Who Voted Nazi and Why?
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Who voted Nazi and why? In the election of May 1928 the Nazi party won 2.6% of the vote with 12 seats. By September 1930 this had risen to 18.3% and 107 seats, this increased yet again to 37.4% and 230 seats by July 1932. This made the Nazis the largest party in the Reichstag. However it is impossible to know exactly who voted for the Nazis, as it was a secret ballot. So to work out who voted for the Nazis we have to look at in what areas they did well, this can show us which bits of society voted for them,if they did well in city centres then it would be fair to assume the working class voted Nazi. We can also look at which parties lost support as the Nazis gained it, if a party has a strong link with a certain class then if it looses support as the Nazis gain it, it is fair to assume the Nazis are stealing those votes and they appeal to the class who traditionally supported that party. We can also look at the areas of society the Nazis tried to appeal to. This is helpful as for example the communists only tried to appeal to the working class and so wouldn't have gained votes outside of the working class (this is a bit simplistic but can still help)
As their fear grew however (with more Nazi lead violence on the streets) more and more people began to see it as the only way to stop a communist revolution. The Nazis also appealed to the lower middle class especially as they had a real fear of loosing their status, in the depression millions where unemployed and fear of becoming one of these was a large part of life for the lower middle class. If they lost their job they would cease to be middle class and become working class, this was a large reason why so many defected to the Nazi party. While the liberals did nothing to combat these fears the Nazis offered to protect them from the communist threat, end unemployment (the detail here was lacking but it was a strong statement which would attract votes), and to protect them from the large companies and department stores. This was another fear for the lower middle class (in this case the shopkeepers) large department stores could put them out of business, again the Nazis promised to stop them saying they were run by Jews and that meant they could be demonised and attacked by them. The fact that the Nazis gained a large proportion of their vote from the middle and lower middle classes is also supported by the places in which they did well.
So to conclude and answer the question who voted Nazi I have to say that it seems that the Nazis managed to gain votes from all classes, but in differing amounts. They probably only managed to gain a small amount of votes from the upper class while managing to get financial support from Big Business and the rich. They almost certainly gained a large amount of support from the middle and lower middle classes and from rural farmers who would have together formed their core vote. They also probably gained votes from parts of the working class (again the rural farmers are being excluded from the working class for ease of analysis) such as the young in particular. Their only real failure was the Catholics. Why people voted Nazi tends to be easier to answer. People who voted Nazi were mostly scared of something, the Nazis managed to exploit people's fears to great effect, the upper and middle classes were scared of the communists and the Nazis realised this and that they would approve of violent methods being used to stop the communists. The lower middle class was also scared of unemployment and therefore becoming working class, the Nazis said they would not allow this to happen. The young working class probably voted Nazi again because they were scared of unemployment and also because of the new kind of dynamic and exciting politics that Hitler and the Nazis offered. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nick Cheek 04/11/02
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