III. The Establishment of the New Administration 63
Chapter Three The Establishment of the New Administration National-Socialist Government and German Designs on Belgium Scholarly analysis of National Socialist theory and practice has experienced (and continues to experience) significant changes since the end of the Second World War but some areas ofbasic consensus are emerging which have a direct impact on the study of German occupation policies in Belgium. The work of Fritz Fischer and his followers has demonstrated that a consid- erable degree of continuity existed between the imperialist aspirations of the Second Empire in the First World War and National Socialist foreign policy aims in World War 11. 1 These "traditional" aspirations of German imperialism were kept alive in the government bureaucracy, the military, in German business, and in the academic world. In time these traditional expansionist aspirations would both merge and clash with the designs put forth by advocates of the more extreme Nazi racist policy such as Himmler. More recent research has also continued to emphasize the impact on policy of the competition and conflict that existed within the Nazi power structure.2 To be sure, Hitler's commands were rarely opposed and never openly refused. But it is now recognized that Hitler deliberately encouraged the competition of a variety of individuals and organizations, in part because this system left him as the unquestioned arbitrator, in part because he simply was a poor administrator. These conflicts over areas of competence compounded by differences in perspectives on policy became more pronounced 64 The Establishment of the New Administration...
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