Support for the Nazi Government, 1933-39


It's hard to measure genuine levels of support for the Nazi State because it was a totalitarian terror regime. Extensive repressive measures meant many were too afraid to show active support. But it is likely that the vast majority liked some aspects of the Nazi regime. 

The Nazis saw it as important that they be able to attain widespread genuine popular support, so as to recapture a sense of the 'Spirit of 1914'.

Desirable Aspects

  • Wirtschaftswunder - Seemed to bring Germany out of economic depression, something which WR hadn't managed to do.
  • It could be a basis of expressing long-standing aversions to certain racial groups. Racist ideology had been prevalent in the WR and Second Reich (evident in the 1904-07 Herero-Namaqua  Genocide, or the appointment of anti-Semitic Karl Lueger as mayor of Vienna in 1897). 
  • Desirable FP: remilitarized Rhineland in 1936 (99% plebiscite support); left LoN in Oct. 1933 (95% plebiscite support).

Propaganda Feats

- 1936 Berlin Olympics -$30 million investment: 6 gymnasiums and a 100,000-seat track-and-field stadium. First Olympic games to be televised - broadcast in 41 countries. Germany wins more medals than any other country - 89 (33 gold!). 

- Reich Harvest Festival - Every October (1933-37) in Bückeberg, Lower Saxony to celebrate the achievements of the RNS. Most well-attended Nazi event: 1.2 million in 1937. 

Types of Support

- ACTIVE - 100% committed support of the Nazi State. 

- PARTIAL - Liked some aspects, not others. Claudia Coonz: 'yes but' Nazis.

- PASSIVE - Indifference to regime or politics altogether.

Support Amongst Individual Groups 


  • Had been kids during WWI, and were now in their 20s. 
  • Had a distorted view of war as a patriotic adventure, as their experience of 1914-18 had not been the horrors of the frontline, but war propaganda at school.
  • Liked nationalistic, patriotic and militaristic values of the NSDAP.
  • Dolchstoss/anti-TOV. 


  • Had links with nationalism. Protestant was the main religion of Prussia, which had been a nationalist base for centuries. Ministers liked the self-discipline, authority, and patriotism of Hitler. Some saw him as a modern…


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