Corporal Adolf Hitler was ordered in September 1919 to investigate
a small group in Munich known as the German Workers' Party.
The use of the term 'workers' attracted the attention of the German
Army which was now involved in crushing Marxist uprisings.
On September 12th, dressed in civilian clothes, Hitler went to a meeting
of the German Workers' Party in the back room of a Munich beer hall, with
about twenty five people. He listened to a speech on economics by Gottfried
Feder entitled, "How and by what means is capitalism to be eliminated?"
After the speech, Hitler began to leave when a man rose up and spoke
in favor of the German state of Bavaria breaking away from Germany and
forming a new South German nation with Austria.
This enraged Hitler and he spoke out forcefully against the man for the next fifteen
minutes uninterrupted, to the astonishment of everyone. One of the founders of the German
Workers' Party, Anton Drexler, reportedly whispered: "He's got
the gift of the gab. We could use him."
After Hitler's outburst ended, Drexler hurried over to Hitler and gave him
a forty-page pamphlet entitled: "My Political Awakening." He
urged Hitler to read it and also invited Hitler to come back again.
Early the next morning, sitting in his cot in the barracks of the 2nd
Infantry Regiment watching the mice eat bread crumbs he left for them on
the floor, Hitler remembered the pamphlet and read it. He was delighted
to find the pamphlet, written by Drexler, reflected political thinking
much like his own – building a strong nationalist, pro-military, anti-Semitic
party made up of working class people.
A few days later, Hitler received an unexpected postcard saying he had
been accepted as a member into the party. He was asked to attend an executive
committee meeting, which he did. At that meeting he was joyfully welcomed
as a new member although he was actually very undecided on whether to join.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler describes the condition of the party: "aside from a few directives, there was nothing, no program,
no leaflet, no printed matter at all, no membership cards, not even a miserable
Although unimpressed by the present condition of the German Workers'
Party, Hitler was drawn to the sentiment expressed by Drexler that this
would somehow become a movement not just a political party. And in this
disorganized party, Hitler saw opportunity.
"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 the proper form. Here, the content, the goal, and
the road could still be determined..."
He spent two days thinking it over then decided.
"I finally came to the conviction that I had to take this step...It
was the most decisive resolve of my life. From here there was and could
be no turning back."
Adolf Hitler joined the committee of the German Workers' Party (Deutsche
Arbeiterpartei or DAP) and thus entered politics.