After the defeat in World War I, German society fell into a major crisis. On the one hand, the terms of the Treaty of Versailles has significantly hurt the German economy by causing mass hyperinflation. On the other hand, a large number of Germans felt that they were betrayed by signing unfavourable peace and were convinced that they could win a war. These circumstances contributed to the creation of various nationalist movements, among which the creation of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, which is also known as the Nazi Party, was the most important.
The Nazi Party emerged from the German Workers' Party (DAP), which was founded in Munich on January 5, 1919, by several smaller political groups. The founder of the party was Anton Drexler. Adolf Hitler initially joined the party, which at that time counted about 60 members and soon became its leader. As the 55th member of the party, he was registered under number 555, in an attempt to show that the party had more members then they really did. At the first mass meeting on February 24th, 1920, Hitler read the party’s program, which consisted of 25 points. Two themes were the backbone of the entire program: the German defeat in World War I and nationalism. Among other points, some of the most important were: Germany has the right to territorially spread on the territories of other states, Germany has the right to annex all territories with German populations in other countries, only ethnic Germans have the right to German citizenship, Jews are deprived of civil law, and the annulment of the Versailles peace regulations that are at the expense of Germany.
Socialism in the party’s title was considered not to represent classical left-wing socialism, but as a right-oriented ideology or "national solidarity", that is, national unity needed to address some of the higher goals. According to Hitler's definition, socialism is an ideology that has as the highest goal the benefit of its own people. Despite its name, the National Socialist Party acted as an extremely right oriented political movement.
Initially, Hitler refused to lead the party, although Drexler offered it to him, but took leadership over the party in 1921 while Drexler remained an honorary president. Very quickly, Hitler declared himself as the leader, taking the title Führer, and deciding about everything in the party. With the conviction that achievement of party’s goals can only be realized by violence, the party founded in 1921 the Sturmabteilungen (SA). It was the party’s police, which had the task of securing of meetings, attacking Democrats, Socialists and Communists, and persecuting the Jews. A swastika or Hakenkreuz, a hooked cross, was accepted as a sign of the Aryan race, replacing the cross on the German flag. A red flag with a white field in the middle and a black swastika was selected. At the top of the swastika, surrounded by wreaths of oak leaves, there was another traditional symbol, the German eagle.
In his book "Mein Kampf" (1925), Hitler presented his Nazi program, presenting the world as a racial struggle for domination, in which the Aryan race is superior to others. The book became a manual for the German Nazis, who during the Second World War turned to racial cleansing and the systematic killing of non- Aryan people. The book was written during Hitler's imprisonment, following a failed coup in 1924, when Hitler tried to bring down legal government with the help of his party. As a result, the party was briefly banned.
After exiting the prison, Hitler was again politically active, and the party was growing. During this period, another party’s body was established, Hitler's personal guard with Commander Heinrich Himmler at the helm. The SS (SchutzStaffel) or the Protective Department from a small paramilitary unit over time grew into a large organization that counted millions of members. At that time, the well-known Hitler’s greeting, an extended hand that Hitler took from Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist leader, and the term Heil Hitler, became the hallmark of the party.
In the 1930s elections the Nazi Party won mostly because of the current state in the country. Namely, the crisis was great in Germany, the economy was ruined, the unemployed numbers were growing, and discontent of people was growing. Hitler promised peace and order, the end of the economic crisis, the abolition of the Versailles Agreement, the rescue of the country from the Communists and the Jews, the return of Germany to the world scene. On July 14, 1933, the Nazi party forbade the creation and operation of new political parties and Germany became a one-sided, fully centralized state. In addition, a special law was passed by which the Jews no longer enjoy the protection of German law. Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and established a totalitarian regime. The country was named Third Reich. Another organization came from the Nazi party and this is Hitler's Youth, an organization that gathered German youth aged 14 to 18, all future members of the party.
In the following period, under Hitler's rule, the strength and power of the party and the German state grow. Soon SA became the main problem of the party, because Hitler did not have complete control over it and the number of SA members was large. In a coup d'état, in June 1934, Hitler with the help of the SS and the Gestapo, ordered an attack on SA, in which their leader Röhm and 700 other members of the SA were killed. This attack is known as the Night of Long Knives, which brought down the power of SA and increased the power of the SS. Attacks on the Jews did not stop, their German citizenship was abolished; they were also banned from marrying with someone who was not Jew. During Kristallnacht, in November 1938, 100 Jews were killed, 30,000 were arrested and taken to concentration camps, their homes were looted and burned, and synagogues were demolished.
In 1939, the Second World War began with the German invasion of Poland. Hitler himself was proclaimed defense minister, and many generals become fanatic Nazis. Before the proclamation of the end of the war, many members of the Nazi party fled or committed suicide. Some, having burned their Nazi identity cards, tried to fit into the postwar German society. After World War II, the work of the Nazi party was banned and it disappeared from the historical scene.