Anton Drexler (13 June 1884 – 24 February 1942) was a German
far-right political leader of the 1920s who was instrumental in the
formation of the pan-German and anti-Semitic German Workers' Party
(Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – DAP), the antecedent of the Nazi Party
(Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP). Drexler
served as mentor to
Adolf Hitler during his early days in politics.
1 Early life
2.1 Early involvement in politics
2.2 Founding of the German Workers' Party
6 External links
Born in Munich, Drexler was a machine-fitter before becoming a railway
toolmaker and locksmith in Berlin. He joined the Fatherland Party
during World War I.
Early involvement in politics
In March 1918 Drexler founded a branch of Der Freie Arbeiterausschuss
für einen guten Frieden (Free Workers' Committee for a Good Peace)
league. Thereafter in 1918,
Karl Harrer (a journalist and member of
the Thule Society), convinced Drexler and several others to form the
Politischer Arbeiterzirkel (Political Workers' Circle) in 1918. The
members met periodically for discussions with themes of nationalism
and antisemitism. Drexler was a poet and a member of the völkisch
Founding of the German Workers' Party
Together with Harrer,
Gottfried Feder and Dietrich Eckart, he founded
German Workers' Party
German Workers' Party (DAP) in
Munich on 5 January 1919.
At a meeting of the Party in
Munich in September 1919, the main
speaker was Gottfried Feder. When he had finished speaking, Adolf
Hitler got involved in a heated political argument with a visitor,
Professor Baumann, who questioned the soundness of Feder's arguments
against capitalism and proposed that
Bavaria should break away from
Prussia and found a new South German nation with Austria. In
vehemently attacking the man's arguments he made an impression on the
other party members with his oratory skills, and according to Hitler,
the "professor" left the hall acknowledging unequivocal defeat.
Drexler approached Hitler and thrust a booklet into his hand. It was
My Political Awakening and, according to Hitler, it reflected the
ideals he already believed in. Impressed with Hitler, Drexler
invited him to join the DAP. On the orders of his army superiors,
Hitler applied to join the party. In less than a week, Hitler
received a postcard stating he had officially been accepted as a DAP
member and should come to a "committee" meeting to discuss it. Hitler
was accepted as party member 555 (the party began counting membership
at 500 to give the impression they were a much larger party). Hitler
attended the "committee" meeting held at the run-down Alte Rosenbad
Hitler began to make the party more public, and he organized their
biggest meeting yet of 2,000 people, for 24 February 1920 in the
Hofbräuhaus in Munich. It was in this speech that Hitler, for the
first time, enunciated the twenty-five points of the German Worker's
Party's manifesto that had been drawn up by Drexler, Feder, and
Hitler. Through these points he gave the organisation a much bolder
stratagem with a clear foreign policy (abrogation of The Treaty of
Versailles, a Greater Germany, Eastern expansion, exclusion of Jews
from citizenship). On the same day the party was renamed the
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP (Nazi
Party). Such was the significance of this particular move in
Karl Harrer resigned from the party in
By 1921, Hitler was rapidly becoming the undisputed leader of the
Party. In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising
trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in Munich. Members
of its executive committee wanted to merge with the rival German
Socialist Party (DSP). Hitler returned to
Munich on 11 July and
angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that
the resignation of their leading public figure and speaker would mean
the end of the party. Hitler announced he would rejoin on the
condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman, and that
the party headquarters would remain in Munich. The committee
agreed; he rejoined the party as member 3,680. Drexler was thereafter
moved to the purely symbolic position of honorary president, and left
the Party in 1923.
Drexler was also a member of a völkisch political club for affluent
Munich society known as the Thule Society. His membership
in the NSDAP ended when it was temporarily outlawed in 1923 following
the Beer Hall Putsch, in which Drexler had not taken part. In 1924 he
was elected to the Bavarian state parliament for another party, in
which he served as vice-president until 1928. He had no part in the
NSDAP's refounding in 1925, and rejoined only after Hitler had come to
power in 1933. He founded a splinter group, the Nationalsozialer
Volksbund, but this dissolved in 1928. He received the party's
Blood Order in 1934 and was still occasionally used as a propaganda
tool until about 1937, but he was never again allowed any real power
or to play an active part in the movement.
Drexler died in
Munich in February 1942.
^ a b c d e Kershaw 2008, p. 82.
^ Hamilton 1984, p. 219.
^ Kershaw 2008, p. 75.
^ Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf, 1925.
^ Evans 2003, p. 170.
^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 75, 76.
^ Mitcham 1996, p. 67.
^ Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 37
^ Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 89
^ Kershaw 2008, p. 87.
^ Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 36
^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 100, 101.
^ Kershaw 2008, p. 102.
^ Kershaw 2008, p. 103.
^ Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 41
^ a b Hamilton 1984, p. 220.
^ Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, p. 209.
Evans, Richard J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich. New York:
Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-14-303469-8.
Hamilton, Charles (1984). Leaders & Personalities of the Third
Reich, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing.
Hitler, Adolf (1999) . Mein Kampf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton &
Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06757-6.
Mitcham, Samuel W. (1996). Why Hitler?: The Genesis of the Nazi Reich.
Westport, Conn: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-275-95485-7.
Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New
York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-62420-0.
Zentner, Christian; Bedürftig, Friedemann (1991). The Encyclopedia of
the Third Reich. (2 vols.) New York: MacMillan Publishing.
Mein politisches Erwachen; aus dem Tagebuch eines deutschen
sozialistischen Arbeiters München, Deutscher Volksverlag 4th ed.
Party political offices
Chairman of the DAP
National Socialist German Workers' Party
Anton Drexler (1919–1921)
Adolf Hitler (1921–1945)
Martin Bormann (1945)
Germany and World War I
Treaty of Versailles
Occupation of the Ruhr
German Workers' Party
National Socialist Program
Ranks and insignia
Beer Hall Putsch
Brown House, Munich
Adolf Hitler's rise to power
Night of the Long Knives
Enabling Act of 1933
Greater German Reich
World War II
Article 21 Paragraph 2 (de facto prohibition)
Anti-Semitism in Germany
NSDAP Office of Racial Policy
NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs
NSDAP Office of Colonial Policy
NSDAP Office of Military Policy
Nazi Party Chancellery
Das Schwarze Korps
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Houston Stewart Chamberlain
Richard Walther Darré
Baldur von Schirach
Black Front (Strasserism) / German Social Union
Deutsche Rechtspartei (through entryism) /
Deutsche Reichspartei /
National Democratic Party of Germany
Socialist Reich Party
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