Nazism: Definition, Facts & Ideology

Nazism: Definition, Facts & Ideology
Coming up next: Post-War Soviet Union & Eastern Europe: The Descent of the Iron Curtain

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Definition and Ideology
  • 0:45 German Strength…
  • 1:30 Racial Purity
  • 2:36 Power & Militarism
  • 4:15 Facts About Nazism
  • 5:43 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Kannan

Ashley has taught history, literature, and political science and has a Master's Degree in Education

The rise of Nazism was a dark chapter in twentieth century history. Because of it, millions of people suffered and died. Read on to find out about the ideology, definition, and some facts behind Nazism.

Definition & Ideology

Nazi stands for 'Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei', or National Socialist German Workers Party. Nazism took the Socialist idea of the community and applied it on a nationalist scale. The Nazi party wanted to unify Germany under a collective purpose. The leader of the Nazi Party was Adolf Hitler, and he established the ideology of Nazism.

Nazi ideology can be defined in four parts: expansion, racial purity, power, and militarism. Each one explains a specific part to the philosophy of Nazism.

German Strength Through Expansion

Hitler sought to create a National Socialist policy that put Germany first. This ideological perspective enabled Hitler and the Nazis to pursue a policy of lebensraum. Literally meaning, 'living space,' it justified Germany taking over territory in the name of 'the mother land.'

The Nazis believed that Germany needed to expand into more European nations. Hitler himself believed expansion was essential when he said, 'We are overpopulated and cannot feed ourselves from our own resources.' This desire to increase German living space was at the center of Nazism, and it was the reason that Germany invaded nations like Austria and Czechoslovakia to the west and sought to expand into Russia to the east.

Racial Purity

The Nazis ideology was also rooted in extreme racism. Hitler and the Nazis argued that the German strength existed in its Aryan race, which they saw as 'the perfect race' and superior to all others. The Nazis established a racial ideology that viewed racial impurity as threatening to this Germanic perfection. For the Nazis, Jewish people were the embodiment of racial imperfection, and people of the Judaic faith were categorized as having 'alien blood.' Nazism was based on the idea that the Aryan race had a responsibility to expand its 'perfection' and should not be threatened by the 'impurity' of Jewish people, an obstacle that would have to be eliminated.

The Nazis used racial purity as the ideological basis for policies and practices. When Hitler assumed power in 1933, one of the first laws passed was the 'Nuremburg Laws.' These edicts prevented Germans from marrying or having relations not only with Jewish people but also with black people and Gypsies.

Power & Militarism

Power and control were critical elements within the Nazi ideology, and Nazism was predicated on total obedience. For example, while Jewish people were the intended targets of Nazism, the same denigration extended to many others, including people who were homosexual and those who were physically and mentally disabled. The Nazis did not have opponents as much as they had 'enemies' who had to be eliminated. Nazism functioned because of a strict demarcation between those who were 'inside' and those who were 'outside.'

The Nazis sought to have total control, even amongst their own 'pure' citizens. Hitler and the Nazis believed that 'there are no longer any free realms in which the individual belongs to himself.' There was an ideological need to establish intrusion into the personal as a way to claim power over millions of people.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support