Deutsches Jungvolk _
League of German Girls
National Socialist League of the Reich for Physical Exercise
National Socialist Women\'s League
Fewer than 60 (1920)
8.5 million (1945)
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(official, German imperial colours)
"_Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein
Führer _" (English: "One People, One
Nation, One Leader") (unofficial)
Politics of Germany
* Political parties
The NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS\' PARTY (German : _
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei_ (help ·info ),
abbreviated NSDAP), commonly referred to in English as the NAZI PARTY
(/ˈnɑːtsi/ ), was a far-right political party in Germany that was
active between 1920 and 1945 and practised the ideology of
Its precursor, the German Workers\' Party (_Deutsche Arbeiterpartei_;
DAP), existed from 1919 to 1920.
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The party emerged from the German nationalist , racist , and populist
Freikorps _ paramilitary culture, which fought against the communist
uprisings in post-
World War I
World War I Germany. The party was created as a
means to draw workers away from communism and into _völkisch _
nationalism. Initially, Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big
business , anti-bourgeois , and anti-capitalist rhetoric, although
such aspects were later downplayed in order to gain the support of
industrial entities, and in the 1930s the party's focus shifted to
anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes.
Pseudo-scientific racism theories were central to Nazism. The Nazis
propagated the idea of a "people's community" (_
Their aim was to unite "racially desirable" Germans as national
comrades, while excluding those deemed either to be political
dissidents, physically or intellectually inferior, or of a foreign
race (_Fremdvölkische_). The Nazis sought to improve the stock of
the Germanic people through racial purity and eugenics , broad social
welfare programs, and a collective subordination of individual rights,
which could be sacrificed for the good of the state and the "Aryan
master race ". To maintain the supposed purity and strength of the
Aryan race, the Nazis sought to exterminate
Jews , Romani , and Poles
along with the vast majority of other Slavs , and the physically and
mentally handicapped . They imposed exclusionary segregation on
homosexuals , Africans , Jehovah\'s Witnesses , and political
opponents. The persecution reached its climax when the
party-controlled German state organized the systematic murder of
approximately six million
Jews and five million people from the other
targeted groups, in what has become known as the Holocaust .
The party's leader since 1921,
Adolf Hitler , was appointed
Chancellor of Germany by President
Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January
Hitler rapidly established a totalitarian regime known as
Reich . Following the defeat of the Third
Reich at the
World War II
World War II in Europe, the party was "declared to be
illegal" by the Allied powers , who carried out denazification in the
years after the war.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Origins and early existence: 1918–1923
* 2.2 Rise to power: 1925–1933
* 2.2.1 Ascension and consolidation
* 2.3 After taking power: intertwining of party and state
* 2.4 Defeat and abolition
* 3 Political program
* 4 Party composition
* 4.1 Command structure
* 4.1.1 Top leadership
* 4.1.3 Political leadership corps
* 4.1.4 Ordinary members
Nazi Party offices
* 4.3 Paramilitary groups
* 4.4 Affiliated organizations
* 5 Regional administration
Nazi Party _Gaue_
* 5.2 _Gaue_ dissolved before 1945
* 5.3 Associated organizations abroad
* 5.3.1 _Gaue_ in
* 6 Membership
* 6.1 General membership
* 6.2 Military membership
* 6.3 Student membership
* 6.4 Women membership
* 6.5 Membership outside of Germany
* 6.5.1 _Deutsche Gemeinschaft_
* 7 Party symbols
* 8 Ranks and rank insignia
* 9 Slogans and songs
* 10 See also
* 11 Notes
* 12 References
* 13 External links
The term "Nazi" derives from the name given in German to a party
member _Nationalsozialist_ (German pronunciation: ) and was coined in
response to the German term _Sozi_ (pronounced /zoːtsi/), an
abbreviation of _Sozialdemokrat_ (Member of the Social Democratic
Party of Germany ). Members of the party referred to themselves as
_Nationalsozialisten_ (National Socialists), rarely as Nazis. The term
_Parteigenosse_ (party member) was commonly used among Nazis, with the
feminine form _Parteigenossin_ used when it was appropriate.
The term was in use before the rise of the party as a colloquial and
derogatory word for a backward peasant , characterising an awkward and
clumsy person. It derived from _Ignaz_, being a shortened version of
Ignatius , a common name in
Bavaria , the area from which the Nazis
emerged. Opponents seized on this and shortened the party's name in
intentional association to the long-time existing 'Sozi' to the
In 1933, when
Adolf Hitler assumed power of the German government,
usage of the designation "Nazi" diminished in Germany, although
Austrian anti-Nazis continued to use the term derogatorily. The use
Nazi Germany ," and "Nazi regime," was popularised by anti-Nazis
and German exiles abroad. Thereafter, the term spread into other
languages and eventually was brought back to Germany after the Second
ORIGINS AND EARLY EXISTENCE: 1918–1923
The party grew out of smaller political groups with a nationalist
orientation that formed in the last years of
World War I
World War I . In 1918, a
league called the _Freien Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten Frieden_
(Free Workers' Committee for a good Peace) was created in
Germany. On 7 March 1918,
Anton Drexler , an avid German nationalist,
formed a branch of this league in
Munich . Drexler was a local
locksmith who had been a member of the militarist Fatherland Party
World War I
World War I , and was bitterly opposed to the armistice of
November 1918 and the revolutionary upheavals which followed. Drexler
followed the typical views of militant nationalists of the day, such
as opposing the
Treaty of Versailles , having antisemitic ,
anti-monarchist and anti-Marxist views, as well as believing in the
superiority of Germans whom they claimed to be part of the Aryan
"master race " (_Herrenvolk_). However, he also accused international
capitalism of being a Jewish-dominated movement and denounced
capitalists for war profiteering in World War I. Drexler saw the
political violence and instability in Germany the result of the new
Weimar Republic being out-of-touch with the masses, especially the
lower classes. Drexler emphasized the need for a synthesis of
_völkisch_ nationalism with a form of economic socialism , in order
to create a popular nationalist-oriented workers' movement that could
challenge the rise of
Communism and internationalist politics . These
were all well-known themes popular with various
groups such as the _
Nazi Party badge emblem
Drexler's movement did receive attention and support from some
influential figures. Supporter
Dietrich Eckhart brought military
Felix Graf von Bothmer , a prominent supporter of the
concept of "national socialism", to address the movement. Later in
Karl Harrer (a journalist and member of the
Thule Society ),
convinced Drexler and several others to form the _Politischer
Arbeiterzirkel _ (Political Workers' Circle). The members met
periodically for discussions with themes of nationalism and racism
directed against the Jews. In December 1918, Drexler decided that a
new political party should be formed, based on the political
principles that he endorsed, by combining his branch of the Workers'
Committee for a good Peace with the Political Workers' Circle.
On 5 January 1919, Drexler created a new political party and proposed
it be named the "German Socialist Workers' Party", but Harrer objected
to the term "socialist"; so the term was removed and the party was
named the German Workers\' Party (_Deutsche Arbeiterpartei_, DAP). To
ease concerns among potential middle-class supporters, Drexler made
clear that unlike Marxists, the party supported the middle-class, and
that its socialist policy was meant to give social welfare to German
citizens deemed part of the Aryan race. They became one of many
_völkisch_ movements that existed in Germany. Like other _völkisch_
groups, the DAP advocated the belief that through profit-sharing
instead of socialisation Germany should become a unified "people's
community" (_Volksgemeinschaft_) rather than a society divided along
class and party lines. This ideology was explicitly antisemitic. As
early as 1920, the party was raising money by selling a tobacco called
_Anti-Semit_. NSDAP membership book
From the outset, the DAP was opposed to non-nationalist political
movements, especially on the left, including the Social Democratic
Party of Germany (SPD) and the
Communist Party of Germany (KPD).
Members of the DAP saw themselves as fighting against "Bolshevism "
and anyone considered a part of or aiding so-called "international
Jewry ". The DAP was also deeply opposed to the
Versailles Treaty .
The DAP did not attempt to make itself public, and meetings were kept
in relative secrecy, with public speakers discussing what they thought
of Germany's present state of affairs , or writing to like-minded
societies in Northern Germany.
The DAP was a comparatively small group with fewer than 60 members.
Nevertheless, it attracted the attention of the German authorities,
who were suspicious of any organisation that appeared to have
subversive tendencies. In July 1919 while stationed in
Munich , army
Adolf Hitler was appointed a _Verbindungsmann_
(intelligence agent) of an _Aufklärungskommando_ (reconnaissance
unit) of the _
Reichswehr _ (army) by Captain Mayr the head of the
Propaganda Department_ (Dept Ib/P) in
Bavaria . Hitler
was assigned to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the DAP.
While attending a party meeting on 12 September 1919,
involved in a heated argument with a visitor, Professor Baumann, who
questioned the soundness of
Gottfried Feder 's arguments against
capitalism and proposed that
Bavaria should break away from Prussia
and found a new South German nation with
Austria . In vehemently
attacking the man's arguments, he made an impression on the other
party members with his oratory skills and, according to Hitler, the
"professor" left the hall acknowledging unequivocal defeat. Drexler
encouraged him to join the DAP. On the orders of his army superiors,
Hitler applied to join the party, and within a week was accepted as
party member 555 (the party began counting membership at 500 to give
the impression they were a much larger party). Among the party's
earlier members were
Ernst Röhm of the Army's District Command VII;
Dietrich Eckart , who has been called the
spiritual father of National Socialism.; then University of Munich
Rudolf Hess ; _Freikorps_ soldier
Hans Frank ; and Alfred
Rosenberg , often credited as the philosopher of the movement. All
were later prominent in the Nazi regime. Hitler's membership
card in the DAP (later NSDAP)
Hitler later claimed to be the seventh party member (he was in fact
the seventh executive member of the party's central committee; he
would later wear the
Golden Party Badge
Golden Party Badge number one). Anton Drexler
drafted a letter to
Hitler in 1940, which was never sent that
contradicts Hitler's later claim:
No one knows better than you yourself, my Führer, that you were
never the seventh member of the party, but at best the seventh member
of the committee, which I asked you to join as recruitment director.
And a few years ago I had to complain to a party office that your
first proper membership card of the DAP, bearing the signatures of
Schüssler and myself, was falsified, with the number 555 being erased
and number 7 entered.
Hitler's first DAP speech was held in the
Hofbräukeller on 16
October 1919. He was the second speaker of the evening and spoke to
Hitler later declared that this was when he realised he
could really "make a good speech". At first,
Hitler spoke only to
relatively small groups, but his considerable oratory and propaganda
skills were appreciated by the party leadership. With the support of
Hitler became chief of propaganda for the party in
Hitler began to make the party more public, and organised
their biggest meeting yet of 2000 people, on 24 February 1920 in the
_Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München _. Such was the significance of
this particular move in publicity that Harrer resigned from the party
in disagreement. It was in this speech that Hitler, for the first
time, enunciated the twenty-five points of the German Workers\' Party
manifesto that had been drawn up by Drexler, Feder, and Hitler.
Through these points he gave the organisation a much bolder stratagem
with a clear foreign policy (abrogation of The Treaty of Versailles, a
Greater Germany , Eastern expansion, exclusion of
citizenship), and among his specific points were: confiscation of war
profits , abolition of unearned incomes, the State to share profits of
land, and land for national needs to be taken away without
compensation. In general, the manifesto was antisemitic ,
anti-capitalist , anti-democratic , anti-Marxist , and anti-liberal .
To increase its appeal to larger segments of the population, on 24
February 1920, the same day as Hitler's _Hofbräuhaus_ speech, the DAP
changed its name to the _Nationalsozialistische Deutsche
Arbeiterpartei_ (National Socialist German Workers Party). That
Nazi Party officially announced that only persons of "pure
Aryan descent " could become party members; if the person had a
spouse, the spouse also had to be a "racially pure" Aryan. Party
members could not be related either directly or indirectly to a
so-called "non-Aryan". Even before it became legally forbidden by the
Nuremberg Laws in 1935, the Nazis banned sexual relations and
marriages between party members and Jews. Party members found guilty
Rassenschande _ (racial defilement) were persecuted heavily, some
members were even sentenced to death.
Hitler quickly became the party's most active orator. Appearing in
public as a speaker thirty-one times within the first year after his
self-discovery, crowds began to flock to hear his speeches. Hitler
always spoke about the same subjects: the
Treaty of Versailles and the
Jewish question . This deliberate technique and effective publicising
of the party contributed significantly to his early success, about
which a contemporary poster wrote 'Since Herr
Hitler is a brilliant
speaker, we can hold out the prospect of an extremely exciting
evening'. Over the following months, the party continued to attract
new members, while remaining too small to have any real significance
in German politics. By the end of the year, party membership was
recorded at 2000, many of whom
Hitler and Röhm had brought into the
party personally, or for whom Hitler's oratory had been their reason
Hitler's talent as an orator, and his ability to draw new members,
combined with his characteristic ruthlessness, soon made him the
dominant figure. However, while
Hitler and Eckart were on a
fundraising trip to Berlin in June 1921, a mutiny broke out within the
party in Munich. Members of its executive committee wanted to merge
with the rival
German Socialist Party (DSP). Upon returning to Munich
on 11 July,
Hitler angrily tendered his resignation. The committee
members realised that his resignation would mean the end of the party.
Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would
replace Drexler as party chairman, and that the party headquarters
would remain in Munich. The committee agreed, and he rejoined the
party on 26 July as member 3,680.
Hitler continued to face some
opposition within the NSDAP: Opponents of
Hitler had Hermann Esser
expelled from the party, and they printed 3,000 copies of a pamphlet
Hitler as a traitor to the party. In the following days,
Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself and Esser,
to thunderous applause.
His strategy proved successful, and at a special party congress on 29
July 1921, he replaced Drexler as party chairman, by a vote of 533 to
1. The committee was dissolved, and
Hitler was granted nearly
absolute powers as the party's sole leader. This was a post he would
hold for the remainder of his life.
Hitler soon acquired the title
Führer _ ("leader") and, after a series of sharp internal conflicts,
it was accepted that the party would be governed by the
Führerprinzip _ ("leader principle"). Under this principle, the
party was a highly centralized entity that functioned strictly from
the top down, with
Hitler at the apex as the party's absolute leader.
Hitler saw the party as a revolutionary organization, whose aim was
the overthrow of the
Weimar Republic , which he saw as controlled by
Jews and the "November criminals " who had betrayed
the German soldiers in 1918. The SA ("storm troopers", also known as
"Brownshirts") were founded as a party militia in 1921, and began
violent attacks on other parties. _
Mein Kampf _ in its first
For Hitler, the twin goals of the party were always German
nationalist expansionism and antisemitism . These two goals were fused
in his mind by his belief that Germany's external enemies – Britain,
France and the
Soviet Union – were controlled by the Jews, and that
Germany's future wars of national expansion would necessarily entail a
war against the Jews. For
Hitler and his principal lieutenants,
national and racial issues were always dominant. This was symbolised
by the adoption as the party emblem of the swastika or _Hakenkreuz_.
In German nationalist circles, the swastika was considered a symbol of
Aryan race "; it symbolized the replacement of the Christian Cross
with allegiance to a National Socialist State.
During 1921 and 1922, the
Nazi Party grew significantly, partly
through Hitler's oratorical skills, partly through the SA's appeal to
unemployed young men, and partly because there was a backlash against
socialist and liberal politics in
Bavaria as Germany's economic
problems deepened and the weakness of the
Weimar regime became
apparent. The party recruited former
World War I
World War I soldiers, to whom
Hitler as a decorated frontline veteran could particularly appeal, as
well as small businessmen and disaffected former members of rival
parties. Nazi rallies were often held in beer halls, where downtrodden
men could get free beer. The
Hitler Youth was formed for the children
of party members. The party also formed groups in other parts of
Julius Streicher in
Nuremberg was an early recruit, and
became editor of the racist magazine _
Der Stürmer _. In December 1920
Nazi Party had acquired a newspaper, the _Völkischer Beobachter
_, of which its leading ideologist
Alfred Rosenberg became editor.
Others to join the party around this time were
World War I
World War I flying ace
Hermann Göring and
Heinrich Himmler .
On 31 October 1922, a party with similar policies and objectives came
into power in Italy, the
National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party under the leadership
of the charismatic
Benito Mussolini . The Fascists, like the Nazis,
promoted a national rebirth of their country; opposed communism and
liberalism; appealed to the working-class; opposed the Treaty of
Versailles ; and advocated the territorial expansion of their country.
The Italian Fascists used a straight-armed
Roman salute and wore
Hitler was inspired by Mussolini and the
Fascists, borrowing their use of the straight-armed salute as a Nazi
salute. When the Fascists came to power in 1922 in Italy through their
coup attempt called the "
March on Rome ",
Hitler began planning his
In January 1923, France occupied the
Ruhr industrial region as a
result of Germany's failure to meet its reparations payments. This led
to economic chaos, the resignation of
Wilhelm Cuno 's government, and
an attempt by the German
Communist Party (KPD) to stage a revolution.
The reaction to these events was an upsurge of nationalist sentiment.
Nazi Party membership grew sharply, to about 20,000. By November,
Hitler had decided that the time was right for an attempt to seize
power in Munich, in the hope that the _Reichswehr_ (the post-war
German military) would mutiny against the Berlin government and join
his revolt. In this, he was influenced by former General Erich
Ludendorff , who had become a supporter—though not a member—of the
On the night of 8 November, the Nazis used a patriotic rally in a
Munich beer hall to launch an attempted _putsch_ (_coup d'état_).
Beer Hall Putsch attempt failed almost at once when the
local _Reichswehr_ commanders refused to support it. On the morning of
9 November the Nazis staged a march of about 2,000 supporters through
Munich in an attempt to rally support. Troops opened fire, and 16
Nazis were killed. Hitler, Ludendorff and a number of others were
arrested, and were tried for treason in March 1924.
Hitler and his
associates were given very lenient prison sentences. While
in prison, he wrote his semi-autobiographical political manifesto
Mein Kampf _ ("My Struggle").
Nazi Party was banned on 9 November 1923, though with support of
Völkisch-Social Bloc (_Völkisch-Sozialer Block_),
continued to operate under the name of the "German Party" (_Deutsche
Partei_ or DP) from 1924 to 1925. The Nazis failed to remain unified
in the German Party, as in the north, the right-wing Volkish
nationalist supporters of the Nazis moved to the new German Völkisch
Freedom Party , leaving the north's left-wing Nazi members, such as
Joseph Goebbels retaining support for the party.
RISE TO POWER: 1925–1933
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Nazi Party members in 1930 Further information:
Adolf Hitler\'s rise to power "Rise of Nazism" redirects here. For
the culmination of the rise, see
Nazi seizure of power .
Adolf Hitler was released from prison on 20 December 1924. On 16
Hitler convinced the Bavarian authorities to lift the
ban on the NSDAP, and the party was formally refounded on 26 February
Hitler as its undisputed Leader. The new
Nazi Party was no
longer a paramilitary organization, and disavowed any intention of
taking power by force. In any case, the economic and political
situation had stabilized and the extremist upsurge of 1923 had faded,
so there was no prospect of further revolutionary adventures. The Nazi
Party of 1925 was divided into the "Leadership Corps" (_Korps der
politischen Leiter_), appointed by Hitler, and the general membership
(_Parteimitglieder_). The party and the SA were kept separate, and the
legal aspect of the party's work was emphasized. In a sign of this,
the party began to admit women. The SA and the SS members (the latter
founded in 1925 as Hitler's bodyguard, and known originally as the
_Schutzkommando_) had to all be regular party members.
In the 1920s the
Nazi Party expanded beyond its Bavarian base.
Bavaria maintained its right-wing nostalgia for a Catholic
Westphalia , along with working-class "
Red Berlin", were
always the Nazis' weakest areas electorally, even during the Third
Reich itself. The areas of strongest Nazi support were in rural
Protestant areas such as
Mecklenburg , Pomerania
, and East
Prussia . Depressed working-class areas such as Thuringia
also produced a strong Nazi vote, while the workers of the
Hamburg largely remained loyal to the Social Democrats , the Communist
Party of Germany , or the Catholic Centre Party .
Nuremberg remained a
Nazi Party stronghold, and the first
Nuremberg Rally was held there in
1927. These rallies soon became massive displays of Nazi paramilitary
power and attracted many recruits. The Nazis' strongest appeal was to
the lower middle-classes – farmers, public servants, teachers, small
businessmen – who had suffered most from the inflation of the 1920s,
so who feared Bolshevism more than anything else. The small business
class was receptive to Hitler's antisemitism, since it blamed Jewish
big business for its economic problems. University students,
disappointed at being too young to have served in the War of
1914–1918, and attracted by the Nazis' radical rhetoric, also became
a strong Nazi constituency. By 1929, the party had 130,000 members.
The party's nominal Deputy Leader was
Rudolf Hess , but he had no
real power in the party. By the early 1930s the senior leaders of the
Hitler were Himmler , Goebbels and Göring . Beneath the
Leadership Corps were the party's regional leaders, the _Gauleiters _,
each of whom commanded the party in his _Gau _ ("region"). Joseph
Goebbels began his ascent through the party hierarchy as _Gauleiter_
of Berlin-Brandenburg in 1926. Streicher was _Gauleiter_ of Franconia
, where he published his antisemitic newspaper _
Der Stürmer _.
Beneath the _Gauleiter_ were lower-level officials, the _
("county leaders"), _
Zellenleiter _ ("cell leaders") and _Blockleiter
_ ("block leaders"). This was a strictly hierarchical structure in
which orders flowed from the top, and unquestioning loyalty was given
to superiors. Only the SA retained some autonomy. Being composed
largely of unemployed workers, many SA men took the Nazis' socialist
rhetoric seriously. At this time, the
Hitler salute (borrowed from the
Italian fascists ) and the greeting "Heil Hitler!" were adopted
throughout the party.
Nazi Party election poster used in Vienna
in 1930. Translation: "We demand freedom and bread".
The Nazis contested elections to the national parliament, the
_Reichstag _, and to the state legislatures, the _Landtage _, from
1924, although at first with little success. The "National-Socialist
Freedom Movement" polled 3% of the vote in the December 1924
_Reichstag_ elections , and this fell to 2.6% in 1928 . State
elections produced similar results. Despite these poor results, and
despite Germany's relative political stability and prosperity during
the later 1920s, the
Nazi Party continued to grow. This was partly
because Hitler, who had no administrative ability, left the party
organization to the head of the secretariat,
Philipp Bouhler , the
Franz Xaver Schwarz , and business manager
Max Amann .
The party had a capable propaganda head in
Gregor Strasser , who was
promoted to national organizational leader in January 1928. These men
gave the party efficient recruitment and organizational structures.
The party also owed its growth to the gradual fading away of
competitor nationalist groups, such as the German National People\'s
Party (DNVP). As
Hitler became the recognized head of the German
nationalists, other groups declined or were absorbed.
Despite these strengths, the
Nazi Party might never have come to
power had it not been for the
Great Depression and its effects on
Germany. By 1930 the German economy was beset with mass unemployment
and widespread business failures. The Social Democrats and Communists
were bitterly divided and unable to formulate an effective solution:
this gave the Nazis their opportunity, and Hitler's message, blaming
the crisis on the Jewish financiers and the Bolsheviks , resonated
with wide sections of the electorate. At the September 1930
_Reichstag_ elections , the Nazis won 18.3% of the votes and became
the second-largest party in the _Reichstag_ after the SPD. Hitler
proved to be a highly effective campaigner, pioneering the use of
radio and aircraft for this purpose. His dismissal of Strasser and his
appointment of Goebbels as the party's propaganda chief were major
factors. While Strasser had used his position to promote his own
leftish version of national socialism, Goebbels was totally loyal to
Hitler and worked only to improve Hitler's image.
The 1930 elections changed the German political landscape by
weakening the traditional nationalist parties, the DNVP and the DVP,
leaving the Nazis as the chief alternative to the discredited SPD and
the Zentrum, whose leader,
Heinrich Brüning , headed a weak minority
government. The inability of the democratic parties to form a united
front, the self-imposed isolation of the Communists, and the continued
decline of the economy, all played into Hitler's hands. He now came to
be seen as _de facto_ leader of the opposition, and donations poured
into the Nazi Party's coffers. Some major business figures, such as
Fritz Thyssen , were Nazi supporters and gave generously, and some
Wall Street figures were allegedly involved, but many other
businessmen were suspicious of the extreme nationalist tendencies of
the Nazis and preferred to support the traditional conservative
parties instead. German NSDAP Donation Token 1932, Free State of
During 1931 and into 1932, Germany's political crisis deepened. In
Hitler ran for President against the incumbent President
Paul von Hindenburg , polling 30.1% in the first round and 36.8% in
the second against Hindenburg's 49 and 53%. By now the SA had 400,000
members, and its running street battles with the SPD and Communist
paramilitaries (who also fought each other) reduced some German cities
to combat zones. Paradoxically, although the Nazis were among the main
instigators of this disorder, part of Hitler's appeal to a frightened
and demoralised middle class was his promise to restore law and order.
Overt antisemitism was played down in official Nazi rhetoric, but was
never far from the surface. Germans voted for
Hitler primarily because
of his promises to revive the economy (by unspecified means), to
restore German greatness and overturn the
Treaty of Versailles , and
to save Germany from communism.
On 24 April 1932 the Free State of
Prussia elections to the Landtag
resulted in 36.3 % of the votes, or 162 seats for Hitler's party
On 20 July 1932, the Prussian government was ousted by a coup, the
_Preussenschlag_, and a few days later at the July 1932 _Reichstag_
election the Nazis made another leap forward, polling 37.4% and
becoming the largest party in parliament by a wide margin.
Furthermore, the Nazis and the Communists between them won 52% of the
vote and a majority of seats. Since both parties opposed the
established political system, and neither would join or support any
ministry, this made the formation of a majority government impossible.
The result was weak ministries governing by decree. Under Comintern
directives, the Communists maintained their policy of treating the SPD
as the main enemy, calling them "social fascists ", thereby
splintering opposition to the Nazis. Later, both the SPD and the
Communists accused each other of having facilitated Hitler\'s rise to
power by their unwillingness to compromise.
Franz von Papen called another _Reichstag_ election in
November, hoping to find a way out of this impasse. The electoral
result was the same, with the Nazis and the Communists winning 50% of
the vote between them and more than half the seats, rendering this
_Reichstag_ no more workable than its predecessor. But support for the
Nazis had fallen to 33.1%, suggesting that the Nazi surge had passed
its peak – possibly because the worst of the Depression had passed,
possibly because some middle-class voters had supported
Hitler in July
as a protest, but had now drawn back from the prospect of actually
putting him into power. The Nazis interpreted the result as a warning
that they must seize power before their moment passed. Had the other
parties united, this could have been prevented, but their
shortsightedness made a united front impossible. Papen, his successor
Kurt von Schleicher , and the nationalist press magnate Alfred
Hugenberg spent December and January in political intrigues that
eventually persuaded President Hindenburg that it was safe to appoint
Reich Chancellor, at the head of a cabinet including only a
minority of Nazi ministers—which he did on 30 January 1933.
Ascension And Consolidation
_ Reichsparteitag_ (
Nazi Party leader Adolf
Hitler and SA-leader Ernst Röhm, August 1933.
Mein Kampf _,
Hitler directly attacked both left-wing and
right-wing politics in Germany. However, a majority of scholars
Nazism in practice as being a far-right form of politics.
When asked in an interview whether he and the Nazis were "bourgeois
right-wing" as alleged by their opponents,
Hitler responded that
Nazism was not exclusively for any class, and indicated that it
favoured neither the left nor the right, but preserved "pure" elements
from both "camps", stating: "From the camp of bourgeois tradition, it
takes national resolve, and from the materialism of the Marxist dogma,
living, creative Socialism."
The votes that the Nazis received in the 1932 elections established
Nazi Party as the largest parliamentary faction of the Weimar
Adolf Hitler was appointed as Chancellor of
Germany on 30 January 1933.
The _Reichstag_ fire on 27 February 1933 gave
Hitler a pretext for
suppressing his political opponents. The following day, 28 February,
he persuaded Reich's President
Paul von Hindenburg to issue the
_Reichstag_ Fire Decree , which suspended most civil liberties . The
NSDAP won the parliamentary election on 5 March 1933 with 43.9 percent
of votes, but failed to win an absolute majority. After the election,
hundreds of thousands of new members joined the party for
opportunistic reasons, most of them civil servants and white-collar
workers. They were nicknamed the "casualties of March" (German :
_Märzgefallenen_) or "March violets" (German : _Märzveilchen_). To
protect the party from too many non-ideological turncoats who were
viewed by the so-called "old fighters" _(alte Kämpfer)_ with some
mistrust, the party issued a freeze on admissions that remained in
force from May 1933 to 1937.
On 23 March, the parliament passed the
Enabling Act of 1933 , which
gave the cabinet the right to enact laws without the consent of
parliament. In effect, this gave
Hitler dictatorial powers. Now
possessing virtually absolute power, the Nazis established
totalitarian control; they abolished labour unions and other political
parties and imprisoned their political opponents, first at _wilde
Lager_, improvised camps, then in concentration camps . Nazi Germany
had been established, yet the _Reichswehr_ remained impartial: Nazi
power over Germany remained virtual, not absolute.
NSDAP federal election results (1924-1933)
National Socialist Freedom Movement ) 1,918,300
32 / 472
Hitler in prison
National Socialist Freedom Movement ) 907,300
14 / 493
Hitler released from prison
12 / 491
107 / 577
After the financial crisis
230 / 608
Hitler was candidate for presidency
196 / 584
288 / 647
During Hitler's term as Chancellor of Germany
AFTER TAKING POWER: INTERTWINING OF PARTY AND STATE
During June and July 1933 all competing parties were either outlawed
or dissolved themselves. Subsequently, the _Law against the founding
of new parties_ of 14 July 1933 legally established the Nazi Party's
monopoly. On 1 December 1933, the _Law to secure the unity of party
and state_ entered into force, which was the base for a progressive
intertwining of party structures and state apparatus. By this law,
the SA – actually a party division – was given quasi-governmental
authority and their leader was co-opted as an _ex officio_ cabinet
member. By virtue of the 30 January 1934 _Law about the reorganisation
of the_ Reich, the _Länder_ (states) lost their statehood and were
demoted to administrative divisions of the _Reich'_s government
Gleichschaltung )_. Effectively, they lost most of their power to
the _Gaue _, that were originally just regional divisions of the
party, but took over most competencies of the state administration in
their respective sectors.
During the Röhm Purge of 30 June to 2 July 1934 (also known as the
"Night of the Long Knives"),
Hitler disempowered the SA's leadership,
most of whom belonged to the Strasserist (national revolutionary)
faction within the NSDAP, and ordered them killed. He accused them of
having conspired to stage a coup d'état, but it is believed that this
was only a pretence to justify the suppression of any intraparty
opposition. The purge was executed by the SS, assisted by the Gestapo
Reichswehr units. Aside from Strasserist Nazis, they also murdered
anti-Nazi conservative figures like former chancellor Kurt von
Schleicher . After this, the SA continued to exist, but lost much of
its importance, while the role of the SS grew significantly. Formerly
only a sub-organisation of the SA, it was created a separate
organisation of the NSDAP in July 1934.
After the death of President Hindenburg on 2 August 1934, Hitler
merged the offices of party leader, head of state and chief of
government in one, taking the title of _
Führer und Reichskanzler_.
The Chancellery of the
Führer , officially an organisation of the
Nazi Party, took over the functions of the Office of the President (a
government agency), blurring the distinction between structures of
party and state even further. The SS increasingly exerted police
functions, a development which was formally documented by the merger
of the offices of _
Reichsführer-SS _ and Chief of the German Police
on 17 June 1936; the position was held by
Heinrich Himmler who derived
his authority directly from Hitler. The _
Sicherheitsdienst _ (SD,
formally the "Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS") that had been
created in 1931 as an intraparty intelligence became the de facto
intelligence agency of Nazi Germany. It was put under the
Security Office (RSHA) in 1939, which then coordinated SD,
criminal police ; therefore functioning as a hybrid organisation of
state and party structures.
NSDAP election and referendum results in the Reichstag under Nazi
661 / 661
741 / 741
813 / 813
DEFEAT AND ABOLITION
Officially, the Third
Reich lasted only 12 years. The first
Instrument of Surrender was signed by representatives of Nazi Germany
Reims, France on 7 May 1945. The war in Europe had come to an end.
The defeat of Germany in
World War II
World War II marked the end of the Nazi
Germany era. The party was formally abolished on 10 October 1945 by
Allied Control Council
Allied Control Council and denazification began, along with trials
of major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal
(IMT) in Nuremberg.
National Socialist Program
National Socialist Program was a formulation of the policies of
the party. It contained 25 points and is, therefore, also known as the
"25-point plan" or "25-point programme". It was the official party
programme, with minor changes, from its proclamation as such by Hitler
in 1920, when the party was still the German Workers' Party, until its
At the top of the
Nazi Party was the party chairman ("_Der
Führer_"), who held absolute power and full command over the party.
All other party offices were subordinate to his position and had to
depend on his instructions. In 1934,
Hitler founded a separate body
for the chairman, Chancellery of the
Führer , with its own sub-units.
Below the Führer's chancellery was first the "Staff of the Deputy
Führer", headed by
Rudolf Hess from 21 April 1933 to 10 May 1941, and
then the "Party Chancellery" (_
Parteikanzlei _) headed by Martin
Directly subjected to the
Führer were the _
Reichsleiter _ ("Reich
Leader(s)"—the singular and plural forms are identical in German),
whose number was gradually increased to eighteen. They held power and
influence comparable to the
Reich Ministers' in Hitler\'s Cabinet .
The eighteen _Reichsleiter_ formed the "
Reich Leadership of the Nazi
Party" (_Reichsleitung der NSDAP_), which was established at the
Brown House , in Munich. Unlike a Gauleiter, a Reichsleiter
did not have individual geographic areas under their command, but were
responsible for specific spheres of interest.
Political Leadership Corps
The political leadership corps of the
Nazi Party were those persons
who were most often associated as being "Nazis" in the stereotypical
sense of the word, as it was these individuals who wore brown
paramilitary Nazi uniforms, enforced Nazi doctrine, and ran local
government affairs in accordance with instructions from the Nazi
The political leadership corps encompassed a vast array of
paramilitary titles at the top of which were
Gauleiter , who were
Party leaders of large geographical areas. From the Gauleiters
extended downwards through Nazi positions encompassing county, city,
and town leaders, all of whom were unquestioned rulers in their
particular areas and regions.
To the very end of its existence, the
Nazi Party claimed to respect
the traditional government of Germany and, to that end, local and
state governments were allowed to exist side-by-side with regional
Nazi leaders. However, by 1936, the local governments had lost nearly
all power to their Nazi counterparts or were now controlled by persons
who held both government and Nazi titles alike. This led to the
continued existence of German titles such as _Bürgermeister _, as
well as the existence of German state legislatures (_Landesrat _), but
without any real power to speak of.
Nazi Party membership were known by the title of
_Parteimitglieder_. This generic term applied to any member of the
Party who did not otherwise hold a political leadership position.
Translated simply as "Party Member", the _Parteimitglieder_ could (and
did) hold positions in other Nazi groups, such as the SS or
Sturmabteilung . The only insignia for the _Parteimitglieder_ was a
Nazi Party lapel-pin;
Nazi Party members who held no leadership posts
had no specific designated uniform. Such persons, however, often wore
uniforms of other Nazi groups, uniforms of German government agencies,
and could also serve in the German armed forces. A special designation
of _Parteigenosse_ (Party Comrade) was reserved for
Nazi Party members
who had been members of the party since the 1920s and early 30s, most
of whom were also personal associates of Hitler.
NAZI PARTY OFFICES
Nazi Party had a number of party offices dealing with various
political and other matters. These included:
* _Rassenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP _ (RPA): "NSDAP Office of Racial
* _Außenpolitische Amt der NSDAP _ (APA): "NSDAP Office of Foreign
* _Kolonialpolitisches Amt der NSDAP _ (KPA): "NSDAP Office of
* _Wehrpolitisches Amt der NSDAP _ (WPA): "NSDAP Office of Military
Amt Rosenberg _ (ARo): "Rosenberg Office"
In addition to the
Nazi Party proper, several paramilitary groups
existed which "supported" Nazi aims. All members of these paramilitary
organizations were required to become regular
Nazi Party members first
and could then enlist in the group of their choice. An exception was
Waffen-SS , considered the military arm of the SS and Nazi Party,
which during the Second World War allowed members to enlist without
joining the Nazi Party. Foreign volunteers of the
Waffen-SS were also
not required to be members of the Nazi Party, although many joined
local nationalist groups from their own countries with the same aims.
Police officers, including members of the
Gestapo , frequently held SS
rank for administrative reasons (known as "rank parity") and were
likewise not required to be members of the Nazi Party.
A vast system of
Nazi Party paramilitary ranks developed for each of
the various paramilitary groups.
Nazi Party paramilitary groups were as follows:
Schutzstaffel _ (SS): "Protection Squadron" (both Allgemeine SS
Sturmabteilung _ (SA): "Storm Division"
* _Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps _ (NSFK): "National
Socialist Flyers Corps"
* _Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrerkorps _ (NSKK): "National
Socialist Motor Corps"
Hitler Youth was a paramilitary group divided into an adult
leadership corps and a general membership open to boys aged fourteen
to eighteen. The
League of German Girls was the equivalent group for
Certain nominally independent organizations had their own legal
representation and own property, but were supported by the Nazi Party.
Many of these associated organizations were labour unions of various
professions. Some were older organizations that were nazified
according to the _Gleichschaltung_ policy after the 1933 takeover.
Reich League of German Officials (union of civil servants,
German Civil Service Federation )
German Labour Front (DAF)
* National Socialist German Physicians' League (NSDÄB)
National Socialist League for the Maintenance of the Law (NSRB,
1936–1945, earlier National Socialist German Lawyers' League)
* National Socialist War Victim\'s Care (NSKOV)
National Socialist Teachers League (NSLB)
* National Socialist People\'s Welfare (NSV)
Reich Labour Service (RAD)
German Faith Movement
German Colonial League (RKB)
* Kyffhäuser League
* Technical Emergency Relief (TENO)
* Reich\'s Union of Large Families
Bund Deutscher Osten (BDO)
German American Bund
Party Gaue in 1926, 1928, 1933, 1937, 1939 and 1943
Administrative units of the
Nazi Party in 1944. See also:
Administrative divisions of
Nazi Germany and
List of Gauleiters
For the purpose of centralization in the _
Gleichschaltung _ process a
rigidly hierarchal structure was established in the Nazi Party, which
it later carried through in the whole of Germany in order consolidate
total power under the person of
Hitler (_Führerstaat_). It was
regionally sub-divided into a number of _Gaue _ (singular: _Gau_)
headed by a _
Gauleiter _, who received their orders directly from
Hitler. The name (originally a term for sub-regions of the Holy Roman
Empire headed by a _Gaugraf_) for these new provincial structures was
deliberately chosen because of its mediaeval connotations. The term is
approximately equivalent to the English _shire _.
Anschluss a new type of administrative unit was introduced
called a _
Reichsgau _. In these territories the Gauleiters also held
the position of
Reichsstatthalter , thereby formally combining the
spheres of both party and state offices. The establishment of this
type of district was subsequently carried out for any further
territorial annexations of Germany both before and during World War II
The _Gaue_ and _Reichsgaue_ (state or province) were further
sub-divided into _Kreise _ (counties) headed by a _Kreisleiter_, which
were in turn sub-divided into _Zellen_ (cells) and _Blocken_ (blocks),
headed by a _Zellenleiter_ and _Blockleiter_ respectively.
A reorganization of the _Gaue_ was enacted on 1 October 1928. The
given numbers were the official ordering numbers. The statistics are
from 1941, for which the _Gau_ organization of that moment in time
forms the basis. Their size and populations are not exact; for
instance according to the official party statistics the _Gau_
Kurmark/Mark Brandenburg was the largest in the German Reich. By
1941, there were 42 territorial _Gaue_ for Germany, 7 of them for
Danzig , and the
Territory of the Saar Basin , along with the unincorporated regions
under German control known as the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia and
General Government , established after the joint invasion of
Nazi Germany and the
Soviet Union in 1939 at the onset of
World War II
World War II . Getting the leadership of the individual _Gaue_ to
cooperate with one another proved difficult at times since there was
constant administrative and financial jockeying for control going on
The table below uses the organizational structure that existed before
its dissolution in 1945. More information on the older _Gaue_ is in
the second table.
NAZI PARTY _GAUE_
GAULEITER (exl. deputies)
Karlsruhe , after 1940
Robert Heinrich Wagner from 1925 (later also
BAYREUTH , renaming of GAU BAYERISCHE OSTMARK (Bavarian Eastern
Fritz Wächtler (2 June 1942 - 19 April 1945)
Ludwig Ruckdeschel from 19 April 1945.
Ernst Schlange (1925 - 1926)
Joseph Goebbels (1 November 1926 - 30 April 1945)
Hans Albert Hohnfeldt (1926 - 1928)
Walter Maass (1928 - 1930)
Albert Forster from 15 October 1930
Friedrich Karl Florian from 1 January 1930
Josef Terboven (
Oberpräsident ) from 1928
Julius Streicher (1929 to 1940)
Hans Zimmermann (16 February 1940 - 1942)
Karl Holz from 19 March 1942
Halle an der Saale
Walter Ernst (1 August 1926 - 1927)
Paul Hinkler (1927 - 1930)
Rudolf Jordan (1930 - 20 April 1937)
Joachim Albrecht Eggeling from 20 April 1937
Joseph Klant (1925 - 1926)
Albert Krebs (1927 - 1928)
Hinrich Lohse (1928 - 15 April 1929)
Karl Kaufmann from 15 April 1929
Jakob Sprenger from 1933
Hans vom Kothen (February 1933 to July 1934)
Peter Feistritzer (October 1936 - 20 February 1938)
Hubert Klausner (1938 - 1939)
Franz Kutschera (1940 - 1941)
Friedrich Rainer (1942 - 1944)
Joseph Grohé from 1931
Walter Schultz (1926 - 1927)
Karl Weinrich (1928 - 1943)
Karl Gerland from 1943
Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper from 1927 to 23 October 1935 with a short
Paul Hofmann in 1933
Joachim Albrecht Leo Eggeling (1935 - 1937)
Rudolf Jordan from 1937
MAINFRANKEN , renaming of GAU UNTERFRANKEN
Otto Hellmuth from 3 September 1928
Wilhelm Kube (6 March 1933 - 7 August 1936)
Friedrich Hildebrandt from 1925 onwards with a short replacement by
Herbert Albrecht (July 1930 - 1931)
MOSELLAND , renaming of GAU KOBLENZ-TRIER in 1942
Gustav Simon from 1 June 1931
Adolf Wagner (1933 - 1944)
Paul Giesler from April 1944
Nominal capital: Krems , District Headquarters:
Roman Jäger (12 March 1938 - 24 May 1938)
Hugo Jury (24 May 1938 - 8 May 1945)
Karl Hanke from 1940
Andreas Bolek (June 1927 - 1 August 1934)
August Eigruber from March 1935
Fritz Bracht from 27 January 1941
OST-HANNOVER (also known as HANNOVER-OST)
Harburg , then Buchholz , after 1 April 1937
from 1 October 1928
Bruno Gustav Scherwitz (1925 - 1927)
Erich Koch from 1928
Theodor Vahlen (1925 - 1927)
Walter von Corswant (1928 - 1931)
Wilhelm Karpenstein (1931 - 1934)
Franz Schwede-Coburg from 1935
Albert Wierheim around 1925/1926
Martin Mutschmann from 1925
Leopold Malina from 1926 to ??
Karl Scharizer (1932 - 1934)
Friedrich Rainer (1939 - 1941)
Gustav Adolf Scheel
Gustav Adolf Scheel from 1941
Hinrich Lohse from 1925
Karl Wahl from 1928
Walther Oberhaidacher (25 November 1928 - 1934)
Sepp Helfrich (1934 - 1938)
Siegfried Uiberreither from 22 May 1938
SUDETENLAND , until 1939 known as GAU SUDETENGAU
Konrad Henlein from 1939
Bernhard Rust (1 October 1928 - November 1940)
Hartmann Lauterbacher from November 1940
Artur Dinter (1925 - 1927)
Fritz Sauckel from 1927
Franz Hofer from 1932
WARTHELAND , until 29 January 1940 known as GAU WARTHEGAU)
Arthur Karl Greiser from 21 October 1939
Carl Röver (1929 - 1942)
Paul Wegener from 1942
Alfred Meyer from 1932
Josef Wagner (1932 - 1941)
Paul Giesler (1941 - 1943/44)
Albert Hoffmann from 1943/44
WESTMARK , renaming of GAU SAAR-PFALZ (also known as _Saarpfalz_)
Neustadt an der Weinstraße , after 1940
Josef Bürckel (1935 - 28 September 1944)
Willi Stöhr from 28 September 1944
Alfred Eduard Frauenfeld (1932 - 1938)
Odilo Globocnik (May 1938 - January 1939)
Josef Bürckel (1939 - 1940)
Baldur von Schirach from 1940
Eugen Mander (1925 - 1928)
Wilhelm Murr from 1928
AUSLANDSORGANISATION (also known as NSDAP/AO)
Hans Nieland (1930 - 1933)
Ernst Wilhelm Bohle from 8 May 1933
* FLANDERS , existed from 15 December 1944 (
Gauleiter in German
Jef van de Wiele )
* WALLONIA , existed from 8 December 1944 (
Gauleiter in German
Léon Degrelle )
_GAUE_ DISSOLVED BEFORE 1945
Simple re-namings of existing _Gaue_ without territorial changes is
marked with the initials _RN_ in the column "later became". The
numbering is not based on any official former ranking, but merely
... TOGETHER WITH
Gustav Hermann Schmischke
Baden-Elsaß (22 March 1941) _RN_
Oberfranken & Niederbayern-Oberpfalz (II) (19 January 1933)
Bayreuth (2 Juni 1942) _RN_
Hans Schemm from 19 January 1933 to 5 March 1935, then from 5 March
Berlin-Brandenburg (1. Oktober 1928)
Berlin & Brandenburg (1 October 1928)
Ernst Schlange from 1925 to 1926, then from 1 November 1926 Joseph
Berlin-Brandenburg (1 October 1928)
Kurmark (6 March 1933)
from 1 October 1928 to 1932 Emil Holtz and from 18 October 1932 to
16 March 1933 Dr.
Süd-Hannover-Braunschweig (1 Oktober 1928)
from 1925 to 30 September 1928 Ludolf Haase (perhaps also only for
Danzig-Westpreußen (1939) _RN_
from 25 November 1925 to 1926 Alois Bachschmidt
Süd-Hannover-Braunschweig (1 October 1928)
from 1925 to 30 September 1928 Ludolf Haase (perhaps also only
from 1 March 1927 to 9 January 1931 Friedrich Ringshausen , then
only in 1931 Peter Gemeinder , then from 1932 to 1933 Karl Lenz
from 1925 to 1926 Anton Haselmayer , then from 1926 to 1927 Dr.
Walter Schultz , then from 1927 to 1933
Moselland (1942) _merger_
Ostmark & Brandenburg ()
Mark Brandenburg (1938) _RN_
Hannover (1928) _RN_
from 22 March 1925 to 30 September 1928
Julius Streicher ("_Frankenführer_")
Niederbayern-Oberpfalz (I) (1 Oktober 1928)
Niederbayern-Oberpfalz (II) (1 April 1932)
from 1 October 1928 to 1929
Gregor Strasser , then from 1929 to 1
April 1932 Otto Erbersdobler
Oberpfalz & Niederbayern (1 Oktober 1928)
from 1925 to 30 September 1928
Oberpfalz & Niederbayern (1 April 1932)
Bayerische Ostmark (19 January 1933)
from 1 April 1932 to 19 January 1933 Franz Mayerhofer
Niederdonau () _RN_
from 1927 to 1937
from 3 September 1928
Bayerische Ostmark (19 January 1933)
Oberdonau () _RN_
Niederbayern-Oberpfalz (I) (1 October 1928)
Niederbayern-Oberpfalz (II) (1 April 1932)
from 1 October 1928 to 1 April 1932 Franz Mayerhofer
Kurmark (6 March 1933)
from 2 January 1928 to 1933
Josef Bürckel (from 1 March 1933 also administrator of
from 1925 to 1926
Köln-Aachen & Koblenz-Trier (1931)
1925 Heinrich Haake (also known as "Heinz Haake"), then from 1925
Rheinland-Nord & Westfalen (1926)
Westfalen-Nord creation of
Düsseldorf nicht gesichert_
from 1926 to 1929 Karl Kaufmann, then from 1929 to 1931 Josef
SAARLAND, also merely _Saar_
from August 1929 to 28 February 1933 Karl Brück , from 1 March
Josef Bürckel (also administrator of Rheinland)
SAAR-PFALZ, also SAARPFALZ
Rheinland & Saar(land) (1935)
Westmark (1937) _RN_
Niederschlesien "> Membership of the
Nazi Party from 1939.
List of Nazi Party members
The general membership of the
Nazi Party mainly consisted of the
urban and rural lower middle classes . 7% belonged to the upper class,
another 7% were peasants , 35% were industrial workers and 51% were
what can be described as middle class. In early 1933, just before
Hitler's appointment to the chancellorship, the party showed an
under-representation of "workers", who made up 29.7% of the membership
but 46.3% of German society. Conversely, white-collar employees (18.6%
of members and 12% of Germans), the self-employed (19.8% of members
and 9.6% of Germans), and civil servants (15.2% of members and 4.8% of
the German population) had joined in proportions greater than their
share of the general population. These members were affiliated with
local branches of the party, of which there were 1,378 throughout the
country in 1928. In 1932, the number had risen to 11,845, reflecting
the party's growth in this period.
When it came to power in 1933, the
Nazi Party had over 2 million
members. In 1939, the membership total rose to 5.3 million with 81%
being male and 19% being female. It continued to attract many more and
by 1945 the party reached its peak of 8 million with 63% being male
and 37% being female (about 10% of the German population of 80
Nazi members with military ambitions were encouraged to join the
Waffen-SS _, but a great number enlisted in the _Wehrmacht_ and even
more were drafted for service after
World War II
World War II began. Early
regulations required that all _Wehrmacht_ members be non-political,
and therefore any Nazi member joining in the 1930s was required to
resign from the Nazi Party.
This regulation was soon waived, however, and there is ample evidence
Nazi Party members served in the _Wehrmacht_ in particular
after the outbreak of World War II. The _Wehrmacht_ Reserves also saw
a high number of senior Nazis enlisting, with
Reinhard Heydrich and
Fritz Todt joining the _
Luftwaffe _, as well as
Karl Hanke who served
in the army.
In 1926, the party formed a special division to engage the student
population, known as the National Socialist German Students\' League
(NSDStB). A group for university lecturers, the National Socialist
German University Lecturers\' League (NSDDB), also existed until July
The National Socialist Women\'s League was the women\'s organization
of the party. By 1938 it had approximately 2 million members.
MEMBERSHIP OUTSIDE OF GERMANY
Party members who lived outside of Germany were pooled into the
NSDAP/AO , "Foreign Organization"). The
organization was limited only to so-called "
Imperial Germans ";
"Ethnic Germans" (_
Volksdeutsche _) who did not hold German
citizenship were not permitted to join.
Under Beneš decree No. 16/1945 Coll. , in case of citizens of
Czechoslovakia, membership of the
Nazi Party was punishable by between
five and twenty years of imprisonment.
_Deutsche Gemeinschaft_ was a branch of the
Nazi Party founded in
1919, created for Germans with _
Volksdeutsche _ status. It is not to
be confused with the post-war right-wing _
Deutsche Gemeinschaft (de)_
founded in 1949.
Notable members included:
Oswald Menghin (
Herbert Czaja (
Province of Silesia inside
Hermann Neubacher who was responsible for invading Yugoslavia.
Rudolf Much (
Arthur Seyß-Inquart (
* Nazi flags : The
Nazi Party used a right-facing swastika as their
symbol and the red and black colours were said to represent _Blut und
Boden _ ("blood and soil"). Another definition of the flag describes
the colours as representing the ideology of National Socialism, the
swastika representing the
Aryan race and the Aryan nationalist agenda
of the movement; white representing Aryan racial purity; and red
representing the socialist agenda of the movement. Black, white and
red were in fact the colours of the old North German Confederation
flag (invented by
Otto von Bismarck , based on the Prussian colours
black and white and the red used by northern German states). In 1871,
with the foundation of the German Reich, the flag of the North German
Confederation became the German _Reichsflagge_ ("
Reich flag"). Black,
white and red became the colours of the nationalists through the
following history (for example
World War I
World War I and the
Weimar Republic ).
The _Parteiflagge_ design, with the centred swastika disc, served as
the party flag from 1920. Between 1933 (when the
Nazi Party came to
power) and 1935, it was used as the National flag (_Nationalflagge_)
and Merchant flag (_Handelsflagge_), but interchangeably with the
black-white-red horizontal tricolour . In 1935, the black-white-red
horizontal tricolour was scrapped (again), and the flag with the
_off-centre_ swastika and disc was instituted as the national flag,
and remained as such until 1945. The flag with the _centred_ disk
continued to be used after 1935, but exclusively as the
_Parteiflagge_, the flag of the party.
* German eagle : The
Nazi Party used the traditional German eagle ,
standing atop of a swastika inside a wreath of oak leaves. It is also
known as the _Iron Eagle._ When the eagle is looking to its left
shoulder, it symbolises the Nazi Party, and was called the
_Parteiadler_. In contrast, when the eagle is looking to its right
shoulder, it symbolises the country (_
Reich _), and was therefore
called the _
Reichsadler _. After the
Nazi Party came to national power
in Germany, they replaced the traditional version of the German eagle
with the modified party symbol throughout the country and all its
_Parteiflagge_ ("party flag"), used 1920-45. Also used as the
national flag between 1933 and 1935, interchangeably with the
black-white-red horizontal tricolour .
Flag with the _off-centre_ swastika and disc. Used as the national
flag of Germany after 1935, it was never used to represent the party.
_Parteiadler_ design, used as party emblem
Reichsadler _ design, representing Germany in general as the
national insignia (_Hoheitszeichen_)
5-Reichsmark coins before (1936) and after adding the Nazi swastika
RANKS AND RANK INSIGNIA
Ranks and insignia of the Nazi Party 1: Anwärter
(not party member), 2: Anwärter, 3: Helfer, 4: Oberhelfer, 5:
Arbeitsleiter, 6: Oberarbeitsleiter, 7: Hauptarbeitsleiter, 8:
Bereitschaftsleiter, 9: Oberbereitschaftsleiter, 10:
Hauptbereitschaftsleiter 11: Einsatzleiter, 12:
Obereinsatzleiter, 13: Haupteinsatzleiter, 14: Gemeinschaftsleiter,
15: Obergemeinschaftsleiter, 16: Hauptgemeinschaftsleiter, 17:
Abschnittsleiter, 18: Oberabschnittsleiter, 19: Hauptabschnittsleiter
20: Bereichsleiter, 21: Oberbereichsleiter, 22:
Hauptbereichsleiter, 23: Dienstleiter, 24: Oberdienstleiter, 25:
Hauptdienstleiter, 26: Befehlsleiter, 27: Oberbefehlsleiter, 28:
Hauptbefehlsleiter, 29: Gauleiter, 30:
SLOGANS AND SONGS
* Nazi slogan: "
Sieg Heil !"
* Nazi slogan: "Heil
* Nazi anthem: _
* Glossary of
* List of books about
List of Nazi Party leaders and officials
* Mass suicides in 1945
Sino-German cooperation until 1941
* ^ Rick Steves. _Rick Steves' Snapshot Munich,
Bavaria New York,
New York, USA: Avalon Travel, 2010. p. 28. "Though the Nazis
eventually gained power in Berlin, they remembered their roots,
Munich "Capital of the Movement". The Nazi headquarters stood
near today's obelisk on Brienner Strasse..."
* ^ _A_ _B_ McNab, Chris (2011). _Hitler's Master Plan_, Amber
Books Ltd. pp. 22, 23. ISBN 1-907446-96-6
* ^ Davidson, Eugene. _The Making of Adolf Hitler: The Birth and
Rise of Nazism_. University of Missouri Press. p. 241.
* ^ Orlow, Dietrich. _The
Nazi Party 1919–1945: A Complete
History_. Enigma Books. p. 29.
* ^ German Imperial colours
* ^ Thomas D. Grant. _Stormtroopers and Crisis in the Nazi
Movement: Activism, Ideology and Dissolution_. London, England, UK;
New York, New York, US: Routledge, 2004. pp. 30–34, 44.
* ^ Otis C. Mitchell. _Hitler's Stormtroopers and the Attack on the
German Republic, 1919–1933_. Jefferson, North Carolina, USA:
McFarland & Company, Inc., 2008. p. 47.
* ^ Frank McDonough. _
Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party_.
Pearson/Longman, 2003. p. 64.
* ^ Michael Wildt (15 July 2012). _Hitler's
the Dynamics of Racial Exclusion: Violence Against
Jews in Provincial
Germany, 1919–1939_. Berghahn Books. pp. 96–97. ISBN
* ^ Simone Gigliotti, Berel Lang. _The Holocaust: a reader_.
Malden, Massachusetts, USA; Oxford, England, UK; Carlton, Victoria,
Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. p. 14.
* ^ Arendt, Hannah. _The Origins of Totalitarianism_. London; New
York; San Diego: Harvest Book. p. 306.
* ^ Curtis, Michael. _Totalitarianism._ New Brunswick (US); London:
Transactions Publishers, 1979. p. 36.
* ^ Burch, Betty Brand. _
Dictatorship and Totalitarianism: Selected
Readings_. 1964. p. 58.
* ^ Bruhn, Jodi; Hans Maier. _
Totalitarianism and Political
Religions: Concepts for the Comparison of Dictatorships._ Routledge:
Oxon (UK); New York, 2004. p. 32.
* ^ Elzer, Herbert, ed. (2003). _Dokumente Zur Deutschlandpolitik_.
First half band - Appendix B, Section XI, §39. Oldenbourg
Wissenschaftverlag. p. 602. ISBN 3-486-56667-9 .
* ^ or _Sozialdemokrat_ (pronounced /zo'tsjaːldemoˌkraːt/)
(social democrat ).
* ^ _A_ _B_ Franz H. Mautner (1944). "Nazi und Sozi". _Modern
Language Notes_. 59 (2): 93–100.
JSTOR 2910599 . doi
:10.2307/2910599 . Dass _Nazi_ eine Abkürzung von _Nationalsozialist_
ist ... nd zwar eine Verkürzung des Wortes auf seine ersten zwei
Silben, aber nicht eine Zusammenziehung aus _Na_tionalso_zi_alist' ...
* ^ Hitler, Adolf (1936). _Die Reden des Führers am Parteitag der
Ehre, 1936_ (in German). Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP. p. 10.
"Parteigenossen! Parteigenossinnen! Nationalsozialisten!
* ^ Gottlieb, Henrik; Morgensen, Jens Erik, eds. (2007).
_Dictionary Visions, Research and Practice: Selected Papers from the
12th International Symposium on Lexicography, Copenhagen, 2004_
(illustrated ed.). Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Pub. Co. p. 247. ISBN
9789027223340 . Retrieved 22 October 2014.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Harper, Douglas. "Nazi". _etymonline.com_. Online
Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Rabinbach, Anson; Gilman, Sander, eds. (2013). _The
Reich Sourcebook_. Berkeley, Calif.: California University
Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780520955141 .
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Kershaw 2008 , p. 82.
* ^ Shirer 1991 , p. 34.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Spector, Robert, _World Without Civilization: Mass
Murder and the Holocaust, History, and Analysis_ (University of
America Press, 2004), p. 137
* ^ Griffen, Roger (ed). 1995. Fascism. New York: Oxford University
Press. P. 105.
* ^ Theodore Fred Abel. _The Nazi Movement_. Aldine Transaction,
2012 (original edition in 1938). P. 55.
* ^ Carlsten, F. L. The Rise of Fascism. University of California
Press. P. 91
* ^ Carlsten, Pp. 91
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Fest, Joachim, _The Face of the Third Reich_
(Penguin books, 1979), pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-0201407143 .
Dan van der Vat : The Good Nazi: The Life and Lies of Albert
Speer, p. 30. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997 ISBN 0-297-81721-3
* ^ Shirer 1991 , p. 33.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 71–82.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Kershaw 2008 , p. 75.
* ^ Evans 2003 , p. 170.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 75, 76.
* ^ Mitcham 1996 , p. 67.
* ^ Blamires, Cyprian P. (2006). _World Fascism: A Historical
Encyclopedia_. ABC-CLIO. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-1-57607-940-9 .
Retrieved 13 March 2013.
* ^ Shirer 1991 , p. 43.
* ^ T. L. Jaman, _The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany_ (New York
University Press, 1956), pg. 88
* ^ _A_ _B_ Rees, Laurence, _The Nazis – A Warning from History_
(BBC Books, 2 March 2006), p. 23
* ^ Ian Kershaw, _Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris_, p. 127
Ian Kershaw _Hitler:1889–1936 Hubris_. Penguin, 1998. p. 140
* ^ _A_ _B_ T. L. Jaman, _The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany_ (New
York University Press, 1956), pg. 89
* ^ Shirer 1991 , p. 36.
* ^ Shirer 1991 , p. 37.
* ^ Johnson, Paul, _A History of the Modern World: From 1917 to the
1980s_ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 13 September 1984), pg. 133
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Fest, Joachim, _The Face of the Third Reich_
(Penguin books, 1979), pg.42. ISBN 978-0201407143 .
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 87.
* ^ Zentner & Bedurftig 1997 , p. 629.
* ^ Eric Ehrenreich (2007). _The Nazi Ancestral Proof: Genealogy,
Racial Science, and the Final Solution_. Indiana University Press. p.
58. ISBN 0-253-11687-2 .
* ^ Richard Weikart (21 July 2009). _Hitler's Ethic_. Palgrave
Macmillan. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-230-62398-9 .
* ^ Sarah Ann Gordon (1984). _Hitler, Germans, and the "Jewish
Question"_. Princeton University Press. p. 265. ISBN 0-691-10162-0 .
* ^ Fest, Joachim, _The Face of the Third Reich_ (Penguin books,
1979), pg.39. ISBN 978-0201407143 .
* ^ _A_ _B_ Kershaw 2008 , p. 89.
* ^ Franz-Willing, _Die Hilterbewegung_
* ^ Shirer 1991 , p. 38.
* ^ Fest, Joachim, _The Face of the Third Reich_ (Penguin books,
1979), pg.40. ISBN 978-0201407143 .
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 100, 101.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 102.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Kershaw 2008 , p. 103.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 83, 103.
* ^ Hakim, Joy (1995). _A History of Us: War, Peace and all that
Jazz_. New York:
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press . ISBN 0-19-509514-6 .
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 110.
* ^ Jablonsky, David. 1989. _The
Nazi Party in Dissolution: Hitler
and the Verbotzeit, 1923–1925_. Routledge. Pp. 57
* ^ Jablonsky, Pp. 57
* ^ Weale 2010 , pp. 26–29.
* ^ Koehl 2004 , p. 34.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 194.
* ^ Evans 2005 , p. 372.
* ^ Sutton, Antony C.: _Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler_ (1976,
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 224.
* ^ "
Social democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism.
... These organisations (ie
Fascism and social democracy) are not
antipodes, they are twins." (J.V. Stalin : Concerning the
International Situation _(September 1924), in_ Works_, Volume 6, 1953;
p.294.) This later led
Otto Wille Kuusinen to conclude that "The aims
of the fascists and the social-fascists are the same." (Report To the
10th Plenum of ECCI, in_ International Press Correspondence_, Volume
9, no.40, (20 August 1929), p.848.)_
Hitler stated: "Today our left-wing politicians in particular
are constantly insisting that their craven-hearted and obsequious
foreign policy necessarily results from the disarmament of Germany,
whereas the truth is that this is the policy of traitors But the
politicians of the Right deserve exactly the same reproach. It was
through their miserable cowardice that those ruffians of
Jews who came
into power in 1918 were able to rob the nation of its arms." Adolf
Hitler. _Mein Kampf_. Bottom of the Hill Publishing, 2010. p. 287.
* ^ Fritzsche, Peter. 1998. Germans into Nazis. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press; Eatwell, Roger, _Fascism, A History_,
Viking/Penguin, 1996, pp. xvii–xxiv, 21, 26–31, 114–140, 352.
Griffin, Roger . 2000. "Revolution from the Right: Fascism," chapter
in David Parker (ed.) _Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in
the West 1560–1991_, Routledge, London.
* ^ Adolf Hitler, Max Domarus. _The Essential Hitler: Speeches and
Commentary_. pp. 171, 172-173.
* ^ Beck, H (2013). _The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and
Nazis in 1933: The_
Machtergreifung _in a New Light_. Berghahn Books.
p. 259. ISBN 9780857454102 .
* ^ Hermann Beck (2008). _The Fateful Alliance: German
Conservatives and Nazis in 1933—The_
Machtergreifung _in a New
Light_. Beghahn Books. p. 259.
* ^ Christian Ingrao (2010). _Hitlers Elite: Die Wegbereiter des
nationalsozialistischen Massenmords_. Propyläen.
* ^ Kolb, Eberhard (2005) . _The
Weimar Republic_. London; New
York: Routledge. pp. 224–225. ISBN 978-0-415-34441-8 .
* ^ Dieter Kuntz (2011). _
Hitler and the functioning of the Third
Reich_. _The Routledge History of the Holocaust_. Routledge. p. 73.
* ^ Thomas Schaarschmidt (2014). _Mobilizing German Society for
War: The National Socialist_ Gaue. _Visions of Community in Nazi
Germany_. Oxford University Press. pp. 104–105.
Richard J. Evans (2015). _The Third
Reich in History and
Memory_. Oxford University Press. p. 98.
* ^ Chris McNab (2013). _Hitler's Elite: The SS 1939-45_. Osprey.
* ^ Dieter Kuntz (2011). _
Hitler and the functioning of the Third
Reich_. _The Routledge History of the Holocaust_. Routledge. p. 74.
* ^ Jacques Delarue (2008). _The Gestapo: A History of Horror_.
Frontline Books. pp. x–xi.
* ^ McNab 2009 , p. 25.
* ^ McNab 2009 , pp. 25, 26.
* ^ Zentner, Christian Ed; Bedürftig, Friedemann Ed (1991). "The
Encyclopedia of the Third Reich". New York: Macmillan. p 631
* ^ _
Deutsche Uniformen _, National Socialist German Workers Part
* ^ Speer, Albert (1970). _Inside the Third Reich_. New York and
* ^ _Buchquelle zur Gaugröße Kurmarks/Mark-Brandenburgs_. Google
Books. 1995. ISBN 978-3-05-002508-7 . Retrieved 12 November 2010.
* ^ The 43rd _Gau_ known as the Auslandsorganisation is
* ^ German Historical Institute (2008). "Administrative Structure
Socialism (1941)" Washington DC. Online map (accessed 9
* ^ Martin Broszat, _The
Hitler State: The Foundation and
Development of the Internal Structure of the Third Reich_ (London and
New York: Longman, 1985), pp. 44-47.
* ^ Walter Wolf (1969). _Faschismus in der Schweiz_. Flamberg, p
121, 253, 283. (in German)
* ^ Alan Morris Schom. "Examples of NSDAP and National Front
meetings and agendas in northern Switzerland, 1935, 1937". _A Survey
of Nazi and Pro-Nazi Groups in Switzerland: 1930–1945_. Simon
Wiesenthal Center . Retrieved 17 October 2010.
* ^ Historischer Verein des Kantons Bern (1973). _Archiv des
Historischen Vereins des Kantons Bern, vol 57–60_. Stämpfliche
Verlagshandlung. p. 150.
* ^ Beat Glaus (1969). _Die Nationale front_. Zürich. p. 147.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Panayi, P. _Life and Death in a German Town: Osnabrück
Weimar Republic to
World War II
World War II and Beyond_. New York: Tauris
Academic Studies, 2007. p 40.
* ^ "German population in 1945". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
* ^ Fakty wypaczone przez Erikę Steinbach
Bogdan Musiał 24 06
* ^ Wolfgang Rosar: _Deutsche Gemeinschaft. Seyss-Inquart und der
Anschluß_. Europa-Verlag, Wien 1971. ISBN 3-203-50384-0 .
* Evans, Richard J. (2003). _The Coming of the Third
Reich _. New
York; Toronto: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-303469-8 .
* Evans, Richard J. (2005). _The Third
Reich in Power_. New York:
Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-303790-3 .
* Höhne, Heinz (2000) . _The Order of the Death's Head: The Story
of Hitler's SS (Der Orden unter dem Totenkopf: Die Geschichte der
SS)_. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-139012-3 .
* Kershaw, Ian (2008). _Hitler: A Biography_. New York: W. W. Norton
& Company. ISBN 0-393-06757-2 .
* Koehl, Robert (2004). _The SS: A History 1919–45_. Stroud:
Tempus. ISBN 978-0-75242-559-7 .
* McNab, Chris (2009). _The Third Reich_. Amber Books. ISBN
* Mitcham, Samuel W. (1996). _Why Hitler?: The Genesis of the Nazi
Reich_. Westport, Conn: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-275-95485-7 .
* Shirer, William L. (1991) . _The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
_. London: Arrow Books. ISBN 978-009942176-4 .
* Weale, Adrian (2010). _The SS: A New History_. London: Little,
Brown. ISBN 978-1-4087-0304-5 .
* Zentner, Christian; Bedurftig, Friedemann (1997) . _The
Encyclopedia of the Third
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* _ Media related to National Socialist German Workers\' Party at
* Text of Mein Kampf_
* Program of the Nazi Party, its "Manifesto"
* (in German) Nationalsozialistische Deutsche