<<

. 12
( 115 .)



>>

A. V. Venediktov, Organizatsiia gosudarstvennoi promyshlennosti v SSSR, 2: 1921“1934
31

(Leningrad: Izdat. Leningrad. Univ., 1961), 540, 582“6.
See O. V. Khlevniuk et al., eds., Stalinskoe politbiuro v 30-e gody (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 1995),
32

82“6.
Khlevniuk, “First Generation of Stalinist ˜Party Generals,™” in Centre-Local Relations in the
33

Stalinist State 1928“1941, ed. E. A. Rees 48“9.
See, for example, I. B. Berkhin, “K istorii razrabotki konstitutsii SSSR v 1936 g.” in Stroitel™stvo
34

sovetskogo gosudarstva: Sbornik Statei: K 70“letiiu doktora istoricheskikh nauk, prof E. B.
Genkinoi, ed. Iuri Aleksandrovich Poliakov (Moscow: “Nauka,” 1972), 67.
Political (Dis)Orders 51

the political and economic ¬elds these years witnessed an entrenchment, rather
than a repudiation, of the main thrust of Stalin™s “socialist offensive,” one of
the most important prongs of which was the assertion of a centralized political
dictatorship.35
Centralization was accompanied by steps to fuse the country™s party and
state structures, especially at the summit of the political system. Stalin had long
been frustrated by the estrangement of the Politburo from matters of economic
administration.36 He also appears to have been perturbed by the ability of the
Council of People™s Commissars (Sovnarkom) under Rykov to obstruct the
Central Committee apparatus.37 In September 1930 Stalin instructed Molotov
to take over from Rykov as head of Sovnarkom:

Vyacheslav, 1) It seems to me that the issue of the top government hierarchy
should be ¬nally resolved by the fall. This will also provide the solution to the
matter of leadership in general, because the party and soviet authorities are closely
interwoven and inseparable from each other. My opinion on that score is as
follows . . . b) You™ll have to take over Rykov™s place as chairman of the Council
of People™s Commissars and Labor Defense Council. This is necessary. Otherwise,
there will be a split between the soviet and the party leadership. With such a
setup, we™ll have complete unity between soviet and party leaders, and this will
unquestionably double our strength.38

Six weeks later, on 4 November 1930, Stalin elaborated: “The chair of Sov-
narkom exists so that in his everyday work he may carry out the directives of
the party.”39
The centralization of controls and the interlocking of party and state com-
mittees at the apex of the political system did not mean that regional politi-
cal authorities voluntarily caved in to the will of the center. Although many
regional party secretaries had been enthusiastic partisans of collectivization
in 1930, the center encountered questioning and resistance from them during
the famine and industrial disturbances of 1932.40 In some areas, the center
would continue to face obstruction from regional party authorities well into
the 1930s. At the same time, an institutionally consolidated apparatus connect-
ing the Central Committee with regional party authorities now existed. Long


See Martin, 415.
35

“The Politburo,” Stalin had complained to Molotov in July 1925, “is in an awkward position
36

because it has been torn away from economic affairs. . . . Take a look at Ekonomicheskaia zhizn™
and you™ll see that our funds are being allocated by Smilga and by Strumilin plus Groman, while
the Politburo . . . is changing from a directing body into a court of appeals, into something like
˜a council of elders.™” Lars T. Lih et al., eds., Stalin™s Letters to Molotov 1925“1936, trans.
Catherine A. Fitzpatrick (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995), 89.
O. V. Khlevniuk, Politbiuro: Mekhanizmy politicheskoi vlasti v 1930-e gody (Moscow:
37

ROSSPEN, 1996), 25.
(Italics ours). Lars T. Lih et al, eds., 217.
38

Khlevniuk, Politbiuro, 49“50.
39

Khlevniuk, “The First Generation of Stalinist ˜Party Generals,™” 42“5.
40
Yoram Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen
52

sinews stretching from the central party apparatus in Moscow relayed pres-
sures to regional and district party committees on issues ranging from internal
party control to the battle to increase industrial and agricultural production.
For their part, most regional party bureaucracies were well staffed and enjoyed
a wide range of responsibilities which included the appointment of regional-
level executives in state and economic organizations. As for the regional soviets
(that is, the formal agencies of the state), most were under the thumb of their
equivalent party committee: thus the staff of their executive committees were
often recommended, their policies approved, and even the dates of their meet-
ings set by the party apparatus. By the mid-late 1930s in most provinces the
seasonal and monthly rhythms of the party and state apparatus had become
closely synchronized.41
Following two intensive phases of state-building in the early 1920s and
1930s the party apparatus of the mid-1930s consisted of a hierarchy of sec-
retariats with wide responsibilities. In exercising patronage and in determin-
ing policy, the leading party committees and their bureaucracies had become
inseparable from the activities of the state. By contrast, in Hitler™s Germany
the party™s engagement with and control of the state apparatus were far more
circumscribed. In opposition the NSDAP had never existed as a hierarchic
committee-based body. Being deeply decentralized it spawned, as did other
fascist movements, a variety of auxiliary organizations including, most signif-
icantly, its paramilitary combat organization the SA, which, in many areas,
played a more important galvanizing role than did the party organization
itself.42 Conceived as a vehicle for political mobilization, the party had little in
the way of institutionalized internal decision-making structures.43 The party™s
rules of association, dating from June 1926, con¬rmed that Hitler could lead
the party independently of the majority decisions of the party™s managing board
and ruling committees. The National Socialists™ Reich directorate, consisting

An old yet still valuable archive-based account is Merle Fainsod, Smolensk under Soviet Rule
41

(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958), 62“7, 69“74, 93. For a more recent archival
work, this time based on the Nizhnii Novgorod archives, which makes much the same points,
see S. V. Ustinkin, “Apparat vlasti i mekhanizm upravleniia obschestva,” in Obshchestvo i
vlast™: Rossiiskaia provintsiia: 1930 g-iun™1941 g, vol. 2, eds. Andrei Nikolaevich Sakharov et
al. (Moscow: Institut rossiiskoi istorii RAN, 2002), 15“17. While the degree of party control
clearly varied across the country, even in some of the more remote regions, such as West Siberia,
where, according to Shearer, “the institutions of Soviet power were [still] poorly established”
in the early to mid-1930s, by the end of the decade, following administrative redistricting,
the reorganization of the colonies, and an in¬‚ux of new settlers, “life in the western parts of
Siberia . . . looked increasingly like life in the European parts of the country.” See David R.
Shearer, “Modernity and Backwardness on the Soviet Frontier: Western Siberia in the 1930s,”
in Donald J. Raleigh, Provincial Landscapes: Local Dimensions of Soviet Power, 1917“1953
(Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001), 208, 213“16.
Peter Longerich, Die braunen Bataillone: Geschichte der SA (Munich: Beck, 1989), 152“64.
42

On the abortive attempts to set up a leadership council or a Senate, and on the completely
43

impotent conferences of party potentates and the postrally conferences of party of¬cials, see
Hans Mommsen, “Hitler™s Position in the Nazi System,” From Weimar to Auschwitz, trans.
Philip O™Connor (Cambridge: Polity, 1991), 164.
Political (Dis)Orders 53

of six committees, was “in practice illusory,” according to one commentator.
Equally its small leadership bureaucracy was con¬ned, by sharp contrast with
the Bolsheviks, to maintenance of a central membership roll and the party trea-
sury.44 One reason for this was Hitler™s own aversion to a central party orga-
nization. Despite Strasser™s efforts in creating the Reichorganisationsleitung I
and in adding to it a planning agency, the Reichorganisationsleitung II,45 Hitler
deliberately dissolved both, returning to the Gauleiter their independence and
thereby effectively splitting the party into thirty-six quasi-independent orga-
nizations. The Political Central Commission created in their place was in no
position to substitute for the apparatus built by Strasser and tended to avoid
bureaucratic structures as such.46 After coming to power, the main central
party organization that would, from around 1935“6, achieve genuine institu-
tional authority was the Staff of the Fuhrer™s Deputy, based in Munich under
¨
the leadership of Martin Bormann. However the institutional leverage even
47

of this increasingly formidable apparatus was checked by independent power
bases which derived their authority directly from Hitler. The greatest obstacle
was the Staff™s inability to encroach on the powers and prerogatives of the
Gauleiter, whose standing and autonomy were regularly vouchsafed by Hitler
himself.48 Somewhat paradoxically, it was a measure of the limits to the inde-
pendent institutional authority of the of¬ce that, with its rather esoteric origins,
the Staff of the Fuhrer™s Deputy was so heavily dependent for its rise on the
¨
personality and entrepreneurial skills of its head, Martin Bormann, who in
effect became Hitler™s private secretary from around 1936.49 Without its own
source of legitimacy, the Staff would never match the near-mythic position of
the Central Committee apparatus in the Leninist system.


Broszat, The Hitler State: The Foundation and Development of the Internal Structure of the
44

Third Reich, trans. John W. Hiden (London and New York: Longman, 1981), 43“4.
Strasser was himself an effective manager who played a key coordinating role in the crucial
45

election campaigns from September 1930 to July 1932. See Peter D. Stachura, “˜Der Fall
Strasser™: Gregor Strasser, Hitler and National Socialism,” in The Shaping of the Nazi State, ed.
Peter D. Stachura (London: Croom Helm, 1978), 88“130.
¨
Peter Longerich, Hitlers Stellvertreter: Fuhrung der Partei und Kontrolle des Staatsapparats
46

durch den Stab Hess und die Partei-Kanzlei Bormann (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1992), 178“83.
The activities of the two main departments of this of¬ce, Department II, for Internal Party
47

Affairs, led by Hellmuth Friedrichs, and Department III, for the Affairs of State, headed by
Walter Sommer, are well described in Jeremy Noakes and Geoffrey Pridham, eds., Nazism: A
Documentary Reader: State, Economy and Society, 1933“1939, rev. ed., vol. 2 (Exeter: Exeter
University Press, 2000), 46“51.
Hitler™s relationship with the Gauleiter is discussed in greater detail in the section on “retinue
48

structures” in this essay.
In this respect Overy™s representation of Bormann as “Hitler™s Poskrebyshev” is misguided in
49

that his access to Hitler allowed Bormann to become a formidable political actor and power
broker in his own right. In this sense Bormann and the Staff of the Fuhrer™s Deputy (later, from
¨
1941, the Party Chancellery) resembled the “leader-retinue structures” which are discussed in
greater detail in the next section of this essay. Although Poskrebyshev was known on occasion
to taunt Stalin™s colleagues, he was strictly forbidden by Stalin to build up his own power base.
Cf. Overy, The Dictators, 72.
Yoram Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen
54

Underlining the collaborative and coalitional nature of the ¬rst Hitler gov-
ernment, formal party representation in government and the civil service were
far more limited than in the Soviet Union. Within six months of the October
Revolution all portfolios in the Sovnarkom had been held by Bolsheviks; six
months into Hitler™s dictatorship Darre had become only the fourth NSDAP
minister; of the twelve departmental chiefs in the government in 1935, over
two years after coming to power, seven, including those with the most pow-
erful portfolios, were non-NSDAP conservatives. At lower levels there were
also limits to the governing role of the party, as many of the party™s general
political of¬cers complained of being passed over in favor of the traditional
civil service.50 Further, despite the party™s right, under the 1935 municipal
code, to participate in the appointment of senior civil servants, there were too
few long-serving party members (i.e., those who had joined before 30 January
1933) with suf¬cient quali¬cations to ¬ll these positions.51 For their part, most
state secretaries to Reich Ministers were either men who had joined the party
late or, more often still, not party professionals. Even personnel heads within
the ministries were often themselves not party members. In the ongoing strug-
gle between of¬cials from the state administration and the more radical party
leaders, it was, at least until 1937, normally the former, with the support of
the Minister of Interior Frick, who prevailed.52
Although one of the NSDAP™s favored slogans, based on Hitler™s speech at
the Nuremberg rally of 8 September 1934, was that “the party commands the
state,” this proved something of an illusion.53 In September 1934, the party was
in no position to guide or monitor the state. In the more intimate environment
of an address to the party Gauleiter on 2 February 1934 Hitler confessed that
the party™s main role was to make the “people receptive to projected govern-
ment measures,” “to help carry out the measures which have been ordered by
the Government,” and “to support the Government in every way.”54 Indeed,
immediately after the September proclamation the Reich Minister of the Inte-
rior, Frick, stepped in and issued a clari¬cation, that “Party of¬ces have no
authority whatever to issue instructions to agencies of the State. These agencies
receive their instructions solely from their superiors within the State appara-
tus.”55 To the extent that there were efforts to “integrate” the activities of
party and state, the famous Law for Ensuring the Unity of Party and State of
1 December 1933 had been largely designed not so much to bring the state


Mommsen, “Hitler™s Position in the Nazi System,” 169; Noakes and Pridham, Nazism, vol. 2,
50

33“4.
Horst Matzerath, Nationalsozialismus und kommunale Selbstverwaltung (Stuttgart [u.a.]:
51

Kohlhammer, 1970).
Gunther Neliba, Wilhelm Frick: Der Legalist des Unrechtsstaates: Eine politische Biographie
¨
52

(Paderborn: Schoningh, 1992), 125“6; and Broszat, The Hitler State, 243“4, 251“3.
¨
Cited in Peter Diehl-Thiele, Partei und Staat im Dritten Reich: Untersuchungen zum Verhaltnis
53

von NSDAP und allgemeiner innerer Staatsvwerwaltung 1933“1945 (Munich: Beck, 1969), 28.
Noakes and Pridham, Nazism, vol. 2, 40.
54

Ibid, 42.
55
Political (Dis)Orders 55

apparatus under party tutelage as to ensure the subordination of the party to

<<

. 12
( 115 .)



>>