German political party of National Socialism. (NSD
Founded in 1919 as the German Workers' Party, it changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party when
Adolf Hitler became leader (1920-21). The nickname Nazi was taken from the first word of its full name, NAtionalso ZIalistische
Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei. The party grew from its home base in Bavaria and attracted members from disaffected elements throughout
Germany. It organized strong-arm groups (later the SA) to protect its rallies. Though the failed Beer Hall Putsch diminished the party's influence, the effects of the Great Depression brought millions of new members, and in 1932 the party became the largest bloc in the Reichstag.
Hitler was named chancellor in 1933, he obtained passage of the Enabling Act, and his government declared the Nazi party to be the only political party in Germany and required bureaucrats to become members. The party controlled virtually all activities in Germany until Germany's defeat in
World War II (1945), after which the party was banned.
Many of Nazi leaders were later put on trial in Nuremberg courts, location of Allied trials of war criminals from 1945 to 1946. The International Military Tribunal which was established by the U.S.,
France, and the
Soviet Union became the main core of the
UN Security Council. After 216 court sessions, 3 of the original 22 defendants were acquitted, , 4 were sentenced to prison for terms of 10 to 20 years, 3 were sentenced to life imprisonment, and 12 were sentenced to death by hanging. Hermann Göring committed suicide before he could be executed, and Martin Bormann was convicted in absentia.