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Who voted for the Nazi Party and why?

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Introduction

Amy Clark Who voted for the Nazi Party and why? The typical person who voted for the Nazis was thought to be young, male, protestant and a member of the mittelstand (middle class). This was the predominant view until the 1980s by historians such as Bullock, K.D Bracher and W.Knauerhase. They key group who supposedly provided the Nazis with their mass support was the petty bourgeoisie (Mittelstand). However this is a very simplistic outlook and latest research has shown the voting patterns to be much more complex than first thought. The people who voted for the Nazis in the July 1932 election cannot be classified in terms of social strata or gender. There has been much debate over exactly who supported this extremist party, what has hindered this research has been the absence of modern opinion polls. The results of secret ballots only tells us how many votes a party got in a certain region not who voted for whom. This is still very useful as you can look at specific areas which may have particular social or religious groups living in them. Some states in Germany had separate ballot papers for men and women so in a few areas there are figures available by gender. There is other evidence which is more direct such as membership records of the Nazi Party and the SA, providing us with some personal details. The decline in votes for the other parties may also provide an insight into who voted for the Nazis. But they may have not lost their votes to the Nazis alone. ...read more.

Middle

Conan Fischer estimates that 40% of all Nazi voters belonged to the working class. The NSDAP was a self-financing organisation, which separated it from the other parties such as the DNVP and DVP who used a lot of industrial money. The workers appreciated this, supported by the fact that 55% of Storm Troopers came from a working-class background. To many disheartened workers or unemployed the SA were seen as heroes. Seeing their powerful stature in propaganda posters inspired thousands. A particular area in Germany where the Nazis made substantial gains from working-class communities was in parts of Saxony, in Chemnitz. Nazi propaganda had initially targeted urban workers. Propaganda was extremely successful tool in gaining support. It appealed to the emotions, especially at mass meetings and rallies. But it wasn't completely indispensable because the Nazis had major electoral successes in some areas where there was little propaganda. Therefore it was more useful in reinforcing existing sympathies and feelings rather than creating them. Some workers were more likely to vote Nazi then others. It was mainly skilled workers and especially rural labourers. Another reason why the working class voted for Hitler was due to economic reasons. Between 1930 and 1933 the Nazis put forward a series of economic policies, offering a third way between Marxist state planning and Laissez-Faire capitalism. They said the economy should serve the needs of the state, not individuals. They advocated public investment in industry to boost the economy, financial controls to protect people in debt and an economic autarky to put the interests of Germans above foreigners. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Nazi Student Organisation-Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Studentenbund received more than half the votes and dominated the student government in 1929 at the universities of Erlangen and Greifswald. The young voted for Hitler as many rebelled against their parents. They offered simple solutions to the world, and were colourful and exciting, especially for the first time voter. They had a youthful dynamic image, supported by the SA which attracted young men aged 18-39 whom many looked to as role models. Hitler can most definitely be regarded as a political genius by the skilful tactics he used to maximise the Nazi vote. He appealed to such a wide range of people in society unlike any other party or leader at the time. He embraced all occupational groups, regardless of class, gender and background. Religious and local community influences seem to have been a greater determinant of voting behaviour than class. A vast number of people just voted for Hitler as he was so charismatic and they liked him. Millions of worried Germans turned to the Nazis as they promised to take firm action to get Germany out of the economic and psychological depression. The Nazi anti-semitic message they portrayed was also a major factor for Hitler's mass support. The core voters for the Nazis were mainly farmers, middle classes and lower middle classes, the young, Protestants and skilled workers. Of course other groups in society did vote for the Nazis but in smaller proportions than those previously mentioned. The reasons for the 37.7% of society voting NSDAP was mainly due to anti-Marxism, for a national community, super nationalism, the Hitler cult, anti Semitism and other factors I have previously described. 1 ...read more.

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