Although his overwhelmingly powerful personality and the mighty and highly efficient Nazi propaganda machine did play a role, of course, the overwhelming majority of Germans supported Hitler, fought for him, worked for him and even died for him until the very end not because of his image but because of his substance.
Because he deeply, sincerely and passionately loved then, genuinely cared for them (unlike just about all other politicians) and performed genuine miracles for them. Miracles that he solemnly promised – and delivered on his promises.
He promised to do away with the humiliating restrictions imposed on Germany by the “Versailles’ Criminals” – and he delivered on his promises. On February 26th, 1933, Adolf Hitler officially announced the existence of Luftwaffe (prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles).
On March 16th, Reichswehr was officially renamed Wehrmacht and transformed from a volunteer to conscription-based force. On the same day, Adolf Hitler unveiled a comprehensive re-armament program thus for all practical purposes proclaiming the Treaty of Versailles officially dead. On June 18th, 1935 Germany and Britain signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement that did away with naval restrictions of the already de-facto dead treaty.
He promised to return to Germany territories taken at gunpoint (literally) during the armed robbery at Versailles – and he delivered in his promises.
On January 13th, 1935, over 90% of residents of the Saarland, which had been placed under League of Nations supervision for 15 years at the end of World War I, voted to become part of the German Reich.
On 7 March 1936, German troops entered and remilitarized the Rhineland. On September 29th, 1938 Nazi Germany, Great Britain, France and fascist Italy signed the Munich Agreement that returned to Germany the Sudetenland (territory inhabited by about 800,000 ethnic Germans that was transferred to Czechoslovakia by the “Versailles’ Criminals” in 1920).
This agreement created a legal precedent which essentially stated that the transfer of territories from Germany to other nations under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles was illegal and thus Germany has every right to get them back. And thus officially recognized the Treaty of Versailles for what it was – an armed robbery of a defenseless Germany.
On March 22nd, 1939 Republic of Lithuania agreed to return to Germany the Klaipeda Region (Memel Territory) that was detached from Germany and made a protectorate of the Entente States. By the same “Versailles’ Criminals”, of course. In January 1923, Lithuanian leaders stage the “Klaipeda Revolt”, took the region by force and annexed it into the Lithuanian state.
He promised to unite Germany in Austria into Ein Reich (German Reich, of course) – and delivered on his promise. On March 12th, 1938, the 8th Army of the German Wehrmacht crossed the border into Austria. The troops were greeted by cheering Austrians with Nazi salutes, Nazi flags, and flowers.
On the next day, Seyss-Inquart Arthur Seyss-Inquart – hastily appointed Chancellor of Austria announced the revocation of Article 88 of the Treaty of Saint-Germain, which prohibited the unification of Austria and Germany, and approved the replacement of the Austrian states with Reichsgaue (administrative divisions in German-occupied territories). On April 10th, the nationwide plebiscite overwhelmingly (99.7% of Austrian citizens voted “Yes”) supported unification with Germany.
He promised to restore the German to its former power – and delivered on his promise. By 1939, he transformed the tiny Reichswehr unable to defend Germany even from Polish invasion (which was far more probable than is commonly believed) into mighty Wehrmacht – the most powerful and fearsome military force in the entire world. Excluding the mostly naval operations (such as the War in the Pacific, of course).
Wehrmacht proved this assessment correct by winning (in just one month) the campaign against Poland (a far more robust adversary than is commonly believed), then (in just 46 days) the campaign against France (inferior only the number of aircraft – 1:2, about equal in personnel and enjoying a 1.5:1 superiority in tanks and 2:1 s in artillery and mortars).
Followed (or parallel) with conquest of Benelux countries, Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece. And then by achieving definitely the most astounding victory in the history of warfare.
At dawn of June 22nd, 1941 Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS launched an all-out surprise attack on the Red Army – by far the largest military force ever assembled. There is evidence that the formed beat the latter by about 36 hours – the Red Army was set to attack Germany on June 23rd, 1941.
The Soviets had enormous numerical superiority – 4:1 in personnel; 5:1 in tanks (including about 1,500 T-34 and KV-1 tanks far superior to German Panzers), 4:1 in aircraft and artillery pieces. Still, the German armed forces won the “Barbarossa campaign”, all but annihilating the whole First Strategic Echelon of the Red Army.
Over 5,000,000 Soviet soldiers and officers were killed or taken prisoner; German army captured about 6 million rifles and machine guns (given the fact that almost no military supplies depos were captured it supports the estimate of personnel losses), over 20,000 tanks, 21,000 aircraft and over 100,000 artillery pieces and mortars.