Hitler Named Leader of Nazi Party

By early 1921, Adolf Hitler was becoming highly effective at speaking in front of ever larger crowds. In February, Hitler spoke before a crowd of nearly six thousand in Munich. To publicize the meeting, he sent out two truckloads of Party supporters to drive around with swastikas, cause a big commotion, and throw out leaflets, the first time this tactic was used by the Nazis.

Hitler was now gaining notoriety outside of the Nazi Party for his rowdy, at times hysterical tirades against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians and political groups, especially Marxists, and always the Jews.

The Nazi Party was centered in Munich which had become a hotbed of ultra right-wing German nationalists. This included Army officers determined to crush Marxism and undermine or even overthrow the young German democracy centered in Berlin.


Slowly, they began looking toward the rising politician, Adolf Hitler, and the growing Nazi movement as the vehicle to hitch themselves to. Hitler was already looking at how he could carry his movement to the rest of Germany. He traveled to Berlin to visit nationalist groups during the summer of 1921.

But in his absence, he faced an unexpected revolt among his own Nazi Party leadership in Munich.

The Party was still run by an executive committee whose original members now considered Hitler to be highly overbearing, even dictatorial. To weaken Hitler's position, they formed an alliance with a group of socialists from Augsburg.

Hitler rushed back to Munich and countered them by announcing his resignation from the Party on July 11, 1921.

They realized the loss of Hitler would effectively mean the end of the Nazi Party. Hitler seized the moment and announced he would return on the condition that he was made chairman and given dictatorial powers.

Infuriated committee members, including Anton Drexler, founder of the Party, held out at first. Meanwhile, an anonymous pamphlet appeared entitled: "Adolf Hitler: Is he a traitor?" It attacked Hitler's lust for power and criticized the violence prone men now surrounding him. Hitler responded to its publication in a Munich newspaper by suing for libel and later won a small settlement.

The executive committee of the Nazi Party eventually backed down and Hitler's demands were put to a vote of the party members. Hitler received 543 votes for, and only one against.

At the next gathering, July 29, 1921, Adolf Hitler was introduced as Führer of the Nazi Party, marking the first time that title was publicly used to address him.

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