Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences and Globalization


Social Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Pytell, Timothy


Much of the discussion of German National Socialism has historically focused on of Adolf Hitler as the architect of the Nazi state. While recognizing Hitler’s central role in the development of National Socialism, this thesis contends that he was not a lone actor. Much of the ideological and structural development National Socialism was driven by senior individuals within the party who were able to leverage their influence to institutionalize personal variants of National Socialism within broader party ideology. To explore the role of other ideologues in the development of Nazi ideology, this thesis examines how Hitler’s leadership style perpetuated factionalism, how when and by whom central elements of Nazi ideology were introduced, as well the ideological sources from which these concepts were adapted. After the party’s ultimate rise to power Hitler, always centrally positioned, eliminated internal competition and institutionalized his own variant of National Socialism whilst co-opting the concepts and structures developed by other ideologues that offered useful tools to pursue his goals. Through this analysis, this thesis seeks to demonstrate how the foundational elements of National Socialism took form, even before the party achieved power, and how these elements were subsequently utilized to consolidate Nazi control over the German state. Above all else, this thesis sheds much-needed light on the pivotal role of individuals and the conflict between them that engineered the cataclysm of the Third Reich.