When Germany lost World War I (1914-1918) Germany became extremely poor. Millions of people lost their jobs and the whole country plunged into depression. The Germans thought of their lives as worthless. So when Adolf Hitler came along, people believed he could solve their problems.
Hitler (1889-1945) founded the National Socialist (Nazi) party. He had very strong ideas and beliefs, and focused on his idea of racial purity. He promised to rebuild Germany, create jobs and make a better place for the Germans to live. He was also offering to restore their pride, which they lost after losing the war.
Hitler thought that the Aryan "Master race" was superior to all other races. People in the Aryan race were thought to be tall, blonde, blue-eyed Germans. Hitler hated the Slavs from Central and Eastern Europe, gypsies, blacks, homosexuals and many others. But the Jews were Hitler's main enemies and were said to be the cause of Germany's defeat in 1918.
By the late '20s the Nazis had gained more power. They were supported by the SA who were also known as the 'Brownshirts'. The SA were violent and also very racist and tended to single out Jews. Hitler's hatred of the Jews was known as anti-Semitism.
In January 1933, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany, and was second only to President Hindenburg. After World War 1 Germany was forced to sign an agreement - The Versailles Treaty. This banned Germany from making weapons took some of Germany's land and also took the remains of Germany's pride. In 1933, Hitler re-occupied all the areas Germany had been forced to give up. Many Germans saw Hitler as a hero.
Jews stood out because they had a different religion and different customs. They were forced to live in poor, run-down areas,