Origins of the Nazi Party
The Nazi Party was formed in January 1919 by Anton Drexler. Originally it was named the German Workers Party (DAP). Hitler joined in Autumn of 1919. He quickly rose to become the leader of the party. The party was transformed by Hitler and became a political party rather than the discussion group that it had been when he joined. The SA (Brownshirts) was formed to protect Hitler and other party leaders at meetings. It also disrupted the meetings of the Nazi’s political opponents.
Appeal of the Nazi Party
The military uniform of the SA appealed to many former soldiers. The aggressive berating of the Weimar leadership for signing the treaty of Versailles appealed to the disaffected and to former soldiers. Use of force and the parties strict discipline appealed to those who longed for a return to the old, militaristic rule that had preceded the First World War.
The party attempted to take control of the government by force. This failed as the Nazi’s did not enjoy widespread support at the time. The government was capable of controlling the armed forces and police. Hitler was imprisoned as a result of the Putsch (Uprising).
In Prison Hitler thought about the methods he had used to try and take control. He realised that the Nazi’s would need to use legitimate, electoral means to assume power and that the appeal of his party would need to be widespread in order to achieve this. As a result he wrote “Meine Kampf”. This book outlines Hitler’s beliefs.
Upon being released from prison Hitler started to reorganise the party. The SS (Blackshirts) were introduced as his own personal bodyguard: they later became a much larger organisation with many functions. People were employed within the party to work on strategy and the delivery of an aggressive advertising campaign (propaganda). This included Goebbels.
Campaigning and the Rise to chancellorship