The Full Wiki

Führer: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

The word Führer is 'leader' or 'guide' in the German language, derived from the verb , a cognate of the Old English words faran ("to make one's way") and fær ("road", "journey") and the Modern English words derived from the older terms such as now mostly used in compounds such as wayfarer and sea-faring. These are also cognates of the Latin peritus ("experienced"), Sanskrit piparti ("brings over") and the Greek poros ("passage", "way").The word Führer in the sense of guide remains common in German, but comes with some stigma attached when used in the meaning of leader. The word Leiter is used instead.In other languages almost exclusively, the word is mainly used as the epithet for Nazi Germany's ruler Adolf Hitler. It was modelled on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce or Dux in Latin ('the Leader'). The word führer is now also an English loanword.


In German it is pronounced , but the English loanword is usually . In case the ü-umlaut is not available, the substitute spelling Fuehrer is used. However, in languages that don't readily use umlauts, Fuhrer is sometimes used as well. When not in reference to the Nazi or German concept, the word itself, not being a proper noun, is uncapitalised in English.

State and party leader Hitler

Führer Hitler in 1938.
Führer was the unique name granted by Chancellor Hitler to himself, through the Enabling Law of March 23, 1933, which allowed Hitler the power to promulgate laws by decree without participation by the Reichstag (Parliament). As part of the process of Gleichschaltung, following the death of the last Reichspräsident of the Weimar Republicmarker, Paul von Hindenburg, on August 2, 1934, Hitler designated himself as Führer and Chancellor. The new position, fully styled Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Chancellor of the (Third) Reich), unified the offices of State leader and Chancellor, formally making Hitler Germany's Head of State as well as Head of Government respectively; and, in practice, the Dictator of the Nazi Third Reich.

Nazi Germany cultivated the Führerprinzip (leader principle), and Hitler was generally known as just der Fuehrer ("the Leader"). One of the Nazis' most-repeated political slogans was Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer — "One People, One Nation, One Leader".

For military matters, Hitler used the style Führer und Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht ('Leader and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht'), until that addition was dropped in May 1942 by decree of the Führer. The style of the Head of State for use in foreign affairs was Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and National Chancellor) until July 28, 1942, when it was changed to Führer des Großdeutschen Reiches ('Leader of the Greater German Reich').

Hitler's choice for this political epithet was unprecedented in German. Like much of the early symbolism of Nazi Germany, it was modelled after Benito Mussolini's Italian Fascism. Mussolini's chosen epithet il Duce or 'Dux' in Latin ('the Leader') was widely used, though unlike Hitler he never made it his official title. Note that the Italian word Duce (unlike the German word Führer) is no longer used as a generic term for a leader, but almost always refers to Mussolini himself.

Military usage of the word Führer

Führer has been used as a military title (compare Latin Dux) in Germany since at least the 18th century. Ironically, given the usage of the word to refer to Adolf Hitler as supreme ruler of Germany, usage of the term "Führer" in the context of a company-sized military subunit in the German Army referred to a commander lacking the qualifications for permanent command. For example, the commanding officer of a company was titled "Kompaniechef" (literally, Company Chief), but if he did not have the requisite rank or experience, or was only temporarily assigned to command, he was officially titled "Kompanieführer". Thus operational commands of various military echelons were typically referred to by their formation title followed by the title Führer, in connection with mission-type tactics used by the German military forces. The term Führer was also used at lower levels, regardless of experience or rank; for example, a Gruppenführer was the leader of a squad of infantry (9 or 10 men). Aside from this generic meaning, "Gruppenführer" was also an official rank title for a specific grade of general in the Waffen SS. The word Truppenführer was also a generic word referring to any commander or leader of troops, and could be applied to NCOs or officers at many different levels of command.

Under the Nazis, the title Führer was also used in paramilitary titles (see Freikorps). Almost every Nazi paramilitary organization, in particular the SSmarker and SAmarker, had Nazi party paramilitary ranks incorporating the title of Führer.

Modern German usage

Due to its intimate connection with Nazi institutions, and Hitler personally, in Germany the isolated term Führer is usually avoided.

However, führer is used as a part of many compound words that have no readily replaceable synonyms in German. Examples include, Bergführer (mountain guide), Fremdenführer (tourist guide), Geschäftsführer (CEO or EO), Führerschein (driver's license), Führerstand or Führerhaus (driver's cab), Lok(omotiv)führer (train engineer), Reiseführer (travel guide book), Spielführer (team captain), as well as others.

To replace Führer, some of the following terms are currently used: Chef (a borrowing from the French, as is the English "chief", e.g. Chef des Bundeskanzleramtes) or Leiter, often in composites like Amtsleiter, Projektleiter, Referatsleiter (which has replaced Führer in the Boy Scouts).

See also

Sources and references

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address