Most of their electoral success during that time can be contributed to the worldwide depression that took hold in the late 1920s, its effect on the German, European and American economies, and how the Nazis successfully used that issue to gather and consolidate power and support.
The 1920s and early 30s were tumultuous times in Germany, and Hitler and his Nazis capitalized on the chaos to offer Germans a new direction, one of order, pride, nationalism, and stability, not to mention economic recovery. This was not a difficult message for ordinary Germans to want to believe in at that time.
What's more, the Nazis had their own police force, the SA (Sturmabteilung), also knows as the Brownshirts, who beat and bullied the Nazis political opponents. All of these reasons led Nazis success in elections, but the poor world economy was the most important factor.
There were several reasons why the Nazi's gained power during these years. One of the main reasons was due to the anger of the Germans after the Treaty of Versailles (after World War I). They felt that they were treated too harshly. The four main elements of the treaty were:
- German should accept responsibility for starting the war.
- German had to pay a large sum of money for damages in the War. This sum was more than they could pay.
- Germany was allowed to have only a small army. This was tantamount to disarmament.
- Some land was taken away.
In light of these points, the Germans were very angry. When the Nazi's used this anger to their advantage, they were able to gain more and more power over people from an ideological point of view. In time Hitler took advantage of this even more. Hitler could care less of the Treaty of Versailles, which resonated with the Germans. In addition, as the previous post stated, these were hard times for the Germans as there was a worldwide depression. This depression compounded the German anger for change.