Before the start of the Second World War, the Nazis had achieved what was dubbed an ‘Economic Miracle’, which took some part in helping them rise in popularity. Support for the Nazis came in several forms. Primarily, unemployment reduced greatly, on account of the introduction of the Workers Programme. This is illustrated in Source B, which shows Hitler working with a member of the Workers Programme to complete the first autobahn (road). The reduction of unemployment caused greater stability in the economy, which, in turn, led to the support and popularity of the Nazis.
Economic success was also a key factor in the popularity of the Nazis as it led to an improvement in the standard of living. Due to the fact that the economy was doing so well, German people could now afford luxury items such as the Volkswagen, or “Peoples Car” a revert back to the traditional German values of the family unit, the role of women and National Honour. This caused an enhancement in morale among everyday people. They also felt peace of mind as a result of the country’s new financial stability. A greater amount of people were willing to support the Nazis as they had witnessed an improvement in the way they lived economically. Law and order were strengthened through an improved judicial system, Storm Troopers (the SS ) and the Police, which added to the country’s development.
After the First World War Germany was limited in its Empire, trade and military. Consequently, the German economy suffered. However, under the rule of the Nazis, reparation payments on account of the Treaty of Versailles, to the value of ï¿½6,600million, were cancelled. Military spending was increased, as shown in Source C. Simultaneously, the country’s Imports and Exports were re-introduced. The German people saw this as a escape from the humiliation they endured under the Weimar Republic.
Furthermore, the Nazis were able to broadcast their economic success, thanks to their productive propaganda organization. This in turn led to continued support not just from the German people, but from other western powers. An example of which is demonstrated in Source G, which explains how the British Prime Minister supported Hitler’s policies on resolving the country’s unemployment problem. However, the Nazis maintained an ‘invisible unemployment’ through censorship and propaganda. Therefore, economic success was not the only reason why the Nazis were popular.
Additionally, propaganda allowed the Nazis to develop an education system which endorsed and supported Nazi ideals. The improvement to the education system was very popular among the German people.
The Hitler Youth Movement was a part of the education system, which acquired a high membership rate amongst the youth of Germany. The Hitler Youth Movement provided a rewarding and popular pastime, which was a refreshing change from the humiliation felt from the Weimar Republic. In addition to this, a structured education based around the home life was created for women, as stated in source D. This further proves that the economic success was not the only reason for the Nazis popularity.
In contrast, some evidence shows that the Nazis weren’t quite as popular as they seemed. As shown in Source E, censorship often caused people to go ‘underground’. The newspaper in Source E is illegal, because it is not supported nor controlled by the government. What’s more, Source E goes on to show that not everyone supported the Nazi policies on unemployment. Dissatisfaction was felt by Jews, women, part-time workers and certain skilled workers, towards the Nazis. In addition, many people feared the intervention of the SS and disagreed with the use of labour camps as a deterrent to opposition of the Nazis, which further questions the Nazis popularity.
In Conclusion, though the Nazis popularity is questionable, support for them came in many different ways and not only for the reason of economic success.