I don't think of it as Nazi efficiency, but as German thoroughness and efficiency.
Jehan: "The myth of German efficiency lives on til today."
the state as one authoritarian pattern among many (wage labor, patriarchy, racial division) that is unique only insamuch as it has unusual prestige (patriotism, the pledge of allegiance, etc.) and tends to bolster these structures elsewhere (the state enforces property relations, which preserve wage labor, and has only recently been less active in the maintenance of gender/race inequality).
MartinWisse: "apart from Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia, all the other Eastern European countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary) were "willing" allies of Nazi Germany."
mumimor: "Also, the other thread, about the ww2 weather stations, made me aware how culturally isolated the Germans must have been. Did none of this alert anyone?"
(On a side note, if we were to be clinical, it can be argued that the Holocaust itself, launched in 1942, is the ultimate, terrible expression of Nazi economic inefficiency; with a huge, captive population of potential slave labour, the Nazis resorted to extermination instead. That many of these victims were indeed forced to work before their gassing in no way alters the fact that the primary reason for the series of camps housing Jews was for their total and irremediable physical destruction as a people. Work, as the Nazis saw it, was a way to mark time while execution was prepared).
The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.
There are countless [unnecessarily mundane or arbitrary] provisions in the Weimar Constitution. From these provisions it is immediately evident that they are not fundamental in the sense of a "law of laws." Take, for example, Art. 123, 2, which provides that "open-air gatherings can be required to give prior notification by Reich statue and can be prohibited if there is a direct danger to public safety." Art. 129, 3, 3 stipulates that "the secrecy of his personal documents is guaranteed the civil servant." "Teachers in public schools," according to Art. 143, "have the rights and duties of civil servants." ...
Such constitutional details are all equally "fundamental" for an approach to law that is indiscriminately formalistic and relativistic. The clause of Art. 1, 1 of the Weimar Constitution reading "The German Reich is a republic," and that of Art. 129 stating that "civil servants are secure in their personal effects," are both "basic norms," "law of laws," etc. However, it is self-evident that in such instances of formalization, these individual provisions in no way retain a fundamental character. On the contrary, the genuinely fundamental provisions are relegated to the level of constitutional law detail... The original sense of the guarantee of a constitution was lost when the constitution as a whole became relativized as a group of individual constitutional laws.
At that time [1925-1928] Germany was a liberal democracy. The regime was known as the Weimar Republic. In the light of the most authoritative political document of recent Germany – Bismarck's Thoughts and Recollections – the option for Weimar reveals itself as an option against Bismarck. In the eyes of Bismarck Weimar stood for a leaning to the West, if not for the inner dependence of the Germans on the French and above all on the English, and a corresponding aversion to everything Russian. But Weimar was above all the residence of Goethe, the contemporary of the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, and of the victory of the French Revolution and Napoleon – Goethe whose sympathetic understanding was open to both antagonists and who identified himself in his thought with neither. By linking itself to Weimar the German liberal democracy proclaimed its moderate, non-radical character: its resolve to keep a balance between dedication to the principles of 1789 and dedication to the highest German tradition.
The Weimar Republic was weak. It had a single moment of strength, if not of greatness: its strong reaction to the murder of the Jewish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Walther Rathenau, in 1922. On the whole it presented the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or justice unable to use the sword. The election of Field-Marshal von Hindenburg to the presidency of the German Reich in 1925 showed everyone who had eyes to see that the Weimar Republic had only a short time to live: the old Germany was stronger – stronger in will – than the new Germany. What was still lacking then for the destruction of the Weimar Republic was the opportune moment; that moment was to come within a few years. The weakness of the Weimar Republic made certain its speedy destruction. It did not make certain the victory of National Socialism. The victory of National Socialism became necessary in Germany for the same reason that the victory of Communism had become necessary in Russia: the man with the strongest will or single-mindedness, the greatest ruthlessness, daring, and power over his following, and the best judgement about the strength of the various forces in the immediately relevant political field was the leader of the revolution.
Only months after Hitler's accession to power, the eminently citable political philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt, in the ominously titled work, Staat, Bewegung, Volk, delivered one of his better known dicta. On January 30, 1933, observes Schmitt, "one can say that 'Hegel died.'"...
It is Hegel qua philosopher of the "bureaucratic class" or Beamtenstaat that has been definitely surpassed with Hitler's triumph. For "bureaucracy" (cf. Max Weber's characterization of "legal-bureaucratic domination") is, according to its essence, a bourgeois form of rule. As such, this class of civil servants—which Hegel in the Rechtsphilosophie deems the "universal class"—represents an impermissable drag on the sovereignty of executive authority. For Schmitt, its characteristic mode of functioning, which is based on rules and procedures that are fixed, preestablished, calculable, qualifies it as the very embodiment of bourgeois normalcy—a form of life that Schmitt strove to destroy and transcend in virtually everything he thought and wrote during the 1920s, for the very essence of the bureaucratic conduct of business is reverence for the norm, a standpoint that could not exist in great tension with the doctrines of Carl Schmitt himself, whom we know to be a philosopher of the state of emergency—of the Auhsnamhezustand (literally, the "state of exception"). Thus, in the eyes of Schmitt, Hegel had set an ignominious precedent by according this putative universal class a position of preeminence in his political thought, insofar as the primacy of the bureaucracy tends to diminish or supplant the perogative of sovereign authority.
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