Before 1929, the Nazi party was considered a fringe, far-right party that had very little popular support. This changed with the worldwide economic depression. Millions of Germans, degraded by Germany’s defeat in World War I, now found themselves out of work. People were angry and impatient with the government’s perceived inaction. They also felt a sense of desperation and helplessness. This set the stage for Adolf Hitler.
Hitler promised the German public a return to traditional values and economic strength. He and the Nazi party redirected the anger of the people to the Jews, socialists, and communists. These were the people they said were responsible for all the nation’s problems. Their clever use of propaganda gave the Nazis a majority in the German parliament. Without being elected, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. Within a month, constitutional civil rights were suspended. From there, any remaining illusion of democracy was quickly dissolved.
The term “Third Reich” was often used to describe the Nazi regime in Germany from January 30, 1933, to May 8, 1945.