Little-known Materials of the 1934 Third Reich Sociological Survey: Source-Analysis Attempt

  • O. Davletov Zaporizhzhia National University
Keywords: Nazism, NSDAP, Weimarska Republic, national identity, suspension, autobiography


The article of the Professor of the Department of World History and International Relations of Zaporizhzhya National University deals with the analysis of the materials of the sociological survey conducted in 1934 Nazi Germany by the Professor of the Columbia University Theodore Abel. Grant in the amount of 700$ for the autobiographical contest among the members of the NSDAP who joined the ranks of the Nazi party until the 1 January 1933 was provided by the Columbia University. Participants in this competition had to give an honest and frank answer to the simplest, at first glance, question «Why did I become a Nazi?». A total of 683 works were submitted to the competition, 581 of which (including 82 in Wieland Giebel’s collection) were fully preserved in the funds of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library (West Branch, Iowa, USA). The author of this article managed to analyze the age, social, and professional structure of the participants of the contest; to identify general proposals selection criteria, to demonstrate the main variants of the common answers given, namely: 1. The concept of «The Strong Leader Myth»; 2.The myth, stating that «Germany, due to Nazism, spreads its shoulders and rises from its knees»; 3. The myth that Jews were guilty of the catastrophe of the German people in the XX th century (Germany’s defeat in the World War I, the Treaty of Versailles, the November Revolution of 1918-1919, the out-of-control hyperinflation of 1921-1923 etc.; 4. The myth that every respondent had his own subjective and exclusive answer to the question «Why did I become a Nazi?». Analysis of the given answers to the question «Why did I become a Nazi?» leads to better understanding of the period of the birth of the Nazi movement (1919-1933 years), and the era of the beginning of the nacification of German society (1933-1934). The radical right motivation of many early members of the Nazi party closely corresponds to the contemporary public attitudes of dissatisfaction with the current political situation, which are common for the XXI st century European states – Germany, France, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and other countries.


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How to Cite
Davletov, O. (2019). Little-known Materials of the 1934 Third Reich Sociological Survey: Source-Analysis Attempt. Zaporizhzhia Historical Review, 1(53), 262-266. Retrieved from