Ten years ago, if you'd brought up the topic with me about Hitler returning to modern day Germany, I would have mostly laughed and reassured you....that things are quiet different now....from the 1920s and 1930s.
Today, I would probably sit and entertain the idea over a decent German beer (something above a Bitburger), and lay out the seven obstacles that would be required. Yes, I've actually spend a number of hours thinking and analyzing this scenario, and how things would have to be stacked up in Germany to achieve such a crazy scenario.
1. You need a news media system attached to state-run/Public TV (ARD/ZDF) which is unhindered by the chief parties of the Bundestag and basically marginally managed by the governor's board. This group of journalists would have some agenda in their mind which would NOT relate to any of the parties but more to some strategist in the shadows....who feeds them the idea of intellectualism leading the German public to the comforts of civilization. What civilization? Well....that would be neatly missed, and the intellectual journalists would be stupid enough not to question this gimmick.
A shadow group dragging along journalists? Yeah, and I would even suggest that the shadow group may not realize that a second shadow group exist, and is really pulling the strings of the first group to drag everything to a weird scenario that no one can understand.
2. Lack of trust with the public over the news media would need to reach a crisis stage where three-quarters of the German public simply doesn't believe the news content or the message being delivered. Even if the shadow folks packaged this....it's possible that the public finally realizes the whole message, and suddenly some conscience arrives among the public that a complete reverse and some Nazi-like group is needed to correct what was deliberately constructed.
3. Massive and quick connection from the EU. A lot of the trust elements today rests with the EU device. If you suddenly had the EU falling apart, with a fall on the Euro (say 1.5 Euro to the dollar) then public trust would go in a negative way, and people would ask for some 'savior' to come forward. Don't anticipate that the CDU or SPD has this type of economic savior.
4. Economic downfall. It's safe to say that Germany hasn't had a 1929-like economic collapse in almost eighty years. The 2008 recession period? Brief and carefully handled by the government. A bigger mess? There are several German banks with issues which make them questionable for long-term success. If you were to throw three or four of these into a sudden moment of crisis and then add several of the other issues....then yes, people would ask for a Hitler.
5. One must remember that Germans lived under this great overseer umbrella of the Kaiser for decades, and came to view the short period of Weimar Republic as the next logical stage. They were in effect looking for a Republic which had all the benefits of a republic, but also had some elements of the Kaiser in terms of leadership. This Kaiser feeling never came back during the 15-year period of the Weimar Republic. We've had decades now of the Bundestag and fairly competent leadership. The past twelve years? Absolute satisfaction.
If you had the replacement of Merkel and suddenly came to realize a massive loss of confidence in the new person.....I could see some of the public looking for some crisis German leader to emerge, and you accidentally ended up with a Hitler-like creation.
6. Sudden growth of fringe groups. Not just alt-right, but alt-left and various violent groups with agendas. If you had the growth of groups like you see in the US....where nothing makes much sense and the public perceives a lack of authority by the Berlin crowd....then they might be looking for some party with a law-and-order mandate on their platform, and go to some extreme to find the right people to put down the issue.
7. Finally, you come to the 'dump-the-Euro' and suffer the consequence scenario. BREXIT was a fantasy which no one took serious, and then it happened. There's talk of at least three other nations playing out the political game and maybe having their own version of BREXIT. If we reached some stage where where the EU is sinking and the EURO is to be dumped in Germany? We would some unusual characters show up to put 'short-bets' on the German Deutschmark, and try to trigger some economic events to make their bet occur.
The German public? Once the short-bet was in full view and they realized that they were played as suckers....it might generate some angry group to go and find some Hitler-like thug to avenge the pain on the Deutschmark. If you go back to 1919, and the war reparations.....part of the Nazi success was the low period suffered and anger over the unfair nature of things.
I certainly DO NOT say that any of these can occur. I'm only saying that if you took two or three of these and they happened to occur in a short period of time.....then the public might do something radical and just tell the intellectuals to take a hike. Maybe they might even be stupid enough to find the intellectual-Hitler (yeah, there could be such a creature). The odds on any of these? Really remote. But then I said that about BREXIT as well, and I was wrong on that one.
The chief factor in this whole conversation is that all of the ground necessary to make the Nazi Party attractive was laid out in the 1800s, and with the lousy leadership of the Kaiser.....the war ending as it did...reparations as they were, the whole Weimar Republic period, and the 1929 Wall Street stumble....all of these helped to lead to some stupid perceptions by the public. In truth, a lot of the 1920s worries were more about a violent communist revolution occurring in Germany, and not some Hitler-thug group coming into power.