Germany in WW2
Adolf Hitler
Nazi Party

Why were the Nazis elected?

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01/14/2007

This is a huge issue, so this answer focuses on the essentials. The two most important reasons were: *Mass unemployment as a result of the Great Depression - in a young democracy (with only very wobbly commitment to democracy). *The absence in Germany at the time of an effective, conventional mainstream right- wing party. In 1928 (before the stockmarket crash) the NSDAP (Nazis) won only 12 out of about 580 possible seats in the Reichstag (Parliament) and were written off as a joke led by a funny, wildly gesticulating little man with very strange ideas. In 1930, however, the Nazis won 107 seats and were a force to be reckoned with. Their strength grew rapidly between 1930 and 1932, when they became the largest single party. Obviously, they exploited fear - especially of Communism; they also exploited resentment arising out of the Treaty of Versailles. However, it was everyday, basic 'bread and butter' issues that appealed to most voters rather than, say, Germany's frontiers and so on. In Germany at the time, commitment to democracy was wobbly or plain weak, partly because democracy was associated with defeat and since 1929-30 with unemployment. The main right-wing party in the late 1920s was the German Nationalists (the DNVP). It had lost touch with its supporters and had somehow lost its way - and many of its traditional supporters. For example, in 1928 it tried to resist legislation abolishing the right of aristocratic landowners (in some parts of the country) to whip (!) their agricultural labourers. The DNVP was in habit of knee-jerk support of 'landed interests' and was hopelessly out of touch. It's not surprising that it was in decline. I hope this goes some way towards answering the question. Joncey