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National Socialist German Workers' Party
The National Socialist German Workers' Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP), was a National Socialist party in Germany between 1920 and 1945. Its predecessor, the German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; DAP), existed from 1919 to 1920. The NSDAP gained power in 1933 which marked the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of National Socialist Germany which lasted until the end of World War II. Adolf Hitler was the party leader during most of this time period. The NSDAP and National Socialism were banned in Germany after the war.
The party leader (Hitler) had absolute power.
In 1934, the Chancellery of the Führer was created. Below it was at first the Staff of the Deputy Führer, headed by Rudolf Hess from 1933 to 1941, and then the Party Chancellery headed by Martin Bormann.
Subordinate to the party leader were the Reichsleiter ("Reich Leader(s)"). Unlike a Gauleiter, a Reichsleiter did not have individual geographic areas under their command, but were responsible for specific spheres of interest.
Party leadership over geographic areas consisted at the top of the Gauleiters, who had authority over large geographical areas termed Gaue (singular Gau). From the Gauleiters extended downwards positions encompassing county, city, and town leaders. They were originally just regional divisions of the party, but took over most competencies of the state administration in their respective areas.
There were several paramilitary groups that NSDAP members could join. They included the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Sturmabteilung (SA). The SS became responsible for many aspects of internal NSDAP and German security.
There were a number of formally independent but affiliated organizations such as the German Labour Front which replaced the various trade unions of the Weimar Republic.
The NSDAP and National Socialist Germany are depicted extremely negatively in politically correct historiography. Revisionists have disputed various aspects of this. See National Socialist Germany revisionism.