What is National Socialism in simple terms?

National Socialism

A National Socialist in uniform, left. He looks at children locked up in occupied Poland. They stole small things or their parents fought against National Socialism. The children were treated so badly that many died.

National Socialism is a collection of political thoughts, an ideology. It originated in Germany after 1919. Anyone who likes National Socialism is a National Socialist. Supporters of National Socialism ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. They committed many crimes and were responsible for the death of many millions of people.

The word National Socialism comes from nationalism and socialism. These are political words that can mean a lot of different things. They were chosen for National Socialism because they sounded good to many people. The National Socialists wanted to give the impression that they were helping “the people”. But they don't mean that the people should be asked what they really want. National Socialists think that they already know what is good for the people.

National Socialists believe that people are worth different amounts from birth. You consider yourself valuable. In her opinion, the fittest is always right. This is why they believe that they have the right to suppress or kill other people. Even today there are still National Socialists, the neo-Nazis.

What do National Socialists believe in?

National Socialists are against democracy and against free elections. They want to order what can and cannot be done in a country. They want to kill or suppress all people who have a different opinion.

In addition, National Socialists want to kill or suppress people who belong to certain groups. They are primarily Jews. Jews are people with a certain religion and culture, Judaism. National Socialists think, however, that Jews are a strange, malicious species. National Socialists are also otherwise racists: They believe, for example, that people with white skin are more valuable than people with dark skin.

After all, National Socialists want their own country to grow. They think it's good to conquer other countries and to oppress the people there. Your goal is to have conquered the entire world in the end.

Where did National Socialism come from?

Adolf Hitler with other National Socialists in 1927. Hitler is the man in front with the mustache. On the left you can see a cross with curved ends, the so-called swastika. It is an ancient symbol for the sun that was taken by the Nazis.

National Socialism is a right-wing extremism from Germany. A political party was founded for this in 1919, a group of people who think similarly. In 1920 this party was named the National Socialist German Workers' Party, or NSDAP for short. Your boss, Adolf Hitler, called himself "Führer".

The party remained rather small in the beginning. Many National Socialists were soldiers during World War I and began to believe that all problems can be solved by violence. After the war, they found it difficult to lead a normal life again. But many of them already thought that Jews were bad, black people stupid, and so on.

When the economy went bad in Germany and elsewhere in 1929 and many people became poor, many Germans voted for Hitler - about a third. There were some politicians who believed they could work with Hitler. That is why Hitler became Reich Chancellor in 1933, i.e. head of the German government.

What happened during the Nazi era?

Jews usually hold their services in a synagogue. In 1938 National Socialists set many synagogues on fire. Here the burned out synagogue in Rostock in what is now Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Adolf Hitler remained head of the German government from 1933 to 1945, he was the dictator. Without violence it would not have been possible to get another head of government. There were elections, but Hitler decided who could be elected at all.

Initially, Hitler and his supporters had tens of thousands of people locked up or killed. He also changed many laws so that, for example, Jews were only allowed to marry other Jews. Hitler began to conquer other countries. That led to World War II in 1939. During the war, Hitler's rule became even more cruel.

Not only the war itself killed 50 million people: Hitler had around six million Jews murdered, many of them in concentration camps: this mass murder is now known as the Holocaust.

We do not know exactly what the Germans thought of Hitler at that time. There were no free elections or polls. Many believed in his lies, or they were also racists and hated democracy. The economy was doing better again, and many said that it came from Hitler. When the war was going well for Germany at the beginning, it made an impression on many. Others, on the other hand, were against National Socialism, but did not dare to do anything about it: They were afraid of being imprisoned or killed themselves.

Are there still National Socialists?

National Socialism, and with it Germany, lost the war in 1945. Germany was destroyed and very poor, many Germans had perished, and foreign countries now determined what should happen to Germany. Many Germans felt ashamed of the crimes that had been committed on behalf of Germany. Most of the time they tried to quickly forget the bad.

Some neo-Nazis shave their heads and wear black jackets. Both have to do with the type of music they hear in their groups.

Hitler and several other important National Socialists killed themselves. The foreign countries that had conquered Germany severely punished other National Socialists. Others were punished by German judges. However, there were also many criminals who escaped their punishment. A few years after the war, only a few Germans thought of the crimes. In 1965 the German Bundestag wanted the last criminals to be charged. But it was often too late, for example because criminals or witnesses had already died.

In Germany and in other countries there are still groups that think National Socialism is good. They are usually called neo-Nazis: “Neo” is Greek and means new, “Nazi” is an abbreviation for National Socialist. Many of these groups have already been banned. That's why some neo-Nazis try to hide their ideas. For example, they don't say that all Jews must be killed, but they say bad things about Jews. Or they don't claim that Adolf Hitler was good, but he did some things right.

  • Advertisement for the National Socialists with loudspeaker trucks

  • National Socialists in Norway, which was occupied by Germany

  • After the war, these National Socialists had to go to court in Nuremberg.


There is also an article on “National Socialism” for beginners on MiniKlexikon.de and other search results from Blinde Kuh and Ask Finn.

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