In his final year in power, what level of support did Adolf Hitler still command and what drove that public perception?

I ask as an insight into populism and at what point do populations reach a tipping point where they turn on the leader who promised them a return to glory.

Did this ever occur or did the German population defend Adolf Hitler into the years after his demise even after the discovery of the concentration camps and the defeat of the German militaries?

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    How would you measure this? Would you trust any public opinion poll or vote in a fascist state? (I'm not challenging, I'm just trying to figure out how I would approach the problem.)
    – MCW
    Feb 25, 2017 at 14:19
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    @Mark C. Wallace -- your first reaction was the same as mine, even before I clicked in to read the full post. "Was anyone running Gallup polls in Nazi Germany? Would people give their honest opinions to a pollster if they were afraid of the Gestapo?" And so forth. I conjecture that, after the war, it might be commonplace for Germans to say: "I realized years ago that Hitler was crazy, but I didn't dare say anything," and how would you prove that they were lying or telling the truth?
    – Lorendiac
    Feb 25, 2017 at 14:22
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    It's impossible to quantify. But on the 20th of July 1944, German army officers tried to overthrow Hitler. Their worldview was pretty similar to Nazism (for those who weren't actually Nazis). So it's reasonable to suppose that many people who were less wedded to the idea of martial glory etc also had a few doubts.
    – Ne Mo
    Feb 25, 2017 at 14:44
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    Spoke to my professional historian girlfriend, who said common historical practice is to analyze the change in (1) underground press, (2) official press stories on resistance activities and (3) number and type of arrest records for dissent. The absolute measurement is meaningless, but the rate of change is a proxy for public support. HOpe that helps someone find something.
    – MCW
    Feb 25, 2017 at 19:16
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    Marriage material. Feb 26, 2017 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


A historian named David Bankier wrote a classic book in the 1960s called The Germans and the Final Solution: Public Opinion under Nazism. Bankier argues (as quoted in a student book review) that “unprecedented political apathy, coupled with the conservative and clerical oppositionist attitudes” shaped strategic decisions in 1936 and 1937. This doesn't support the kind of "turning point" the questions asks for, but it does suggest that negative public opinion had relevance to the Nazi regime.

  • just wanted to let you know that I have found a second hand copy of this and purchased it. Thank you. Dec 4, 2020 at 12:46

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