The Nazi Party

The Anatomy of a People’s Party, 1919-1933

by Paul Madden (Author) Detlef Mühlberger (Author)
©2008 Monographs 329 Pages


The social characteristics of the membership of the Nazi Party have been much debated since the late 1920s. The dominant hypothesis which emerged at the time and which became orthodoxy after 1945 was that the Nazis drew their membership and electoral support almost exclusively from the middle class (Mittelstand), a hypothesis based on virtually no empirical evidence. The research undertaken by the authors since the 1970s at the macro and micro level has been instrumental not only in placing the debate on the sociography of the membership of the Nazi Party on an extensive empirical footing, but also in overturning the received wisdom that the Nazi Party was a pre-eminently middle-class or lower-middle-class movement. The book contains amended versions of a number of pioneering articles on the social contours of the membership of the Nazi Party published by the authors in the 1980s, added to which are new studies examining the social background of members of the Nazi Party recruited in a rural region, in a famous university town, and in one of Germany’s most prominent cities. Collectively the studies presented here underline the diversity of the social types which were mobilised by the Nazi Party, which was successful in attracting support from all sections of German society before 1933, making it a people’s party (Volkspartei) transcending the class divide, not a class or lower-middle-class affair.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Geschichte 1919-1933 Working Class Class Origin Occupational Dynamic Historical Opinion Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei Social Structure
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 329 pp.

Biographical notes

Paul Madden (Author) Detlef Mühlberger (Author)

The Authors: Paul Madden attended the University of Oklahoma graduate school, where he received the M.A. in 1973 and the Ph.D. in 1976 for a thesis entitled ‘The Social Composition of the Nazi Party, 1919-1930’. He was Rupert Richardson Professor of History at Hardin-Simmons University (USA) until his retirement in 2006. Detlef Mühlberger read history at King’s College, London. He obtained his doctorate in 1975 at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London for a thesis entitled ‘The Rise of National Socialism in Westphalia, 1920-1933’. He is Professor of Modern German History at Oxford Brookes University (UK).


Title: The Nazi Party