From Encyc
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A Nazi was a member of the National Socialist party in Germany from the 1920's through 1945. The Nazi party was led by Adolf Hitler and followed nationalist, anti-Semitic, and racist ideology. Nazis believed that the Aryan "master race" needed to establish dominance over what they viewed as lesser races. Nazism was a form of fascism.

Nazis were very theatrical, staging large rallies featuring Hitler's fiery speeches. Newsreels of Hitler shouting in German were seen around the world. Nazis wore armbands with the swastika on them, and they saluted each other with a stiff-arm and the words "Heil Hitler". In parade formation, Nazi soldiers goose-stepped through the streets of Europe, striking terror in people with the sound of hobnail boots marching in unison.

The Nazis led Germany into World War II in an effort to expand German territory. They killed millions of Slavs and Jews, who they considered inferior to Germans. A subgroup of the Nazis were the SS, a fanatical organization led by Heinrich Himmler and personally loyal to Hitler.

At the end of the war, Hitler and some leading Nazis, including Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering, killed themselves. A few, such as Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann, escaped to South America. Wernher von Braun, a rocket scientist, went to work for the Americans.

Some captured Nazi war criminals were brought to justice at the Nuremberg Trials. Albert Speer was convicted and served a twenty year prison sentence. Alfred Jodl and others were sentenced to death. Some, like Karl Donitz received light prison sentences.