Chapter Sixteen:
Kampfzeit
"Time of Struggle"

1924 December 20 On the evening of Hitler's release from Landsberg prison, he attends a dinner in his honor at the Hanfstaengls' newly purchased home in Herzog Park, across Munich's Isar River. Putzi Hanfstaengl:

He [Hitler] arrived about half past six in the tight blue serge suit, of which he was so proud, straining at the buttons with the weight he had put on in Landsberg. Egon [the Hanfstaengls' small son] was with me to greet him at the door. "I am so glad to see you again, Uncle 'Dolf," he said and Hitler took his hand as we walked down the corridor. I had a big concert grand in the studio and before I could gather my wits or offer any hospitality, Hitler, who seemed tense and wound up, said, almost pleadingly: "Hanfstaengl, play me the Liebestod." . . .

So down I sat and hammered out this tremendous thing from Tristan und Isolde, with Lisztian embellishments, and it seemed to work the trick. He relaxed . . . .

Before dinner, there was small talk. Suddenly he looked over his shoulder and stopped in midsentence. "I am sorry," he apologized ruefully; "that is the effect of prison. You always expect someone to be listening," and he launched into a graphic description of the psychological effect of the peephole in the prison door . . . .

After dinner he started warming up, striding up and down the room like a soldier, hands clasped behind his back. He was never much of a man for sitting down. Somehow he got back on to the subject of the war again, and we discovered that his powers of mimicry did not cover only the human voice. He was describing some recollection of the Western Front and started imitating an artillery barrage. He could reproduce the noise of every imaginable gun, German, French or English, the howitzers, the 75s, the machine guns, separately and all at once. With that tremendous voice of his we really went through about five minutes of the Battle of the Somme and what the neighbors must have thought I cannot imagine. 1

1924 December 31 When Heinrich Hoffmann had invited Hitler to his home on New Year's Eve, he was surprised when his introverted friend actually accepted the invitation, "but only for half an hour." "In his cutaway coat, he looked very smart," Hoffmann recorded later. "He had not yet started to wear the lock of hair hanging from his forehead, and his air of modest reserve only served to enhance his charm."

When a young girl mischievously maneuvers Hitler under some mistletoe and kisses him, Hoffmann tells of his reaction:

I shall never forget the look of astonishment and horror on Hitler's face! The wicked siren, too, felt that she had committed a faux pas, and an uncomfortable silence reigned. Bewildered and helpless as a child, Hitler stood there, biting his lip in an effort to master his anger. The atmosphere, which after his arrival had shown a tendency to become more formal, now became almost glacial.

Hoffmann's skills as a host are put to test as he tries to make light of the situation: "I'm glad that it didn't happen to one of the more elderly among my guests. But then, you've always had luck with the ladies, Herr Hitler!" Hitler shows no appreciation for the joke, and soon excuses himself. 2

1925 January The rent on Hitler's modest apartment at 41 Thierschstrasse, which is half the size of his Cell #7 at Landsberg Prison, had been maintained by his followers during his incarceration, and it remains his legal residence. His car, as well as the assets of his party, had been appropriated by the state during his imprisonment. Still, soon after his release from Landsberg, Hitler purchases a supercharged Mercedes-Benz for 28,000 marks as a replacement for his confiscated bright red Benz touring car. 3

Hitler's only actual income, at this time, derives from speaking fees and newspaper articles, the proceeds of which are hardly adequate for the purchase of a high-end motor vehicle. His income is supplemented by funds from various admirers, such as the former Duke of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, and the former wife of the Duke of Sachsen-Anhalt, who gives him 1,500 monthly, which is two-thirds of her monthly 2,000-mark alimony settlement. Whether this stipend is provided out of loyal admiration for Hitler, who has promised to make her again a Duchess should he take power, or because Hitler had come out for the restoration of properties formerly expropriated from the aristocratic Junkers families, is uncertain. 4

1925 January 4 Hitler, hat in hand, meets with Dr. Heinrich Held, the minister-president of Bavaria. Hitler's party is still banned, and so is his party's newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter. Hitler is prepared to make any pledge, take any vow, if only Held will allow him back in the game. He distances himself from Ludendorff', whose virulent anti-Catholicism Held finds repugnant. The Putsch was a mistake that he will not make again. He swears his loyalty to the state, and vows that if Held would be so kind as to release the rest of the Nazis still interned at Landsberg, they would all take the same vow. Held eventually agrees, feeling that Hitler has indeed learned his lesson, and that he is not likely to cause any further trouble. Held explains to a colleague: "The wild beast is tamed; we can afford to loosen the chain." 5

1925 January 17 At a meeting of the NSFB (National Socialist Freedom Movement—Nationalsozialistische Freiheitsbewegung) in Berlin, much opposition—led by Reinhold Wulle and Albrecht von Graefe—is raised to the idea that Hitler should once more take over the leadership of the voelkish parties. The meeting ends in a bout of mutual recriminations, though at least one fellow sees the logic of Hitler's argument; Walther von Corswant-Cuntzow, the future Gauleiter of Pomerania:

Rather that the one leader in whom one has the most trust fails, than this hither and thither of the many from whom everybody wants something different. I now believe in the godly grace of Hitler, whom I had personally never seen, and believe that God will enlighten him now to find the correct way out of this chaos. 6

1925 February 12 Ludendorff eliminates the Reich Leadership of the NSFB (Nationalsozialistische Freiheitsbewegung—National Socialist Freedom Movement). The NSFB had become the port-in-a-storm for many Nationalists after the banning of the Hitler party. It is disbanded this day to make way for the new NSDAP. 7

1925 February 16 The Bavarian authorities lift the ban on the NSDAP and its newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter. 8

In May of 1942, Hitler will entertain his dinner guests discussing the early success of his party newspaper:

If the Völkischer Beobachter, which originally had merely a few thousand subscribers, has now become a gigantic enterprise, in which reckoning is by the million, we owe it first and foremost to the exemplary industry of Reichsleiter [Max] Amann. Thanks to a quite military discipline, he has succeeded in getting the very best out of his colleagues, suppressing particularly all contact between the editorial and the administrative staffs. I don't know how often Amann, when telling me of the great financial development of the newspaper, begged me to make no mention of the fact in front of Rosenberg, the editor-in-chief, or of the other members of the editorial staff. Otherwise, he used to say, they would plague him for higher salaries.

What discipline, with the severity that is proper to it, Amann [above] succeeded in imposing on all his colleagues! He behaved as if the editorial staff and the editors were nothing but a necessary evil. And yet—what a task of immense educational value he has thus accomplished! He has moulded exactly the type of journalist that we need in a National Socialist State. We want men who, when they develop a theme, do not first of all think of the success the article will bring them or of the material benefits it will give them; as formers of public opinion, we want men who are conscious of the fact that they have a mission and who bear themselves as good servants of the State. 9

1925 February 16 Artur Dinter, publisher of a new Weimar newspaper, Der Nationalsozialist, is appointed NSDAP State Leader of Thuringia by Hitler. Dinter is Party Number 5 in the newly-reformed NSDAP.

Dinter was an Oberleutnant in the Great War, who had been awarded an Iron Cross Second Class. In 1917, he had published a popular anti-Semitic volume, Die Sünde wider das Blut (The Sin Against the Blood). Dinter's major focus is not politics, but religion. His life's goal is to remove "the Jew" from the bible. He completely rejects the Old Testament, a view that will inevitably bring him, and by connection, Hitler, in conflict with elements of the Catholic Church. 10

1925 February 17 Hitler meets privately with Gregor Strasser, who had surrendered the leadership of the NSFB just five days previously. The two rivals confer over their respective roles in a reformed Nazi party. Strasser agrees to join the reborn party, but only as an equal, not a follower. They also discuss spheres of influence. Strasser, headquartered out of Berlin, is to have jurisdiction in Northern Germany. Hitler would maintain his base in Munich with one exception; Strasser is also to be appointed Gauleiter of Lower Bavaria, with 24-year-old Heinrich Himmler as Deputy Gauleiter. Note: For organizational purposes, Hitler has divided Germany into 23 separate districts (later increased to 32), roughly corresponding to established electoral districts. Each such district, or Gau, is headed by a Nazi party appointee: a Gauleiter.

Hitler considers Munich the true soul and center of the movement, "really the kernel of the new Hitler party, the nucleus of the second epoch of the Hitler movement." For now, Hitler is content to allow Strasser to make whatever gains he can in the Northern Gaue, while ensuring that his hold on Munich is unassailable. The two shake hands on the deal, but it is unlikely that either of them supposes that their rivalry is in any way resolved by this agreement. Both are playing for time, hoping to out-gain and out-organize the other, during the duration of the 'truce.' Strasser will officially join the new version of the NSDAP on February 25, and be given Party #9. 11

1925 February 24 For the first time since 1914, the city of Munich celebrates a carnival. The climax of the carnival is a Mardi Gras parade past the Feldherrn Halle, and across the Odeonsplatz. This is very close to the same route taken by the failed Hitler Putsch on November 9, 1923. It is documented that two acquaintances, both participating in the parade, share this exchange:

Man #1: "Why, you were here in 1923, but dressed differently—you had a Swastika and a gun then, you loafer!"

Man #2: "Well, in those days we were crazy."

This day is also the anniversary of Hitler's first public speech, which had launched his political career in 1920. Hitler had wanted to make his big come-back speech on this anniversary, but wisely chooses a different date so as not to compete with the carnival. 12

1925 February 26 The first post-Putsch issue of the Völkischer Beobachter hits the newsstands. In an editorial entitled "A New Beginning," Hitler proclaims the rebirth of the Nazi Party. To get ahead of criticism concerning some of the more unsavory party members, Hitler denies that it is his job to weed out the more controversial Nazis: "I do not consider it to be the task of a political leader to attempt to improve upon, or even to fuse together, the human material lying ready to his hand." Hitler went on to attack some of the other party members, who had brought opposition by the Catholic Church—a very large and very respected entity in Bavaria—to the Party. He thus lodged "a special protest against the attempt to bring religious disputes into the movement, or even to equate the movement with religious disputes . . . . Religious reformations cannot be made by political children, and, in the case of these gentlemen, it is very rarely that anything else is in question." 13

A meeting is announced for the very next evening at the Bürgerbräukeller. 14

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS' PARTY

National Socialists! Old-established Party Members—Men and Women!

On Friday 27 February at 8 P.M., the first great public Mass Meeting for the Reconstruction of the National Socialist German Workers' Party will take place at the Bürgerbräukeller, Rosenheimerstrasse, in Munich.

Our party comrade Adolf Hitler will speak on Germany's Future and our Movement.

Admission 1 Mark, to cover cost of hall and publicity.

All additional moneys will be used to start the Movement's Fighting Fund.

Jews not admitted. Summoner: Amann.

Advance sale of tickets from Thursday 26 February at 15 Thierschstrasse (bookshop).

The fighting publication of the Greater Germany National Socialist Movement is the Völkischer Beobachter. Editor: Adolf Hitler. 15

1925 February 27 Hitler speaks in public, for the first time since his release from prison. The venue he chooses is the Bürgerbräukeller, the very place where the Putsch had begun, just two Novembers previously. 16 It is uncertain just how many people are present on this night, in the now-infamous Bürgerbräukeller. 17 The meeting is chaired by the party's business manager, Max Amann, because Anton Drexler—the founder and nominal head of the NSDAP—had refused to attend. He will have nothing to do with the party, unless and until Esser and Streicher are dismissed from their posts. 18 The Hitler who takes the stage is not the unassuming fellow Dr. Held had interviewed in January, but a version of the "wild beast" that Held assumed had been tamed. Hitler strikes a defiant tone:

This is an absolutely new beginning. You must forget your personal quarrels. If you will not, I shall start the party alone, without you! . . . .

If anyone comes and wants to impose conditions on me, I shall say to him: Just wait, my little friend, and see what conditions I impose on you. I'm not wooing the masses you know. After a year has passed, you be the judges, my party comrades. If I have not acted rightly, then I shall return my office to your hands. But until then, this is the rule: I and I alone shall lead the movement, and no one sets me conditions as long as I personally bear the responsibility. And I, on the other hand, bear all the responsibility for everything that happens in the movement . . . .

To this struggle of ours there are only two possible issues: either the enemy pass over our bodies or we pass over theirs, and it is my desire that, if in the struggle I should fall, the Swastika banner shall be my winding sheet. 19

Hitler speaks for over two hours. When he is finished, Max Amann shouts: "The wrangling must stop! Everyone for Hitler!" Gottfried Feder, Wilhelm Frick, Hermann Esser, Julius Streicher, Artur Dinter (Thuringian District Leader), and Rudolf Buttmann (Bavarian District Leader) join Hitler on the platform in a gesture of unity. Some of them are controversial figures, others had previously been in opposition to his leadership. A party that had been at odds with itself now unites to declare Hitler their Fuehrer, and pledge themselves anew to the cause. However, Röhm, Strasser, Drexler, and Alfred Rosenberg are notable by their absence. 20

Otto Strasser had this to say about Hitler's speaking ability:

If he tries to bolster up his argument with theories or quotations from books [that] he has only imperfectly understood, he scarcely rises above mediocrity. But let him throw away his crutches, speaking as the spirit moves him, and he is promptly transformed into one of the greatest speakers of the century . . . .

Adolf Hitler enters a hall. He sniffs the air, feels his way, senses the atmosphere. Suddenly, he bursts forth. His words go like an arrow to their target; he touches each private wound on the raw, liberating the unconscious, exposing its innermost aspirations, and telling it what it most wants to hear. 21

1925 February 28 The Social Democratic President of Germany, Friedrich Ebert, dies of complications from appendicitis. A new round of presidential elections is scheduled to culminate in April. 22

1925 Spring It is around this time that Carin and Hermann Göring return from their fruitless 'mission' to Mussolini's Italy, by way of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and then Danzig. Mussolini, who had heard nothing about Hitler that would prompt him to waste any time on his emissary, had refused even to grant Göring an audience. Always the braggart, Göring had put on a front for Carin, telling her tales of meetings that never occurred. Back in Carin's homeland, they rent a modest flat in Stockholm using funds provided by her mother. They manage to persuade the Bavarian authorities to release their confiscated property, but Hermann's fugitive status remains unchanged. Carin soon sells her car and home to provide living funds. To top it all off, Göring discovers that he has been placed on the non-active list of the party membership rolls, by Alfred Rosenberg, who has it in for him. 23

1925 March 9 The usual police reports of the February 27 NSDAP meeting at the Bürgerbräukeller prompt a change of heart by the authorities in Bavaria, concerning the Austrian firebrand, and they ban an upcoming series of five NSDAP meetings set for March. Hitler protests:

Those who want to have a fight with us can have one. Whoever attacks us will be stabbed from all sides. I will successfully lead the German people in their fight for freedom: if not peacefully, then with force. This sentence I repeat emphatically for the benefit of police spies so that no erroneous reports will be circulated.

In reaction, the authorities once again ban him from speaking in public altogether. After all, he is still on parole. This ban will be in place until May of 1927, severely limiting his political activity in Bavaria. The ban is also adopted by other German states that are quick to see the wisdom of the move. 26

1925 March 11 Hitler grants Gregor Strasser the independent post of leader of the Nazi party in all of North Germany. Strasser later explained that he had accepted the post only in order to further the cause. Among those in Strasser's camp are four future Nazi Gauleiters: Karl Kaufmann, Erich Koch, Josef Terboven, and an up-and-coming young activist, 27-year-old Josef Goebbels. With Strasser's energy and organizational skills, and the circumstance of Hitler being banned from speaking in most of Germany, the center of power in the party will soon begin to shift to the north. 27

Kurt Luedecke (above, with Hitler) is impressed by Gregor Strasser:

He seemed most genuine and of almost touching simplicity and modesty . . . . He was an odd sight, this big man in his home-made breeches, black woollen stockings, and heavy shoes, with a little Tyrolean hat perched like a plate atop his head, completely out of harmony with his broad and massive features. But at the same time he impressed me with his calm strength, his pithy humor and robust health: suggesting at once something oaken and powerful. 28

Otto Strasser later recorded how his brother, Gregor, described his deputy, Heinrich Himmler (above):

A remarkable fellow. Comes from a strong Catholic family, but does not want to know anything about the Church. Looks like a half-starved shrew. But keen, I tell you, incredibly keen. He has a motorbike. He is under way the whole day—from one farm to another—from one village to the next. Since I've had him our weapons have really been put into shape. I tell you, he's a perfect arms-NCO. He visits all the secret depots. 29

1925 March 27 Gregor Strasser meets with north-west German party leaders in the Hamburg industrial suburb of Harburg. Among those in attendance is a 27-year-old doctor of philosophy from the Rhineland, Dr, Josef Goebbels, who happens to be unemployed. A trusted Strasser associate, Karl Kaufmann, recommends Goebbels for the position of business manager in the central office of the Rhineland-North Gau. Strasser approves the appointment. 24

1925 March 29 Ludendorff, whom Hitler had encouraged to run for Reich president, is handed a humiliating defeat in the preliminary round of the presidential elections. He receives a mere 286,000 votes, just 1.1% of the votes cast. As a direct result, Ludendorff will never again be considered a serious political player by any but the most naive. 25

1925 March It is around this time that Baldur von Schirach, an 18-year-old Weimar resident and youth movement activist, hears Hitler speak for the first time:

I met Hitler as early as 1925. He had just left Landsberg on the Lech, his imprisonment was ended, and he came to Weimar and spoke there. It was on that occasion that I was introduced to him. The program for the national community which he developed appealed to me so enormously because in it I found on a large scale something I had experienced in a small way in the camaraderie of my youth organization. He appeared to me to be the man who would pave the way into the future for our generation. I believed that through him there could be offered to this younger generation the prospect of work, of happiness. And in him I saw the man who would liberate us from the shackles of Versailles . . . .

I became a member of The Party in 1925. I joined the SA at the same time, with all my comrades . . . . The SA furnished the protection for the meetings, and we simply continued in the SA, as part of the Party, the activities which we had carried out before in our youth organization. 30

1925 April Anton Drexler, the original founder of the Nazi Party, is assaulted with a shovel by a Communist workman at the locomotive plant where they are employed. The wounds are quite serious, and Drexler is admitted to a sanatorium on the Obersalzberg for an extended period of rehabilitation. 31

1925 April 3 Julius Streicher speaks in Nuremberg:

You must realize that the Jew wants our people to perish. That is why you must join us and leave those who have brought you nothing but war, inflation, and discord. For thousands of years the Jew has been destroying the nations. Let us make a new beginning today so that we can annihilate the Jew. 32

1925 April 7 Hitler formally renounces his Austrian citizenship. He is now officially stateless (staatenlos). Until his status is changed—and there is little possibility that this will happen any time soon—Hitler cannot hold public office in Germany, or anywhere else. This is quite a difficult position for a politician to find himself in, to say the least. 33

1925 April 11 Ernst Pöhner, the former Munich Police President, who had been named the prime minister of Bavaria by Hitler on the night of the Putsch, dies in an automobile accident. 34

1925 April 29 Hans Frank weds his domineering 29-year-old secretary, Brigitte Herbst. She will later be known as the 'Queen of Poland' (Königin von Polen). The couple will have five children. 35

1925 April 26 Paul von Hindenburg wins the Reich presidency when he receives 14,655,766 voters in the general election. Wilhelm Marx of the Center party pulls 13,751,615 votes, while Communist Ernst Thaelmann grabs a mere 1,931,151 votes. 36

1925 April 30 Hitler and Röhm have been at odds since Hitler was at Landsberg. Much to his displeasure, Hitler has no control over Röhm's underground army, the Frontbann. When Hitler insists that all such groups must be under the strict control of the political leadership—meaning Hitler himself—Röhm resigns. Röhm sends him a personal note: "I take this opportunity, in memory of the fine and difficult hours we have lived through together, to thank you (Dir) for your comradeship and to beg you not to exclude me from your personal friendship." Hitler never replies. 37

1925 May 1 The Munich Finance Office—the local authority in charge of income tax collections—write to Hitler inquiring about some irregularities in his finances. Hitler always lists his profession as "writer" for tax purposes, and claims every possible deduction normally allowed. The office has some questions: Why has he failed to provide a return for the first quarter of 1925, and how is it that he was able to purchase a 20,000 Reichsmark up-market automobile? The meager income he normally claims is simply insufficient for such a purpose. Eventually, he will send this explanation to the tax collector:

Without my political activity my name would be unknown, and I would be lacking materials for the publication of a political work . . . . Accordingly in my case as a political writer, the expenses of my political activity, which is the necessary condition of my professional writing as well as its assurance of financial success, cannot be regarded as subject to taxation. . . . . The Finance Office can see that out of the income from my book, for this period, only a very small fraction was expended for myself; nowhere do I possess property or other capital assets that I can call my own. I restrict of necessity my personal wants so far that I am a complete abstainer from alcohol and tobacco, take my meals in most modest restaurants, and aside from my minimal apartment rent make no expenditures that are not chargeable to my expenses as a political writer . . . . Also the automobile is for me but a means to an end. It alone makes it possible for me to accomplish my daily work. 38

The Munich Finance Office eventually allows Hitler only half the deductions he claimed, and he has no choice but to pay up the balance. This is but the first of very many negotiations with the slippery party leader, who cheats on his taxes with the best of them. While the royalties from his book—by far the greatest single source of Hitler's income—are a matter of public record, and no cheating is possible in that regard, many of the monetary gifts and subsidies he receives from various supporters are on nobody's books, and thus are fair game in Hitler's eyes. But there is always some item, some deduction, some unbalanced account somewhere, which causes Hitler's taxman to keep an eye on Hitler's file. And the disputes only grow worse and more complicated until, finally, all attempts to get Hitler to pay his taxes are ended by his assumption of the office of Reich Chancellor, in 1933. Until then, Hitler and the taxman butt heads every quarter, without fail. 39

1925 May 22 Rudolf Hess, in response to a letter from Fraulein Ilse Harff inquiring about Hitler's attitude toward religion: "Herr Hitler has never opposed the Christian religion of any denomination, merely parties calling themselves Christian which misuse the Christian religion for political purposes." 40

1925 Summer Hitler spends the summer months in the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden. On the slopes of the Obersalzberg, just a three hour drive from Munich, Berchtesgaden is known for its scenic beauty, and Hitler had fallen in love with the place on his first visit in 1923. He stays at a small villa, the Haus Wachenfeld, under the pseudonym "Herr Wolf," though it is hard to imagine that his true identity is completely unknown to his fellow guests. This is not the first summer he has played this little game. 41

1925 Goebbels, who had earned a Ph.D. from Heidelberg University in 1921, becomes the editor of the Rhineland party newspaper National-sozialistische Briefe (National-Socialist Letters) at a salary of 150 marks a month. Goebbels is a protégé of Hitler's North German rival, Gregor Strasser, both of whom are true-believers in the socialist aspects of National Socialism. This new job will, for the first time, give Goebbels personal contact with Hitler. 42

1925 July 4 Martin Bormann joins the NSDAP and the SA (Frontbann) in Thuringia, where he will be attached to the SA Supreme Command until 1930. 43

1925 July 18 A first edition of Mein Kampf (subtitle, A Reckoning) is published by the Franz Eher Publishing Co. in Munich. The book is priced at 12 marks ($3.00), which is nearly twice the usual price. Of the 10,000 copy print run, 9,473 copies will be sold by the end of the year. Subsequent editions will sell less well. It is around this time that Hitler begins work on a second volume. 44

1925 July 29 Rudolf Hess writes:

Herr Hitler never authorized his Excellency Ludendorff to lead the National Socialist Movement. Herr Hitler repeatedly requested his Excellency to withdraw from the petty political dispute immediately after the trial. His Excellency [Ludendorff] should retain his name for the nation and not enter it and use it up on behalf of a small party. 45

1925 August 2 Heinrich Himmler rejoins the NSDAP, and joins the SS as well, receiving SS #198. 46

1925 August 20 Hitler attends the annual Bayreuth Festival (Bayreuther Festspiele) in Bayreuth, Germany, an occasion about which he will indulge in reminiscence in March of 1942:

In 1925, the Bechsteins had invited me to stay with them in Bayreuth. They lived in a villa in the Liszt Strasse (I think this was the name of the street), within a few yards of Wahnfried. I had hesitated to go there, for I was afraid of thus increasing the difficulties of Siegfried Wagner, who was somewhat in the hands of the Jews. I arrived in Bayreuth towards eleven o'clock in the evening. Lotte Bechstein was still up, but her relatives were in bed. Next morning, Cosima Wagner came and brought me some flowers. What a bustle there was in Bayreuth for the Festival! There exist a few photographs of that period, in which I figure, taken by Lotte Bechstein. I used to spend the day in leather shorts. In the evening, I would put on a dinner-jacket or tails to go to the opera . . . . From all points of view, those were marvellous days. 47

1925 August 25 As a positive consequence of the August 1923 Dawes Plan agreement, the last French troops evacuate Düsseldorf, ending the French occupation of the Ruhr. 48

1925 September Wilhelm Frick, a former Munich police official who had assisted in the Hitler Putsch, joins the NSDAP. 49

1925 September 2 Hermann Göring is admitted to Catherine hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. From a hospital admission document:

Tuesday 1 September at 6 o'clock, in the afternoon was Captain Herman Wilhelm von Göring [sic], because of a medical certificate that he was insane and in need of care in hospitals, according to the Royal Police House who issued a referral he was transferred from Aspudden nursing home, where he was admitted to Catherine hospital. According to statement, von Göring was born on 1/12/93 and lives in house no. 23 Odegatan, 4th floor. up. Stockholm as above.

Suffering from hallucinations brought on by going "Cold Turkey" in an effort to kick his morphine addiction, Goering is in sad shape indeed. After ten days of withdrawal, Göring snaps. He busts open a medicine locker, attacks the nurses who tries to stop him, and ends up in a straitjacket. He is soon transferred to Stockholm's Langbro Mental Asylum.

From notes made by the hospital staff during his stay:

[The patient suffers from] hysterical tendencies, egocentric, inflated self-esteem; hater of the Jews, has devoted his life to the struggle against the Jews, was Hitler's right-hand man . . . . since he had been a German officer, he found it easy to obey. 50

1925 September 10 Gregor Strasser's North German faction begins to stretch its muscles when the AG (the Working Community (Arbeitsgemeinschaft, or AG for short) of the North and West German Gaue of the NSDAP) headed by Goebbels is formed at a party conference at Hagan, in Westphalia. Among those in attendance are Karl Kaufmann, Bemhard Rust, Hanns Kerrl, Robert Ley, Friedrich Hildebrandt, and Erich Koch. Characterizing themselves as a "west bloc," they plan a "counter-attack" against "the calcified big-shots in Munich." The Völkischer Beobachter is said to be at an "atrociously low level", and all are agreed about the "slovenly, lousy way they run things at headquarters" in Munich. And the likes of Esser and Streicher, the "corrupt Munich clique," are tolerated as well. Something must be done to save the Fuehrer from the bad influence of these fellows. 51

1925 October 5 - October 16 Seven separate agreements, known as the Locarno Treaties, are negotiated in Locarno, Switzerland, in an attempt to secure a lasting post-war territorial settlement. Locarno divides the borders in Europe into two categories: western, which are guaranteed by Locarno treaties, and the eastern borders of Germany with Poland, which are open for revision. This will eventually lead to renewed claims by Germany to the Free City of Danzig, the Polish Corridor, and Upper Silesia. Another provision of the Locarno Treaties is the demilitarization of the German Rhineland. If Germany sends troops, or in any way fortifies the Rhineland, the French are legally obliged to occupy the province with military force. 52

1925 October 7 Göring is released from Stockholm's Langbro Mental Asylum, having been declared cured of his morphine addiction. 53

1925 October 23 Goebbels, who identifies very much with the Socialist side of National Socialism, writes: "In the final analysis, it would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism."

1925 November 6 Josef Goebbels, in the company of his comrade, Karl Kaufmann, meets Hitler face to face for the first time. Hitler is in Braunschweig on party business, and Goebbels later tells his diary that Hitler is eating dinner when they arrive:

He jumps up at once. Stands there before us. Squeezes my hand. Like an old friend. And those big, blue eyes. Like stars. He's glad to see me. I'm in heaven . . . . [He spoke] with wit, irony, sarcasm, seriousness, fervour, passion . . . . This man has everything it takes to be a king . . . . The born tribune of the people. The coming dictator. 54

1925 November 20 Hitler and Goebbels meet for a second time, at a party rally in the industrial town of Plauen, in southern Saxony. Goebbels gushes to his diary: "Great joy! He greets me like an old friend! And looks after me. How I love him!" During neither of these meetings is policy discussed, and Goebbels makes many unfounded assumptions concerning Hitler's views on current hot issues. He assumes that Hitler, whose personal charm has Goebbels seeing stars in his eyes, is in agreement with him as to the socialist aspects of National Socialism. His star-struck view of his Fuehrer will take a quick 180% turn when the young doctor of philosophy hears his leader's true views, especially concerning the issue of the Junkers. 55

"Junkers" is an often pejorative designation for members of the landed nobility in Prussia and eastern Germany. At issue is whether the restoration of properties formerly expropriated from the aristocratic Junkers families, without compensation, should be returned to them. The 'socialists' in the party are against the Junkers, favoring the splitting up of the old landed states in favor of small landholders. Hitler is not among them. He has influential supporters among the aristocratic families, and is thus prepared to defend the rights of private property from its Leftist attackers. Thus the ideological split in the ranks.

1925 December 16 In an early expression of the geopolitical conception of Lebensraum, Hitler declares that Germany can become strong enough to take its rightful place among the ruling nations, by the "acquisition of land and soil", preferably in the East, "by the sword." He will return to this theme again on July 4, 1926, and then with increasing frequency in subsequent years. 56

1925 Himmler writes to Hitler's acquaintance and supporter Kurt Luedecke:

Dear Herr Luedecke, Excuse my bothering you with this letter and taking the liberty of addressing a question to you. Perhaps you know that I am now working in the management of the district of Lower Bavaria for the Party. I also help with editing the local "folk" journal, the Kurier fur Nieder-Bayern. For some time I have entertained the project of publishing the names of all Jews, as well as of all Christian friends of the Jews, residing in Lower Bavaria. However, before I take such a step I should like to have your opinion, and find out whether you consider such an undertaking rich in prospects and practicable. I would be very indebted to you if as soon as possible you would give me your view, which for me is authoritative, thanks to your great experience in the Jewish question and your knowledge of the anti-Semitic fight in the whole world. 57

1925 Party membership at year's end is estimated at between 27,000 and 50,000 dues-paying members. 58

1926 January 24-25 Gregor Strasser calls a conference in Hanover with 24 of the party's leaders, including Robert Ley, Hans Kerrl and Bernard Rust, the Gauleiter of Cologne. The main item on the agenda is whether or not the party should support the restoration of properties formerly expropriated from the aristocratic Junkers families. Hitler does not attend, sending Gottfried Feder in his place. Josef Goebbels, solidly in Strasser's camp, shouts "No spies in our midst!" when he catches sight of Feder. After a vote on the matter is taken, Feder is allowed to stay.

Bernard Rust joins in with the anti-Hitler rhetoric: "The National Socialists are free and democratic men. They have no Pope who can claim infallibility. Hitler can act as he likes, but we shall act according to our conscience." 59

Young Goebbels plays the part of Strasser's primary attack dog. He calls Esser "the servant of capital and interest, the revaluation shit, and principal program drafter of the movement," and attacks Feder for his vote for the Junkers, a position backed by Hitler. "In these circumstances," Goebbels declares, "I demand that the petty bourgeois Adolf Hitler be expelled from the National Socialist party." Note: While it is documented that Goebbels was indeed in opposition to Hitler at this meeting, there is some doubt about the claim that he had called for Hitler's expulsion. The only source for this is Otto Strasser, a fellow who had a very creative relationship with the truth. 60

Goebbels later tells his diary about his performance:

Then I really let fly. Russia, Germany, Western capitalism, Bolshevism—I speak for half an hour, an hour. Everyone listens in breathless suspense. And then a storm of approval. We have triumphed . . . . At the end: Strasser shakes my hand. Feder small and hateful. 61

A resolution is passed concerning the issue the restoration of properties formerly expropriated from the aristocratic Junkers families, a resolution that supports the very opposite of Hitler's stated policy. It is also decided that the party's Twenty-five Point program should be altered to reflect the North German leaders' policy subscriptions. Only Feder and Ley back Hitler's position, while the rest vote for the measures. 62

1926 January 31 Goebbels tells his diary: "I think it is terrible that we [the Nazis] and the Communists are bashing in each other's heads . . . . Where can we get together sometime with the leading Communists?" 63

1926 February In preparation for the consolidation of power that Hitler expects to achieve in the upcoming Bamberg Conference, he hires two professionals to create a modern central party bureaucracy, centered in Munich. A former Munich City Hall accountant, Franz Xavier Schwarz (above), becomes the new party treasurer, and Philipp Bouhler is hired as executive secretary. 64

On a cold wintery evening in 1942, Hitler will praise Schwarz:

It's unbelievable what the Party owes Schwarz. It was thanks to the good order in which he kept our finances that we were able to develop so rapidly and wipe out the other parties. For me, it's marvellous. I don't concern myself with these matters, so to speak, and Schwarz only reports to me once a year. It's an immense relief for a man whose business is to breathe life into a movement not to have to bother about affairs of administration. I appreciate the privilege that has been mine, throughout my existence, to meet men who had the liking for responsibilities and the talent necessary to accomplish independently the work that was entrusted to them. 65

1926 February It is around this time that Hitler, weary of attempts to bring every petty inter-party dispute to him for a decision, creates the USCHLA (Committee for Investigation and Settlement—Untersuchungund-Schuchtungs-Ausschuss). The purpose of the party court is not to dispense justice of any sort. Its actual intent is to keep inter-party disputes—including crimes committed between party members—from going public and bringing ridicule on the party. The first chief judge of this party court was Gustav Walter Heinemann, a former Great War general. Heinemann, who is not even a party member, proves to be a poor choice, as least for what Hitler has in mind. 66

Heinemann is soon replaced by Major Walther Buch (above), a former leader of the SA in Franconia. Buch is given two Nazi jurists as assistants, Hans Frank, who will hang at Nuremberg for the crimes he will commit as the Governor General of occupied Poland in WW2, and Hitler's former bodyguard, Ulrich Graf, who was originally a butcher. Buch is completely Hitler's man. If a party member in good standing is accused of a crime, no matter how serious it may be, Buch would ask: "Well, what of it?" As long as the crime did not injure the Nazi party, or embarrass the Fuehrer, the culprit was likely to walk. In this manner, the Nazi version of justice first becomes institutionalized. 67

1926 February 14 In reaction to the Hanover Conference, Hitler calls for a conference at Bamberg of all those who had participated in the previous conference. Hitler had called the conference for a weekday, in a ploy to isolate Strasser's support. But Goebbels, Strasser, Ley, Rust, Streicher, Feder, and Esser all manage to attend. When Hitler takes the floor, he frames the debate as one of unity: "The program of 1920 is the foundation of our religion, our ideology. To tamper with it would be an act of treason to those who died [in the November putsch] believing in our Idea." At the highpoint of the event, all those who before the meeting had been at odds join Hitler on the stage, and all declare that they are united as one for the movement, under the leadership of their Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler. 68

Goebbels vents to his diary two days after the Bamberg Conference:

Hitler speaks for nearly two hours. I am almost beaten. What kind of Hitler? A reactionary? Amazingly clumsy and uncertain. Russian question: altogether beside the point. Italy and Britain the natural allies. Horrible! It is our job to smash Bolshevism. Bolshevism is a Jewish creation! We must become Russia's heirs! Hundred and eighty millions!!! Compensation for princes! Law is law. Also for the princes. Question of not weakening private property. Horrible! Program will do! Happy with it. Feder nods. Ley nods. Streicher nods. Esser nods. It hurts me in my soul to see you in that company!!! Short discussion. Strasser speaks. Hesitant, trembling, clumsy, good, honest Strasser. Lord, what a poor match we are for those pigs down there! Half an hour's discussion after a four-hour speech! Nonsense, you will win! I cannot say a word! I am stunned . . . . Probably one of the greatest disappointments of my life. I no longer believe fully in Hitler. That's the terrible thing: my inner support has been taken away. 69

1926 February 28 Hitler speaks to the members of an exclusive club, the Hamburger Nationalklub, at the high-end Hotel Atlantic. As a political performance artist, Hitler lives by the show business adage "Always know your audience." He speaks for over two hours without a single reference to the Jews. Instead, he goes after Marxism, the Social Democrats, and the trade unions:

In a struggle, one side must succumb—either Marxism will be abolished or we shall be abolished . . . .

Such [an anti-Marxist] movement can only rely upon men's fists just as one can only eradicate poison with a poisonous antidote. This movement must act in exactly that resolute manner. Victory will be decided solely by the stronger skull, greater resolution and greater idealism . . . .

There should be no doubts about it: we recognize clearly that if Marxism wins, we shall be destroyed; we cannot expect a different end. But if we win, we shall destroy Marxism, and down to the roots, without any tolerance. We shall not rest until the last newspaper is destroyed, the last organization dissolved, the last training center closed, and the last Marxist converted or eradicated. A middle course does not exist for us!

His speech is a great success. The upper bourgeoisie crowd is completely taken in by Hitler's cleverly-couched rhetoric. 70

1926 March Demonstrating magnanimity in victory, Hitler does not object when the Rhineland North and Westphalia Gaue are merged into one powerful Ruhr Gau, and placed under the control of former members of the defunct Working Community, Karl Kaufmann, the future Gauleiter of Hamburg, Franz Pfeffer von Salomon, and Goebbels. In a further signal of reconciliation, Hitler soon makes a personal visit to Gregor Strasser at his home in Landshut. Strasser had suffered a severe automobile accident on March 10, and is bedridden. The visit by Hitler, who bears a gigantic bunch of fresh-cut flowers, certainly makes a good impression on Goebbels, who holds much affection for his mentor. 71

1926 April 7 Hitler continues his charm offensive, the intent of which is to separate Goebbels from Strasser. Inviting Goebbels to be a guest speaker on this evening at a rally at the Bürgerbräukeller, where Hitler himself is forbidden to speak, Hitler sends his own car and chauffer to pick Goebbels up, along with Kaufmann and Pfeffer, at the train station. After stopping for a lunch of Wurst and beer in the Bratwurstglockle, they go on to Hitler's hotel room. Goebbels describes Hitler on this occasion as "big, healthy, full of life." 72

Later, Goebbels informs his diary of the day's events:

Hitler phones . . . . His kindness in spite of Bamberg makes us feel ashamed . . . . In the evening at 8 o'clock we drive to the Bürgerbräukeller. Hitler is already there. My heart is pounding so wildly it is ready to burst. I enter the hall. Roaring welcome. Packed shoulder to shoulder. Streicher opens. And then I speak for two and a half hours. I give it all I've got. The audience screams and shouts. At the end, Hitler embraces me. He has tears in his eyes. I am remarkably happy. Through the packed mass to the car. Shouts of 'Heil'. Hitler waits for me alone at the hotel. Then we eat together. He is the perfect host. And how great he is because of this. 73

After Goebbels' speech, which is a great success, Hitler embraces him triumphantly and invites him to dinner, flattering him shamelessly, and playing on his vanity. The scene is repeated at Stuttgart a few days later, and at regular intervals thereafter.

1926 April 8 Goebbels, Kaufmann, and Pfeffer have lunch with Adolf Hitler. Their Führer mildly admonishes them for that unpleasant Bamberg business, and assures them that all is forgiven. 74

1925 April 13 At last, Goebbels is completely won over by Hitler, telling his diary:

Hitler spoke for three hours. Brilliantly. He can make you doubt your own views. Italy and England our allies. Russia wants to devour us . . . . In the end, unity follows. Hitler is great. He gives us all a warm handshake . . . . I love him. The social question. A completely new insight. He has thought everything through. His ideal: a just collectivism and individualism. As to soil, everything belongs to the people. Production to be creative and individualistic. Trusts, transport, etc, to be socialised . . . . I am now at ease about him . . . . Taking it all round, he's quite a man. Such a sparkling mind can be my leader. I bow to the greater man, to the political genius. 75

As a side-note, he adds that he was "with Himmler in Landshut; Himmler a good fellow and very intelligent. I like him." 76

1926 April 20 From Goebbels' diary:

We celebrate Hitler's birthday. He is thirty-seven. Flowers surrounded by thirty-seven candles. And he talks about November 9, 1923. Adolf Hitler, I love you, because you are both great and simple. A genius! Leave-taking from him. Farewell! He waves. I grant audiences. 77

1926 May Göring is re-admitted to Stockholm's Langbro Mental Asylum for another round of detoxification. Since his release from Langbro on October 7th of 1925, Göring has become addicted to a codeine-derived synthetic pain-killer, Eukodal, which he has been using in place of morphine. 78

1926 May 1 Hitler speaks to a closed meeting at the City Hall in Schwerin, sixty miles east of Hamburg. 79

1926 May 22 Hitler's triumph at the Bamberg Conference is ratified at a general membership meeting in Munich, which is attended by 657 Nazis. New party organizational bylaws ensure that control of the party remains in Munich, and under Hitler's personal control, and the Twenty-Five Point NSDAP Program is declared unalterable. 80

1926 June Göring is judged to be "completely cured . . . free from the use of all types of opium derivatives," and released from Stockholm's Langbro Mental Asylum. Since he is still a wanted man in Germany, he and Carin continue on in Stockholm. Göring is now employed by the aero engines of BMW in Sweden, a firm partly-owned by an Italian Jew named Castiglioni. 81

1926 June 12 Goebbels tells his diary:

Hitler is the same dear comrade. You cannot help liking him as a man. And on top of it, that overriding mind. You always discover something new in that self-willed head. As a speaker he has developed a wonderful harmony of gesture, histrionics and spoken word. The born whipper-upper! Together with him you can conquer the world. Give him his head and he will shake the corrupt Republic to its foundations. His best epigram yesterday: "For our struggle, God gave us His abundant blessing. His most beautiful gift was the hate of our enemies, whom we too hate with all our heart." 82

1926 June 20 A conservative business newspaper published in Essen, the Rheinisch-Westfalische Zeitung, reports on the first of five speeches Hitler will deliver to business leaders in the Ruhr. The paper tells us that he had been invited to speak by a "circle of west German businessmen," and had spoken two days ago, for over an hour, to a private group of "invited business leaders of the district." The subject of the first of his Essen speeches was "German Economic and Social Policy." As always, Hitler tailors his remarks to suit his audience. The antisemitic firebrand of National Socialism is instead the reasonable defender of traditional German values, the fighter against Marxism, and thus, the reliable protector of private property and wealth. 83

1926 July 1 To ensure that no other "Working Community" can be formed as an alternate center of power within the party, Hitler issues a directive declaring that "since the NSDAP represents a large working community, there is no justification for smaller working communities as a combination of individual Gaue." 84

1926 July 3-4 While Hitler is still forbidden to speak in public in Bavaria, such is not the case in Thuringia. Thus, the party congress (Reichsparteitage) is held in Weimar: in the National Theater. All activities are tightly controlled by Hitler, and prolonged discussions are forbidden. The Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung is officially renamed Hitler Jugend Bund der Deutschen Arbeiterjugend, (Hitler Youth League of German Worker Youth). After his speech, Hitler reviews a column of 5,000 storm troopers, saluting them in the Nazi manner as they pass. Goebbels later records that he felt that this was the moment that the path to the triumph of National Socialism was embarked upon. Gregor Strasser, contrarily, considered the spectacle the beginning of the end of the entire movement. 85

100,000 copies of the Völkischer Beobachter, featuring Hoffmann photos of the rally, are distributed throughout the Reich. 86

1926 August In an article in the Völkischer Beobachter, Goebbels publicly breaks with the Strassers:

Only now do I recognize you for what you are [referring to the Strassers]: revolutionaries in speech but not in deed . . . . Don't talk so much about ideals and don't fool yourselves into believing that you are the inventors and protectors of these ideals . . . . We are not doing penance by standing solidly behind the Fuehrer. We . . . bow to him . . . with the manly, unbroken pride of the ancient Norsemen who stand upright before their Germanic feudal lord. We feel that he is greater than all of us, greater than you and I. He is the instrument of the Divine Will that shapes history with fresh, creative passion. 87

1926 Summer Hitler spends another summer in the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden. He does not stay at the Haus Wachenfeld this year, but at the Deutsches Haus, with an entourage that includes Rudolf Hess, Emil Maurice, Heinrich Hoffmann, Gregor Strasser, and Bernhard Rust. During the final weeks of his stay, Hitler will make the acquaintance of a 16-year-old girl who is working in the hotel's gift shop. Her name is Maria Reiter, and she is the daughter of a party member. While she will later claim to have had a sexual relationship with Hitler, it is doubtful whether she actually did. However, the two do carry on in a most flirtatious manner, and there is obvious affection between them. 88

Hitler, many years in the future, will remember:

At this period I knew a lot of women. Several of them became attached to me. Why, then, didn't I marry? To leave a wife behind me? At the slightest imprudence, I ran the risk of going back to prison for six years. So there could be no question of marriage for me. I therefore had to renounce certain opportunities that offered themselves. 89

1926 July 24 Goebbels, visiting Berchtesgaden as Hitler's guest, tells his diary:

He is a genius. The natural creative instrument of a fate determined by God. I stand shaken before him. This is how he is: like a child, dear, good, compassionate. Like a cat, cunning, clever and agile. Like a lion, magnificently roaring and huge. A fine fellow, a real man. He speaks of the state. In the afternoon, of winning the state and of the meaning of political revolution. Thoughts I may have had myself but not expressed. After supper we sit for a long time in the garden of the seamen's home, and he holds forth on the new state and how we will achieve it. It has the ring of prophecy. Above us in the sky a white cloud forms a swastika. A shimmering light in the sky that can't be a star. A sign from fate? We go home late! Far in the distance, Salzburg shimmers. I am really happy. This life is worth living. "My head won't roll in the dust until my mission is fulfilled." That was his last word. That's how he is! Yes, that's how he is! 90

1926 September Gregor Strasser is appointed Reich Propaganda Leader by Hitler. This is the post that Goebbels has been hoping to acquire, but Hitler has other plans for the talented young intellectual. 91

1926 September 8 By a unanimous vote of the League Assembly, Germany joins the League of Nations. 92

1926 October The Gauleiter of Berlin—Strasser protégé Dr. Ernst Schlange—is, by all accounts, doing a lousy job of it. Party membership is down to less than 1,000, and the Strasser brothers have been busily organizing these few souls. An internal party report reads: "Things have reached such a pass in our Gau that complete shattering of the Berlin organization may be imminent. The tragedy of the Gau is that it has never had a real leader." 93

1926 October 29 The day after his 29th birthday, Dr. Josef Goebbels is appointed Gauleiter for the Berlin section. His mission is to tame "Red Berlin," a stronghold of Communist activity, and to stifle any further gains for Gregor Strasser's North German organization. As Hitler put it: "Who has Berlin, has Prussia, and who has Prussia has Germany." To strengthen Goebbels' hand, Hitler frees him from his subordination to Strasser, and places the Berlin SA under his personal control. 94

The Social Democrats are Berlin's strongest party by far, with 74 seats on the city council. Next are the Communists, with 43 council seats. In fact, Berlin has the second largest Communist party in the world, with 25 newspapers, and 250,000 dues-paying members in over individual 4,000 revolutionary cells. 95

In contrast, the local Nazi party Goebbels will find in Berlin is simply pitiful. In a city of four million, Goebbels claims that there are a paltry 300 or so members, and these few are far from united in purpose. The Berlin SA has approximately 500 members, who mostly seem to believe that the 300 Nazi party members are the enemy, not the Communists. Goebbels will have a lot of work to do. 96

1926 November Hitler's SA storm troopers have been leaderless since the Putsch. It is around this time that Hitler appoints Free Corps veteran Captain Franz Pfeffer von Salomon as its new head. This move not only gives his SA some much-needed leadership, but has the added benefit of separating Strasser from another of his protégés. The new SA is consecrated by a series of ceremonies at the National Theater in Weimar. The reformed SA takes a new "oath of loyalty" and new unit standards are distributed. Hitler will write to his new SA chief:

The training of the SA must be guided by party needs, rather than by military points of view . . . . [The struggle must] be lifted out of the atmosphere of minor acts of revenge and conspiracy, raised to the grandeur of an ideological war of annihilation against Marxism, its structures, and its henchmen . . . . The work must be conducted not in secret conventicles, but in huge mass processions. The way can be cleared for the Movement not by dagger and poison or pistol, but by conquering the streets.

Pfeffer will echo his Fuehrer's instructions in an internal SA memorandum:

The only form in which the SA displays itself to the public must be en masse. This is one of the most powerful forms of propaganda. The sight of a large body of disciplined men, inwardly and outwardly alike, whose militancy can be plainly seen or sensed, makes the most profound impression upon every German and speaks to his heart in a more convincing and persuasive language than writing and oratory and logic ever can. Calm composure and matter-of-factness emphasizes the impression of strength—the strength of marching columns. 97

Hitler has two missions in mind for the SA; to provide muscle at meetings and rallies, and to look smart and orderly in formation, while also being formidable in street fights with the party's enemies. What Hitler does not want is a paramilitary shadow-army likely to threaten in any way the established German military leaders. Given this, the choice of Captain Pfeffer as SA leader could not have been more ill-considered. Pfeffer had been a Great War veteran and Freikorps enthusiast; his conceptualization of the SA's mission is virtually indistinguishable from Röhm's, and directly in opposition to Hitler's. The SA will remain an uneven organization, with some local chapters achieving standards that will remain foreign to others. 98

1926 November 7 On this Sunday morning, Goebbels arrives at Berlin's Anhalter station, to take up his post. To ensure that his mind is on his mission, he has put an end to his engagement with a girl named Else Janke. It simply would not do for the Nazi Gauleiter of Berlin to have a half-Jew for a fiancée. 99

He is met by Otto Strasser, who takes him to the home of the editor of the Berliner Lokalzeitung, Hans Steiger. He will stay with Steiger and his wife, for "an excellent price," in their roomy apartment near the Landwehr Canal, close to the Potsdamer Bridge. The Steigers are good friends and supporters of the Strassers, and can be relied upon to keep the brothers informed concerning Goebbels' activities. 100

Goebbels is horrified by his first visit to Berlin party headquarters, located at 109 Potsdamer Strasse. He described it as "a kind of dirty cellar, we called it the opium den . . . . It had only artificial light. On entering, one hit an atmosphere that was thick with cigar, cigarette, and pipe smoke. Doing solid, systematic work there was unthinkable. Unholy confusion reigned. Any real organisation was practically nonexistent. The financial position was hopeless." 101

1926 November 9 Goebbels makes his first public appearance as Gauleiter of Berlin, at a commemoration ceremony for the 1923 Hitler Putsch. He arrives as a passenger in "a particularly large and elegant taxi," which Otto Strasser considers far too ostentatious. How can the working man take him serious as a populist leader if he is going to indulge in such displays? "You are absolutely wrong there, Strasser," Goebbels assures him. "You say I shouldn't take a taxi. On the contrary. I'd come in two cars, if I could. People must see that this outfit can make a good showing." 102

1926 November 14 Just one week after his arrival in Red Berlin, Goebbels sets out to pick a fight. On this Sunday afternoon, he marches his SA in formation into the Communist district of Neukölln. They are set upon by a large group of Communist Red Front Fighters (Rotfrontkampferbund) with "slingshots, blackjacks, sticks, and also pistols", according to Goebbels, who also admits that he and his band were chased unceremoniously out of the neighborhood. 103

1926 November 26 Hitler speaks at the Essen Party Convention:

I was always particularly anxious to secure that Parteitag should on principle never be used for the settlement of personal disputes. Such disputes must certainly be settled in one way or another, but just as certainly the Parteitag which once in the year should unite the whole Movement, is not the fitting day for such a settlement. Neither is it the place at which to seek to clarify unripe and uncertain ideas. Neither the length of time available at such a gathering nor its nature admits of giving to it the character of a council. And it must never be forgotten that in all such cases or those similar to them great decisions have not been made at such councils: on the contrary, for the most part, world-history pursues its course without paying any attention to them. World-history, like all events of historical significance, is the result of the activity of single individuals—it is not the fruit of majority decisions. [For the full text, Click here.]

1926 December 3 Hitler delivers the second of four speeches to a closed meeting of conservative business leaders in Essen, on the subject "New Paths to Power." 104

1926 December 10 The second volume of Mein Kampf is published. Sales of a new edition, combining both volumes, will sell a mere 5,607 copies in 1927, and 3,015 in 1928. 105

One passage in the second edition of the first volume of Mein Kampf has been changed. In the first edition, Hitler had written:

The first chairman of a local group is elected, but then he becomes its responsible leader . . . . The same principle applies to the next higher organization, the district, county or Gau. The first chairman is always elected, but then vested with unlimited power and authority. And the same, finally, applies to the leadership of the party as a whole. The chairman is elected, but then he is exclusive leader of the movement.

The same passage from the second edition:

The first chairman of a local group is appointed by the next higher leader, he is the responsible leader of a local group . . . . The same principle applies to the next higher organization, the district, county or Gau. The leader is always appointed from above and at the same time vested with unlimited power and authority. Only the leader of the whole party, because of the association laws, is elected in a general membership meeting. But then he is exclusive leader of the movement. 106

1926 December 25 Apparently uncertain as to the proper manner one should celebrate Christmas, Reverend Adolf attacks the Jews at a meeting at the Hofbräuhäus: "Christ was the greatest early fighter in the battle against the world enemy, the Jews . . . . The work that Christ started but could not finish, I—Adolf Hitler—will conclude."

1926 Hitler's Nazis have been growing numerically since Hitler's release from Landsberg. By the end of 1925, the year the party is reformed, there are just over 25,000 members (pre-Putsch party membership is estimated to have been about 55,000). Note that official Nazi party membership numbers are suspect due to counting all new members sequentially, disregarding member expulsions or resignations. Be that as it may, by the end of 1926, dues-paying membership has risen to 108,000, and the Munich party offices have been expanded three times.

It is around this time that the Nazi state-within-a-state strategy begins. A plethora of auxiliary party organizations are formed in quick succession, as doctors, lawyers, teachers, policeman, civil servants, students, engineers, clowns, singers, dancers, dog catchers, and more, are all organized under National Socialist auspices. Goebbels later explained that when the seizure of power inevitably occurred, the party "had only to transfer its organization, its intellectual and spiritual principles, to the State . . . . [We had] prepared everything and considered everything." Thus, the well-known Nazi hubris manifests itself in full force at this early date. Hitler clearly views his party as no mere political party, but as an "opposition government" waiting for its moment in the sun. 107

1927 Artur Dinter, NSDAP State Leader of Thuringia, founds the Geistchristliche Religionsgemeinschaft ("Spiritual Christian Religion Community"). 108

1927 Goebbels rents office space at 44 Lutzowstrasse in Munich, next to the funeral parlor of the Berlin Cremation Society, a small cafe, and a motorcycle repair shop. He organizes a military marching band and a training school for propaganda speakers, and reorganizes the local SA units as well. For personal and official transportation, he purchases a seven-seater blue Opel landaulet automobile, which, at a pinch, can be used as an open-air speaking platform. 109

1927 Hans Frank, an associate at the Party Court who has been working for Hitler as his personal lawyer, joins the NSDAP. 110

1927 January 18 Doctor Hitler provides a diagnosis for the ills of Germany, at a mass meeting in Schleiz, Thuringia:

To me, the situation of the German nation today seems like that of a sick person. I know that people on various sides often say, "Why do you constantly say that we are sick!" People have said to us: "Daily life goes on as it always did; this "sick person", as you can see, eats day after day, works day in and day out; how can you say that this person is sick?!" But the question is not whether a nation is still alive and the economy functioning. Just because a person eats and works does not mean that he is fit. The most reliable criterion is how that persons himself feels. He can tell whether he is fit or ill. It is precisely the same in the life of nations. Nations are often sick for long periods—often centuries—yet individual members of the nations cannot fully understand the nature of the sickness.

A few days ago I was in Eisenach and stood on top of the Wartburg, where a great German once translated the Bible. At that time the world was also sick, sick for centuries. Many people tried to apply remedies—in vain. Until finally a powerful figure came along, a great man who attacked the root cause of the sickness of his time. He initiated a movement which would not have removed human suffering, but which pointed the way to a new direction, which was decisive.

It is precisely the same today.

[For the full text, Click here.]

1927 Late January Saxony, the first large German state to do so, removes the ban against Hitler's public speaking. 111

1927 Late January The Allied Military Control Commission (IMCC) withdraws completely from Germany. The IMCC's mission was to "ensure, by any means, the security and satisfaction of all the needs of the Armies of Occupation". 112

1927 February 8 Hitler writes a letter to young Maria Reiter in Berchtesgaden, thanking her for a gift of embroidered pillows:

My dear, good child, I was truly happy to receive this sign of your tender friendship to me. I have nothing in my apartment whose possession gives me more pleasure. I am given a constant reminder of your cheeky head and your eyes . . . . As regards what is causing you personal pain, you can believe me that I sympathize with you. But you should not let your little head droop in sadness and must only see and believe: even if fathers sometimes don't understand their children any longer because they have got older, not only in years but in feelings, they mean only well for them. As happy as your love makes me, I ask you most ardently to listen to your father. And now, my dear treasure (Goldstueck), receive warmest greetings from your Wolf, who is always thinking of you. 113

1927 February 11 Goebbels proves himself a master of the Saalschlacht—making a battle of a meeting—during a rally at Berlin's Pharus Hall, a venue most often used by the rival KPD (Communists). In a pattern that will be repeated many, many times, Goebbels stages a confrontation with members of the Communist party and his Nazi storm troopers, all within the confines of the meeting hall. Eighty-three Communist heads are smashed (at some of the subsequent meetings, there will be fatalities as well), at the cost of a dozen injured Nazis. This evening's events will go down in Nazi party official history as "The Battle of Pharus Hall". Even though the opposition newspapers ridicule and fuss over the spectacle, the publicity draws a wave of 2,000 new memberships in Berlin within the next few days. A full one-quarter of these new recruits join the SA as well as the party. Berlin is becoming an interesting place. 114

Goebbels soon refines Saalschlacht to the level of high political theater, which is fitting for this student of drama. The build-up to violence, the acts themselves, the parade of wounded storm troopers brought up on stage, the defeated Communist foes being loaded into ambulances, the triumphal victory march under waving swastika flags, all are stage-managed by the aspiring playwright with increasing sophistication. In Goebbels, Hitler has discovered a fellow whose talents at rabble-rousing equal his own. 115

1927 February A clear sign that Hitler's leadership with the Völkish Right is gaining ground occurs, when four prominent members of the DVFP (Deutschnationale Volkspartei) defect to Hitler's NSDAP. The DVFP leader in Brandenburg, Wilhelm Kube; the Wurttemberg DVFP leader, Christian Mergenthaler; and Reichstag deputy, Franz Stohr become Nazis, as does Graf Reventlow, a high-ranking DVFP leader. Reventlow explained:

I have gone over to the National Socialist German Workers' Party without so-called leadership claims and without reservations. I subordinate myself without further ado to Herr Adolf Hitler. Why? He has proved that he can lead; on the basis of his view and his will, he has created a party out of the united national socialist idea, and leads it. He and the party are one, and offer the unity that is the unconditional premise of success. The previous two years have shown that the National Socialist German Workers' Party is on the right road, that it is on the march, that it possesses unbroken and unbreakable social-revolutionary energy. 116

1927 March A Berlin police report—on a very violent clash between a group of Goebbels' thugs and a group of local Communists at the Lichterfelde-Ost railroad station—declares that the level of violence puts "anything seen previously into the shade." This sort of confrontation is sought after by Gauleiter Goebbels, who is intent on promoting his party through publicity, and makes few distinctions between the so-called good and bad varieties. They are both the same to Goebbels, who just wants to be noticed. "Berlin needs sensation like a fish needs water," he explained. "This city lives on it, and any political propaganda that does not recognise this is bound to fail." 117

A major component of Goebbels' propaganda consists of articles, written by him but attributed to others, that are published in party newspapers and magazines. By way of example, the following appeared in an issue of the Völkischer Beobachter:

Suddenly Goebbels stood up from his seat. Halt, Comrade Chauffeur, halt! The car stops. What's the matter, doctor?—I don't know, but we're in danger. We reach for our guns and jump out. Nothing to be seen or heard. All four tires are hard and firm. But holla, what is that! On the left hind wheel four nuts are missing. Four nuts out of five. Diabolical treachery. Traces of clumsy violence tell the rest. That is how the Jews and their servants fight. 118

1927 March 5 The ban on Hitler's speaking in public is removed in Bavaria, on condition that his first speech is given somewhere other than Munich. 119

1927 March 6 It has been two years since Hitler had last spoken in public in Bavaria. He speaks this night in Vilsbiburg, a provincial wasteland in Lower Bavaria, in a hall that is one-third empty. Those who do attend this warm-up bout are party members and SA men. 120

1927 March 9 For the first time since 1923, Hitler speaks in Munich, at the Circus Krone. The hall is at capacity, with 7,000 souls 'protected' by 200 SA storm troopers. A police reporter remarked on "the spell-bound thousand-headed audience. When he is interrupted by applause, he extends his hands theatrically. The word 'no,' which appears repeatedly in the latter part of the speech, is deliberately and theatrically emphasized." 122

Hitler, wearing a brown raincoat as he reviews the march-past of his SA, led by two drummers, is fairly subdued in his oratory on this evening, perhaps because he does not wish to cause the authorities to regret lifting the ban on his speaking. His voice is his most formidable weapon, and it has been silent for too long. He must not push things at this point. 123

1927 March 19-20 Goebbels takes 400 of his SA on a field trip to the small market town of Trebbin, twenty miles from Berlin. To mark the anniversary of the founding of the Berlin SA, Goebbels has declared a "Mark Brandenburg Day." The SA units march in formation into the hills around town, build a gigantic bonfire, and perform a series of commemorative ceremonies for the "victims of the movement": ceremonies that seem more religious than anything else.

The next day, Goebbels addresses his troops in Trebbin's market square. The SA units board the train back to Berlin, but they find that the train already has on board an equal number of Red Front Fighters and, naturally, a huge brawl breaks out throughout the length of the train. Goebbels vaults aboard his Opel and heads full-speed to Berlin. The opposing forces are equally matched, with neither able to gain an advantage. However, when the train reaches Lichterfelde East, a Berlin suburb, a "reception committee," of several hundred SA, quickly organized by Goebbels, boards the train and makes quick work of the Communists. Six of them are beaten severely, while another ten are much the worse for wear.

Not satisfied by this violent episode, Goebbels forms his men up in ranks and has them march behind his Opel into the city. In a scene that will be repeated far too many times in the future, the Gauleiter of Red Berlin directs his men to harass and assault any Jews who are unfortunate enough to catch their notice. For the first time, the Nazis go beyond words to deeds, in a purposeful, calculating, organized manner.

The climax of Goebbels' Mark Brandenburg Day festivities is his speech on Berlin's Wittenbergplatz. Bragging about the day's violence, he proclaims: "We came openly into Berlin, at first with peaceful intentions. The Red Front Fighters' League has forced us to spill our blood. We will not allow ourselves to be treated like second-class citizens any longer!" 124

Goebbels is brought down to police headquarters to answer questions about the violent march, but no charges are filed against him. The entire affair is yet another triumph for the young party activist. Berlin party membership continues to grow, with another 400 recruits joining, in the days following the Mark Brandenburg Day demonstrations. By the end of March, Berlin party membership has increased to 3,000 dues-paying members. Soon, these tactics pioneered by Goebbels will be adopted by a number of party offices across Germany, with a resultant steady increase in party membership across the board.

There are, however, some in the party who have no appreciation for Goebbels' methods, chief among whom is Goebbels' original mentor, Gregor Strasser. While Strasser is fully as anti-Semitic as the young Berlin Gauleiter, he is dead set against violence as a means to the desired end. "We want no persecution of Jews", he once proclaimed publicly, "but we demand the exclusion of Jews from German life." Goebbels and Strasser are moving away from each other at a very rapid clip. 125

1927 April 6 Only 1,500 people turn up to hear the new, subdued, moderate Adolf Hitler speak at the Circus Krone. 125.5

1927 April 27 Otto Strasser's newspaper, the Berliner Arbeiterzeitung has been publishing a series of articles critical of Goebbels and his activities in Berlin. The latest article is entitled "The Results of Miscegenation". Written by Otto Strasser, the article uses a favorite tactic of Nazis when fighting other Nazis; calling the other guy a Jew. Goebbels' clubfoot, and his "repulsive ugliness," are sure signs that he is no pure Aryan, the article proclaims. Goebbels appeals to Hitler, but while his Fuehrer nods sympathetically, he refuses to intercede. However, he approves Goebbels' request to start up a new Berlin party newspaper, from which to fight the Strassers. 126

1927 April 27 Hitler delivers the third of four speeches to a closed meeting of conservative business leaders in Essen, on the subject "Leader and Mass." Among those in attendance is the eighty-four year old Emil Kirdorf (above), "the Bismarck of coal," but he and Hitler do not meet face-to-face on this occasion. On hand for the meeting is a large contingent from the Stahlhelm veterans' organization. 127

1927 April The Deputy Gauleiter of Hanover, Karl Dincklage, writes: "We in Gau Hanover retain our loyal following to Hitler. It's quite immaterial whether we think Ludendorff or Hitler is the greater. That's left to each one of us to decide." 128

1927 May 1 On this May Day, Hitler speaks before a crowd of 3,000 at the Clou restaurant in Berlin. As he does every May Day, Hitler stresses his party's nominally socialist platform, attempting to lure recruits away from the leftist parties. His line is that he has nothing against socialism. What he claims to find insidious about the communist version of socialism is the international aspect of the ideology. His own brand of socialism, he claims, is nationalist in character, and thus more "German" than the socialism of his opponents. These and other clever arguments, delivered with high-powered—though disingenuous—oratory will ultimately prove to be persuasive to a vast number of Germans. The official Communist holiday, International Workers' Day, will become an official National Socialist holiday when Hitler eventually has his way with Germany:

We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions. 129

Goebbels, the Gauleiter of Red Berlin, had invited Hitler to speak this night, and had insured that the hall is packed. But, since no Communists have taken the usual bait and come to disrupt the meeting, there is no publicity in the press to speak of the next day. Goebbels decides to redouble his efforts. He must make his party events sufficiently provocative to be reported in the newspapers. 130

1927 May 4 Posters distributed over all of Berlin on this day proclaim: "A people in distress! Who will save us? Jakob Goldschmidt?" The poster invites German banker Jakob Goldschmidt to attend a public meeting this evening in the Veterans Association Hall. Goldschmidt's associates forbid him to attend, but send his private secretary to represent him. Goebbels goes for her throat the minute he hits the stage: "Welcome, workers of Berlin! Welcome also to a charming young lady, the secretary of Jakob Goldschmidt. And please don't bother to take down every word I say. Your boss will read it all in tomorrow's papers." Goebbels then sets in to attacking the "Jew press" and "press synagogues" and the like, all the while being heckled by an old man in the crowd. Goebbels eventually signals his storm troopers, who beat the fellow up so badly, while throwing him out, that he ends up in the hospital. The newspapers the next day describe the injured man, Friedrich Stucke, as a "white-haired and respectable" pastor of the Reformed Church. It will not help matters when it is later revealed that the "respectable" pastor was an alcoholic, who had been removed in disgrace from his pulpit. The NSDAP would be banned before that story hit the stands. Fittingly, the heckler-pastor will soon become an NSDAP member in good standing.

Meanwhile, with his party banned in Berlin, Goebbels gets on the best he can. He uses various cover organizations to disguise his activities, with such innocuous sounding names as "the "Hikers of 1927," "The Beautiful Acorn," and "The Quiet Lake." 131

1927 May The leader of the Munich SA, Lieutenant Edmund Heines, is a known homosexual, but this is not why Hitler throws him out of the party around this time. The reasons given are that he is guilty of insubordination and lack of discipline. Röhm takes the firing of his close friend and homosexual comrade personally, raging at a public meeting that the persecution of Heines is nothing less than "an attack of formal justice on the soldier's right to self-defense." 132

1927 May Hitler speaks to a unit of Munich storm troopers who had rebelled against their commander, Franz von Pfeffer. At the end of his speech, Hitler steps off the podium and looks each trooper in the eye as he shakes hands. In this way, he ensures their personal loyalty. This is one of the many tricks he repeats—endlessly—while uniting the disparate strands of voelkish energy into a usable form, all under his personal leadership. 133

1927 July 4 The first issue of Dr. Josef Goebbels' newspaper, Der Angriff (The Attack, or, variously, The Assault) is published. It is in direct competition with Gregor Strasser's daily newspaper, the Arbeitsblatt (Worksheet), which had begun publication the previous year. Der Angriff's mission is focused exclusively on "the battle against the Jews". To give him an edge over Strasser's paper, Goebbels receives exclusive access to all the party's schedule information, making it the only source for the times and places of meetings, rallies, and other party events.

One of 130 Berlin newspapers, the first issue is a shoddy affair, as Goebbels himself admitted: "Shame, desolation and despair swept over me as I compared this pale shadow of a paper with what I had really wanted to produce. A wretched provincial rag, printed slops! . . . . Plenty of good intentions, but very little skill." But he keeps at it, and the paper slowly improves, primarily due to his shamelessly stealing fonts, formats, layouts, and printing tricks from the Communist opposition papers. 134

1927 July 4 In a private meeting arranged and hosted by Frau Bruckmann, Emil Kirdorf listens to Hitler pontificate for well over four hours. While the aging industrialist is captivated by most of Hitler's rhetoric, there are two points he is opposed to: anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism. Hitler reassures him. He has cut all ties with Ludendorff, precisely because of his anti-Catholicism, so there is nothing to fear in that respect. And his anti-Semitism is merely strategic, he claims. It is all politics, and not at all serious. Once he has gained power, peace will be made with the Jews, and all will be well in the Reich. Kirdorf is won over, joins the party, and is soon providing limited funding for Hitler's activities.135

Kirdorf is so impressed with what Hitler has told him that he asks him to write it all down for him. Hitler complies, and soon Kirdorf has it published as a 22-page pamphlet, Der Weg zum Wiederaufstieg (The Road to Resurgence). The pamphlet is never offered for sale, but is distributed privately by Kirdorf, mostly to fellow industrialists. In effect, Kirdorf becomes an agent for Hitler and his party. Along with the text, Hitler sends Kirdorf a letter, which is used as the pamphlet's preamble. Hitler wrote: "I shall do my best in the darkness of these days to clear the way for this will [to pursue internal and external resurgence] and shall be happy if you, esteemed Privy Councillor, wish to help spread these ideas in your circles." It is not known how many copies of The Road to Resurgence were printed and distributed. Only one copy is known to exist, found in the library of an industrial firm in the Ruhr after the war. 136

1927 July 21 Hitler speaks in Nuremberg: "A people has lost its inner value as soon as it has incorporated into itself these three vices, as it has eliminated its racial value, preached internationalism, given up its self-direction, and put in its place majority rule, i.e., incompetence, and has begun to indulge in the brotherhood of mankind." 137

1927 August As a publicity stunt for the upcoming party congress in Nuremberg, Goebbels organizes a 450-man Berlin contingent, from which he sorts out 50 SA men willing to walk the 250-miles to Nuremberg. While the men often take rides between towns, they file up and march in formation through the towns and villages, taking a full two weeks to walk to the congress. The Nazi press gives the march daily coverage. 138

1927 August 19-21 The third annual party rally is held in Julius Streicher's Nuremberg. Many years in the future, Hitler will recall Streicher's service to the party:

Of one thing there is no doubt, that Streicher has never been replaced. Despite all his weaknesses, he's a man who has spirit. If we wish to tell the truth, we must recognise that, without Julius Streicher, Nuremberg would never have been won over to National Socialism. He put himself under my orders at a time when others were hesitating to do so, and he completely conquered the city of our Rallies. That's an unforgettable service. 139

Of the 20,000 members attending, some 8,600 are in uniform. The vast majority of the SA units are now uniformed in identical brown shirts. The shirts had been acquired by Gerhard Rossbach from war surplus stocks. The shirts had originally been intended for German troops in East Africa. Even Hitler, who hates the shirts, is wearing one. "The Brownshirts" soon becomes a well-used nickname for the SA; a take-off on Mussolini's "Black Shirts." 140

From Hitler's address:

A movement today in Germany that fights for the renewal of the people must give its own symbol to this effort, and that is why we have chosen a new flag that is the symbol of the coming new German Reich: a symbol of national strength and power joined with the purity of the blood.

Our goal is for this flag to increasingly lose its character as a party flag and grow to be the German flag of the future. We see this flag is inextricably bound to the renewal of the nation. May these colors be a witness of how the German people broke its chains of slavery and won freedom. On that day this flag will be the German national flag. Today you see thousands behind this flag. Seven years ago there was no one. All these people marched past us today under this flag with enthusiasm and glowing eyes because they see in these colors the struggle for the freedom of our people.

[For the full text, Click here.]

For the first time, a Hitler Youth unit is among those reviewed by the Nazi Führer as they march through Nuremberg's market place. An organized unit of young girls in bizarre brown costumes had attempted to present themselves to Hitler for review, but were not allowed to do so. Hitler had squelched a proposal to form a female SA group the previous year, and his opinion concerning the undesirability of women in uniform remains unaltered. Nationalist newspapers will write that 30,000 Nazis had participated in the climactic parade through Nuremberg, while the Völkischer Beobachter will claim 100,000. Independent observers put the number at about 15,000. 141

1927 September Hitler removes Artur Dinter from his leadership of the NSDAP in Thuringia. Dinter had founded the Geistchristliche Religionsgemeinschaft (Spiritual Christian Religion Community), whose mission was to "take the Jew out of the bible," about which Catholics have been complaining. Dinter immediately turns on Hitler, accusing him of being a tool of the Vatican. 142

1927 September 13 Himmler, the new Deputy Reichsführer-SS (Schutzstaffel), issues SS Order #1. The SS is an elite bodyguard unit numbering no more than 200 men. Himmler's first order deals with uniform standards. The SS uniform is unique, Himmler says, and no SA man can wear any part of the SS uniform, or else! The SS swears its loyalty to Hitler personally, and Himmler pledges: "They will be blindly devoted to you and continue the tradition of the Stosstrupp Hitler of 9 November 1923." 143

1927 October 2 Celebrations take place across the Reich for President Hindenburg's eightieth birthday, as a memorial is dedicated to his victory at Tannenberg. And, in a show of national reconciliation, an amnesty law is passed in the Reichstag, allowing any German citizens who are either exiled or imprisoned for political crimes to return to Germany. Goering quickly takes advantage of the amnesty, returning to Germany for the first time since the 1923 November 6 Hitler Putsch.

He seeks out Hitler and offers his services, but his Führer seems uninterested. He has nothing to offer him in the way of party position, and suggests that he headquarter himself in Berlin and rekindle his high society contacts. Goering takes his advice, and while Carin, who is still quite sickly and unable to travel, is still in Stockholm, Goering rents a hotel room on the Kurfurstendamm. Still in the employ of BMW aero engines, he is also a salesman for the Swedish Tornblad automatic parachute company. He soon adds important contacts at the Heinkel Aircraft Company and Lufthansa airlines as well. He seeks out his old wartime comrade, Prince Philipp of Hesse, and through him makes the acquaintance of the Crown Prince himself. He is doing just as his Fuehrer requested, and waiting for the opportunity to be useful. 144

1927 October 26 Emil Kirdorf hosts a private meeting in his home with fourteen of his fellow industrialists and Hitler. 145

1927 Autumn Hamburg Gauleiter Albert Krebs writes down some personal observations after hearing Hitler speak in his Gau:

It was clear to him that he could only win the attention of the mass by avoiding the usual terminology and working with new words and new conceptions. His train of thought was of such generally compelling nature that people of different political directions could agree with it. So, during his first public appearance in Hamburg, he was able within a single hour, to persuade a suspicious and reserved audience to applaud, and this applause increased until it became, at the conclusion, an enthusiastic ovation. Later, the most level-headed listeners declared that, though they were still against the speaker and his party, Hitler himself was obviously much more reasonable then they had imagined. 146

1927 November 27 Hitler announces a revised target list at a meeting of Gau leaders in Weimar's Hotel Elefant. Instead of concentrating on "the Marxists", efforts should be made to win over small business owners and white-collar workers. These are people that Hitler has identified as susceptible to his antisemitic message. 147

1927 December 5 Hitler delivers the last of four speeches to a closed meeting of conservative business leaders in Essen, on the subject "Germany's Foreign Policy: Our Final Downfall or Our Future." 148

1927 December 20 Rudolf Hess weds 27-year-old Ilse Pröhl of Hanover.

1927 December Hitler speaks before thousands of rural workers from Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. 149

1927 Party membership at the year-end is estimated to be 72,000 dues-paying members. 150

1928 January A Munich Police document reports that "the advances of the National Socialist Movement repeatedly claimed by Hitler are not true, especially in Bavaria. In reality, interest in the movement, both in the countryside and in Munich, is strongly in decline. Branch meetings attended by 3-400 people in 1926 now have an attendance of at most 60-80 members." 151

1928 Ernst Röhm, after six months' acclimatization and language tutoring, receives the rank of Lt-Colonel and takes up his post as a military adviser to the Bolivian Army. 152

1928 January 2 Gregor Strasser, whose organizational skills are at a very high level, is removed from his post as Reich Propaganda Chief, and is appointed the Organizational Leader of the NSDAP. Hitler takes over the post of Propaganda Chief himself, but keeps Strasser's Deputy Propaganda Chief, Heinrich Himmler, on the job. 153

1928 January 26 From an article about Hitler in the liberal Frankfurter Zeitung:

Hitler has no thoughts, no responsible reflection, but nonetheless an idea. He has a demon in him. It is a matter of a manic idea of atavistic origin that pushes aside complicated reality and replaces it with a primitive fighting unit . . . . Naturally, Hitler is a dangerous fool . . . . But if one asks how the son of a petty Upper Austrian customs officer arrives at his craze, then one can only say one thing: he has taken war ideology perfectly literally and interpreted it in almost as primitive a way that one might be living in the era of the Volkerwanderung—the period of Barbarian invasions at the end of the Roman Empire. 154

1928 February From the bi-monthly report of the Governor-President of Upper Bavaria: "Apart from a few cases of fire, there are no notable disturbances of public safety to report." 155

1928 February 24 During a celebration of the 8th anniversary of the NSDAP's 25-Points in Munich's Hofbrauhaus, Hitler, in a relatively moderate mood, declares that "the Jew [needs to be shown] that we're the bosses here; if he behaves well, he can stay—if not, then out with him." 156

1928 Spring Gregor Strasser meets with Hitler in Strasser's Berlin office. Hitler demands that he shut down his newspaper, the Arbeitsblatt, which is a competitor of Goebbels' paper, Der Angriff. Strasser refuses. He has a right to his paper. It began publication first.

"It is not a question of right, but of might," Hitler returns. "What will you do when ten of Herr Goebbels' storm troopers attack you in your office?"

[Strasser places a revolver on the table] "I have eight shots, Herr Hitler. That will be eight storm troopers less."

"I know you wouldn't hesitate to defend yourself," Hitler acknowledges. "But nevertheless you can't kill my storm troopers!"

"Yours, or Herr Goebbels'? If they are yours, I advise you not to send them. If they are Herr Goebbels', it's up to you to stop them from coming. As for me, I shall shoot anyone who attacks me!"

The meeting ends to the satisfaction of no one. 157

1928 Spring Göring rents a small apartment at 16 Berchtesgadener Strasse, and Carin, though still very weak, makes the trip from Stockholm to Berlin. Since Hitler has still not awarded him with a party position, Göring requests that he be allowed to put his name forward for the Reichstag elections, which are scheduled for May 20.

Hitler has been suspicious of Göring's loyalties since he had fled to Austria after the Putsch imploded, and Göring's bouts with opiate addiction have done nothing to improve his opinion. Göring must have assured him that he is completely recovered, both from his wounds and his addiction, and is ready and able to represent the Party in the Reichstag, with boldness and energy. Hitler agrees to Göring's request, placing him at the number eight position on the party's election list. If the Nazis win more than seven seats, he will be a member of the Reichstag, with an assured income, travel allowances, and other perks of office. Göring really wants this seat. 158

1928 March France reduces compulsory universal military service to one year. This is in line with current thinking on the advantages of defensive war. In this regard, they are building what is advertised to be an impregnable defense against invasion, the Maginot Line, named after Minister of War André Maginot. 159

At least one French general will soon give voice to the concerns of his class, concerning this change in basic military doctrine, in an anonymous interview to a Swiss newspaper:

Demagogic madness has led us to the absurd conception of defensive war. During the World War we had to promise parliament never again to take the offensive. As far as results, that is, losses are concerned, there is no difference between attack and defense. In defending Verdun, we lost just as many men as the Germans attacking us. But the Germans had a chance of winning the war by taking Verdun, while our only chance was not to lose it . . . . Hence: offensive, offensive, and again offensive! Defensive must in no case be regarded as the basic tactic. The best it can accomplish is to cause the adversary loss of time until the moment when we are enabled to attack . . . . With a handful of soldiers, with a few cannon and barracks, with an army such as we shall have in five years, split, disorganized, badly trained, with mediocre cadres, nothing can be accomplished. We are doomed to destruction. An undisciplined troop either lets itself be killed or flees. Our new army . . . will flee, it will be defeated by anybody. 160

1928 March 31 The authorities in Berlin lift the ban on the NSDAP so as to allow the party to compete in the upcoming Reichstag elections. 161

1928 April 1 Martin Bormann becomes the NSDAP's regional press officer and business manager for the entire Thuringia Gau. 162

1928 April 13 Hitler alters the unalterable official party program of the NSDAP, by adding a 'clarification' (Erklarung) to article seventeen of the party's 25-Point Program. Article seventeen reads:

17. We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

The 'clarification' reads:

Since the NSDAP admits the principle of private property, it is self-evident that the expression "confiscation without compensation" merely refers to possible legal powers to confiscate, if necessary, land illegally acquired, or not administered in accordance with the national welfare. It is directed in the first instance against Jewish companies, which speculate in land.

This is the only amendment that will ever be made to the "inalterable" 25-Point Program. With this clause, Hitler is in a better position to raise funds from German aristocrats, especially those in the Junkers' strongholds of East Prussia. 163

1928 May 18 Carin Göring writes home to her mother in Stockholm:

They've already started shooting each other dead. Every day, the Communists with red flags and hammers and sickles on them, range through the city, and they always clash with Hitler's men carrying their red banners with swastikas on them, and then there are fights, with dead and wounded. 164

1928 May 19 On the evening before the national Reichstag elections, Hitler proclaims: "If Fate should give us the power, we shall use it to cleanse the nation of its enemies and we hope that God gives us strength to march to the ultimate destiny on this earth. It will not be spared us . . . . We shall grow into a mighty army of termites, before the final hour comes." 165

1928 May 20 Reichstag elections are held throughout Germany. Thirty-two different parties put up lists in this election, but turnout is low. The population seems to lack interest. Hitler's National Socialists are defeated decisively, receiving only 2.6% of the vote. In Goebbels' Red Berlin, the NSDAP draws a mere 1.57% of the vote. Of a total of 491 seats in the Reichstag, Hitler's party captures a paltry 20, while the Communists hold only 54. These two political extremes have lost much of their popularity as economic conditions in Germany continue to improve. Among the newly elected Nazi members of the Reichstag are Goebbels, Ritter von Epp, Gregor Strasser, Frick, Feder, and Hermann Göring. 166

1928 On Hitler's behalf, his half-sister, Angela Raubal, rents the small, modest villa of Haus Wachenfeld for 100 Reichsmarks per month—about $25 in 1928 American dollars—and becomes the live-in housekeeper. She is accompanied by her daughters, Friedl, and 21-year-old Angela Maria, who goes by the nickname of Geli. 167

1928 Summer While residing in the Obersalzberg, Hitler begins work on what will become known as his Second Book. Dictated to Max Amann, and dealing exclusively with foreign policy, it will never be published. Sales of Mein Kampf have been less than robust, and Amann advises against publishing yet another volume as it will only serve to further depress sales. 168

1928 June 13 Goebbels, Ritter von Epp, Gregor Strasser, Frick, Feder, Göring, and fourteen other Nazis, represent their party during the opening session of the new Reichstag. Some of these new lawmakers, such as Goering and Strasser, intend to serve the party's interests, as well as their own, by participation in the Reichstag. Others are there for the sole purpose of attacking the institution from the inside. Chief among these is Goebbels, who writes: "I am not a member of the Reichstag. I am simply a possessor of immunity, a holder of a free travel pass. What does the Reichstag matter to us? We were elected to oppose the Reichstag, and we will indeed carry out the mandate in the way our voters intended." 169

For the first time, Goebbels mentions Göring in his diary: "Göring. Flyer captain. Rather bloated." Though both reside in Berlin, they travel in very different circles. The two will not become personally acquainted for some time. 170

Göring's friend, Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, writes him expressing his congratulations: "Your extraordinary talent, your skill with words, and your great physical strength are just what is needed for your new profession of people's representative." 171

Carin Göring writes her mother:

It was really dismal having to see so many Red Guards. They have made unheard-of progress and take up a colossal number of seats in the Reichstag. They were in their uniforms, wearing Jewish stars of David, red stars, it's all the same, and red armbands etc. Mostly young, and raring for a fight. And some of them absolute criminal types. How many in all these parties, except Hitler's, are Jews! 172

1928 July Hitler writes to Artur Dinter: "As leader of the National Socialist Movement and as a person who possesses the blind faith of someday belonging to those who make history, I have [as a politician] the boldness to claim for myself in this sphere the same infallibility that you reserve for yourself in your [religious] reformationist area." 173

1928 July 3 Heinrich Himmler weds Margarete Boden, a nurse who is the part-owner of a homeopathic clinic. Perhaps partly of Polish origin, perhaps not—her maiden name was Concerzowo, she was schooled in Poland—she is seven years older than her second husband, who was, by his own admission, a virgin when they met the previous year. Margarete, who goes by the name of Marga, soon sells her stake in the clinic, and the couple purchase a small farm near Waldtrudering, east of Munich, with the proceeds. Himmler builds a chicken coop and acquires 50 laying hens, but their chicken farm never becomes in any way successful. Himmler continues to devote all of his time on his party activities, for a paltry 300 marks a month, leaving Marga, by default, to run the farm by herself. Money is tight for the Himmlers, and Marga is quick to write to him if she fails to receive the ration of marks he sends off to her regularly. In a typical letter, she tells Heinrich:

The hens are laying frightfully badly—only two eggs a day. I worry so about what we're going to live on . . . . Something's always going wrong. I save so hard, but the money's like everything else. 174

1928 August Industrialist Emil Kirdorf appears at the local NSDAP office in Munich and angrily resigns from the party. He has had quite enough of the anti-capitalist rhetoric he finds in so many Nazi publications. He is particularly incensed by an article attacking the Ruhr coal cartel, saying that the article "takes up the same methods of combat employed by the homelandless trade unions in their incitement of workers against entrepreneurs." To fill the gap, Kirdorf joins Alfred Hugenberg's DNVP. Hitler tries his best to convince Kirdorf to stick with his party, but while the aged industrialist admires Hitler personally, he simply cannot abide the leftist elements in the Nazi Party. Kirdof will eventually rejoin the party, at Hitler's request, after Hitler becomes chancellor. 175

1928 August German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann signs the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The act renounces war for all time. 176

While only the most naive actually believe that war is now a thing of the past, the agreement nonetheless ratchets down the level of distrust and amity between the former combatants. Stresemann, who is in Paris to sign the document, is pleasantly surprised at the friendly reception he receives from the French people. His policy of "Fulfillment", gaining back Germany's Great War territorial losses, through mutually beneficial treaties and agreements between the former enemies, is quite appreciated by the French public. 177

Only the nationalist right in Germany lacks regard for this brilliant statesman, who has done much to heal the wounds of the Great War, and stabilize relations between Europe's great powers. His like is seen far too infrequently in this world. In fact, it is entirely possible that, if Stresemann's approach had been constantly pursued by Germany's leaders in the following decades, very few outstanding claims would have still been at issue in 1939, thus eliminating the core complaints utilized by Hitler to embark on World War II in the first place.

1928 August 31 - September 2 Since the May elections had completely exhausted Party funds, there is no Party Rally this year. It is replaced by a Leaders' Meeting in Munich. Artur Dinter, founder of the Geistchristliche Religionsgemeinschaft (Spiritual Christian Religion Community), puts his own name forward in a challenge to Hitler's leadership. He is booed down. 178

In his speech to the assembled Nazis, Hitler pours scorn on the accomplishments of German Foreign Minister Stresemann:

In the first place, our people must be delivered from the hopeless confusion of international convictions, and educated consciously and systematically to fanatical Nationalism . . . . Second, in so far as we educate the people to fight against the delirium of democracy, and bring it again to the recognition of the necessity of authority and leadership, we tear it away from the nonsense of parliamentarianism. Third, in so far as we deliver the people from the atmosphere of pitiable belief in possibilities [that] lie outside the bounds of one's own strength—such as the belief in reconciliation, understanding, world peace, the League of Nations, and international solidarity—we destroy these ideas. There is only one right in the world and that right is one's own strength . . . .

It does not require much courage to do silent service in an existing organization. It requires more courage to fight against an existing political regime . . . . Attack attracts the personalities which possess more courage. Thus a condition containing danger within itself becomes a magnet for men who seek danger . . . . What remains is a minority of determined, hard men. It is this process which alone makes history explicable: the fact that certain revolutions, emanating from very few men and giving the world a new face, have actually taken place . . . . All parties, public opinion, take a position against us. But therein lies the unconditional, I might say the mathematical, reason for the future success of our movement. As long as we are the radical movement, as long as public opinion shuns us, as long as the existing factors of the State oppose us, we shall continue to assemble the most valuable human material around us, even at times when, as they say, all factors of human reason argue against it. 179

1928 Autumn Prussia, the largest German state, and Anhalt (now joined with Saxony as Saxony-Anhalt), lift their ban on public speaking by Hitler. 180

1928 October Artur Dinter is expelled from the NSDAP at a General Members' Meeting. Gregor Strasser submits a petition, signed by 18 Gauleiters, approving of the expulsion:

In this situation there must be a clear expression to the public, opponents, and especially our own party comrades, that every attempt to establish even the smallest difference of opinion in this question of principle [the mixing of religious issues with the political programme of the movement] between Adolf Hitler and his fellow workers is an impossibility. 181

1928 November The Görings move into a high-end apartment in Berlin's Schoenberg district, at 7 Badensche Strasse. The building has an underground parking garage with an elevator going directly to the lobby, allowing visitors to enter and exit unobserved. Among those who enjoy Göring's hospitality on a regular basis are Prince and Princess zu Wied, as well as two of the Kaiser's sons, his youngest, Prince Eitel Friedrich, and Prince August-Wilhelm, who is affectionately known as "Auwi". Rich industrialists such as Fritz Thyssen—who provides the interior decorating and furniture for the apartment—and other influential business leaders, are frequent guests. Goering boasted that Thyssen had "opened an account of 50,000 Reichsmarks for me. I can draw as much as I like . . . . It will always be replenished."

After years of exile and pfennig-pinching, Hermann Goering's fortunes have undergone a total transformation. His services have been retained as a consultant by both BMW and Heinkel, and he receives additional fees and perks from Messerschmitt and Lufthansa. Erhard Milch is Göring's immediate contact with Lufthansa, and Göring has been earning 1,000 marks a month as a lobbyist for the company. But it is decided that it is simply too risky, for both parties, to continue to provide a monthly retainer to a member of the Reichstag. Therefore, Lufthansa gives Göring a one-time payment of 100,000 marks in advance for his services for the duration of the present Reichstag. This, and many other such sweet deals, provide Göring with an income he can really do something with. The pauper has become the prince, and he has every intention of holding on to this upgrade in status. 182

1928 November 16 For the first time, Hitler speaks at the Sportpalast in Berlin. On this occasion, a unit of his own personal guard, the SS (Schutzstaffel), accompany him. Before a crowd of 16,000, he speaks on the subject "The Struggle that Will Sometime Break the Chains." 183

Whoever shows his fist to the German people, we will force to be our brother. The bastardization of great states has begun. The negroization of culture, of customs—not only of blood—strides forward. The world becomes democratized. The value of the individual declines, the masses apparently are gaining the victory over the idea of the great leader. Numbers are chosen as the new God . . . . 184

A people that resists the bastardization of its spirit and blood can be saved. The German people has its specific value and cannot be set on an equal level to 70 million negroes . . . . Negro music is dominant, but if we put a Beethoven symphony alongside a shimmy, victory is clear . . . .

From our strong faith the strength will come to deploy self-help against this bastardization. That is the aim that the NSDAP has set itself: to lift the terms nationalism and socialism out of their previous meaning. To be national can only mean to be behind your people, and to be socialist can only be to stand up for the right of your people, also externally. 185

We fight against the idea of numbers and the delirium of the masses. We want to see those who are superior take the reins of government in their hands. There are 100,000 among us for whom voting is of no consequence—only the authority of the leader. And these 100,000 know that democracy in itself is a deception. 186

Berlin Gauleiter Josef Goebbels comments on his master's speech: "When Hitler speaks, all resistance collapses before the magic effect of his words. One can only be his friend or his enemy . . . this is the secret of his strength: his fanatical faith in the movement, and with it, in Germany."

1928 November Hitler speaks before 2,500 students at Munich University. He is introduced by 21-year-old Baldur von Schirach. 187

American journalist Louis Lochner, who is in the crowd, writes:

My first impression of him [Hitler] was that of a consummate showman. As movie cameras were turned upon him, he pretended not to notice them, spoke earnestly to his shadow, Rudolf Hess, and, as the cameras continued to click, began to write as though he were drawing up an outline of his remarks. It was good acting . . . . I came away from that meeting wondering how a man whose diction was by no means faultless, who ranted and fumed and stamped, could so impress young intellectuals. Of all people, I thought, they should have detected the palpable flaws in his logic. 188

1928 Party membership at year's end is estimated to be 108,000 dues-paying members. 190

1928 For tax purposes, Hitler declares his income for the year 1928 at 3,500 Reichsmarks in speaking fees, and 8,300 Reichsmarks in royalties for the sale of 3,000 copies of Mein Kampf, making a total of around 11,800 Reichsmarks. In 1929, Mein Kampf will sell twice as many copies, and Hitler's royalties will increase to 15,500 Reichsmarks as a consequence. When one adds in the "special considerations," and funds, donated to him for his personal use by supporters, and his income from newspaper and magazine articles-which are nothing more than kick-backs from Party publishers-Hitler's income has reached a quite substantial level. 189

In Nazi Party lore, the period between December 1924, and January of 1933, was known as the "Time of Struggle" (Kampfzeit). Political struggle, certainly, but personally, things could hardly be better for the Fuehrer of the Nazi party. His chosen occupation is both exciting and lucrative. His party is making steady and sustained gains. He has a reserved table at the best cafes and tea houses, where his favorite cream pastries are served. He has the sort of fame that women so often find compelling. He has a dream cottage in the mountains. Adolf Hitler has never had it so good.

End of Chapter.

Next: Kampfzeit II

Written by Walther Johann von Löpp
Copyright 2011-2013 All Rights Reserved
Edited by Levi Bookin — Copy Editor
European History and Jewish Studies

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