Formed in the wake of the German defeat in World War I and Germany's forced compliance with the humiliating Treaty of Versailles (1919), the National Socialist German Workers' Party emerged in southern Germany in 1919. Known simply asthe Nazi Party, the group adopted this program, an excerpt of which appears below, at its February 24, 1920 meeting in Munich. The following year, a young political activist and World War I veteran named Adolf Hitler assumed the party's leadership.
In 1928, the Nazi Party had nearly gone bankrupt as a result of the spending on street parades etc. which had cost the party a great deal. Bankruptcy would have automatically excluded them from politics - they were saved by a right wing businessman called Hugenburg who owned a media firm in Germany. He financially bailed them out.
In the 1930 Reichstag election, the Nazis gained 143 seats - a vast improvement on their previous showing. Hitler only expected between 50 to 60 seats. A senior Nazi official, Gregor Strasser, claimed that what was a disaster for Weimar was "good, very good for us."
In the July 1932 Reichstag election, the Nazis gained 230 seats making them the largest party in the Reichstag.
In the same year, Hitler had challenged Field Marshall von Hindenburg for the presidency. Such a move in 1928 would have been laughable but in the presidential election Hitler gained 13,400,000 votes to Hindenburg’s 19,360,000. Thalman, the leader of the Communists, gained 3,700,000. By any showing, Hitler’s achievement in this presidential election was extremely good for a politician whose party was on the verge on bankruptcy just 4 years earlier - but it also showed the mood of the German people in the early 1930’s.
Nazi Rally circa 1933
In 1920 The Nazi Party published this 25 point plan:
1. We demand the uniting together of all Germans, on the basis of the people's right of self-determination, in a greater Germany.
2. We demand . . . . the annulling of the Peace treaties drawn up in Versailles and St. Germain.
3. We demand land and territory (colonies) to provide food for our nations and settlement areas for our population surplus.
4. Only a fellow German can have right of citizenship . . . no Jew can be considered to be a fellow German. . . .
7. We demand that the first priority of the state should be to ensure that its citizens have a job and a decent life. If it should prove impossible to feed the whole population of the state, foreign nationals (with no right of citizenship) should be repatriated.
8. Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non- Germans who have entered the Reich since 2nd August 1914 be forced to leave immediately. . . .
11. (We demand) abolition of income for unemployed people or for those making no effort. . . .
13. We demand the nationalization of all publicly owned companies (Trusts). . . .
16. We demand the establishment and maintenance of a healthy middle class. The large department stores should be immediately place under the control of the local authority and should be rented out to small businesses at low prices. . . .
18. We demand an all-out battle against those who damage the common interest by their actions—criminals against the nation, profiteers, racketeers etc. should be punished by death, without regard for religion or race. . . .
21. The state must ensure the general good health of its citizens, by providing for mothers and children, by banning child labor, by ensuring the development of physical fitness, by making it a legal obligation to participate in sport or gymnastics and by providing all possible support for associations involved in instructing the youth in physical fitness. . . .
23 We demand a legal battle against open political slander and its publication in the press. In order to make possible the establishment of a German press, we demand that:
a) Newspaper editors and employees whose work appears in German must have German citizenship rights.
b) Non German newspapers must have the express permission of the state before they can appear in Germany. They must not be printed in German.
c) . . . Newspapers which are deemed to be against the common good should be banned. We demand a legal battle against any art and literature which exerts a harmful influence on public life and we demand that all institutions which contravene the aforementioned standards be closed down.
24. We demand the freedom of religion in the Reich so long as they[sic] do not endanger the position of the state or adversely affect the moral standards of the German race. As such the Party represents a positively Christian position without binding itself to one particular faith. The Party opposes the materialistic Jewish spirit within and beyond us and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our people can only be achieved an the basis of: Common Good before Personal Gain
25. In order to achieve all of the aforegoing we demand the setting up of a strong central administration for the Reich. . . .
The leaders of the party promise to commit themselves fully to the achievement of the above aims, and to sacrifice their lives if need be.