Encyclopedia

Nazi Party

(Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP) National Socialist German Workers' Party, the party led by Adolf Hitler and the only legal party in Germany from 1934 to 1945. The party was based on the so called leadership principle (Fuhrerprinzip). At its head stood the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. The party's structure was authoritarian and centralist.

Its political power grew steadily during the 1930's when the catastrophe of hyper-inflation wrecked the German economy. However, it never achieved an absolute majority in a free election, achieving 43.9 percent of the vote in the elections of March 5, 1933. The Nazi party was extinguished for all practical purposes with the suicide of Adolf Hitler on April 30, 1945.

Two basic elements of its ideology were antisemitism and pan-German nationalism. Only a person of German blood could be a citizen of the state. This excluded Jews and foreigners. The Germans were considered to be a master race entitled by right to conquer areas in the east. The humiliating defeat of Germany in World War I was blamed on Jewish leftists through invoking the stab-in-the-back myth. For Adolf Hitler, the war he unleashed with the invasion of Poland in September 1939 was a means of realizing the Nazi dream of a German master race's empire in eastern Europe.


Source: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.


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