Nazi Party

National Socialist German Workers' Party

Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
ChairmanAnton Drexler
(24 February 1920 – 29 July 1921)[1]
FührerAdolf Hitler
(29 July 1921 – 30 April 1945)
Party MinisterMartin Bormann
(30 April 1945 – 2 May 1945)
Founded24 February 1920 (1920-02-24)
Dissolved10 October 1945 (1945-10-10)
Preceded byGerman Workers' Party
HeadquartersBrown House, Munich, Germany[2]
NewspaperVölkischer Beobachter
Student wingNational Socialist German Students' League
Youth wing
Paramilitary wings
Sports bodyNational Socialist League of the Reich for Physical Exercise
Women's wingNational Socialist Women's League
Membership
  • Fewer than 60 (1920)
  • 8.5 million (1945)[3]
IdeologyNazism
Political positionFar-right[5][6]
Colours
Slogan"Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer" (English: "One People, One Nation, One Leader") (unofficial)
Anthem
"Horst-Wessel-Lied"
("Horst Wessel Song")
Party flag
Flag of the NSDAP (1920–1945).svg

The National Socialist German Workers' Party (German: About this soundNationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei , abbreviated NSDAP), commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party (English: i/),[7] was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; DAP), existed from 1919 to 1920.

The Nazi Party emerged from the German nationalist, racist and populist Freikorps paramilitary culture, which fought against the communist uprisings in post-World War I Germany.[8] The party was created to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism.[9] Initially, Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric, although this was later downplayed to gain the support of business leaders, and in the 1930s the party's main focus shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes.[10]

Pseudo-scientific racist theories were central to Nazism, expressed in the idea of a "people's community" (Volksgemeinschaft).[11] The party aimed to unite "racially desirable" Germans as national comrades, while excluding those deemed either to be political dissidents, physically or intellectually inferior, or of a foreign race (Fremdvölkische).[12] The Nazis sought to strengthen the Germanic people, the "Aryan master race", through racial purity and eugenics, broad social welfare programs, and a collective subordination of individual rights, which could be sacrificed for the good of the state on behalf of the people.

To protect the supposed purity and strength of the Aryan race, the Nazis sought to exterminate Jews, Romani, Poles and most other Slavs, along with the physically and mentally handicapped. They disenfranchised and segregated homosexuals, Africans, Jehovah's Witnesses and political opponents.[13] The persecution reached its climax when the party-controlled German state set in motion the Final Solution–an industrial system of genocide which achieved the murder of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other targeted victims, in what has become known as the Holocaust.[14]

Adolf Hitler, the party's leader since 1921, was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. Hitler rapidly established a totalitarian regime[15][16][17][18] known as the Third Reich. Following the defeat of the Third Reich at the conclusion of World War II in Europe, the party was "declared to be illegal" by the Allied powers,[19] who carried out denazification in the years after the war both in Germany and in territories occupied by Nazi forces. The use of any symbols associated with the party is now outlawed in many European countries, including Germany and Austria.

Etymology

Nazi, the informal and originally derogatory term for a party member, abbreviates the party's name (Nationalsozialist German pronunciation: [natsi̯oˈnaːlzotsi̯aˌlɪst]), and was coined in analogy with Sozi (pronounced [ˈzoːtsiː]), an abbreviation of Sozialdemokrat (member of the rival Social Democratic Party of Germany).[20][21] Members of the party referred to themselves as Nationalsozialisten (National Socialists), rarely as Nazis. The term Parteigenosse (party member) was commonly used among Nazis, with its corresponding feminine form Parteigenossin.[22]

The term was in use before the rise of the party as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backward peasant, an awkward and clumsy person. It derived from Ignaz, a shortened version of Ignatius,[23][24] which was a common name in the Nazis' home region of Bavaria. Opponents seized on this, and the long-existing Sozi, to attach a dismissive nickname to the National Socialists.[24][25]

In 1933, when Adolf Hitler assumed power in the German government, the usage of "Nazi" diminished in Germany, although Austrian anti-Nazis continued to use the term,[21] and the use of "Nazi Germany" and "Nazi regime" was popularised by anti-Nazis and German exiles abroad. Thereafter, the term spread into other languages and eventually was brought back to Germany after World War II.[25] In English, the term is not considered slang, and has such derivatives as Nazism and denazification.