The Reich Ministry of Transport: An Infrastructural Analysis of National Socialism

Employees (IfZ):  Dr. Niels Weise

The Reich Ministry of Transport (RMV) carried out a number of different central functions within the National Socialist system under its ministers Paul von Eltz-Rübenach (1932-1937) and Julius Dorpmüller (1937-1945): While it primarily served to shore up the regime in various ways through 1939 – for example through its successful propaganda in which it promised greater mobility to the Volksgemeinschaft (“National German community”) and the provision of strategic infrastructure for war preparations – beginning in 1939 it took on increasingly indispensable logistical and transportation tasks for the National Socialist war of annihilation and the Holocaust.

Work on the RMV as an actor at the interface between the NSDAP, other Reich ministries, the Wehrmacht, and numerous National Socialist organizations has remained a research desideratum. Niels Weise’s study thus focuses on the function and specific role of the RMV within the National Socialist systems and their development over the course of National Socialist rule. The consequences of the successive erosion of the ministerial areas of competence by National Socialist agencies such as the Organisation Todt and the effects of growing ideological permeation on the specific administrative practices of the ministry are to be examined.

The study is not conceived as classical institutional history. Instead, the history of the Reich Ministry of Transport, in close connection with the study on the Organisation Todt, is used to undertake an infrastructural analysis of National Socialism, broadening the understanding of practices of rule in the polycratic National Socialist state.

© Institut für Zeitgeschichte