The National Socialist Consolidation of Victory, 1933–1937
The student of today who looks back upon the Nazi era most probably finds his attention drawn to its dreadful culmination in war, destruction, and mass-murder across the continent of Europe. Inevitably he will wonder what happened to that 48 percent of the German electorate which voted neither Nazi nor conservative nationalist in the last free election. Those millions of non-Nazi voters were not apathetic on the issues of National Socialism; the vehemence of the election campaigns had forced them to make a distinct choice, and it was not for the Nazis. Once firmly established in power, the Nazis sought to win over or digest these citizens into their system. Terror and imprisonment engulfed the opposition chiefs of the Left. The confusion of symbols and appeals to patriotism, or rank opportunism, divided and deflected the elite of the Center and Right. Deprived of their leadership, the masses of non-Nazi Germans were targets for conversion by organizational pressure in every aspect of their daily lives. Four of the most important pressure areas are described in the selection which follows: (1) Nazified education; (2) the Labor Service, which combined military training with social idealism; (3) the tremendously successful leisure time and travel operation called “Strength through Joy”; and (4) the systematic exploitation of cultural pursuits for political impact.
KeywordsLabor Service Cultural Pursuit German Electorate AUSTRALIAN View Rank Opportunism
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