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Martin Bormann’s Directive 55/43 (September 29, 1943)

One particularity of Hitler’s regime was the lack of any formal regulation of the relationship between party and state. As a result, that relationship was characterized by turf battles and conflicts over spheres of authority. The NSDAP’s primary source of strength, however, was its ability to educate a Nazi leadership elite and, especially after the start of the war, to mobilize the general population under the flag of ideology. Martin Bormann’s (1900-1945) memo of September 29, 1943, speaks to these points.

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The Head of the Party Chancellery
Führer Headquarters, 29.9.43
Directive No. 55/43

With the increasing intensity of the war, the defensive strength of the home front is being subjected to an ever-growing burden. The NSDAP must, therefore, continually steel the offensive morale of the German people; it must constantly influence the formation of public opinion in a positive direction and vigorously oppose all negative phenomena.

In order that all Party comrades can be deployed for this important task and appropriately prepared for it, I hereby decree the following:

From the 15 October onwards, all local branches will hold general meetings for the whole membership: where possible they should be held within four weeks. The cadres are responsible for holding these meetings in an effective manner and should call upon the cooperation of all available propaganda and indoctrination personnel. The Reich head of organization [Dr. Ley] and the Reich head of Propaganda [Dr. Goebbels] will provide the necessary speakers for this internal Party action.

The Gauleiters should if possible speak in one meeting in each district of their Gau; the district leaders are expected to conduct the meetings of the local branches in person. In those Gaus in which the number of districts and branches creates difficulties for the carrying out of this directive within the allotted time, the meetings should be combined in an appropriate manner.

Attendance of all Party comrades at these meetings is compulsory. The meetings themselves should be carried out in a dignified and above all focused manner. The individual Party comrades must be urgently and emphatically reminded of their obligation to act as a positive influence on the country's morale. Particular emphasis should be placed on the need for the exertion of greater influence on the mood and attitude of the population through personal contact. The bigger the impact of the enemy and of the current difficulties on our national comrades the more vigorously must the NSDAP, acting through all its members, strengthen belief in the correctness of our actions and in the certainty of a German victory. The ideas expressed in the enclosure should form the main theme of the meetings.

I request the Gauleiters to pay particular attention to these meetings. Further instructions will be given out centrally by the Reich head of organization and the Reich head of propaganda, who will oversee the implementation of the directive.

[Signed M. Bormann]

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