The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, led to an enormous push toward discipline and regimentation. On one hand, an administration that functioned according to rules seemed necessary to run the war machine. On the other hand, the very adherence to the rules aroused the suspicion of the regime, which wanted to smell ‘bureaucracy’ behind it. However these clashes ended, it was patently obvious that law was no longer an end in itself, but a means that could be cast aside as soon as a more suitable instrument was available. Winning the war was paramount and this goal soaked up whatever remnants of liberty and the Rechtsstaat still existed. The outbreak of the war was greeted for the most part with depressed silence. After an ‘intermediate high’ in 1940–1, when Hitler's position seemed unassailable, approval for the regime gradually declined as defeat loomed increasingly on the horizon.
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