Why were the Nazis so successful at acquiring political power?

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The Nazi Party gained power relatively quickly in post-World War I Germany. As late as 1928, the Nazis only received 2.6% of the vote in the Reichstag elections (The Reichstag was the German parliament). Most Germans viewed the Nazis as a radical group on the fringe of German politics. However, chaotic times often allow radical movements to prevail, and it was not long until such a crisis facilitated the rise of the Nazi Party.

The outbreak of the Great Depression in 1929 and the German government's failure to manage the crisis allowed the Nazis to poll at 18.3% in 1930 and thus become the second-largest German political party.

The Nazis blamed the Jews, communists, and the Treaty of Versailles for the plight of German workers, and, significantly, they presented a nationalist vision for restoring Germany to its prior greatness (which included, among other things, the purification of the German race and the confiscation of Jewish property). Moreover, they mounted an effective propaganda campaign to transmit their message to the German people. Thus, the Nazis succeeded at co-opting German nationalist pride and tapping into the anger that ordinary Germans felt. For these reasons, the Nazis were able to seize political power successfully.

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