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How far do you agree that the traditional stress on the Petty Bourgeoisie base of Nazi support need not be discarded but instead incorporated into a broader picture?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that the traditional stress on the Petty Bourgeoisie base of Nazi support need not be discarded but instead incorporated into a broader picture? The Petty Bourgeoisie included groups in society such as small business owners, traders, craft-workers and shopkeepers. The established view is that the Nazi vote was primarily that of the middle class. The middle class was seen to be Hitler's most committed group of supporters. However, it still needs to be established whether the Nazis were only supported by the middle class, or whether the middle class base of support should be incorporated with other factors. Some historians would argue that the middle class was the base of Nazi support. The middle class had not benefited from the Weimar Republic and lost much of their savings due to the Wall St Crash and the Depression. The middle class were left with negative feelings towards the Weimar Republic and looked to a party that could offer economic and political stability. In support of this is historian Alan Bullock who states that people 'overwhelmed by the depression' appealed to the Nazis because of 'material interests'. ...read more.

Middle

Due to this Hitler and the Nazis were committed to saving farmers from 'economic extinction'. This in turn led to the Reich Entailed Farm law, which was designed to protect the traditional 'small farm'. The benefits for farmers were that for those in debt, farms were saved from foreclosure. In contrast, J. Falter argues that just to look at the class system to see who voted Nazi is too simplistic and other factors may need to be taken in account. Firstly, religion is an important factor to take into consideration when deciding who voted Nazi and this can be incorporated with region. According to Jeremy Noakes the Nazis did best in, 'rural areas and small towns of protestant parts of Germany, particularly the north and east'. As Noakes mentions Protestants from the north and east were likely to vote for the Nazis as they were on the border with communist countries. Due to the fear of communism they were likely to vote Nazi. According to historian R. Geary the Nazis did best where they didn't have to cope with 'strong pre-existing ideological and organisational loyalties'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Depression lost the savings of many businesses such as the small shopkeepers, businesses etc. This lead to them voting for a party that could offer economic stability and good standard of living. Therefore, it can be argued that the idea that the middle class was the Nazi base of support can be incorporated with their history and background. Finally, Conan Fischer argues that the enjoyed some success in, 'crossing class, regional, confessional, gender and age barriers'. This therefore provides support for the argument that the middle weren't the base of Nazi support. Conan goes onto state that 40% of Nazi voters and members were working class and that they made up 60% of the SA. This again provides more evidence against the idea that the middle was the base of Nazi support. In conclusion, it can be said that the middle class was Hitler's most committed group of supporters. However, to say that the petty bourgeoisie were the Nazi base of support is simplistic. This is because we should also consider other factors such as religion, age, sex, occupation and history. In order to establish whether the middle class was the Nazi base of support; can be summed up by historian J. Falter who states the Nazis were 'socially balanced'. Sharon Chahal ...read more.

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