Hitler was probably the most popular leader in history inside the borders of his own country.
The following quote from Gotz Aly, a liberal German historian today makes this clear.
“The Third Reich was not a dictatorship maintained by force. Indeed, the Nazi leadership developed an almost fearful preoccupation with the mood of the populace, which they monitored carefully, devoting considerable energy and resources toward fulfilling consumer desires, even to the detriment of the country’s rearmament program.
To put the level of Nazi state coercion of its citizens into perspective:
Communist East Germany would later employ 190,000 official surveillance experts and an equal number of “unofficial collaborators” to watch over a populace of 17 million, while the Gestapo in 1937 had just over 7,000 employees, including bureaucrats and secretarial staff.
Together with the far smaller force of security police, they sufficed to keep tabs on more than 60 million people. Most Germans simply did not need to be subjected to surveillance or detention.
By the end of 1936, four years after the Nazis had become Germany’s largest political party and once their initial period of terror and violence against opponents was over, only 4,761 people – some of whom were chronic alcoholics and career criminals – were incarcerated in the country’s concentration camps.
Although the financial basis for Germany’s economic upswing was precarious, Hitler’s popularity grew with each seemingly effortless triumph, soon spreading beyond the party rank and file and further undermining the opposition. By 1938, what Mussolini aptly called democrazia totalitaria had been established. After many years of civil strife, class hatred, and political obstructionism, Germans were united in their yearning for popular community.”
Source: Hitler’s Beneficiaries; Plunder, Racial War, and The Nazi Welfare State by Götz Aly
Henry Holt and Company, LLC, New York, First U.S. Edition 2007, Pages 28 and 29