The Nazis are followers of their self-made National Socialistic ideology. This ideology is an outgrowth of earlier political theories that also gave birth to fascism, which is an ideology that became popular in Italy some years before the Nazis took over Germany. National Socialism is based on a combination of ideas and other ideologies. Nazis adapted the idea of Social Darwinism. They believed that certain individuals or ethnic groups are dominant because of their inherent genetic superiority. Aryans are according to them the best race. Every other race was less to them. Following this idea, they believe in racial diversity and anti-Semitism. Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and people with a handicap were inferior by their genetic makeup. They also believed that the Germans were in need of more “lebensraum”, translated to English this means living space, or territory.
The political goal of National Socialism is to establish a totalitarian state, which means a modern, bureaucratic state, where the government is completely dominant in relation to the individual. It is thus a purpose of control to all human activities, both private and public.
National Socialism had a couple of very clear characteristics. The most important of them are: – The importance of a charismatic leader. – The support of the military. – The creation of an common enemy.
The most important reasons why the Nazis, and with them their National Socialistic ideology, could grow so fast, are: – Hitler made a promise for the revival of old glory. The humiliating treatment meted out to Germany under the Treaty of Versailles was greatly resented by the German people and army and they wanted to see Germany rise to the glory which it once enjoyed. – There was a growing threat of Communism. Hitler warned the people that the communists of Germany on getting power shall become the orderlies of the Russian masters and Germany shall be clouded by pernicious doctrines of communists. He impressed on the people that Nazism alone could keep the growing influence of Communism under check. – There was an economic crisis in Germany, which included a very high unemployment rate. The Nazi Party fully exploited this and asserted that all it would see that no one walked without a job in Germany. Hitler said that the day the entire German race happened to abide by Nazi ideology, she would recapture her lost glory, power and prosperity. This greatly appealed the German people and they extended full support to the Nazi Party. – There was a resurgence of militant German nationalism. The country had a very strong tradition for militarism and loyalty towards the authorities. And they had by temperament a weakness for prestige and glory. They felt that only a strong man could restore the past prosperity and prestige of Germany. When they found such a strong man in Hitler, he promised them all glory, they welcomed him with open arms. – Hitler’s’ anti-Semitic propaganda also contributed to its popularity. The Nazi Party described the Jews as traitors who conspired with the Allies during the war and could again commit treason against Germany. It impressed on the people that their hardship was due to the exploitation by the Jews, who dominated the German economy. It called upon the people to settle the accounts with the Jew. In view of this anti-Semitic propaganda, all the anti-Jew people thronged behind the Nazi Party. – There was no unity among Opposition Parties. The rise of Nazi Party in German was also facilitated due to lack of any strong opposition party or unity among the opposition parties. As a result the Nazi Party did not encounter any effective resistance and gained smooth popularity.
The Nazis presented the German population with an easy explanation to all their problems: Jews and democracy. The Nazis cleverly played on the “political paranoia” of the middle class, and in this respect the Jews and communists worked excellently as representations of the enemy.
An example in Keneally’s book which shows the National Socialistic ideology is the following paragraph: On the city walls, above fellow passengers’ heads in the trolleys, Pfeffenberg would read the posters of the day, the billboard depicting a virginal Polish girl handing food to a hook-nosed Jew mincing rats into pies, watering milk, pouring lice into pastry, kneading dough with filthy feet. The fact of the ghetto was being validated in the streets of Cracow by poster art, by copywriters from the Propaganda Ministry. If you were to help a Jew you were looked at like helping Satan – Keneally page 97.