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SS, Chief of German Police in the Reich Ministry of Interior,
Front and the Reich Labor Service." (2852-PS) Some of the decrees passed and matters discussed at these meetings of the Ministerial Council are significant. At the first meeting of 1 September 1939 14 decrees were ratified by the Council. Decree No. 6 concerned
the organization of the administration and about the German safety police in the Protectorate of Bohemia and
Moravia. (RGB1, I, page 1681).” (2852-PS) At the meeting of the Council on 19 September 1939 the following occurred:
"The Chairman of the Council, Generalfieldmarshall Goering, made comments regarding the structure of civil administration in the occupied Polish territory. He expressed his intentions regarding the economic evacuation measures in this territory. Then the questions of decreasing wages and the questions of working hours and the support of members of families of inducted workers were discussed.”
"The Chairman directed that all members of the Council regularly receive the situation reports of the Reichsfuehrer SS. Then the question of the population of the future Polish Protectorate was discussed and the placement of Jews living in
Germany." (2852-PS) Finally, at the meeting of 15 November 1939 the discussion concerned, among other things, the "treatment of Polish Prisoners of War”. (2852-PS)
The minutes of these meetings (2852-PS) not only establish the close working union between agencies of the state and the party, especially the SS, but also tends to establish that the Reichsregierung was responsible for the policies adopted and put into effect by the government.
C. Powers of The Reichsregierung.
But mere working alliances would be meaningless unless there was power. And the Reichsregierung had power. Short of Hitler himself, it had practically all the power a government can exercise.
(1) The Ordinary Cabinet. The Nazi conspirators secured the passage by the Reichstag of the "Law for the Protection of the
People and the Reich," of 24 March 1933 (2001-PS), which vested the Cabinet with legislative powers even to the extent of deviating from previously existing constitutional law. These powers were retained even after the members of the cabinet were changed, and the several states, provinces, and municipalities, which had formerly exercised semi-autonomous powers, were transformed into mere administrative organs of the central government. The ordinary cabinet emerged all-powerful from this rapid succession of events. Frick waxed eloquent upon that achievement in an article which he wrote for the 1935 National Socialist Year Book:
“The relationship between the Reich and the States has been put on an entirely new basis, never known in the history of the German people. It gives to the Reich cabinet (Reichs regierung) unlimited power it even makes it its duty, to build a completely unified leadership and administration of the Reich. From now on, there is only one national authority: The one of the Reich! Thus, the German Reich has become a unified state, and the entire administration in the states is only carried out by order or in the name of the Reich. The state borders are now only administration, technical are boundaries but no longer boundaries of sovereignty ! In calm determination, the Reich Cabinet (Reichsregierung) realizes step by step, supported by the confidence of the entire German people, the great longing of the Nation. The creation of the national socialist German, unified state.'
(2380-PS) The heightened legislative power of the Cabinet is also emphasized in an article written by Dr. Franz Medicus, an official in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, and published in 1939 in Volume 4 of "Das Dritte Reich in Aufbau":
Worked out by the Reich Minister of the Interior, the 'Law for Alleviation of the Distress of People and Reich', in short called 'Enabling Law', was issued on 24 March 1933, broke with the liberal principle of division of power' by transferring the legislature from the Reichstag to the Reich Cabinet, so that legislation by personally responsible persons
took the place of 'anonymous' legislation.” (2849-PS) When the Ministerial Council was formed in 1939, it too was given legislative powers (cf. Article II of the decree of 30 August 1939 (2018-PS)). The ordinary cabinet also continued to legislate throughout the war. Because of the fusion of personnel between the Ministerial Council and the ordinary cabinet, questions were bound to arise as to what forum should lend its name to a
particular law. Dr. Lammers, Chief of the Reich Chancellery and a member of both agencies, wrote a letter on 14 June 1942 to the Plenipotentiary for Reich Administration about these questions (352-PS):
"To the Plenipotentiary for the Reich Administration (Gen-
(signed) Dr. Lammers” (352-PS). Other officials possessed legislative powers.
Hitler was of course one. Goering, as Deputy of the Four Year Plan, could and did issue decrees with the effect of law. The Cabinet delegated power to issue laws deviating from existing law to the Plenipotentiaries of Economy and Administration and the Chief of the OKW, the so-called Three-Man College. This was done in the Secret Defense Law of 1938 (2194-PŞ). These three officials
Frick, Funk, and Keitel-however, were also members of the Council of Ministers and of the ordinary cabinet as well. It can therefore be said, in the language of the Indictment, that the Reichsregierung “possessed *
* * legislative
powers of a very high order in the system of the German government.”
The executive and administrative powers of the Reich were concentrated in the central government primarily as the result of two basic Nazi laws that reduced the separate states (called Laender) to mere geographical divisions. One was the law of 30 January 1934, known as the Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich (2006-PS). By that law the States were deprived of their independent status as States, their legislative assemblies were abolished, and their sovereign powers were transferred to the Reich. The other was the Reich Governor's Law, enacted by the Cabinet on 30 January 1935 (2008-PS), which made all Reich Governors (Statthalters) permanent delegates of and subject to the order of the cabinet and, more especially, of the Reich Minister of the Interior. As a result, the ordinary cabinet was possessed of wide powers, which are set forth in "Administration Law," periodical published in 1944 which was edited by Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart, State Secretary in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, and Dr. Harry V. Rosen-v. Hoewel, an Oberregierungstat in the Reich Ministry of the Interior (2959–PS). The description of the powers and functions of all the ministries of the ordinary cabinet illustrates the extent of control vested in the Reichsregierung:
III. The Reich Ministers “There are at present twenty-one Reich Ministers, namely: "I. 15 Reich Ministers with a definite portfolio. The Ministries of the Reich Ministers mentioned under 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 are united with the corresponding Ministries of Prussia. “1. The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs (Foreign Office). (a) He handles all matters touching on the relations of the Reich to foreign countries. (6) Under him are the diplomatic and consular representatives as well as the Reich office for Foreign Trade. "2. The Reich Minister of the Interior. (a) To his portfolio belong general administration, local administration, police administration, administration of officials, public health, welfare, geodetic system, sport system and the Reich Labor Service. (6) Under him are the general and internal administrations, for example, the Reich Governors, the state governments
(Landesregierung) the superior Presidents, the governmental Presidents, as well as police officials and the Reich Labor Service. Furthermore, there are under him numerous central intermediary boards, for example, the Reich Health Office, the Reich Archives, the Reich Genealogical Office. “3. The Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. (a) To his portfolio belong the intellectual influences on the nation, recruiting for the state, culture and economics, and the instruction of domestic and foreign public opinion. (b) Under him are, among other things, the Reich Propaganda Offices and the film censorship offices. Furthermore, he exercises supervision over the Reich Chamber of Culture, the Recruiting Council of German Economics, the Reich Radio Company, and the Institute of Politics (Hochschule fuer Politik). “4. The Reich Minister of Aviation and Supreme Commander of the Air Force. He administers civil and military aviation. “5. The Reich Minister of Finances. (a) To his portfolio belong the budget and financial system of the Reich, as well as the administration of taxes, monopolies, and tariffs. (6) Under him are namely: the administration of taxes and tariffs, as well as the administration of Reich monopolies. "6. The Reich Minister of Justice. (a) He is in charge of all matters related to the judicial system. (6) Under him are all judicial agencies and the Reich Patent Office. “7. The Reich Ministry of Economics. (a) To his portfolio belong the basic economic political questions of German economy, the supply of the civilian population with goods for consumption and the regulation of their distribution, the handling of foreign economic questions in the framework of policy on foreign trade of the Reich and the supreme supervision over the institutes of credit. (b) Under him are the Reich administration of mines, the Reich office of Statistics, the Supervisory Office for Private Insurance, the Gau Chambers of Economy, the State Economic Offices, (Landeswirtschaftsamt) the Savings Banks, and the State Insurance Offices.