The process of joining the NSDAP, 1925-1933 : time, space and embeddedness / by Arthur Brian Ault.
The who and why of Nazism still remain the subject of considerable debate. The principal kinds of quantitative evidence advanced in support of explanations are voting studies, with analyses of membership scant in comparison. Utilizing the Brustein-Falter Berlin Document Center sample of Nazi members (N = 42,004), Brustein's material interest model of Nazi support is tested against a model incorporating cultural factors which diffused over time and space from 1925 to 1933. The first part of the research provides a spatial analysis of Nazi membership rate aggregated to the German Kreise, or county level (N = 743). An estimated national spatial effects model lends empirical support for a contention that a diffusion model of the joining process was operative. Mobilization based on interactive persuasion, controlling for material interests, is substantiated. One can infer a mobilizing process which relied on the techniques of more intimate persuasion to play on the fears and emotions of individuals. The second part of the research utilizes event history analysis and logistic regression to look at membership dynamics over time and within more localized spaces. Three German states/regions: Bavaria, Northwest Germany, and Baden-Wuerttemberg were selected as comparative case studies. From regional historical data, cultural factors such as anti-Semitism, hypernationalism, and political militancy were introduced and examined in the context of putative economic factors. Empirical results yield similarities across all three regions in the factors related to early joining: being younger, non-married, and having been part of the war generation. In conjunction with the strength of indicators for hypernationalist militancy and rhetoric, in Baden and northwest Germany, a conclusion is reached that in the early years of the party, the strident affirmation and forceful embodiment of nationalist collective identity on the part of the Nazis were not as marginal as Brustein maintains and can not be discounted as alluring for the earliest joiners.
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