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'Hitler' (book by Brendan Simms) Sturmabteilung (SA)

Hitler, 27

Significantly, the first mission of his new paramilitary formation, undertaken even before it was christened the SA, was an attack not on the Jews, communists or Social Democrats, but on a meeting of [particularist —Ed.] Ballerstedt’s Bayernbund in the Löwenbräukeller in the summer of 1921 under the banner ‘we will not betray Bavaria’. Hitler led an assault in which Ballerstedt was manhandled and the police were eventually called to break up the fight. His violent behaviour earned him a short jail sentence. By contrast, it is not documented that Hitler ever personally laid hands on an individual Jew, either then or subsequently. Hitler’s campaign against Bavarian federalism in general and his vendetta against Ballerstedt in particular continued throughout the 1920s and remained a preoccupation until he had him killed during the ‘Night of the Long Knives’.

Hitler’s view of foreign policy was, as we have seen, strongly ideological. That said, he was also beginning to develop a keen sense of geopolitics. In part, this followed the prevailing discourse of Germany’s central location in Europe and her consequent vulnerability to ‘encirclement’. He spoke of ‘the position of our fatherland, which was geographically one of the most unfortunate in Europe’. Hitler inveighed repeatedly against the ‘encirclement attempts of the Entente against Germany’. Where Hitler went much further than the nationalist mainstream was over the growing question of space, the Raumfrage, references to which increased exponentially during the early 1920s. In mid April 1920, Hitler lamented that ‘the world was so unjustly distributed’. Four months later, he noted that Germany suffered from a crippling lack of space by comparison with Britain, which controlled about one-quarter of the entire globe. By March 1921, Hitler decried the injustice that Britain, with a smaller population, controlled ‘three-quarters of the entire world’, while more populous Germany had to make do with considerably less space. This sense of connection between Germany’s ‘disadvantageous military location’ and the ‘impossibility of securing the food supply in Europe’ stayed with Hitler to the end.

The cause of this unequal distribution, he believed, was global capitalism and its associated system of world governance. ‘The international exploitation of capitalism must be combated’, Hitler demanded, as well as that of ‘international loan capital’. ‘We want to turn world slaves into world citizens,’ he announced. This required ‘the liberation of our German people from the fetters of its international world enslavement’. This in turn meant that Germany would have to regain its military freedom of action. ‘The German is either a free soldier,’ Hitler argued, ‘or a white slave.’ He therefore called upon the German people to relearn the old adage that ‘whoever does not want to be a hammer must be an anvil’, adding that ‘we are an anvil today, and were being beaten until the anvil became a hammer’, that is a ‘German sword’. The idea that Germany must become a ‘hammer’ to avoid remaining an ‘anvil’ was a common trope at the time and one to which Hitler returned on a number of occasions.

In short, Hitler saw the root of Germany’s evils in her external subjection… Any prospect of a vigorous German foreign policy, Hitler claimed, ‘is predicated on a radical domestic political change’. In this context, the defeat of 1918 could be put to good use. Just as the catastrophe of 1806 had led to the Wars of Liberation in 1813, Hitler hoped that defeat in 1918 and the humiliation of Versailles would be followed by a national revival; ‘fall’, ‘purification’ and ‘rebirth’ were common tropes in Weimar Germany. Hitler’s rhetoric consciously mimicked that of the great patriotic martyr Palm, a Nuremberg bookseller who was executed by Napoleon in Hitler’s hometown of Braunau for penning the rousing tract ‘Germany in its deepest humiliation’…

'Hitler' (book by Brendan Simms)

Hitler, 25

International capital and the victor powers—the two were indistinguishable in Hitler’s mind—had thus reduced Germany to the status of a ‘colony’. The purpose of Versailles, he argued, was ‘to make Germany ripe’ for its fate as ‘a colony of international capital’, to ‘soften up our people’ in order to make them ‘international slave workers’. He lamented that Germany was a ‘wage slave of international capital’. Germany was no more than a ‘colony of the international Jewish finance syndicate’, Hitler argued, thus making the German people ‘the slave of the outside world’. In April 1922, he fumed that ‘we practically no longer have an independent German Reich, but really just a colony of the world outside’…

All this was embedded in a broader, though idiosyncratic, critique of European imperialism. On the one hand, Hitler was bitterly critical of the British Empire . ‘Where was the law,’ he asked, ‘when England flooded China and India with opium and North America with spirits in order to undermine these people the better to dominate them?’ He also charged that Britain had ‘reduced the Irish people from 8.5 to 4.5 million [through the potato famine]’, and had ‘cynically allowed’ some 29,000 Boer women to die a miserable death in the ‘concentration camps of South Africa’. He paid black people the back-handed compliment that he would rather have ‘100 Negroes in the hall than one Jew’. On the other hand, Hitler objected not so much to colonialism as to what he would later call the ‘negrification’ of the Germans…

The notion that Germany was being enslaved and reduced to the status of an African colony was widespread at the time, not just in far right circles. Viktor Klemperer, a Jewish veteran of the same division in which Hitler had served, who was later a victim of Nazism, wrote that as ‘The way the Entente powers talk of and to Germany makes me as bitter as if I personally were being treated like a negro’; on another occasion he compared the situation of the Reich with that of the Congo. Many Germans experienced occupation, reparations and the presence of enemy colonial troops as a form not only of subjugation but of emasculation, a sentiment which extended from the far right to the SPD and even women’s rights groups concerned about sexual violence. The Weimar Germany in which Hitler operated was thus both colonized and post-colonial in an era of continuing western imperialism. Defeat by the western powers had turned the international racial order upside down.

There had in fact been long-standing Anglo-Saxon doubts about the whiteness of Germans. As far back as 1751, in his Observations concerning the increase of Mankind, peopling of countries etc., Benjamin Franklin had included them along with the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes as a people of ‘swarthy complexion’. He ‘excepted’ only the ‘Saxons’—probably meaning the Lower-Saxons, whose ancestors had settled England. These, Franklin said, ‘with the English, make the principal body of White People on the face of the earth’. More recently, in 1916, the prominent American theorist Madison Grant published his lament for The Passing of the Great Race, which also identified Germans and Scandinavians as of clearly lower racial value than the Anglo-Celts, though preferable to eastern Europeans, Jews or blacks; of this, more later.

Art Aryan beauty Classical sculpture

Aryan beauty

Photograph by Heinrich Hoffmann. Adolf Hitler introducing Myron’s Discobolus (Discus Thrower) during the opening of the Great German Art Exhibition of 1938 in Munich:

May none of you who visit this house fail to go to the Glyptothek, and may you then realise how wonderful man once was in his physical beauty and how we can only talk about progress when we not only achieve this beauty but, if possible, surpass it. But let the artists also judge how wonderful the eye and skill of that Greek Myron reveal themselves to us today, the Greek who created the work almost two and a half millennia ago, in front of whose Roman image we stand in deep admiration today. And may they all find from this a benchmark for the tasks and achievements of our own time. May they all strive for the beautiful and the sublime so that their people and art can also withstand the critical assessment of the millennia.(*)

Speech by Hitler on July 10, 1938 at the opening of the Great German Art Exhibition in Munich, House of German Art, published in Völkischer Observer on 11 July 1938.

Few things bother me more in today’s racial right than the lack of these panegyrics to the physique of Aryans (‘…and how we can only talk about progress when we not only achieve this beauty but, if possible, surpass it’ —my emphasis, remember my crush on Mayfield Parrish’s painting!).

The Greco-Romans knew the metaphysics of the Aryan body perfectly well. Most Christians and neo-Christians today have forgotten it. Let us never forget that the first thing the Judeo-Christians did when conquering the Roman Empire was to destroy the statuary. How many better sculptures than the discus thrower were lost for eternity because of Christian takeover of the Empire?

To ignore these facts is to be a historical fool.


(*) Mögen Sie alle, die Sie dieses Haus besuchen, nicht versäumen, in die Glyptothek zu gehen, und mögen Sie dann erkennen, wie herrlich schon einst der Mensch in seiner körperlichen Schönheit war und wie wir von Fortschritten nur dann reden dürfen, wenn wir diese Schönheit nicht nur erreichen, sondern wenn möglich noch übertreffen. Mögen aber auch die Künstler daran ermessen, wie wunderbar sich das Auge und das Können jenes Griechen Myron uns heute offenbaren, jenes Griechen, der vor fast 2 1/2 Jahrtausenden das Werk schuf, vor dessen römischen Abbild wir heute in tiefer Bewunderung stehen.

'Hitler' (book by Brendan Simms) Adam Smith

Hitler, 24

Moreover, in Hitler’s view the war was by no means over. Germany was still the victim of international capitalism, whose continuing power he repeatedly attacked. He spoke of ‘international stock exchange and loan capital’ as the main ‘beneficiaries’ of the peace treaty. Ever since the ‘collapse of the Reich’, Hitler claimed, the country had fallen under ‘the rule of international, fatherlandless capital, independent of person, place and Nation’. [emphasis by Ed.]

Left, portrait of Adam Smith by John Kay. Considered by some as ‘The Father of Economics’ or ‘The Father of Capitalism’, Smith, who popularised the idea that capital has no flag, wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776 (look at the year of publication of his magnus opus!).

Except for the European Tom Sunic and the American Michael O’Meara, it strikes me that the bulk of white nationalist pundits have been blinded to see something so obvious: that, without a flag, sooner or later the Anglo-Saxon economic system was going to betray their ethnicity.

This is compounded in the American myth of those who emigrated fantasising about a city on a hill, self-understanding themselves as the new Israelites to the extent of admiring the real Jews and rolling out the red carpet to them in subsequent centuries. Why, unlike O’Meara and Sunic, can the racial right not see that they, along with the rest of the Anglo-Americans, have been empowering the enemy through this fatherlandless, flagless capitalist ideology? Hitler did get it:

International conferences—such as Genoa in April 1922—were simply condemned as ‘stock exchange conferences’. Hitler saw Jewish international capitalism and western democracy as linked. ‘International Jewish stock exchange capital, ‘he believed, ‘was the driving force of these western-democratic states.’ He set up the ‘equation’ of ‘democracy-capitalism-Jew’. For all these reasons, he argued, National Socialism was a ‘new force whose aim could always only be anti-capitalist’.

Hitler was not completely opposed to all forms of capitalism, though he sometimes gave that impression. He contrasted the blanket hostility of Social Democrats and Marxists to capitalism in general with his own distinction between allegedly pernicious and largely Jewish ‘international loan capitalism’ and nationally oriented ‘productive industrial capitalism’.

‘Factories and industrial capital,’ he told an audience of SA, ‘is national’ and ‘the capital of every country remains national’. For clarity, he stressed that National Socialism ‘struggled against every form of big capital, irrespective of whether it is German or Jewish, if it is grounded not in productive work, but in the principle of interest, of income without work or toil’.

Moreover, Hitler added, the NSDAP ‘battled the Jew not only as the sole bearer of this [form of ] capital’, but also because he ‘prevented ‘ the ‘systematic struggle’ against it. In Hitler’s view it was the determination of international capitalism to subjugate independent national economies which had led to the world war and the brutal peace settlement. This was the context in which he interpreted Allied attempts to control the Reichsbahn, the German national railways. Hitler accused the Jews of trying to ‘grab’ them, as part of a policy whose ‘final aim was the destruction of our national economy and the enslavement of our workforce’.

The Allied determination to annihilate Germany, Hitler believed, was demonstrated by their continuation of the blockade after the end of hostilities. ‘One wants to destroy us completely,’ he claimed, ‘one wants to make our children sick and to allow them to waste away’…

‘The Entente,’ he lamented, ‘advises us to emigrate in order to feed ourselves, and to make way for the Eastern Jews.’ Hitler, in other words, feared that Germany would become the victim of what is today called ‘population replacement’.

He frequently urged his audience to think of the ‘thousands of German emigrants’. This was the great trauma underlying Hitler’s whole world view: the continued haemorrhaging of the best elements of the Reich who had left the Fatherland in order to enlarge the population of Germany’s rivals, with the fatal results that had been seen in the Great War. Worse still, he argued, these best elements were being replaced by the Jewish dregs of central and eastern Europe in a kind of negative selection, designed to further undermine the racial coherence of the German people.

'Hitler' (book by Brendan Simms)

Hitler, 21

Munich was thus an ambivalent habitat for the young NSDAP. It was stony ground for the Nazis not only politically and culturally, but also physically. The authorities began to take an ever dimmer view of Hitler’s activities, especially when these disturbed public order. He spent two stretches in prison. He lost an important ally with the resignation of Ernst Pohner as president of the Munich Police in September 1921. A month later, Hitler was summoned to police headquarters for a serious caution following a series of street brawls and beer-hall battles.

The Volkischer Beobachter was repeatedly banned for publishing inflammatory articles. In March 1922, after his conviction for a breach of the peace, the Bavarian minister of the interior, Dr Franz Schweyer, seriously considered deporting Hitler to Austria, and the minister president, Count Lerchenfeld, made it clear to Hitler that he was in Bavaria on sufferance. The police watched Hitler closely.

Hitler remained determined to establish himself in Munich, but only as a beacon to inspire the rest of Germany and as a base from which to take over the Reich as a whole. ‘Munich must become a model,’ he wrote in January 1922, ‘the school but also the granite pedestal’ of the movement. ‘We do not have a Bavarian mission today,’ Hitler announced six months later, ‘rather Bavaria has the most important mission of its entire existence.’

Bavaria, on this reading, was not separate but rather ‘the most German state in the German Reich’. Munich was a sanctuary and a bulwark, certainly, but above all it was a sally-port. The special role Hitler envisaged for Bavaria in Germany was thus not as a separate or autonomous entity, as the federalists and particularists wanted, but as the vanguard of national renewal. ‘Not “away from Berlin”,’ Hitler intoned when discussing the relationship between Bavaria and the Reich, ‘but rather “towards Berlin”’ in order to ‘liberate it from the seducers of the German people’.

It would soon become clear that was a very different agenda to that of the generally monarchist and particularist Bavarian military and political elites.

'Hitler' (book by Brendan Simms) Racial right Sturmabteilung (SA)

Hitler, 19

In August 1921, Hitler established a formal party paramilitary formation, which was named the SA or Sturmabteilung on 5 October 1921, with headquarters in 39 Schellingstrasse, Munich. The first commander was Emil Maurice, who had already distinguished himself in brawling at Hitler’s side, or on his behalf. The main task of this new force was to protect NSDAP meetings and disrupt those of the other side. Cyclist, motorized and mounted sections were established, with weapons and training being provided by the Reichswehr. The latter hoped to draw on the SA, as on other right-wing groupings, in the event of civil unrest or a French invasion. The initial growth of the Sturmabteilung was modest, reaching about 700-800 men in twelve months, and about 1,000 at the beginning of the following year…

As far as modern Western nations are concerned, all patriotardism is grotesque. Compare this tolerance of Weimar Germany with what happened not long ago in Charlottesville! People like Gregory Hood and Jared Taylor have been patriotards incapable of seeing something so elementary as far as the US is concerned. And let’s not talk about the UK, where the three racialists who had forums and whom I met on my last trip were jailed for thoughtcrime! (In addition to the two mentioned in my previous posts, Jez Turner, who served a thirteen-month sentence for ‘anti-Semitic’ pronouncements, has apparently been released although he hasn’t replied to my latest emails.)

In some ways, Bavaria was a congenial habitat. It considered itself a ‘centre of order’ in the Weimar chaos, an arcadia of conservative and patriotic values. Hitler was protected and supported by the Bavarian Reichswehr, which only loosely acknowledged the precedence of the national authority at this time, and whose loyalties lay firmly in Munich rather than Berlin. The president of the Munich Police, Ernst Pohner, and the Chief of the Political Police, Wilhelm Frick, were NSDAP supporters…

This was George Lincoln Rockwell’s big mistake: believing that American politicians, like the FBI director, were on his side. The US is not Weimar Germany! I must admit that on this issue Gregory Hood was right, as we saw in ‘Hitler, 12’.

Incidentally, the only post in this series that is not linked to the category ‘Hitler (book by Brendan Simms)’ is precisely Hitler, 12: where I quote Hood’s article on Commander Rockwell in full. I didn’t put the category for the simple reason that I don’t quote Simms’ book there. But I thought it was important to include Hood’s article in this series about Hitler’s biography because it is vital to understand why NS failed on this side of the Atlantic. Simms continues:

Gregor Strasser joined the party in October 1922. That same month, Hitler first met Hermann Goring, a charismatic and well-connected fighter ace, who opened many doors to business and high society.

Hitler and Gregor Strasser.

Indo-European heritage Music


This is a response to the ongoing debate about my Wednesday post ‘Part of the System’.

I can’t weigh in on the issue Thankmar and Vlad Tepes debate because I woke up racially until after half a century of existence, and never had time to read in-depth the authors Thankmar or Vlad mention (e.g. The Edda, compilations of stories related to Norse mythology, and what scholars debate about it). But even from my ignorance of these classics, I can contribute my two cents.

Recall what on pages 149-156 of my book Daybreak I wrote about Johann Sebastian Bach in the context of what Thankmar says: Christian propaganda. I think that in what I wrote there is the key to this matter.

Let’s think about Hitler. He was indeed initiated spiritually with Richard Wagner, as Savitri well saw in her book. But when I saw my first Wagnerian opera I was surprised that, at the end, Tannhäuser repudiated Venus and invoked the Virgin Mary! Wagner acted as a transitional bridge between a purely Christian art (like Bach’s St Matthew Passion) and an art that, although still inspired by Christianity, already has pagan elements, like Tannhäuser or Parsifal.

In other words, we must be tolerant of these ‘bridges’. When the Third Reich was already underway, Richard Strauss, a fanatic Wagnerian, even left behind the Christian tail that Wagner still suffered from, and composed the symphonic poem I like best of his, Thus Spake Zarathustra, his opus 30. Strauss himself acknowledged that that symphonic poem was ‘freely inspired in Nietzsche’ and he also composed some operas. (Many years ago I was lent the visual DVD of Strauss’ Elektra, based on the Greek myth according to Sophocles’ tragedy.)

So, considering that musically Strauss was heavily influenced by Wagner, and that Hitler himself also was a fanatic Wagnerian, why not be tolerant of bridges? Ultimately, that bridge, from the Christian Bach to the half-pagan Wagner, lead to Strauss and eventually to us (as a child and pubescent I listened a lot of times to the LP we see on the left). It could even be argued, as I do in the featured post, that Hitler and Rosenberg themselves could be bridges to an even more refined NS than the one they promoted (an Aryan Jesus, etc.).

Because of the majesty of the music, I can enjoy Wagner’s Parsifal without being much bothered by the Christian inspiration precisely because it already represents a breakthrough, or bridge, to our side of the Wall.

'Hitler' (book by Brendan Simms)

Hitler, 17

(Left, NSDAP membership book.)

The NSDAP, he [Hitler] claimed, had been established on ‘the basis of an extreme racial outlook and rejects any form of parliamentarism’, including its present-day incarnation. It was intended to be quite different from all other ‘so-called national movements’, and so constructed that it would best serve to wage ‘the battle for the crushing of the Jewish-international domination of our people’. The NSDAP was also a ‘social or rather a socialist party’, whose statutes laid down ‘that the seat of its leadership was Munich and must remain Munich, now and for ever’.

This programme, Hitler continued, had been agreed as ‘immutable and inviolable in front of an audience of a thousand people, and invoked as a granite foundation in more than a hundred mass meetings’. Now, Hitler claimed, these principles had been violated by plans to merge with another party, by the agreement at Zeitz to move the headquarters to Berlin and by the prospect that they would be abjured in favour of the programme of Otto Dickel, which he condemned as a ‘meaningless, spongy [and] stretchable entity’. Specifically, Hitler objected to Dickel’s belief that Britain was emerging from under the thumb of the Jews and to his admiration for the Jew Walther Rathenau. He was interested in propaganda, not organization, and the power of ideas, not bureaucratic power…

Hitler averred that he made these demands ‘not because I crave power’ but because he was convinced that ‘without an iron leadership’ the party would soon degenerate from a National Socialist Workers Party into a mere ‘Occidental League’. Hitler had originally wanted to control the message rather than the party, but he now realized that he could not do the former without ensuring the latter.

It is not quite clear whether Hitler resigned with the intent of forcing the leadership’s hand, or whether he left in despair and decided to lay down the law only after attempts to win him back showed the underlying strength of his position. Even then, his demands were more modest than they sounded, being subject (as the law required) to membership vote. The ‘dictatorial powers’ were not requested for the running of the party in general but limited to the sphere that Hitler was primarily concerned about, namely the re-establishment and maintenance of ideological coherence. This is what underlay his demand to purge deviators, to oversee the absorption of other groups and the retention of Munich as an ideological ‘Rome’ or ‘Mecca’. The outcome, in any case, was the same. Hitler triumphed all along the line. Drexler caved in…

Hitler’s struggle with Drexler is common to most emerging political movements: the clash between the need for growth and the maintenance of ideological purity, which was the side which he took with such vigour. In July 1921, Hitler won his first political battle. He had become a politician. Whether Hitler had sought leadership or had leadership thrust upon him, it was clear that he now was increasingly not merely the de facto but the formal chief of the NSDAP. If he had once seen himself as a mere ‘drummer’ of the movement for the new Germany, he now aspired to be its leader.

2nd World War Third Reich


My post for next Monday, the first of January, is being written for new visitors to this site. That will be the new featured post and I will use a metaphor analogous to the one I have been using about the psychological Rubicon: a metaphor that for now can be seen in this year’s featured post, ‘The River Nymph’. The next featured post, which, I reiterate, is for new visitors who are unaware of what the transvaluation of values is, says much the same but in an even more incisive way.

There is something I will say in the forthcoming featured post about which I can advance something for the moment.

Hitler and his inner circle of National Socialists, with whom he discussed the esoteric aspect of NS (his anti-Christianity—cf. Weikart’s book), didn’t have the opportunity to read mature mythicist literature as far as the historicity of Jesus is concerned.

Mythicism only matured in the present century, for example, with the work of mythicist Richard Carrier but also with non-mythicists like Richard Miller (see what we have said about Miller’s work in 2023). With this in mind, the forthcoming featured post will show a theological difference of mine with Hitler and Rosenberg in that, only up to our times, we can already begin to conceive, with recent scholarship on early Christian writings, that Jesus is as fictional a figure as the legendary King Arthur. The relevance of this for a 21st century National Socialism is capital, though this will be the subject of another post.

As far as today’s quote from Simms’ book is concerned (‘It was probably from him that Hitler got his determination that the Germans should not become a people like the [holocausted] Armenians’), I must add something.

While this issue of not realising the fictional nature of Jesus is understandable in Hitler’s biography, the military decision to invade the Soviet Union was Hitler’s mistake that led to what we have called here the Hellstorm Holocaust, the holocaust of Germans from 1945 to 1947 (which very few have heard of). Not all the generals of the Third Reich agreed with Operation Barbarossa, precisely because of the vast expanses of Russian territory and ‘General Winter’. In fact, the same thing happened to Hitler as to Napoleon in the previous century, so the artist ought to have listened to his generals.

Hitler was first and foremost an artist aware of the history of his people, as we saw in the previous day’s post, ‘Hitler 14’, with his books on art and history being the most widely read. Savitri Devi was absolutely right in saying that Hitler was first and foremost ‘Sun’, but that he failed in his ‘Lightning’. Had the solar artist been a little more patient, he would have prepared with the atomic bomb and then he would have become Kalki: the enemies of the Reich would have been incinerated with the Lightning of an Austrian avatar of this Indo-European god, and the Third Reich would now reign from the Atlantic to the Urals.

(Left, Vasily Malinin vs. Viktor Savinov—Leningrad). Operation Barbarossa was a serious mistake: a blunder as chess players say, like gambiting the queen and then realising we just cannot checkmate our opponent with a wrong sacrifice! And it bothers me that Hitler’s fans want to rationalise it by claiming that Stalin was about to invade Germany. The truth is that the Diktat the US imposed on Europe after the Hellstorm Holocaust was, as Francis Parker Yockey saw, even worse than if Stalin had invaded Europe. This interview with Srdja Trifkovic, who as a young man suffered under Yugoslav communism, is worth watching (Trifkovic lived on Gran Canaria, the Spanish island next to Africa where I also lived for almost a year).

But what I wanted to get at here is that, while I will continue to admire Hitler for the Sun he represented, it is clear that he didn’t read Sun Tzu when it comes to the point that, if you know your enemy like the back of your hand, you won’t lose any war.

'Hitler' (book by Brendan Simms)

Hitler, 16

During this period Hitler collaborated with a range of figures, not all of whom were party members, in an informal and often non-hierarchical way. His closest associate was Rudolf Hess, a First World War veteran who had grown up in Egypt; the date of their first encounter (which was probably in May 1920) is disputed, but we know for a fact that he joined the NSDAP in July 1920.

A key interlocutor was the Reichswehr officer Ernst Rohm, whose meetings are documented from early 1920, though the first contacts may have taken place a lot earlier.

Hitler had frequent dealings with the staff of the Völkischer Beobachter, especially its executive editor, the playwright Dietrich Eckart, and his deputy Alfred Rosenberg, a Baltic German refugee from the Russian Revolution, who would influence Hitler’s view of the Soviet Union; the editor was his old regimental comrade Hermann Esser. In a rare gesture, Hitler explicitly acknowledged his debt to Eckart for his help with the Völkischer Beobachter, and to Rosenberg for his ‘theoretical deepening of the party programme’.

In late 1920, Hitler met Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, who had witnessed and been appalled by the massacre of the Armenians as a German consul in the East Anatolian town of Erzurum during the First World War. It was probably from him that Hitler got his determination that the Germans should not become a ‘people like the Armenians’, that is, the butt of foreign oppressors.