By 1930, it was clear to the German populace that the government was beginning to collapse. This was seen most evidently in the government's inability to assume effective leadership and administer the economic situation in an assertive manner. The population could no longer rely upon or believe in their current government that had disappointed and failed them yet again. At this point in the convoluted situation, unemployment was rapidly increasing, paralleled by greater divergences into extremism, principally toward the Nazi and Communist parties. In the 1930 Reichstag elections, the Nazi Party attained a total of 107 seats, equivalent to per cent of the electoral vote. At this election, as prominent German historian Richard J. Evans concludes in The Coming of the Third Reich, although there was a limited degree of middle class Nazism, many were "still repelled by the Nazi's violence and extremism" and that the majority of Nazi supporters were the unemployed, farmers, various kinds of other workers, servants and first-time voters. However, by the time of the Reichstag elections of July, 1932, when the Nazi Party became the largest party in Germany with 37 percent of the total electoral vote, the Nazi movement became more than an outlet for the frustration of the unemployed and the various groups of blue collar workers. Rather, it became, as it is precisely described, a middle-class phenomenon by several prominent historians. The cause of this revolutionary change in the direction of the German people can be plausibly extrapolated through the economic self-interest theory and the growing communist movement.
T he one notable exception was Walter Benjamin, who had been living in indigent isolation in Paris since Germany had succumbed to the Nazis. When Hitler’s forces rolled into France in 1940, Benjamin fled southwards ahead of the advancing occupation, until even sheltering in Provence became fraught with peril. With a small band of refugees, he undertook an arduous crossing of the Pyrenees on foot, hoping to be granted safe passage through Spain and Portugal, and then sail from Lisbon to the American refuge that his colleagues had managed to secure for him. On their arrival in the Catalan harbour town of Portbou, the fugitive group learned that Franco’s Spain had closed its northern border, and that they would likely be returned the next morning to occupied France, and thence to a German concentration camp. Benjamin apparently killed himself in a hotel room with an overdose of morphine, although some believe he was assassinated by local agents of the Soviet secret service, the NKVD.