Armed with this power, Hitler set out to create a new totalitarian, nationalist empire, the Third Reich. The groundwork had been laid in the old Prussian militarist tradition and in World War I, when the military ran the government. From that foundation, Hitler proceeded with formidable efficiency. He consolidated legislative, executive, judicial, and military authority and then assumed that authority himself. He also became head of state after the death of President Hindenburg in 1934. The Nazis combined extreme nationalism and political authoritarianism to produce a fascist state, akin to the states created in Italy by Benito Mussolini and in Spain by Francisco Franco.
All political parties except the Nazis were banned. Strikes were forbidden and the unemployed were enrolled in labor camps or the army as Germany strove to be economically self-sufficient. Unemployment plummeted from 6 million to less than 2 million by July 1935. A professional army, enlarged by conscription, was established to carry out Hitler’s plan for conquest.
Hermann Wilhelm Göring oversaw the buildup of the new German air force, or Luftwaffe. Paul Joseph Goebbels directed a sophisticated system of propaganda employing the mass media of publishing, film, and radio. Children were thoroughly indoctrinated at every turn, especially in groups such as the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls. Spectacular rallies were staged to galvanize the German public into support for Hitler’s agenda.
Backing up the propaganda were various bureaus of organized brutality, most notoriously the secret police, or Gestapo, and Hitler’s elite bodyguard, known as the SS (Schutzstaffel), both eventually under Heinrich Himmler. Together with other military and civilian departments, these groups had virtually free rein to arrest, torture, imprison, and execute anyone who challenged the government. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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