Hitler's military role

Soldiers of the Wehrmacht at a swearing in ceremony on November 7, 1935

Wehrmacht recruits at a swearing in ceremony in Berlin, 1935. Soliders were requried to pledge an oath of allegiance to the Führer. 

 

In 1934 Hitler appoints himself the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the soldiers pledge an oath, not to Germany, but to the Führer; “I swear by God and this sacred oath, that I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler…” (“Oath of Officials and soldiers of the Wehrmacht, 20 August 1934," in The Nazi Sourcebook, ed. Stackelberg, Roderick and Sally Anne Winkle (London: Routledge, 2013), 174.). The self-appointment of commander-in-chief and the development of an oath pledging outright allegiance to the Führer elucidates the totalitarian leadership approach of Hitler. With this oath the military became an instrument of Hitler’s will, with an obligation to carry out the orders of the Führer, not to protect the state and the German people. 

Hitler's military role