Type of Leader (From 20 April 1889 to 30 April 1945) Hitler’s Leadership Style Hitler’s powerful and relentless leadership style was very successful in the beginning. Hitler directed the “Blitzkrieg” tactics that dominated the first phase of World War II. These bold tactics included sudden shock attacks against airfields, communications centers and military installations. He was the inspiration behind great victories like the Battle of France in May 1940 and the Battle of Kharkov in May 1942.
It was Hitler’s leadership style along with his inability to make decisions at critical times, which lead to the undoing of Nazi Germany. Beginning with the reoccupation of the Rhineland in March 1936, Hitler saw his senior officers unwilling to take risks. As time went on, he came to believe that Germany’s victories were his alone and that most of his generals were narrow-minded and incapable. Near the end of the war, he ordered that no unit could move without his express permission. He demanded lengthy reports on every armored vehicle and position that his forces lost. Problems with such a Leadership: –
Hitler distrusted his generals and relied too much on his own instinct. According to his so-called “Leadership Principle”, ultimate authority rested with him and extended downward. Hitler had an incredible memory for detail. Every point had to be correct and consistent with previous briefings. He would become annoyed at any discrepancies. Hitler combined his insistence on personal control with a leadership style that often consisted of equal parts stubbornness and indecisiveness (Geoffrey Megargee). Strategic decisions: – Hitler’s strategic decisions corresponded to the same pattern in domestic politics.
In pursuing short-term mobilization, the Reich avoided sketching out alternative strategies in case of unanticipated setbacks (Mommsen). Hitler’s belief that Germany’s victories were his alone left no room for his general’s advice. His leadership style coupled with his hesitation to make critical decisions proved to be unworkable in the end and led inevitably to Germany’s eventual defeat. “At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the Nazi movement will go on for 1,000 years! … Don’t forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany.
They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power” by Adolf Hitler Having secured supreme political power, Hitler went on to gain public support by convincing most Germans he was their savior from the economic Depression, the Versailles treaty, communism, the “Judeo-Bolsheviks”, and other “undesirable” minorities. The Nazis eliminated opposition through a process known as Gleichschaltung (“bringing into line”). Defeat and Death of Hitler During the night of 28 April, Wenck reported that his Twelfth Army had been forced back along the entire front. He noted that no further attacks towards Berlin were possible.
General Alfred Jodl (Supreme Army Command) did not provide this information to Hans Krebs in Berlin until early in the morning of 30 April. In the early morning hours of April 29, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in a map room. Antony Beevor stated that after Hitler hosted a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife, Hitler then took Secretary Traudl Junge to another room and dictated his last will and testament. That afternoon, Hitler was informed of the assassination of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, which is presumed to have increased his determination to avoid capture. ———————–