Adolf Hitler joins German Workers' Party

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 12, 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 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 rubber stamp..."

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.