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The National Socialist German Workers Party almost died one morning in1919 It numbered only a few dozen grumblers it had no organizationBut many among the middle class admired the Nazis muscular oppositionto the Social Democrats And the Nazis themes of patriotism andmilitarism drew highly emotional responses from people who could notforget Germanys prewar imperial grandeurIn the national elections of September 1930 the Nazis garnered nearly65 million votes and became second only to the Social Democrats as themost popular party in Germany In Northeim where in 1928 Nazicandidates had received 123 votes they now polled 1742 a respectable28 percent of the total The nationwide success drew even faster injust three years party membership would rise from about 100000 toalmost a million and the number of local branches would increasetenfold The new members included working-class people farmers andmiddle-class professionals They were both better educated and youngerthen the Old Fighters who had been the backbone of the party during itsfirst decade The Nazis now presented themselves as the party of theyoung the strong and the pure in opposition to an establishmentpopulated by the elderly the weak and the dissolute Hitler was born in a small town in Austria in 1889 As a young boy heshowed little ambition After dropping out of high school he moved toVienna to study art but he was denied the chance to join ViennaWhen WWI broke out Hitler joined Kaiser Wilhelmers army as aCorporal He was not a person of great importance He was a creatureof a Germany created by WWI and his behavior was shaped by that war andits consequences He had emerged from Austria with many prejudicesincluding a powerful prejudice against Jews Again he was a product ofhis times for many Austrians and Germans were prejudiced against theIn Hitlers case the prejudice had become maniacal it was a dominantforce in his private and political personalities Anti-Semitism was nota policy for Adolf Hitler--it was religion And in the Germany of the1920s stunned by
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