The genuinely sad truth is that the triumph of Nazi ideology (ersatz religion) and the Nazi party in Weimar republic was inevitable. More precisely, it became inevitable after the armed robbery at Versailles.
There is a very popular misconception that the Nazis were a bunch of diehard religious (neopagan) fanatics that wanted to impose their ridiculous and murderous beliefs on German population and use the latter to achieve their diabolical objective.
In reality, it was not the case. Adolf Hitler and other Nazis were national-sociopaths. They were sociopaths all right, no doubt about that, but they were also genuine patriots. Patriots who loved their country – the Greater Germany – and the German people.
Loved pragmatically; in other words, they strived to satisfy the needs of Germans (as they perceived them) and thus to make Germany a genuinely happy nation. And sincerely believed that only their ideology (ersatz religion, actually) was capable of achieving these objectives.
And they were right. After the Versailles Treaty, aggregate needs of Germans (financial, functional, emotional and spiritual) were plain and obvious. Right (and avenge) the wrongs of the Versailles Treaty; restore the power, glory and honor of Germany; transform the defeated, robbed, humiliated, depressed nation into political, economic and military superpower; radically increase the quality of life in Germany, making it the highest in the world; make sure that the horrors of the Blockade of Germany never happen again; save Germany from the existential Bolshevist threat and thus make the German people a genuinely happy nation – the happiest nation in the world.
To achieve these objectives, it was necessary to perform a radical reengineering of Weimar Republic. And to perform a radical reengineering, you have to have a dictator. The Führer. And a highly efficient dictatorship. You can have either a democracy – or a successful radical reengineering. Never both.
At that time, NSDAP was the only party that could provide a dictator capable of leading and managing the radical reengineering of Germany. Consequently, there was no alternative to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. None whatsoever.
It is well-known that in 1919 – even before Adolf Hitler joined the DAP – there were strong and widespread messianic expectations (both by “higher” and “lower” classes). Which were perfectly natural – it was obvious that to make this quantum leap and satisfy these needs, the Germans needed the Hero. The Savior. The Messiah. The Führer.
Russia in 1919 had very similar problems – and similar needs. That could be satisfied only by Bolsheviks and Joseph Stalin (who, unfortunately, for Russians, had their own – and very different – objectives). Still, in Russia was no alternative to Bolsheviks – and no alternative to Joseph Stalin.
To perform a successful reengineering (and thus make the needed quantum leap), it was necessary to get the most (in terms of aggregate value) out of every German. To get the most of an individual in the engineering project, you must, of course have highly competent leaders and managers and highly efficient reengineering infrastructure.
But you must also provide every participant in the project with a very powerful inner drive. In other words, with the ideology that will unite the nation around the reengineering project and provide every participant with a powerful emotional and spiritual fuel.
Nazi ideology was un-scientific (a bunch of bull, actually), racist, xenophobic, hateful and outright criminal – no doubt about that. But it was also the only one that could unite the German people and provide them with the drive they needed to perform this miraculous quantum leap, achieve genuinely miraculous military victories and make no less miraculous technological breakthroughs – in the horrible conditions of 1944-45.
Let us not deceive ourselves – Germans managed to perform these miracles before and during the war because they were led by the Nazis, managed by the Nazis, lived in the totalitarian Nazi state and driven by the Nazi ideology.
And the Soviets (there were many more nations in the Soviet Union than just the Russians) managed to perform genuine miracles before and during the war because they were led by the Bolsheviks, managed by the Bolsheviks, lived in the totalitarian Bolshevik state and driven by the Bolshevik ideology (which, however, played a less significant role than the Nazi one).
The key components of Nazi ideology that made it such a powerful drive were the doctrines of (1) Aryan (i.e. German) racial superiority which made Germans feel inherently superior to other nations and, therefore, emotionally comfortable – and provided a powerful spiritual unification tool; and (2) the existential racial war that made Germans feel sufficiently threatened (and scared) to do everything possible (and even humanly impossible) to win this war.
Obviously, all of that does not make Nazi ideology “good” or “morally right” – or even “legitimate” (it was a criminal ideology); it just means that it was a highly efficient tool (the only tool, actually) for achieving very specific political, economic, social and military objectives.