Nazism and World War II

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Nazism and World War II

The National Socialist German Workers' Party almost died one

morning in 1919. It numbered only a few dozen grumblers' it had no

organization and no political ideas. But many among the middle class

admired the Nazis' muscular opposition to the Social Democrats. And

the Nazis themes of patriotism and militarism drew highly emotional

responses from people who could not forget Germany's prewar imperial


In the national elections of September 1930, the Nazis garnered

nearly 6.5 million votes and became second only to the Social

Democrats as the most popular party in Germany. In Northeim, where in

1928 Nazi candidates had received 123 votes, they now polled 1,742, a

respectable 28 percent of the total. The nationwide success drew even

faster... in just three years, party membership would rise from about

100,000 to almost a million, and the number of local branches would

increase tenfold.

The new members included working-class people,

farmers, and middle-class professionals. They were both better

educated and younger then the Old Fighters, who had been the backbone

of the party during its first decade. The Nazis now presented

themselves as the party of the young, the strong, and the pure, in

opposition to an establishment populated by the elderly, the weak, and

the dissolute. Hitler was born in a small town in Austria in 1889. As

a young boy, he showed little ambition. After dropping out of high

school, he moved to Vienna to study art, but he was denied the chance

to join Vienna academy of fine arts.

When WWI broke out, Hitler joined Kaiser Wilhelmer's army as a

Corporal. He was not a person of great importance. He was a creature

of a Germany created by WWI, and his behavior was shaped by that war

and its consequences. He...