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This is one of a series of excerpts from older articles put online by John Ray as a public service. The articles concerned are in general otherwise available only by special request to a University or other major library.

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The Political Quarterly, 1965, 36 (4), 441-459

PARTY AND STATE IN SOVIET RUSSIA AND NAZI GERMANY



Aryeh L. Unger

Conclusion

Enough has been said to show that the Nazi party at no point attained the effective supremacy over the administration of the state which the Soviet party established in the early years of the Bolshevik revolution. Was Nazi Germany therefore in some important aspects less " totalitarian " than Soviet Russia? If party control over the state apparatus is regarded as an essential trait of totalitarianism the answer must clearly be in the affirmative. For myself, I would hold that the Nazis operated a governmental machinery whose totalitarian capability derived from within rather than from party controls imposed from without. That they were able to do so and the Soviet Communists were not, was due above all to the fact that, unlike the latter, they could assure themselves from the outset of the support of some of the most powerful institutions in German public life. There was no need for party control on anything like the Soviet scale so long as that support was freely forthcoming. The Nazis thus avoided a dilemma which has pursued the Soviet regime from its earliest days: the vicious circle that leads from political control to administrative or technical responsibility (if only because the politically significant decisions of civil servants, economic managers, army officers, etc., are primarily administrative, economic, military, etc.), and thence to further controls. The result in the Soviet Union has been that proliferation of control instruments which Professor Fainsod aptly described as the " institutionalisation of mutual suspicion". Suspicion is inherent in the totalitarian method of government and sooner or later it is bound to become institutionalised. But the experience of Nazi Germany would seem to indicate that where there is no basic divergence between the functionaries of the party and the leading personnel of other institutions as regards political reliability, the essential purposes of "institutionalised suspicion" can be met without direct party control over the administration of the state




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