Go to content Go to navigation Go to search

Is Mick Fuller a Gestapo man? · 8 April 2020

Article by Deborah Snow headed: ‘Bit of fear’ engenders respect, says Fuller:
“NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says he has a ‘right to come out and have an opinion’ on policing and public safety and does not resile from his view that ‘a little bit of fear’ aids law enforcement.”

Editorial in The Australian, 7 April:
Last week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian “ordered NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller to investigate but implied the (Ruby Princess) ship misled health officials about the condition of passengers. Homicide detectives will conduct a formal inquiry to determine if operator Carnival Australia withheld crucial information. For a time, this move will insulate the Berejiklian government from political heat and media scrutiny. Sorry folks, this is a criminal investigation. No pun intended, it’s a cop-out.”

Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the Gestapo Chief under Adolf Hitler:
In January 1945, German Foreign Minister Joachim Ribbentrop informed Hitler the General Guderian had told him that the “war was lost”. Albert Speer, the Armaments Minister, related what happened at a subsequent military conference with Hitler: “Each of his assistants, he said, was at liberty to speak to him directly. ‘I most emphatically forbid generalisations and conclusions in regard to the whole situation. That remains my affair. In the future anyone who tells anyone else that the war is lost will be treated as a traitor, with all the consequences for him and his family.’ No one dared say a word. We had listened silently; just as silently as we left the room. From now on an additional guest frequently appeared at the situation conferences. He kept in the background, but his presence was exceedingly effective. He was Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the Gestapo chief.”

Below is an edited version of Chapter 5 in my book, “Dictatorial CEOs & their Lieutenants: Inside the Executive Suites of Napoleon, Stalin, Ataturk, Mussolini, Hitler and Mao”
See: http://www.jeffschubert.com/

Where do Mick Fuller and Gladys Berejiklian fit in?


There are four basic sets of factors that bind underlings to a political leader. The mix of these factors can change overtime. The first set of factors is essentially about personal relationships. It includes admiration and respect; a sense of being personally needed and important; the leader has shown loyalty which must be reciprocated; and the underling is not a somebody if he is not an underling to the political leader. The second set of factors involves loyalty to the organisation, the company or country. The third set of factors is focussed on the individual life of the underling: it is exciting to be near the apex of power and to have power to boss others; there are opportunities for achievement and satisfying one’s personal ambitions; and there are the money, prestige and recognition. The fourth factor is ‘fear’. The importance of this factor depends on the political system, but fear of being dismissed – particularly if it is in a public matter – may have severe consequences for future employment, living standards, and social position.


According to Hjalmar Schacht, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Economics and President of the Reichsbank in the 1930’s: “Hitler often did find astonishingly simple solutions for problems which had seemed to others insoluble. … His solutions were often brutal, but almost always effective”.

Hitler’s talents also impressed many of his generals. At the beginning of the war, Field Marshal Manstein wrote in his diary that Hitler had a “staggering knowledge about military and technological innovations in every country”, and commented that he was a “genius”. General Jodl recalled his “astounding technical and tactical vision (which) led him also to become the creator of modern weaponry for the army”. In October 1941, just before the German invasion of Russia got bogged down, General Wagner noted: “I am constantly astounded at the Fuhrer’s military judgement. He intervenes in the course of operations, one could say decisively, and up until now he has always acted correctly.”

In August, 1940 Erwin Rommel (later a Field Marshal) noted in his diary: “Where on earth would we be without Hitler? I don’t know if there could ever be a German who has such a brilliant mastery of military and political leadership.” He later wrote to his wife: “The Fuhrer will make the right decision … (as he) … knows exactly what is right for us.” Rommel’s hero worship thereafter waxed and waned around a steady descent to reality; while the other generals become increasingly critical and disenchanted.

Even after the war had ended, and Manstein was disillusioned with Hitler’s military leadership, he spoke of Hitler’s “tremendously high intelligence”. It should also be noted that Manstein, while describing Hitler as a “genius” was not oblivious to some of his defects, such as lack of “operational training”. The same can be said for many of the other generals; admiration and respect does not mean necessarily mean total blindness to the leader’s faults and weaknesses.

Later, when Nikita Khrushchev was no longer a novice underling and totally disillusioned, he recalled his “absolute faith” in Josef Stalin: “We blamed ourselves for being blind to the presence of enemies all around us. We thought we lacked Stalin’s deep understanding of the political struggle and were therefore unable to discern enemies in our midst the way Stalin could.”

After the Soviet Ambassador to Berlin, Dekanozov, warned Stalin in May, 1941 that Hitler was preparing to invade, Stalin said to him: “So, disinformation has now reached ambassador level.” Dekanozov disagree, and was later reproached by Marshal Voroshilov, who had had a very long association with Stalin: “How can you allow yourself to argue with Comrade Stalin. He knows more and can see further than the rest of us.”

Stalin’s Transport Commissioner, Kovalev, later recalled that “one felt oppressed by Stalin’s power, but also by his phenomenal memory and the fact that he knew so much”. Marshal Zhukov noted Stalin’s “ability to formulate an idea concisely, a naturally analytical mind, great erudition and a rare memory”. Sergo Beria (son of Lavrenti Beria, the Soviet secret police chief) wrote that at the end of the war the Soviet military leaders “all had a high opinion of Stalin’s capacities, because he knew how to select and utilise men”.

Khrushchev later wrote that Stalin “really was a man of outstanding skill and intelligence. He truly did tower over everyone around him.” His ability to “express himself clearly and concisely” was “admired” by “everyone”, and “because of it we were proud to work for him”.
In the 1970’s an aged Vyacheslav Molotov (Stalin’s foreign minister) still admired his former boss, saying: “Despite Stalin’s mistakes, I see in him a great, an indispensable man! In his time there was no equal!”

As with Hitler and Stalin, Napoleon Bonaparte’s ability was a major attraction for his lieutenants. Fain, Napoleon’s third secretary, who lacked the sometimes cynical insight of Bourreinne (Napoleon’s first secretary) recalled that in meetings of the Administrative Councils, “the Emperor, surrounded by skilful, superior men, seemed to me to exert an even greater intellectual superiority. In all discussions, he was eminently the man of good judgement; it seemed to me that he was always right. In addition, this same testimony was constantly given by the very men who had the honour of arguing against him: not perhaps regarding the point of view they had espoused, but for all others where they were disinterested observers.”

When General Caulaincourt tried to dissuade Napoleon from his plans to invade Russia in 1812, he told by General Duroc, who was Napoleon’s chief military lieutenant and ‘friend’ until killed by a cannon-ball: “He has his point of view; he is aiming at some objective of which we know nothing. You can be certain that his policy is more far-seeing than ours.”

Not too distant from the attitude of Duroc, was that of General Jodl. In his diary in 1938, Jodl noted the “Fuhrer’s genius” and described him as “the greatest statesman since Bismark”. But, after the end of WW2 and while awaiting trial at Nuremberg, Jodl wrote: “I ask myself: ‘Do I then know this person at all, at whose side for so many years I led so thorny an existence’ … Even today I do not know what he thought, knew and wanted to do, but only what I thought and suspected about it.” Jodl was a highly competent military officer who had tapped the table during allied landings in Norway and insisted that Hitler “keep his nerve”. Yet, Jodl had basically surrendered himself to Hitler because he ‘thought and suspected’ that they were on the same wave-length.

When motivated, Hermann Goering was a dynamic action man to whom Hitler owed much of his success. But Hitler had also brought Goering success by giving him a sense of purpose and direction. Only a few months before Germany’s defeat, Albert Speer (initially Hitler’s architect, but later Armaments Minister) went to see Goering seeking some indication of support for his own efforts to tear himself from Hitler and from Hitler’s plans for the destruction of German industry. Despite having been made, in Speer’s words, “the scapegoat for all the failures of the Luftwaffe (German airforce)”, and the “most violent and insulting language” that Hitler used against him both at military situation conferences and behind closed doors, Goering could do no more that indicate a sense of disappointment with Hitler.


The leader will often take advantage of the need of people to feel personally needed, and to want to think that they have been specifically chosen by him/her. This is distinct from general recognition and prestige flowing from the eyes and mouths of others. It is very personal, and is about being special in the eyes of the person in power; particularly if the underling has high regard for the leader.

Napoleon succinctly described the way to make an actual or potential underling feel needed; according to Caulaincourt, it “explains better than any other phrase could have done the price he was prepared to pay for success”. Napoleon said: “When I need anyone, I don’t make too fine a point about it; I would kiss his arse.”
Hitler was masterful at making his underlings feel special and needed. In mid-1940, Italian Foreign Minister Ciano described Hitler kissing arse at a social function with “a thousand little courtesies: to this one, according to his custom, a glass of mineral water, to that one cigarettes. Always equal, calm.”

In 1936, on Josef Goebbel’s thirty ninth birthday, Hitler visited him at the Propaganda Ministry. Goebbels afterwards wrote: “We go into my room alone. And then he speaks to me very kindly and intimately. About old times, and how we belong together, how fond he is of me personally. He is so touching to me. Gives me his picture with a glorious dedication. And a painting of the Dutch school. That was a wonderful hour alone with him. He pours out his heart to me. The problems he has, how he trusts me, what great assignments he still has in store for me.”

In early 1944, Hitler rejected a bid by Goebbels to broaden his powers to include that of managing the war economy, yet still managed to make him feel important and needed; indeed, possibly even more important than if he had got the job he wanted. Goebbels noted in his diary: “He would like me to take on the role of the moving force behind the whole thing.”

Hitler was also good at making his generals feel personally needed and valued. When Field Marshal Keitel took up his post as “Chief of the Wehrmacht Supreme Command” in 1938, Hitler continued his seduction, telling him: “You are my confidant and my sole adviser on Wehrmacht matters” – this, at the same time as he was telling close associates that Keitel had “the brain of a cinema doorman”. At the beginning of the war, the newly promoted Rommel was commanding Hitler’s headquarters, and wrote to his wife that he was “spending a lot of time” with Hitler. “The trust he has in me gives me the greatest delight. … Yesterday, I was allowed to sit next to him.”

In early 1943 Hitler wanted the independent minded General Guderian – who had earlier been removed from his command on the Russian front for not strictly following orders – to return, and kissed arse: “Since 1941 our ways have parted: there were numerous misunderstandings at that time which I much regret. I need you.”
Stalin was no slouch either. Sergo Beria wrote: “Stalin was able to charm people, as I can testify from experience. He managed to give the people he was with the impression that Jupiter had come down from his Olympus for them, deigned to speak with them in a familiar tongue, and was taking an interest in their problems.” Stalin, he wrote, “left each person he spoke to anxious to see him again, with a sense that there was now a bond that linked them forever”; “that was his strength”.


One of the most effective ways for the leader to make an underling needed and special is to show loyalty, particularly when they are having difficulties with co-workers. The underling will feel both the need and desire to return that loyalty.

Khrushchev reminisced about how, on his appointment as party boss of Moscow in 1949, Stalin helped him in his disputes with Stalin’s other underlings: “I was constantly running up against Lavrenti Beria and Georgi Malenkov (a Soviet politburo member)”. “Stalin certainly treated me well. He seemed to trust and value me. Even though he frequently criticised me, he gave me support when I needed it, and I appreciated that very much.”

The appointment of Albert Speer as Armaments Minister in early 1942 following the death of Dr. Todt brought challenges for the 36 year-old architect with no military experience — not the least of which was establishing his authority. Goering, an authentic war hero, who was in charge of the Four-Year Plan for the German economy, wanted Todt’s job as well. When Hitler appointed Speer, Goering tried to bully Speer into accepting an agreement – which he claimed to have had with Todt – that “in my procurement for the army I could not infringe on areas covered by the Four-Year Plan”; something Speer thought would have left “my hands completely tied”.

Overlapping and poorly delineated authorities were a feature of Hitler’s divide and rule approach, but he now decided to show loyalty and back Speer to the hilt if he had any problems at a pending armaments industry conference: “If any steps are taken against you, or if you have difficulties, interrupt the conference and invite the participants to the Cabinet Room. Then I’ll tell those gentlemen whatever is necessary.”

The conference did not begin well for Speer, so he told them that Hitler wanted to speak to them in the Cabinet Room. According to Speer, Hitler “was astonishingly candid on the subject of Goering: ‘This man cannot look after armaments within the framework of the Four-Year Plan.’ It was essential, Hitler continued, to separate this task from the Four-Year Plan and turn it over to me. … He expected not only cooperation on their part but also fair treatment. ‘Behave toward him like gentlemen!’ he said, employing the English word, which he rarely used.”

Speer wrote: “Heretofore Hitler had never introduced a minister in this way. Even in a less authoritarian system such a debut would have been of assistance. In our state the consequences were astonishing, even to me. For a considerable time I found myself moving in a kind of vacuum that offered no resistance whatever. Within the widest limits I could practically do as I pleased.”


While underlings may be very competent and talented in a variety of fields, there will rarely be a legitimate field marshal baton in their knapsack. These lieutenants will be very loyal.

Yugoslavia’s Milovan Djilas wrote that Molotov “was indispensable to Stalin in many ways”. Yet he also put the view that Molotov, despite his role as Stalin’s “practical executive”, was essentially “impotent without Stalin’s leadership”. That is, he needed Stalin’s authority.
Napoleon’s chief-of-staff at every major battle prior to Waterloo was Louis-Alexander Berthier. Like Molotov, Berthier was loyal and also competent as long as he did not attempt to lead. He was, a reliable “assistant”. “I have heard it said”, wrote Meneval (Napoleon’s second secretary) that Berthier “was a model of chief-of-staff”. “Nature had intended him for this part; he never raised himself above it. He was considered to be weak of mind and wavering in character. The First Consul had entrusted him with various missions in which he had acquitted himself well under his direction. Napoleon, who held him in true affection, loaded him with gifts and honors.”

Napoleon himself said that Berthier was a “… true gosling whom I had made into a kind of eagle”: “there was not in the world a better chief-of-staff; that is where his true talent lay, for he was not capable of commanding 500 men”.

According to Meneval, while in Russia in 1812, Napoleon would often criticise Berthier “for his carelessness”, saying, “not only are you no good, but you are actually in my way” – although Napoleon would later offer one of his indirect apologies to his “habitual” dinner-companion.

Although previously a successful businessman, German Foreign minister Joachim Ribbentrop was next to nothing in the field of politics without Hitler. German Foreign Ministry official, Studnitz wrote that Ribbentrop’s “decisions, like his hesitations, are accompanied by a constant fear of how the Fuhrer will react.” “The Foreign Minister has put all he possesses on one card – Hitler. A single frown from Fuhrer Headquarters, and his whole world tumbles about his ears. His greatest agony occurs when he has been unable for some time to obtain an audience with Hitler. Over him, as over all the other paladins, hangs the Damoclean sword of disfavour; but his skin in thinner than the others.”

Despite his own illusions, and the belief of many others, Heinrich Himmler was nothing without Hitler. He was, according to Speer, not without “remarkable qualities: the quality of patience to listen; the quality of long reflection before coming to decisions; a talent for selecting his staff, who on the whole turned out to be highly effective people”. Yet, despite have some of the qualities of a good HR manager, he was a failure when in dispute with powerful personalities.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of the Gestapo, who reported to Himmler, later described him as a “stingy, small person”; Walter Schellenberg, an influential subordinate, described him as “a coward, not a brave man”; and General Guderian recalled Himmler’s “lack of self-assurance and courage in Hitler’s presence.”

Himmler even behaved like a wimp when directly taken-on by Guderian, an admittedly powerful personality. In early 1945, Hitler had insisted that Himmler take charge of Army Group Vistula which was facing the advancing Russians. Himmler was initially enthusiastic, but performed badly. Guderian did not hide his contempt for Himmler, looking directly at him while telling Hitler: “The man can’t do it. How could he do it?” Himmler polished his glasses, and said nothing.

Weeks later Guderian finally persuaded Himmler to give up the position of Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Vistula on the grounds that he was overworked with this and the jobs of Reichsfuhrer of the SS, chief of all German police (including the Gestapo), Minister of the Interior, and Commander-in Chief of the Replacement Army. Himmler asked Guderian: “But how can I go and say that to the Fuhrer? He wouldn’t like it if I came up with such a suggestion.” Guderian: “Would you authorise me to say it for you?” Himmler nodded.


Loyalty to a country, a company, or any sort of organisation may result in considerable loyalty to a leader, notwithstanding the underlings view of his personal qualities and abilities and the lack of any personal relationship.

At its simplest form, it is a matter of blind loyalty to whoever is in charge. When Hitler came to power in January, 1933 Erich von Manstein was only a battalion commander and had no contact with him; but Manstein was with Hitler in spirit. He wanted Germany restored to “its former greatness” with an end to the Weimar Republic’s “external impotence and internal turmoil”. For Manstein, “the only way out was a temporary dictatorship by the leader of the strongest party.” Once in contact with Hitler, Manstein, as already noted, initially regarded him as a “genius”; but by 1943 one of Hitler’s decisions moved him to exclaim in frustration: “My God, the man’s an idiot.”

But then another aspect of Manstein’s loyalty to his country became evident. He was now a Field Marshal, and when approached to join a conspiracy against Hitler, it was – he claimed with some credibility – his loyalty to the Prussian heritage of the German army that kept him out of the plot. Manstein simply said: “Prussian Field Marshals do not mutiny.”

Charles-Maurice Talleyrand recalled that he “served Bonaparte as Emperor with devotion so long as I felt he himself was solely devoted to the interests of France”. In Berlin in 1806, Napoleon dictated very harsh peace terms to Prussia, declared trade and correspondence with Britain off limits, and told Talleyrand about his plans for war in Spain. Talleyrand did not believe all this was in the interests of his country: “I then swore to myself that I would cease to be his Minister as soon as we returned to France.”

Alexander Barmin, an early Stalin colleague, later wrote that in the early 1930s “loyalty to Stalin … was based principally on the conviction that there was no one to take his place, that any change of leadership would be extremely dangerous, and that the country must continue on its present course, since to stop now or attempt a retreat would mean the loss of everything.”

And, even though Stalin later reacted to Hitler’s June 1941 invasion with shock and self-doubt, the other Soviet leaders did not move against him in large part because, as Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan said: “The very name of Stalin was a great force for rousing the morale of the people.”


For the very ambitious, being near the leader is the place to be: it is here that there is money, prestige, and power to boss others. These factors may have little to do with a relationship with the particular leader, and little to do with concern for the welfare of the organisation; so to the extent that these are the main motivations for becoming a underling, he/she will be very alert for any sign that the leader is failing. Such a underling will readily swear allegiance to someone new. As Napoleon said of Talleyrand: “With him, as with many people, one would need to be always successful.”

Being near the leader is interesting; a place where the future of the organisation is decided. Talleyrand himself wrote of the excitement: “Carried away by the rapidity of events, by ambition, by the interest of each day, placed in that atmosphere of war and political change which brooded over the whole of Europe, people found it impossible to pay due regard to their private affairs; public life occupied so great a part of their minds that private life was never given a single thought. One came to one’s house like a visitor owing to the necessity of resting somewhere, but nobody was prepared to stay permanently at home.”

“Ambition! That had a lot to do with it”, noted Hans Frank when asked about his motives for supporting Hitler who appointed him Bavarian Minister of Justice and later, Governor-General of Poland. “Just imagine – I was a Minister of State at thirty; rode around in a limousine, had servants …”

Speer wrote of how ambition bound him to Hitler in the early-mid 1930s: “My position as Hitler’s architect had soon become indispensable to me. Not yet thirty, I saw before me the most exciting prospects an architect can dream of.” After visiting Paris in 1940 following the French defeat, Hitler said to Speer: “Draw up a decree in my name ordering full-scale resumption of work on the Berlin buildings. … Wasn’t Paris beautiful? But Berlin must be made far more beautiful. In the past, I have often considered whether we would not have to destroy Paris. But when we are finished in Berlin, Paris will only be a shadow. So why should we destroy it?”
Speer later wrote of the effect of this on his pride and ambition: “I was once again seduced by Hitler’s brilliant victories and by the prospect of soon resuming work on my building projects. Now it was up to me to surpass Paris.”

Goering thought that ambition was also the driving force for Josef Goebbels, Hitler chief pf propaganda. Goering told the prison psychiatrist at Nuremberg that Goebbels “saw his big chance to become powerful by using the press for anti-Semitic reasons. Personally, I think Goebbels was using anti-Semitism merely as a means of achieving personal power. Whether he had any deep-seated hatred against the Jews is questionable. I think he was too much of a thief and dishonest opportunist to have any deep-seated feelings for or against anything.”

Sometimes, of course, a lieutenant’s ambition is seen as the result of a little prodding. When French Ambassador Francois-Poncet asked German Defence Minister Blomberg whether the 1934 appointment of Ribbentrop as Special Commissioner of the Reich Government for Disarmament Questions meant a new phrase in German policy, Blomberg replied: “The reality is far simpler. Ribbentrop wanted a title, an office, a position; or rather his wife, a vain, ambitious women, pressed him to demand something.” This may have, at least in part, been the source of what Paul Schmidt, the German Foreign Ministry interpreter, described as Ribbentrop’s “own vanity” and his “abnormal desire for rank and position”.

Once the lieutenant has risen as far as he can, his ambition can result in a slightly more cautious approach: why risk what you have if you can avoid doing so? Napoleon made a similar point 1814. “He found fault with himself for having made so much use of the military marshals in these later days”, recorded Caulaincourt, “since they had become too rich, to much the grand seigneurs and had grown war weary. Things, according to him, would have been much better if he had placed good generals of division, with their batons yet to win, in command.”

The leader knows the value of money to each member of his executive team; and often, as did Napoleon, finds a number of different ways to provide it. For a start, Napoleon had his “extraordinary domain” which consisted of the “the total resources supplied by conquest”. Napoleon had sole power to use these assets and their revenues as he wished — on the army, or for the encouragement and reward of civil or military services; and, of course, ensuring loyalty to himself.

Napoleon’s third secretary, Fain, later wrote about the “extraordinary domain” which Napoleon tightly and personally controlled: “My work was divided between two large books he always kept on a corner of his table, the list of holdings and the list of individuals. The list of holdings contained the gross total worth, in land and revenues, attributed to the extraordinary domain of Pomerania, Poland, … Belgium, … the French canals, the tolls on the Rhine, … and the Great Book of France. Next to the gross worth, the concessions deducted off the top were noted exactly, and what was left in available net worth appeared. The list of individuals was a sort of dictionary of grants. An account had been opened for each recipient and indicated there was not only the income that had been granted to him, but also the holdings from which this income had been derived. When the Emperor wanted to grant endowments, he calculated them himself.”

According to Meneval, in 1807 Napoleon distributed “sums of from two hundred thousand to one million francs to each of nine marshals, sums of one hundred thousand francs to each of thirty nine generals”.

Theophile Berlier, who initially thought Napoleon “the man sent by providence to consolidate our republican institutions”, opposed Napoleon’s rise to First Consul for Life and his later rise to hereditary Emperor, but he remained a underling: “I was prevailed upon to consider it a duty dictated by liberalism not to abandon positions from which patriots could still render service to the state and to liberty.” However, he also noted that the salary was important because he was “without patrimonial fortune”, and “was a very advanced age (forty-five) for resuming pleading as a barrister, yet perhaps not sufficient to secure a comfortable existence in the simple work of a practice, which is ordinarily fruitful only for older legal consultants.”

Berlier’s motives are a good example of the way the mix of factors binding the underling to the leader can change over time: from believing in Napoleon, he moved on to money and prestige. “In 1802 I had combated the establishment of the Legion of Honour; and when it became law I was called to become part of it with the rank of commander. (Then in 1808) I found myself enrolled in a new nobility by virtue of the functions that I exercised (in the Council of State).” “Caught up in the general movement, I yielded to it.”
But Berlier could only pass on his title to his eldest son if he could also guarantee, via a majorat or entail, sufficient wealth to enable that son to maintain the dignity of the title. Berlier, like some others, did not have such wealth, so Napoleon stepped in “by personally providing to (certain) title holders the capital necessary to establish their majorats from the immense reservoir of his domaine extraordinaire”.

Napoleon could also use various concessions to bind his underlings to him, such as that flowing from gaming tables. Bourreinne wrote that when Napoleon told Minister of Police Fouche that he intended to abolish the office of Minister of Police, Fouche recommended a delay of two years. Fouch, “as avaricious for money as Bonaparte of glory, consoled himself by thinking that for these two years the administration of the gaming tables would still be for him a Pactolus flowing with gold”. “For Fouche, already the possessor of an immense fortune, always dreamed of increasing it, though he himself did not know how to enjoy it.”

By 1812, General Savary was in charge of the police and Napoleon – who claimed Savary would “murder his wife and children” if so ordered – commented on one source of his loyalty: “Savary clings to his ministry and the salary. He is afraid of losing his post, although, so far as that goes, he no longer needs it, as I have given him plenty of money. … Whether as aide-de-camp or as a cabinet minister, he was always asking for money, and this displeased me. Not that he was alone in this, for never did (Marshal) Ney or (Marshal) Oudinot or many another open or finish a campaign without coming to me for cash.”

Hitler also knew the value of money to his lieutenants. According to Hans Lammers, Hitler’s Chancellery Chief-of-Staff, “bonuses were granted in land and property, chiefly however in cash to ‘deserving men’”; with recipients including Ribbentrop, Keitel, Guderian, and Lammers himself. He noted: “Category of bonus eligibles whom the Fuhrer personally designated: Minister, State Secretaries, General of the Army, Generals, Reichleiters (regional representatives of the central government), Gauleiters (regional Nazi party leaders), etc. Usual amount of the bonus in these cases: between one hundred thousand Reichsmark and a million Reichsmark. Occasion for granting the bonus: birthdays (fiftieth, fifty-fifth and sixtieth), special anniversaries, retirement from work etc.”

Goering was like a pig in mud with the possibilities of his position. The fanfare accompanying his 1935 marriage led the British Ambassador to comment: “A visitor to Berlin might well have thought that the monarchy had been restored and that he had stumbled upon the preparations for a royal wedding.” In late 1942 Goering journeyed to Italy with Field Marshal Rommel, ostensibly to help co-ordinate operations in North Africa where the German and Italian forces were under pressure. However, Goering showed little interest in the task at hand. Instead he went shopping for art works, flaunted his diamond ring – “one of the most valuable stones in the world” – and bragged to the Rommels: “They call me the Maecenas of the Third Reich.”

While the underling’s desire to be personally special to the leader is often tied to the desire to be special to that person, the underling’s desire for general prestige and recognition often has an even closer tie because the underling knows the importance of the leader In the underling’s mind there will be little prestige in being the underling to a hated thug – he wants to feel pride, and to feel what it is like to have some of the aura of the leader.

Bourreinne, Napoleon’s first secretary, later wrote: “I was so closely employed that I scarcely ever went out … but my zeal carried me through every difficulty, and … I cannot express how happy I was in enjoying the unreserved confidence of the man on whom the eyes of all Europe were filed.”

On the evening of Goebbels’ thirty ninth birthday, Hitler held a rally at the Sportpalast stadium in his honour, lavishing him with praise and calling on the crowd to join in shouting “Heil” to him. Hitler was, for a moment at least, allowing Goebbels to feel like the leader. Goebbels wrote in his diary: “This I didn’t expect. How grateful I am to him.”

Speer later wrote of being Armaments Minister in the first part of 1944: “Even though I was only shining in the reflected light of Hitler’s power – and I don’t think I ever deceived myself on that score – I still found it worth striving for. I wanted, as part of his following, to gather some of his popularity, his glory, his greatness, around myself.”

Following the defeat of France, Hitler dished out a round of promotions, with Goering promoted from Field Marshal to Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich (an amazing six-star general). The American journalist, William Shirer, noted that Goering “acted like a happy child playing with his toys on Christmas morning”.

Napoleon could have explained why Goering was so happy! “Men well deserve the contempt I feel for them”, he told Bourreinne: “I have only to put some gold lace on the coats of my virtuous republicans and they immediately become just what I wish them.”
To critics of the Legion of Honour, introduced in 1802, Napoleon argued: “I defy you to show me a republic, modern or ancient, that did without distinctions. You call them ‘baubles’, but let me assure you it is with baubles that men are led!” And, in 1808 Napoleon established the titles of Duke, Count, Baron, and Chevalier of the Empire. Cambaceres, Napoleon’s Arch-Chancellor, indicated that “such titles will henceforth serve only to mark for public recognition those already noted for their services, for their devotion to the prince (Napoleon) and the fatherland”.

Cambaceres himself was a prime beneficiary. A contemporary wrote: “Never did titles, crosses, and ribands give anyone more pleasure than they did him. His whole delight lay in displaying them.”
Like Goering, Cambaceres had a more than ample (ie fat) frame, and hence uniform material, to hang these “baubles” on. And, both liked fancy titles. Cambaceres told his aides that in public they should address him as “Your Most Serene Highness” rather than the official “Your Grandeur”.

Although it is not often directly admitted, the power of a lieutenant over others is an obvious attraction of the job. Speer was most honest about it. By early 1944: “I had been bribed and intoxicated by the desire to wield pure power, to assign people to this and that, to say the final word on important questions, to deal with expenditures in the billions. I thought I was prepared to resign, but I would have sorely missed the heady stimulus that comes with leadership.”

Back to Articles page