that Hitler was heavily reliant on those around and supporting him. There is also Ian Kershaw, who believed in the Working towards the Fuhrer ideology, where Hitler exploited the attitudes of the German people in an attempt to have them work towards him.
Timothy Mason, a British Marxist historian was certainly believed that Hitler was a weak dictator, in agreement to the question. Hitler was meant to be an all-powerful Fuhrer, being the only person who really knows what Germany and Germans want and need, yet he as Mason describes, ¦had a preference for creating new organs of state to carry out specific projects. If Hitler had been an all-powerful Fuhrer, he would not have required new organs to help him carry out tasks, he would have just been able to dictate and organise everything himself.
This was shown in the massacre of the Night of the Long Knives This shows that Hitler in fact was a weak dictator, who did not have control over everything that happened in Nazi Germany, and he needed the support of the Nazi backroom to help him run the country. Mason also described, in about how Hitler would give jobs to other people to carry out. He realised that he wasnt cut out to be leading certain jobs, and therefore he chose, the right man for the job. This is no more apparent than in the appointment of Goebbels as Propaganda Minister.
Hitler wanted someone better than himself to arrange the propaganda appearances and meetings for himself, and Goebbels was clearly the best man for the job, as shown by his arrangement of the Night of the Long Knives in 1933, a highly successful propaganda campaign. Hitler was not capable of doing such things himself, proving that he is a weak dictator, by leaving jobs to others. Hitler was a dictator entirely dependent on his reputation, and therefore was indecisive when it came to making decisions, as Feuchtwanger describes, Hitler often refused to take decisions, especially when a decision might damage his popularity¦ It was well known that Hitlers popularity paved the way for his success, as was shown in results in General elections.
However, a strong dictator would not have to worry about the decisions they made, because whilst popularity would have been a cause for concern, their position would have been so secure that worrying would not be an issue, however, in this case where Hitler is clearly agitated and worried over the support he is receiving, it shows that his position as dictator is not as strong as it could be. Kershaw writes about the central role of Hitler to the running of Germany and the Nazi system. He was the, ¦focal point of the Nazi system of rule. Every dictator needs to be the focal point of whatever Government they are the head of, and therefore Hitlers proving of being the front focus of Nazi rule, shows how strong a dictator he was.
He was the focal point and face of every Nazi policy, such as the Decree for the protection of People and State. Hitler used communists as an excuse for bringing in new laws and he was central to the policy making and was the face of the new policy. Werner Wilkins was a State Secretary in Germany during the Nazi regime, and he felt that Hitler was neither a weak or strong dictator, but that Germany was in fact Working towards the Fuhrer. This would mean that Hitler was not necessarily important in the running of everyday politics, such as a normal dictator, but he would however let people interpret his policies how they wish.
This would not lead to a weak or strong dictator theory, but a society where everyone was working towards the Fuhrers will. Werner says how, ¦everyone worth a post in the new Germany has worked best when he has, so to speak, working towards the Fuhrer. This means that everyone in the country no matter what Hitler did was working towards his will, as it is believed he is the only one who knew what Germans truly wanted.
In conclusion, Hitler was seen to be a weak dictator, as he was very afraid from the real threat created by losing his popularity, which would have turned the people against him, and whilst he had still not consolidated power fully, particularly at the start of the period, he was always under the threat of being thrown out of power again. Because of this, he had to curb some of his will and policies, and any threat to his popularity was handed over to someone else, whose loss in popularity would not have affected Hitlers personal rule.