Chief of Civil Administration

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CdZ areas around 1941

Head of Civil Administration (CdZ) was a German official title during the Second World War . The task of a chief of the civil administration was to lead the civil administration in the conquered areas on behalf of the commander-in-chief of the army . A military authority was available to him for this purpose. A CdZ took over the occupation administration of an occupied area until a new civil administration was established after the completion of the military operations.

The CdZ organization as an administrative body for occupied areas did not prove itself and was replaced by the so-called "pure" military administration by the Army High Command for the campaign in the west. This also only existed for a short time. Towards the end of the war, the army's competence was limited to the right to issue orders to the civil authorities at the front and a combat area 20-25 km deep.

The CdZ of the National Socialist German Reich de facto annexed areas ( district Białystok , Suwałki Region (Suwalki), Zichenau , Alsace , Lorraine , Luxembourg , Oberkrain , Lower Styria ) were all at the same time Reichsstatthalter and NSDAP - Gauleiter adjoining German territories. In these two functions they were subordinate to Adolf Hitler and the Reich Ministry of the Interior , which was supposed to control the annexation. In many cases they were able to assert themselves against the Reich Ministry of the Interior, but could not restrict Heinrich Himmler's powers or Hermann Göring's right to issue instructions on economic issues.

Area of ​​responsibility and subordination

According to the Reich Defense Act of May 21, 1935, the Reich Minister of War assumed all executive powers on behalf of the Führer and Reich Chancellor . The state leadership surrendered its executive powers to the armed forces for the duration of military operations and for the areas of operations of the army which it had determined.

The commander-in-chief of the army was to be given a high official in the form of the CdZ, who had to direct the civil administration of the operational areas. Originally the CdZ organization was planned for the case of defense and for areas within Germany, but it was also planned for foreign territories to be conquered in the future and included in the mobilization plans. The Wehrmacht thus possessed de jure all the means of power of an occupying army, including the right to issue instructions to the highest Reich authorities. The Reich Minister of Economics was excluded as a general representative for the war economy .

In 1938 the Wehrmacht adapted its regulations to the 2nd Reich Defense Act of September 4, 1938. In the meantime it had become clear that the executive power was only to be expected in the empire's staging area near the border and would mainly extend to the conquered countries. The staff of the Wehrmacht for the CdZ organizations had to be prepared to organize the occupation administration of conquered areas.

Because Adolf Hitler took the place of the previous Reich Minister of War and embodied the highest authority in military power, the CdZ were also subordinate to him. They were therefore both executive organs of the army command and subordinates of Hitler. He was thus able to directly influence the administration of the occupied territories and assert his political and ideological ideas. He could commission other Reich authorities to do this, and SS and police formations in the occupied territories usually also claimed unlimited powers. The army command was usually relieved when the civil administration was relieved of them. She was completely busy with the tasks of warfare and with the task of operating authorities for administration and economy, due to insufficient knowledge.

Occupation administrations through CdZ

  • After the occupation of the Sudeten German territories in October 1938, there were chiefs of the civil administrations in the wake of the Reich German troops. These exercised their activities until the appointment of the Reich Commissioner for the Sudeten German territories, Gauleiter Konrad Henlein in Reichenberg. The CdZ organizations were poorly planned and did not prove themselves. They were faced with a power struggle between individual imperial authorities and had to be asked to stay in office for an additional week because Henlein's civil administration was not yet operational. Henlein was able to easily evade the influence of the military commanders through his direct access to Hitler.
  • After the smashing of Czechoslovakia, there were also heads of civil administrations in the "rest of Czech Republic ", the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia , in the wake of the German troops in March 1939. These exercised their activities until the establishment of the Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath in Prague. Despite an internal autonomy, Bohemia and Moravia were considered part of the empire.
  • Until the formation of the Reichsgau West Prussia, later Gdansk-West Prussia , Gauleiter Albert Forster acted as head of civil administration for the area of ​​the former Free City of Danzig and later for the military district of West Prussia (September / October 1939). He was deployed a few days after the occupation by Hitler, who wanted to quickly take possession of the western and northern areas of Poland intended for annexation.
  • Until the formation of the Reichsgau Posen, later Wartheland , the former Danzig Senate President Arthur Greiser acted as head of civil administration for the military district of Posen (September / October 1939).

After 1940 all occupied areas that were subordinate to a CdZ were treated as Reich territory, but not annexed and therefore did not belong to the Reich. The exception was Eupen-Malmedy , which was formerly part of the German Empire . From August 1940, the Gauleiter at the border in the west were appointed as heads of civil administration in the areas of Luxembourg and France, for:

The CdZ of these areas had the order to Germanize them in a number of years.

After Yugoslavia was broken up, some of the former Habsburg territories were placed under German administration. As before in the West, however, there was no formal annexation. From April 1941, the Gauleiter on the German south-eastern border were appointed as chiefs of the civil administration on formerly Yugoslav territory for:

An area of ​​the Soviet Union that had belonged to Poland until 1939 was also placed under German administration. From August 1941, the Gauleiter on the German eastern border was appointed as head of civil administration (initially referred to as "civil commissioner") on formerly Soviet territory for: