Adolf Hitler And The German Workers' Union (Dap)

2328 words - 10 pages

The German Workers' Union was conceived by Anton Drexler on
the seventh of March, 1918. Drexler's union consisted of about forty
members, most of whom were railwaymen, that were banded together by
shared sentiments of fierce nationalism, anti-Semitism, and support
for the war effort. Previous to the end of World War I, this small
union carried the rather verbose title of the "Free Labor Committee
for a Good Peace." At this time the organization adhered to a rather
straightforward program-"Strikers, Bolsheviks, Jews, malingerers, and
war profiteers were the enemy, and it was the duty of the workers to
unite behind the war effort." (Payne, 135) However, after the
...view middle of the document...

For this reason he
took one of Drexler's pamphlets which detailed much of the group's
political philosophy. Here he found "in Drexler a prophet after his
own heart." (Payne, 137) In one chapter, "The Jew and His Activity
Before and During the World War," Drexler wrote:

There is a race-or perhaps we should call it a nation-which
for over two thousand years has not possessed a state of its own,
but has nevertheless spread over the entire earth. They are the
Jews...They quickly conquered the money market, although they began in
poverty, and were thereby made all the richer in vice, vermin and
pestilence... Only one per cent of the total population is Jewish but
for thousands of years the Jews, form the highest to the lowest, have
grimly pursued the thought that this tiny people should never serve
rulers but always govern them. Yet they are unable to form a state of
their own. (Drexler, 29)

Drexler was equally impressed with Hitler, and immediately saw
his potential. Thus, Drexler invited him to attend one of the
executive committee meetings. Hitler did attend the meeting; however,
he was not too impressed with the organization. "This was all
frightful, frightful. This was the life of a little club at the lowest
possible level. Was I to join an organization like this ?" (quot. by
Payne, 138) Although he did eventually become the fifty-fifth member
and the seventh committee member, "in a sense he [never did] really
join the party, for when he became a card carrying member it was with
the intention of destroying it and re-creating it in his own image."
(Payne, 138)

Hitler's first step in developing the party was to take over
the propaganda work. He had to advance the party's small gatherings
from small to large scale. To begin, he arranged that their meetings
take place in larger halls. Presently, they were held in obscure
taverns like the Hofbrauhauskeller with an attendance of only about
one hundred and fifty people. After his decision, they were moved to a
much larger tavern named Zum Deutschen Reich. There, within four
subsequent meetings, the attendance increased to over four hundred.
Through these meetings Hitler established himself as a political
figure and as a powerful voice of the people.

In his own words, Hitler said, "To be a leader means to be
able to move masses." (Hitler, 474) Thus he took it upon himself "to
not only move the masses, but to create a mass movement." (Jarman, 91)
At the DAP meetings, he spoke so that one would feel like he was part
of some vast and powerful movement. He was able to stir the crowds
into such a fervor that they would agree to whatever he said, thereby
making the gatherings an exercise of mass suggestion. He welcomed the
occurrence of violence at the meetings, as when his bouncers (later to
become the 'Brownshirts') crushed an adversary, the power of the
party and the influence of the...

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