In his article last month in our series, 'Makers of the Twentieth Century', Jeremy Noakes evaluated Hitler's contribution to the creation of Nazi Germany and the outbreak of the Second World War. Now Dr. Noakes turns his attention to those who voted for the Nazis: from whom did the party of Hitler draw its support and what did it offer to the disillusioned German people?
In 1928, a mere 810,000 electors voted for the Nazi party; only four years later, in 1932, this figure had risen to a staggering 13,450,000. The 2.8 per cent of the German electorate that had voted for the Nazis in 1928 had shot up to 37.3 per cent in 1932. The party was now the largest in the Reichstag and this was to help pave the way for Hitler's assumption of the Reich Chancellorship in January, 1933. How could this dramatic increase in the Nazi vote take place? And who were the people who gave the Nazis an electoral success rivalled before only by the Majority Social Democrats who, in the aftermath of Germany's defeat in the First World War and the subsequent socialist revolution, won 37.9 per cent of the votes for the National Assembly at Weimar?