Establishment of the Nazi Party and Nazi Policies

Establishment of the Nazi Party

The German Workers' Party was a political party established in Weimar Germany after World War I. The DAP was set up by Anton Drexler only and only lasted from 5 January 1919 until 24 February 1920 when it was succeeded by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

Hitler was first introduced to the Nazi Party when he was employed by the Army to spy on the German Workers Party. He attended several of their meetings and realised he agreed with many of their ideas. After Hitler spoke at one of their meetings, Leader Anton Drexler was so impressed with Hitler's public speaking skills that he invited him to join the party. Hitler was put in charge of Recruitment and Propaganda as he was a very talented speaker.

In 1920, Hitler wrote a new 25-point programme that listed their beliefs.

In 1921, Hitler set up the Sturmabteilung (known as the SA) who protected Nazi Party meetings and often beat up Political Opponents.

In 1922, Hitler became the leader of the Nazi Party after it had grown to 6,000 political members.

In 1923, Hitler plotted to overthrow the Weimar Government.

  • The Government in Bavaria was made up of right-wing nationalists and opposed the Weimar Government, so he believed they would support him.

  • On the evening of the 8th of November, Hitler and the Nazis burst into a meeting at the beer hall in Munich and threatened the Bavarian Leader, forcing him to support their putsch.

  • After Von Kahr was allowed to leave, he betrayed Hitler, and called the police, resulting in Hitler’s arrest and subsequent trial and imprisonment. The Nazi Party were also banned for 2 years, from 1923 to 1925, whilst Hitler was imprisoned. During his imprisonment, he wrote his autobiography, Mein Kampf, which was released in 1925.

Following his release, he reestablish his control over the party and created the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute.

From 1928 to 1929, votes for the Nazi Party increased in rural areas, while they gained their first majority in Coburg. Hitler also led the campaign against the Young Plan referendum.

In the 1930s, Hitler made numerous speeches which increased the popularity of the Nazi Party as they presented solutions on how to solve the Weimar Republic’s economic problems.

In 1932, Hitler was able to further establish his support as he took part in the Presidential Election of 1932, garnering a total of 13.4 million votes. In July 1932, Hitler demanded to be made chancellor as the Nazi Party was the largest political party with 32% of the votes.

Finally, Hitler was appointed Chancellor on the 30th January 1933, with Von Papen as Vice-Chancellor. Von Papen had persuaded Hindenburg that Hitler could be controlled if he (von Papen) was made Vice-Chancellor, as von Papen and von Schleicher were unpopular as chancellors.

Hitler’s appointment came about due to a number of factors;

  • Importantly, the Nazi’s were the largest political party at the time

  • Hitler clearly had support as he was the close runner up in the 1932 Presidential elections

  • Hitler presented solutions to the Great Depression; all the former Chancellors had been unsuccessful.

  • The Nazis were a right-wing party, and Hindenburg, who disliked Weimar democracy, shared some of their beliefs.

What are the main elements of Nazi ideology?

  • Anti-semitism

This is hatred and disdain for Jewish people. Hitler contributed to the spread of the belief that Jews had a business-minded nature and made profits by taking advantage of German war production. They were also believed to be sub-human and the most racially inferior. This aligns with the belief that the Aryan race is the superior race.

  • Anschluss

The unification of all German-speaking people. He was able to succeed in doing this with the Anschluss with Austria in 1938.

  • Expansionism

Hitler aimed at creating Lebensraum– meaning ‘living space’ for German people.

  • Totalitarianism

Nothing and no one should go against the state. The Nazis should receive total obedience from the population.

  • Dictatorship

Hitler took many steps to centralise power & control over Nazi Germany and remove democracy from the country.

  • Militarism

The Nazis believed that it was imperative for Germany to have a great military capability to aggressively defend and enforce their territorial interests, and also for National Pride.

  • Autarky

Hitler wanted to make Germany self-sufficient in terms of its economy and supply of resources.

What were Nazi policies and how were they appealing to certain groups?