This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (June 2018)
Statthalter des Reiches (1879–1918)
The office of Statthalter des Reiches (otherwise known as Reichsstatthalter) was instituted in 1879 by the German Empire for the areas of Alsace (Elsaß) and Lorraine (Lothringen) that France had ceded to Germany following the Franco-Prussian War. It was a form of governorship intended to exist while Alsace-Lorraine became a federal state of the Empire. It was abolished when Alsace-Lorraine was, in turn, ceded back to France after Germany lost World War I.
|1 October 1879 – 17 June 1885||Edwin von Manteuffel (1809–1885)|
|17 June 1885 – 5 October 1885||an acting official|
|5 October 1885 – 1894||Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst (1819–1901)|
|October 1894 – 31 October 1907||Hermann zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1832–1913)|
|1 November 1907 – 1914||Karl von Wedel (1842–1919)|
|1 May 1914 – 1918||Johann von Dallwitz (1855–1919)|
|14 October – 21 November 1918||Rudolf Schwander (1868–1950)|
During the Third Reich, the Nazis created the office of Reichsstatthalter (Imperial Governor or Imperial Deputy) to gain direct control over all states other than Prussia) after winning the general elections of 1933. Their independent state governments and parliaments were successively abolished, and the Reich government took over direct control in a process called Gleichschaltung ("coordination"). Prussia's government had already been taken over by the Reich a year earlier in the Preußenschlag under Chancellor Franz von Papen.
Two weeks after the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933, which effectively made Adolf Hitler the dictator of Germany, the Nazi government issued the Second Law for Synchronization of the States with the Reich (Zweites Gesetz zur Gleichschaltung der Länder mit dem Reich) on 7 April 1933. This law deployed one Reich Governor in each state. The Reich Governors were given the task of overseeing the fulfillment of Hitler's political guidelines in the states. Indeed, the law required them to carry out "the general policy of the Chancellor." In practice, they acted as proconsuls with complete authority over the state governments. The governors' main authorities lay in:
- appointing and dismissing the state minister-president
- dissolving the state parliament and calling new elections
- issuing and announcing state laws
- appointing and dismissing important state agents and judges
- granting amnesty
In Prussia, the largest of the German states, Hitler took direct control by appointing himself as Reichstatthalter. However, he delegated his authority to Hermann Göring, who had been installed as Prussian prime minister without an election. The Prussian provinces were administered by an Oberpräsident, usually the local Gauleiter.
Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich (1934)
The Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich (Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reiches) passed on 30 January 1934; formally de-federalized the Reich for the first time in its history. However, Germany had effectively become a highly centralized state with the passage of the Enabling Act and the posting of the Reich Governors. The state parliaments were abolished, and their powers were transferred to the Reich government. The Reich Governors were made responsible to the Reich Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick. For all intents and purposes, the states were reduced to provinces.
Reich Governors Law (1935)
The Reich Governors Law (Reichsstatthaltergesetz) of 30 January 1935 formally designated the Reich Governors as the representatives of the Reich government, tasked with watching over the execution of the political guidelines issued by the Führer and Chancellor (Hitler). They received the authority to "inform" the provincial authorities about the guidelines and the measures to fulfill them. In practice, this "information" amounted to an order.
The Reichsstatthalter were now also empowered to take over all functions of state government, and also appointed the mayors of all towns and cities with populations fewer than 100,000. This had the effect of giving the Reich Interior Ministry near-complete control over local government. The Interior Minister directly appointed the mayors of all cities with populations greater than 100,000 (though Hitler reserved the right to appoint the mayors of Berlin and Hamburg himself if he deemed it necessary), and as mentioned above the Reich Governors were responsible to him.
After Austria's Anschluss ("union") with Germany, its last pre-Anschluss Chancellor became also its first Reichsstatthalter: 15 March 1938 – 30 April 1939 Arthur Seyss-Inquart (b. 1892 – d. 1946; NSDAP; also Führer der Österreichischen Landesregierung), be it most of his term besides a Reichskommissar für die Wiedervereiningung Österreichs mit dem Deutschen Reich 'Reich Commissioner for Reunification of Austria with the German Reich' (23 April 1938 – 31 March 1940 Josef Bürckel, b. 1895 – d. 1944, NSDAP). Each constitutive Land (with some differences in borders; Burgenland was partitioned away) got its own Reichsstatthalter, generally the last state governor.
|Baden||Karlsruhe||Robert Heinrich Wagner|
|Bavaria (Bayern)||Munich||Franz Ritter von Epp|
|Dessau||1933–1935 Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper|
1935–1937 Fritz Sauckel
1937–1945 Rudolf Jordan
|Hesse (Hessen)||Darmstadt||Jakob Sprenger|
|Oldenburg||1933-42 Carl Röver|
1942-45 Paul Wegener
|Prussia (Preußen)||Berlin||1933-35 Adolf Hitler|
1935-45 Hermann Göring (acting)
|Saxony (Sachsen)||Dresden||Martin Mutschmann|
|Thuringia (Thüringen)||Weimar||Fritz Sauckel|
|Danzig-West Prussia (Danzig-Westpreußen)||Danzig||1939-45 Albert Forster|
|Carinthia (Kärnten)||Klagenfurt||1 April 1940 - 27 November 1941 Wladimir von Pawlowski |
1941-45 Friedrich Rainer (from April 1941, Head of the Civil Government of Lower Carinthia and Upper Carniola; from 10 September 1943, also Special Commissioner for the Adriatisches Küstenland, i.e. the North Adriatic Littoral
|Lower Danube (Niederdonau)||Vienna||1 April 1940 - 8 May 1945 Hugo Jury|
|Upper Danube (Oberdonau)||Linz||1 April 1940 - 5 May 1945 August Eigruber|
|Salzburg||Salzburg||1 April 1940 - 29 November 1941 Friedrich Rainer (cfr. Carinthia)|
29 November 1941 - 4 May 1945 Gustav Adolf Scheel
|Styria (Steiermark)||Graz||1940-45 Siegfried Uiberreither|
|Sudetenland||Reichenberg||1939-45 Konrad Henlein|
|Tyrol-Vorarlberg||Innsbruck||1 April 1940 - 3 May 1945 Franz Hofer (from 10 September 1943, also Special Commissioner for the Alpenvorland 'Alpine Foothills', i.e. Italian South Tyrol- Belluno, Bozen (Bolzano) and Trentino when integrated into Tyrol)|
|Wartheland||Posen||1939-45 Arthur Greiser|
|Westmark (Rhineland-Palatinate, the Saar, and Lorraine)||Saarbrücken||1941-44 Josef Bürckel|
1944-45 Willi Stöhr
|Vienna (Wien)||Vienna||1 April 1940 - 10 August 1940 Josef Bürckel, the previous Reichskommissar |
10 August 1940 - 12 April 1945 Baldur von Schirach
Sources and references
- Alsace-Lorraine at worldstatesmen.org.