The National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), better known as the NSDAP or the Nazi Party was a political party that was led to power in Germany by Adolf Hitler in 1933. The term Nazi is a short form of the German Nationalsozialismus (National Socialism); the ideology of the NSDAP.
The party was the main political force in Nazi Germany from the fall of the Weimar Republic in 1933 until the end of World War II in 1945, when it was declared illegal and its leaders were arrested and convicted of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials.
The forerunner of the NSDAP, the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party, abbreviated DAP), was founded in 1919 by Munich locksmith and self-styled poet Anton Drexler (together with Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart and Karl Harrer) as one of many völkisch movements that existed in Germany as a result of its defeat in World War I. In order to investigate this party, German army intelligence sent Hitler as a young corporal to monitor party activities. Impressed by what he saw, he joined as member 555, although Hitler later claimed to be "Party Member number 7" to make it look like he was a founder. He in fact was the 7th member of the DAP's central committee. The DAP was shortly renamed the NSDAP. When the NSDAP was refounded after being banned following the abortive Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Hitler took Party membership number 1.
After the failure of its coup attempt in Bavaria, the Nazis competed poorly in elections for the remainder of the 1920s. In the election of 1930, however, the Nazis, propelled by Germany's economic problems in the incipient Great Depression increased their vote dramatically, becoming the second largest party in the Reichstag. It improved its position in the years thereafter, despite a brief ban in 1932 of the S.A (the party's private army) and in the elections of 1932 the party reached a total of 13.75 million votes and became the largest voting bloc in the Reichstag. Hitler was appointed Chancellor by president Hindenburg in January 1933, and in an election marred by S.A. strong arming, the Nazis and their Nationalist allies gained a majority, which they used to pass an Enabling Act to put absolute power into Hitler's hands. After the banning or cancellation of all other parties (July 5, 1933) and the ban on new parties (July 14, 1933), the National Socialists became the only remaining political party. This was part of the Gleichschaltung.
|date||votes in millions||share|
|May 20, 1928||0.81||2.6%|
|September 14, 1930||6.41||18.3%|
|July 31, 1932||13.75||37.3%|
|November 6, 1932||11.74||33.1%|
|March 5, 1933||17.28||43.9%|