Reichsgau

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Not to be confused with the Gau, an administrative region of the NSDAP (Nazi Party).
NSDAP administrative units, 1944.
Map of Nazi Germany with Reichsgaue highlighted.

A Reichsgau (plural Reichsgaue) was an administrative subdivision created in a number of the areas annexed to Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945.

Overview[edit]

The term was formed from the words Reich 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: Party Gau and state administrative borders were to be identical, and the Party Gauleiter also occupied the post of Reichsstatthalter. Rival interests and the influence the Gauleiters wielded with Hitler prevented any reform from being undertaken in the "Old Reich[disambiguation needed]" itself, and the Reichsgau scheme was therefore implemented only in newly acquired territories.

There were several Reichsgaue:

The Ostmark was subsequently subdivided into seven smaller Reichsgaue, generally coterminous with the former Austrian Länder (states).

List of Reichsgaue[edit]

Reichsgaue established in 1938[edit]

Gau name German name Capital Established Notes
Carinthia Kärnten Klagenfurt 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol, included from 1941 on parts of Slovenia.
Lower Danube Niederdonau Krems
*However, in 1943, Hitler toured Reichsgau Niederdonau and assured Gauleiter Hugo Jury that the capital would be Brünn (Brno) in the near future.[1]
1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Lower Austria and northern Burgenland; included from 1939 on parts of southern Moravia.
Salzburg Salzburg Salzburg 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Salzburg.
Sudetenland Sudetenland Reichenberg 1938 Formed from the predominantly German-speaking parts of Czechoslovakia that were ceded to Germany after the Munich Agreement.
Styria Steiermark Graz 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Styria and southern part of Burgenland; included from 1941 on parts of Slovenia.
Tyrol-Vorarlberg Tirol-Vorarlberg Innsbruck 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Vorarlberg and the northern part of Tyrol; Kleinwalsertal became part of the Gau Swabia.
Upper Danube Oberdonau Linz 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Upper Austria and Ausseerland, a part of Styria; included from 1939 on parts of southern Bohemia.
Vienna Wien Vienna 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Vienna and surrounding parts of former Lower Austria.

Reichsgaue established during the Second World War[edit]

Gau name German name Capital Established Notes
Danzig - West Prussia Danzig - Westpreußen Danzig 1939 Formed in the Free City of Danzig and the Polish region of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, which were both occupied by Germany in 1939.
Flanders Flandern Antwerp 1944 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).
Wartheland Wartheland Poznań (Posen) 1939 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.
Wallonia Wallonien Namur 1944 Formed in the Belgian region of Wallonia, comprising the Francophone provinces of Hainaut, Liège but 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).

Reichsgaue to be (partly) formed out of pre-existing Gaue[edit]

Gau name German name Capital Notes
West March Westmark Saarbrücken Formed out of the Bavarian Rhine Palatinate, the former Territory of the Saar Basin, and parts of Lorraine that were a component of Alsace-Lorraine.
Upper Rhine Oberrhein Strasbourg (Straßburg) Formed out of the Gaue of Baden and Alsace, formerly part of Alsace-Lorraine.
Moselland Moselland Koblenz Formed out of the pre-war Gau Koblenz-Trier, and Luxembourg.

Planned Reichsgaue that were never established[edit]

Gau name German name Capital Notes
Banat/Prince Eugene Banat/Prinz-Eugen Belgrade (Belgrad, or to be renamed to Prinz-Eugen-Stadt) To be formed out of the Yugoslavian territories of Bačka, Syrmia, and Banat, parts of Transylvania (Siebenbürgen) and Baranya.
Beskidland Beskidenland Kraków (Krakau) To be formed out of the southern parts of conquered Poland between the area west of Kraków to the San river in the east. It was to substantially correspond to the upper Vistula river basin. It was to be almost identical in size to Weichselland and Galizien.
Brabant Brabant
Burgundy Burgund Nancy (Nanzig) or
Geneva (Genf)[2] or
Dijon[3]
To be formed out of the territories of eastern France (excluding Alsace Lorraine and Nord-Pas-de-Calais) that were to be annexed into Germany after the war. Also to be included to the Reichsgau were parts of Western Switzerland.
Galicia Galizien Lviv (Lemberg) Corresponding to the Podolian plain. It was to be almost identical in size to Beskidenland and Weichselland.
Gothland Gotenland Simferopol (to be renamed to Gotenburg) To be formed out of the Crimean peninsula and large parts of mainland Ukraine.
Northern march Nordmark Not specified. To be formed out of Denmark.
Vandalland Vandalenland Not specified. To be formed out of part or all of the area of the General Government.
Vistula land Weichselland Warsaw (Warschau) To be formed out of the middle Vistula river basin. It was to be almost identical in size to Beskidenland and Galizien.
Westland/Holland Westland/Holland Not specified. To be formed out of the Netherlands after its intended annexation into Germany.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bryant, C.C. (2007). Prague in black: Nazi rule and Czech nationalism, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-02451-6, p. 125
  2. ^ Hans Rudolf Fuhrer (1982). Spionage gegen die Schweiz. Huber. p. 68. ISBN 3-274-00003-5. 
  3. ^ 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.