The Seeds of Evil: The Rise of Hitler

The Seeds of Evil: Germany 1919 - 1933.

The foundations of the Nazi Party.

The Nazi Party was formed as the German Workers party by Anton Drexler, Dietrich Eckhart and Gottfried Feder in 1919. Drexler, who was the original leader of the party, had strong nationalistic views and was anti-semitic. This small political party was noted by the armed forces as being a potential Socialist threat and a spy, Adolf Hitler, was sent to investigate the party to assess how much of a threat the party was. Hitler became fascinated with the politics of the group, and began an active participation in the activities of the German Workers Party. This led to him rapidly becoming the member of the GWP executive responsible for propaganda and in turn his skills as a public speaker led to him becoming the mouthpiece of the movement.*

His skills as a political speaker and his assertive manner within party meetings soon led to Hitler becoming the recognised leader of the party. It was he who then began to formulate policies. This culminated in the production, in 1920, of a 25 point programme or manifesto. This outlined the aims of the NSDAP (The Party name had by now been changed from 'German Workers party'). The programme, along with Hitler's speeches, illustrates what the ideology of the party was in its early days and, via speeches, how these ideals and aims might be put into practice.

To read the full 25 point programme, click here.

The programme is a curious mixture of ideas ranging from demands for the Unification of Germany through to the expulsion of Jews from the German nation. Economic ideals are noted also in the programme: Nationalisation of corporations, land reform and welfare policies are all suggested. Thus a basis was in place from which the party could sell its programme to a wide audience.

Notes:

*Hitler had experience of public speaking. In May 1919 he had been recruited as a Political officer by the German Army after he had convinced officers that he had opposed the Socialist uprising in Bavaria. He had quickly developed his rhetoric and was well aware of ways of convincing disillusioned soldiers that a common enemy was the true reason behind germany's defeat and the Treaty of Versailles. These are themes that Hitler would return to time and again during his rise to power and whilst Fuhrer of the Third Reich.

 

The Second Reich
The Founding of the Weimar Republic
The Impact of War
The Treaty of Versailles
Germany 1919 - 1923
Germany - Economic Recovery
The Early days of the Nazi Party 1919 - 1924
Weekly Newsletters
 

Text © Schoolshistory.org.uk

Unit last updated 4th June 2004

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