Hitler’s Compromises: Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany

On October 4, Nathan Stoltzfus, the Rintels Professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University, gave a talk centering on the contents of his book Hitler’s Compromises: Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany. Stoltzfus, who specializes in both modern European history as well as political violence and civil resistance, discussed many little-known realities of Hitler's regime—namely the compromises he made in order to advance his authoritative goals and centralize power within the Reich.

One particular example of Hitler’s ability to compromise, or to orchestrate strategic surrenders of power, was manifested in a local religious conflict. Hitler, Stoltzfus explained, wanted to create a national church but was prevented from achieving this aim by two bishops who were against the idea. The bishops, Wurm and Meiser, were persecuted by the Nazis in the area; however, because the two religious leaders were so popular in the community, they quickly became martyrized by the increasingly outraged public. When Hitler heard of their malcontent and anger, he rehabilitated the bishops, who did not speak out against Hitler from that point forward. Essentially, Hitler used dissent from the masses to determine whether or not it would be socially and politically sound to move forward with any given action. In his fascinating lecture, Stoltzfus analyzed this incident along with other ways in which Hitler manipulated the public’s perception of his political tactics during his regime.

You can watch Stoltzfus' lecture on YouTube.