By the end of the first world war, Europe had completely changed. Before the war, everyone was positive. They thought the world was getting better and better and that the war was easy to win. But all the countries that fought in the war had made big losses. The war was a disaster in history.
Suddenly, everything was uncertain. People began to doubt all the positive developments before the war. One of these positive developments what democracy. After the war, they began to consider alternatives. One of those alternatives was fascism. Fascism is against democracy. Fascists believe there must be one strong leader. Italy chose fascism and chose Mussollini as its leader. In Russia, communism prevailed. They had Lenin and later Stalin as leader. Both ideologies became totalitarian. That meant that it was going to rule the entire daily lives of the inhabitants of the country.
Germany also chose a different form of governance. In Germany, democratic governance had been in place for several years. Yet there was one party that wanted to get rid of this. This was the NSDAP. That's the acronym for Germany's National Socialist Workers Party. They got a lot of support from the German people because things were going very badly in Germany. Germany had worked its way deep into debt during this period. They had to pay a sky-high fine because France and England felt they had started the first world war.
By the end of the 1920s, an economic crisis had broken out and Germany was most affected. They had a lot of unemployed and little hope for a good future. The NSDAP promised that it could create many new jobs. Moreover, they promised that they could make the Germans proud of themselves again. The Germans were very humiliated by the rest of the world at the end of the First World War. The NSDAP was very nationalistic. This meant that they put a lot of emphasis on their own history, culture and language.
The NSDAP was also a racist party. They thought the Germans were the best race in the world. They called themselves Aryans. They also felt that the Aryans had the right to rule the world. To explain this, they used Darwin's theory of evolution. Darwin was a biologist. He lived in the 19th century. He discovered that all living beings always adapt themselves to their environment. According to the theory of evolution, you have to adapt to survive. The NSDAP thought the Aryans were the strongest human species. They found disabled people, Jews and gays to be weak and dangerous to society.
Many Germans in this era were happy with the NSDAP. After all the humiliations, they liked that someone said they were strong. They were also very happy with all the jobs the NSDAP created. Because a lot of people voted for the NSDAP, it could become the largest party in the country and the leader of the NSDAP seized power. His name was Adolf Hitler. He abolished democracy and became a dictator.
National socialism turned out to be totalitarian. This meant, for example, that they also changed the children's textbooks. The children had to learn the differences between the different races. They also had to learn that Jews were evil and that the Aryans were born to rule the world. Anyone who questioned these ideas or openly protested against them was prosecuted. So there were a lot of people who joined the NSDAP because they were afraid.