1. Why is it difficult to really know how popular Hitler and the Nazis were among the German People?
Briefing 6, “How Did People React to Nazism”, clearly highlights the discrepancies between German people’s interpretations of Nazism and Hitler in the 1930s and after 1945, which demonstrates the uncertainty of Hitler’s true popularity. Initially in the 1930s, German citizens were unable to “express decent” and were coerced into passive acceptance of the Nazi ideology. This pressure to conform to Hitler’s homogenous Volksgemeinschaft, and the uniform propaganda of the mass media, presented Germany as a homogenous society whom admired Hitler. The photograph, “A Nuremburg rally” exemplifies an expression of Hitler’s popularity through the “massive Nazi Party rallies”. Furthermore, briefing 6 articulates that individuals’ opinions of Hitler were unable to be substantiated as the totalitarian regime prevented elections after the Enabling Act of 1933, while plebiscites could be easily manipulated to reflect Nazi ideology. Conversely, after World War II in 1945, when the true extend of Hitler’s horror and genocide was revealed, citizens rejected “that they had been fervent Nazi supporters”. Thus, background briefing 6 fundamentally emphasises the difficulty of asserting Hitler’s popularity among German citizens.
2. Why might people outside Germany have admired Hitler greatly?
Background briefing 6’s use of Lloyd George’s praise of Hitler exhibited the external admiration for Hitler’s regime, as it epitomised a miracle transformation. Predominantly, after the ruinous end to WW1 and the great depression, Nazism’s Gleichschaltung appeared to have rebuilt the German economy, restored its national power and met the material aspirations of the population. This “marvellous transformation of the spirit of the people under Nazism”, as described by George, projected a façade to the international population that Hitler’s totalitarian dictatorship was advancing Germany. Therefore, German’s prosperity and comprehensive transformation under Nazism stimulated people outside of Germany to both praise and admire Hitler.
3. Why might ‘white collar’ workers, self-employed people and farmers have been less supportive of Hitler and the Nazis? Why might manual workers have been less supportive?
The support of the Nazis by ‘white collar’ workers, self-employed people and farmers was essentially derived from the truism in history, that during social and economic turmoil people are willing to turn to political extremist. As the Great Depression erupted in October 1929 these three job sectors were especially affected; farmers income was low and debts grew significantly, while bankruptcy and unemployment was widespread for ‘white collar’ workers and self-employed citizens. This souring discontent glorified Hitler’s radical ideologies as an economic salvation that would meet the material aspirations of the citizens. Furthermore, the Nazi propaganda was aimed at and...