In September of 1919, just months after the fall of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, Corporal Hitler was ordered to investigate a small group in Munich known as the German Workers Party. As a result of the recently crushed communist rebellion, the German army was very focused on preventing the growth of Marxism in Germany.
A worker-led, national socialist political party
Dressed as a civilian, Hitler went to a party meeting, held in the back room of a Munich beer hall, on September 12, 1919. With about 25 other people, he listened to an economic speech by Gottfried Feder entitled, "How and by what means is capitalism to be eliminated." As the speech concluded, he got up to leave when another attendee spoke out in favor of Bavaria seceding from Germany and joining Austria to form a south German nation. Angered, Hitler spoke out, uninterrupted for about fifteen minutes, against the man and his proposal. This was the first time anyone had noticed the future Fuhrer's speaking ability, and he captured the attention of Anton Drexler, one of the party's founders and its de-facto leader. As the Hitler concluded, Drexler rushed over to give him a pamphlet, he had written, entitled "My Political Awakening." He urged his new acquaintance to read it and to come to another meeting.
Sitting in his army barracks, the next morning, Adolph Hitler did read Drexler's pamphlet and was pleased to find a political philosophy similar to his own... the building of a worker-led, national socialist political party for the German people. But, he was hesitant to join the group recalling, in Mein Kampf, that "aside from a few directives, there was nothing, no program, no leaflet, no printed matter at all, no membership cards, not event a miserable stamp...." He also saw, though, the infant party as a blank canvas that, as Drexler said, could become a movement.
"This absurd little organization with its few members seemed to me to possess the one advantage that it had not frozen into an 'organization,' but left the individual opportunity for real personal activity. Here it was still possible to work, and the smaller the movement, the more readily it could be put into proper form. Here, the content, the goal, and the road could still be determined."
Continued Influence of Socialist Ideology
Deciding the content and the party's path is what Hitler did. Assuming a leadership role, he took charge of the GWP's propaganda efforts, and on February 24, 1920, he presented the party's Twenty Five Points platform. Within its contents, we can see the continued influence of socialist ideology on the young Adolph Hitler. Below are planks of the platform that reveal some of the party's goals and, as co-author, those of Hitler as well.
"We demand the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood."
"We wage war against the corrupt parliamentary administration...."
"No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all."
"Therefore we demand... that all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished."
"We demand that nationalization of all trusts."
"We demand profit-sharing in large industries."
"We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions."
"We demand... the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities."
"We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose."
"The State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people."
"The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health."
"We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national (folk) army."
"Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed."
"We demand a strong central authority in the State...."
"Common good before individual good."
Each of these demands easily fits within socialist doctrine. Additionally, it was Hitler, himself, who changed the name of the German Workers Party to the National Socialist German Workers Party!
Samuel Griswold is a lifelong student of history and politics, whose studies have given him unique insights into the true nature of totalitarianism in all of its aspects... Fascism, Communism and Socialism. As an American Jew, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, he's lived by the pledges "Never Forget" and "Never Again." But, for him, these pledges mean to never let the policies that led to the Holocaust happen again. To prevent fascism from thriving, we must know how to see and define it. That is the purpose of FightingFascism.com, to draw attention and rally opposition to current fascist policies and governments.