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. (May 2018)
NSDAP administrative units, 1944
Map of Nazi Germany with Reichsgaue
A Reichsgau (plural Reichsgaue) was an administrative subdivision created in a number of areas annexed by Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945.
Propaganda postcard of Nazi Germany depicting the Gaues of the Reich (October 1939)
The term was formed from the words Reich (realm, empire) and Gau, the latter a deliberately medieval-sounding word with a meaning approximately equivalent to shire. The Reichsgaue were an attempt to resolve the administrative chaos resulting from the mutually overlapping jurisdictions and different boundaries of the NSDAP Party Gaue, placed under a Party Gauleiter, and the federal states, under a Reichsstatthalter responsible to the Ministry of the Interior (in the Prussian provinces, the equivalent post was that of Oberpräsident). Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick had long desired to streamline the German administration, and the Reichsgaue were the result: the borders of party Gaue and those of the federal states were to be identical, and the party Gauleiter also occupied the post of Reichsstatthalter. Rival interests and the influence the Gauleiter wielded with Hitler prevented any reform from being undertaken in the "Old Reich" (German: Altreich), which meant Germany in its borders of 1937 before the annexation of other territories like Austria, the Sudetenland, and Bohemia, and the Reichsgau scheme was therefore implemented only in newly-acquired territories.
There were several Reichsgaue:
The East March was subsequently subdivided into seven smaller Reichsgaue, generally coterminous with the former Austrian Länder (federal provinces).
List of Reichsgaue
Reichsgaue in Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia established in 1938
Reichsgaue established during the Second World War
||Formed in the Free City of Danzig and the Polish region of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, which were both occupied by Germany in 1939.
||Formed in the Flemish Region of Belgium, comprising the Dutch-speaking provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, East Flanders, West Flanders, the arrondissement of Brussels (except the city of Brussels itself), and the arrondissement of Leuven in the then-province of Brabant (the present-day province of Flemish Brabant).
||Formed in the Belgian region of Wallonia, comprising the Francophone provinces of Hainaut, Liège except the cantons of Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt Vith, Luxembourg, Namur, and the arrondissement of Nivelles in the contemporary province of Brabant (now part of the separate province of Walloon Brabant).
||Formed primarily in the Polish region of the Poznań Voivodeship as well as southern areas of Pomeranian and the western half of Łódź Voivodeship after the German occupation of Poland.
Reichsgaue to be (partly) formed out of pre-existing Gaue
Planned Reichsgaue that were never established
- ^ Bryant, C.C. (2007). Prague in black: Nazi rule and Czech nationalism, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-02451-6, p. 125
- ^ Hans Rudolf Fuhrer (1982). Spionage gegen die Schweiz. Huber. p. 68. ISBN 3-274-00003-5.
- ^ Jeremy Noakes, Geoffrey Pridham (1995). Nazism, 1919-1945: Foreign policy, war and racial extermination. University of Exeter Press. p. 882. ISBN 0-85989-474-6.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)