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Military government weekly information bulletin
No. 37 (April 1946)

Press comments,   pp. 13-19 PDF (3.6 MB)

Page 19

to the Schiedsamt which then decided
finally about the acceptance of the ap-
The doctrine of voluntary membership
seems to have been seriously followed
throughout the history of the Party until
the outbreak of the war in 1939. Ex-
ceptions undoubtedly occurred in the -low-
er levels to the extent that petty officials
of the NSDAP, minor civil service exec-
utives and 'other mor'eor-less influential
people did exert some pressure on their
subordinates to join up, by way of prov-
ing their own political zeal. There is no
'evidence, however, that such pressure
,ever took a punitive form; rather, it was
,on a reward basis, with intimations of
raises or promotions being made to
prospective members.
In judging whether the determining
factor  in  an  individual's  NSDAP
membership was actually coercion or
only opportunism, the investigator should
also bear in mind that, even though
a candidate had been persuaded to apply
for membership, he still had to pass
muster ion his political reliability through
-a series of Party officials who could not
be expected to feel the same tender con-
cern for his making the grade as the
particular petty official who had recom-
mended the move. In other words, re-
gardless of the original motivating factor,
it was still up to the candidate to show
initiative and political enthusiasm in or-
der to demonstrate his eligibility for
There is no question but that it was
advantageous for a civil servant or teach-
er to join the Party. Important civil serv-
ice positions in Prussia were to befilled
by prime Nazis only; and promotions
were as a general rule more easily
available for Party members. Yet as soon
as 'the first run in 1933 was over, an ap-
plicant had to furnish proof of his Nazi
background and convictions, and subject
himself to thorough investigation in'order
to join the Party. It was only in 1939
'that a statute was passed requiring mem-
bership in the Party 'or one o fits forma-
tions for..applicants for a State appoint-
ment. Civil servants who were employed
before 'this order was passed, however,
were never officially required to become
Party members. On the contrary, the
Reichsschatzmeister appears to have been
dismayed when in 1937 an overwhelming
number of 'the applications for member-
ship came from civil servants and teach-
Anmo'ther group anxious to jump on the
bandwagon following Hitler's rise to
power in 1933 was made up of public
officials. This, rush was largely moti-
vated by opportunism on the part of the
officials, who hoped to get promotions
if they belonged to the Party - and it
seems in many instances that their hopes
were fulfilled. In order to restore the
professional balance within the Party,
jeopardized by the onslaught of eager
officialdom, the Reichsschatzmeister re-
peatedly stressed the basic principle that
membership had to be voluntary.
Anordnung 20/37 (Rudolph Hess) spe-
cifically stated that no employee in pri-
vate enterprise who was expelled from the
Party - was to be dismissed from his posi-
tion. If expulsion, the heaviest punish-
inent the Party could inflict upon an in-
dividual, was not sufficient grounds for
firing a man from his job, it is unlikely
that he would under the general rule have
been *dismissed for refusing to join the
Party. The fact that a number 'of leading
industrialists and business -men success-
fully withstood the "pressure" to join the
Party is further evidence that individuals
'of character and conviction could not be
forced to join.

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