"Führer" (sometimes rendered Fuehrer) is a German word meaning "leader" or "guide". Adolf Hitler used the title in his position as leader of the NSDAP in 1921. Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and succeeded Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg as head of state in 1934. Rather than use the title of Reichspräsident, Hitler instead legally adopted the title Führer und Reichskanzler ("Leader and Chancellor of the (Third) Reich"), at the same time legally unifying the offices of President and Chancellor, making Hitler, in practice, the Dictator of the Nazi German Reich.
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 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 it was changed to Führer des Grossdeutschen Reichs ("Leader of the Greater German Nation").
The title fell into disuse immediately upon Hitler's death in 1945. In his will, Hitler appointed Josef Goebbels to the office of chancellor, and appointed Karl Dönitz to the office of Reichspräsident.
In certain Harry Turtledove timelines, the use of the title Führer continued beyond Hitler's death, whose date of death varies between stories. In the Worldwar Franchise, Hitler's successors use the title Führer und Reichskanzler, the title Hitler held up until 1942 of OTL. In In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Hitler's successors use the title Führer des Grossdeutschen Reichs or simply, Führer, the title Hitler officially used from 1942 until 1945 in OTL.
|1||Adolf Hitler||1934-mid 1960s|
|2||Heinrich Himmler||Mid 1960s-1985|
|-||Odilo Globocnik'||Acting Führer,|
24 hours in June 2011
Incumbent at novel's end, 2012
In 2011, the reform-minded Heinz Buckliger was temporarily overthrown during a Putsch launched by Reichsführer-SS Lothar Prützmann. Odilo Globocnik held the position of Acting Führer for about 24 hours until the Putsch was defeated and Buckliger was reinstalled.
Between 1934 and 1966, four men are known to have held the office of Führer and Chancellor of Germany.
||Führer and Chancellor||Term|
Heinrich Himmler died unexpectedly in 1964, while in the midst of planning an attack on Race-controlled Poland. After a brief regency by the Committee of Eight, his successor Ernst Kaltenbrunner initiated Himmler's plan, leading to the brief and catastrophic Race-German War of 1965, which saw the death of Kaltenbrunner, and the ascension of the moderate Walter Dornberger, essentially the last senior official still alive.
Under Dornberger and his successors, Germany rebuilt in secret, away from the watchful eyes of the Race. By 2031, the Reich had become a space-faring power once again, and the Race respected it as a potential rival once more.
Adolf Hitler is or was the Führer of the Greater German Reich in the vast majority of Harry Turtledove timelines involving the Nazi Party and/or World War II, including "Cayos in the Stream", the Days of Infamy series, "The Eighth-Grade History Class Visits the Hebrew Home for the Aging", Joe Steele (both novel and short story), "The Last Article", The Man With the Iron Heart, "Must and Shall", "News From the Front", "Or Even Eagle Flew", "The Phantom Tolbukhin", and "Zigeuner". His role in these stories is usually limited to references. In all cases, he either dies on 30 April 1945 as in OTL, or is still in power at the end of the story, regardless of date. Hitler's rule is also used as the backdrop for several stories which are not alternate history.
In "Shtetl Days", the Third Reich still exists in the 2030s. Hitler is referred to as the first Führer, but none of his successors are named.
In The War That Came Early, Hitler is the only Führer of Germany, and is killed in April 1944. The Nazi Party is overthrown by the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation, headed by Committee Chairman Heinz Guderian.
Hitler is also referenced in "The Last Word", part of S.M. Stirling's Draka timeline, where Hitler was the only Führer of Germany. He was killed in 1942 and succeeded by an interim military government.
- German Emperor (Kaiser), the head of state of Germany from 1871 to 1918 in OTL. Turtledove has created nearly as many alternate history versions of this office as he has of the Führer.
- Duce, an Italian title meaning "boss" or "leader" used by Benito Mussolini. He was informally called this title during most of his term as the Prime Minister of Italy, and officially adopted it as the title of head of state of the short-lived Italian Social Republic. Hitler and other fascist leaders adopted Mussolini's model, styling themselves as "leaders" of their respective countries. In In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Duce is the formal title of Italy's head of government into the 21st century.
- Caudillo, a Spanish word also meaning "leader". While the word was used throughout the Spanish-speaking world for centuries, Spanish leader Francisco Franco adopted the title during his rule over Spain (1939-1975), cementing the word's association with fascism. In In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Franco's successors continued to use the title Caudillo into the 21st century.
- Poglavnik, a Croatian title meaning "head" or "chief". In OTL, the only holder of the title was Ante Pavelić, in office 1941-1945. In "Ready for the Fatherland" and In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Pavelić had successors.
- Perón, a title unique to In the Presence of Mine Enemies, where it is used by Argentinian leaders, and appears to be equivalent to Führer, Duce, etc. While Perón was the surname of two historical Argentinian Presidents, it was never used as a title in OTL.
- Leader of the Soviet Union. The de facto dictators of the Soviet Union occupied many different offices and used a number of cumbersome, inconsistent titles. For convenience, all these individuals have been gathered together under the simplified designation of "leader". Turtledove has created several alternate succession lists of Soviet leaders.
- President of the Confederate States, the leadership position of an unrecognized nation, which operated from 1861-1865 in OTL, where only Jefferson Davis ever held the title. In The Guns of the South and Southern Victory, the Confederate States are legitimized as a nation and Davis has successors; in the latter work, the Confederate Presidency metamorphoses into something resembling the German Führer.
- Leader of Alemania, a title analogous to "Führer of Germany" in the fantasy context of The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump.