In “The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich” William Shirer does a great job showing what happened in Germany that inflicted Hitler, the NAZI’s and World War II on Europe. He doesn’t explain why.
The most common explanation of the cause of Hitler and his support by the German People is the onerous conditions of the Versailles Treaty but Hitler wasn’t opposing the terms of the treaty when he became Chancellor of Germany, he was simply being a sort of politician.
Hitlers ideas came from deep inside his mind. He didn’t have a particularly distinctive childhood. He did what a lot of young German men did, he joined the army. He realized he could persuade people by speaking. Lots of people can do that.
Hitler came to power because of his ideas and the ideas of the millions of Germans who supported him. Leadership theories miss the origin of the thought that animates the individual.
People are trusting of others which means they can be misled by dishonest people but they can also be misled by people with wrong ideas. Hitler proves that. President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill prove there are good people who are leaders too.
When people begin to assemble their minds they are not conscious of the long term effects of the ideas they accept or reject. Stanton Samenow wrote about how criminals construct their minds in his excellent book: “Inside the Criminal Mind”. It goes a long way to explain how Hitler constructed a very distorted mind but Samenow doesn’t tie together all of the thoughts and ideas an individual uses to construct their mind. It’s not a criticism. Samenow’s book is important and should be read.
Every mind constructs a view “of everything”. Most people don’t give it much thought but that’s the subject of Metaphysics. Like a lot of things, Metaphysics can be hopelessly wrong but people can live their lives with many wrong ideas. The most popular metaphysical view, the one accepted by almost everyone is a combination of the two choices, the actual and the mystical. Hitler realized how to motivate people who accepted both reality and by imaginary world views which means they are never too sure of things so you might as well believe what Hitler said.
Germans were brought up to regard duty and self-sacrifice as cardinal virtues because they never really accepted the metaphysical basis of thought which leads to a vivid certainty. Instead they accepted reality when it suited them and the supernatural when that seemed correct to them. They didn’t know that only reality exists so they were helpless when confronted by Hitler who demanded obedience to Germany which meant to him, and self-sacrifice for Germany. For a modern day example of that listen to Bernie Sanders call for more taxes meaning more sacrifice as the patriotic thing to do. That’s called magical thinking.
Of course there’s no connection at all between Sanders and Hitler. Bernie is using the political process, not jackbooted thugs to get peole to support him but the principle of sacrifice is very, very dangerous.