The Party: Leadership by an Elite Class
1. Functions of the Party
The third pillar of the Nazi state, the link between Volk and Fuehrer, is the Nazi Party. According to Nazi ideology, all authority within the nation is derived ultimately from the people, but it is the party through which the people expresses itself. In Rechtseinrichtungen und Rechtsaufgaben der Bewegung (Legal Organization and Legal Functions of the Movement) (document 8, post p. 204), published in 1939, Otto Gauweiler states:
The will of the German people finds its expression in the party as the political organization of the people. It represents the political conception, the political conscience, and the political will. It is the expression and the organ of the people’s creative will to life. It comprises a select part of the German people for “only the best Germans should be party members” ... The inner organization of the party must therefore bring the national life which is concentrated within itself to manifestation and development in all the fields of national endeavor in which the party is represented.
Gauweiler defines the relationship of the party to the state in the following terms:
The party stands above and beside the state as the wielder of an authority derived from the people with its own sovereign powers and its own sphere of sovereignty ... The legal position of the party is therefore that of a completely sovereign authority whose legal supremacy and self-sufficiency rest upon the original independent political authority which the Fuehrer and the movement have attained as a result of their historical achievements.
Neesse states that “It will be the task of National Socialism to lead back the German people to an organic structure which proceeds from a recognition of the differences in the characters and possibilities of human beings without permitting this recognition to lead to a cleavage of the people into two camps." This task is the responsibility of the party. Although it has become the only political party in Germany, the party does not desire to identify itself with the state. It does not wish to dominate the state or to serve it. It works beside it and cooperates with it. In this respect, Nazi Germany is distinguished from the other one-party states of Europe: “In the one-party state of Russia, the party rules over the state; in the one-party state of Italy, the party serves the state; but in the one-party state of Germany, the party neither serves the state nor rules over it directly but works and struggles together with it for the community of the people." Neesse contends that the party derives its legal basis from the law inherent in the living organism of the German Volk:
The inner law of the NSDAP is none other than the inner law of the German people. The party arises from the people; it has formed an organization which crystallizes about itself the feelings of the people, which seemed buried, and the strength of the people, which seemed lost.
Neesse states that the party has two great tasks—to insure the continuity of national leadership and to preserve the unity of the Volk: