The popularity of Nazi ideology in the 1930s has its roots in the practices and policies of the fledgling party in the 1920s. In 1919, Adolf Hitler joined a small political party that was then known as the German Workers Party. By the early 1920s he had taken over as leader and changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi Party.
Hitler and the Nazis crafted their ideology to appeal to as many Germans as possible. One of their main platforms was opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, which most Germans saw as unfair punishment for losing World War I. Nazis also promised increased employment, better pensions, and re-militarization, which would provide a boost to the nation's industries. Other popular ideologies included a belief in the superiority of the German Aryan race and a hatred of communists and Jews.
The Nazis used intense propaganda campaigns to spread their views by means of posters, newspapers, radio, mass rallies, and in-person speeches by the charismatic Hitler. They were widespread and well-organized, with local offices in many towns and cities. The Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 made Hitler a nationally known figure. Once he was released from prison, he set his sights on winning the country through national elections. The Great Depression, which began in 1929, assisted the Nazis in their bid for political power. It hit Germany with decimating force, causing widespread unemployment and poverty. The desperate German people were ready for a change and willing to listen to Hitler.
For the election of 1930, Hitler and the Nazis conducted a massive campaign with rallies, torchlight parades, and special newspapers printed by the millions. Hitler traveled from one end of the country to the other making speeches and winning crowds. The suffering German people saw Nazi ideology as a way to overcome the devastating poverty in which they felt trapped. Hitler was extremely charismatic and offered a return of German glory, social order, and unity; an end to corruption; and a repudiation of the Versailles treaty.
The Nazis won over 18 percent of the total vote in 1930. In 1932, the number of seats they occupied in the Reichstag, or German parliament, increased. In 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, and the Nazis banned all other political parties. Hitler's power was cemented over the country, and resistance fighters were often killed.