A captain Karl Mayr who received funds from ‘Nationalist’ sources to train instructors in ‘correct’ political and ideological thinking … described Hitler at this time as ‘a tired stray dog looking for a master’.
… Hitler was apparently so impressed when he first heard the words of the Pan-German economics expert, Gottfried Feder, who made a distinction between ‘productive capital’ and ‘rapacious capital’ (which Feder associated with the Jews) that he broke into a tirade against the Jews and had to be restrained by his superiors… p.57
Hitler was in his element in this propaganda-ridden environment. He described himself as a ‘drummer’ for the Nationalist cause. In February 1921 over 6,000 people turned up … to hear him denounce the ‘slavery’ imposed upon the Germans by the Allied reparations p.82
By a quirk of fate Hitler had been sent to prison the day that (Jewish) Walter Rathenau was murdered but he continued his tirade against Jewish Bolshevism immediately after being released. All over Europe, he maintained, the battle was raging between the ideals of the Nationalist forces and those of international Jewry. p.92
On 26 September the Bavarian government proclaimed a state of martial law and appointed as head of state Gustav von Kahr. He and Hitler seemed on the same side. … Yet von Kahr declared that anything he did was on behalf of Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria … , while Hitler wanted to march on Berlin to overthrow the Weimar government. Count von Helldorf, who later joined the Nazis, was certain that Bavaria was about to cede from Germany.
On 8 November von Kahr was about to address 3,000 people … when Hitler entered the hall accompanied by armed men. … He hustled von Kahr (and associates)… into an adjoining room .. and he left them with a hastily summoned Ludendorff. … After a brief discussion, Ludendorff and the three men walked back into the hall and .. swore loyalty to Hitler. But the next day von Kahr reneged on the deal. When Hitler and Ludendorff marched into Munich they were met by police fire.
It has often been asked why Ludendorff helped Hitler. … If one of the objects of their (Ludendorff and Hitler’s) putsch was to thwart von Kahr’s plans for Bavarian independence, it was successful. … After the events of 9 November, von Kahr and von Lossow decided to bury their separatist plans. p.110-2
Adolf Hitler should have been permanently discredited after his failed putsch … Yet admiring visitors and fan mailed poured into Landsberg prison. A book was written about him called Das Volkbuch vom Hitler, which included such headings as ’The Prophetic Person’ and ‘The Genius’. By the time he was released he considered himself to be a future leader for the nationalist cause. p.125
The success of the German far right’s propaganda (over the French occupation of the Ruhr) was shown by its striking successes in the general elections. The avowed enemies of the Republic, the German Nationalists, or DNVP, gained 96 seats in Parliament … (while) Hitler’s NSDAP … received 1.9 million votes. p.119
In May 1928 the Social Democrats’ party (SPD) was victorious at the polls … Hitler’s NSDAP could only muster 800,000 votes. … The German Nationalist or DNVP’s votes had fallen dramatically from 6 million or less than 4.4 million in the elections. It was aghast. … Alfred Hugenberg, became the DNVP’S leader.
Hugenberg noticed how much better his party and Hitler’s had fared when the German people were suffering after the Great Inflation. The New York Times revealed that Hugenberg still envisaged being able to persuade the people to vote for dictatorship ‘if the country’ seemed ‘to warrant it’.
‘He (Hugenberg) favours monarchism and Hohenzollern legitimism, indeed, but
believes that the restoration of the imperial throne can be gained only through the preliminary creation of a dictatorial regime akin to Premier Mussolini’s in Italy. He is convinced, moreover, that this first step can be taken legally … by expanding and strengthening the German President’s constitutional right to dissolve Parliament and appoint a dictator if the condition of the country seems to warrant it’.
Hugenberg considered anti-semitism a tool that could be exploited where appropriate. So when he looked around for a ‘man of the people’ to become a ‘German dictator akin to Premier Mussolini’ he would not have been repelled by Hitler’s anti-semitism and would have approved of his militant stand against Bolshevism. Hitler was an ex-soldier, who believed in returning to war and achieving lebensraum for the people. He was also an Austrian which might prove useful were the country to expand into Eastern Europe. p.136-7
Joseph Goebells would later say that the National Socialists achieved popular acclaim by ‘shouting’. Yet, until the autumn of 1928, shouting had brought the party little success. Then its luck began to change. … Young white-collar workers who had voted for the DNVP before turned in increasing numbers to Hitler’s National Socialists. … Hitler stopped his diatribes against the Jews. Instead he talked of the exploitation of international finance and the catastrophic consequences of the Weimar System. He spoke too of the need to restore German strength and gain the land to secure its future. p.145-6
In July Hugenberg had formed a committee (to produce a petition) to oppose the Young Plan (war reparations agreement). …Hitler was the final member. … He (Hitler) and Hugenberg, against the wishes of the ‘more moderate’ members of the committee, insisted that President Hindenburg be tried for treason for accepting the Young Plan. This inevitably thrust Hitler into the limelight. p.158-9
On 3 November … Hugenberg (secured) enough votes for a national referendum on his petition. p.164.
The savage budget encouraged industry to …shed labour. By the autumn of 1930 the number of jobless had risen to 3 million. The irate public needed something to blame for the increased taxes. They chose the Allies heavy reparations demands. … …the principle beneficiary …was Hitler.
Historian Henry Ashby Turner could find no documentary evidence to substantiate Fritz Thyssen’s allegation that Hugenberg passed 20% of DNVP political funds on to Hitler. … (Yet) Huge advertisements … appeared on bill-boards, deliberately created to instil a sense of fear and outrage about the onus of paying the reparations. Hitler’s NSDAP … polled 6.4 million votes. p.175-178
He (Hitler) declared that his talk of a ‘National revolution’ was to be taken in a political sense. His desire was to create a Third Reich constitutionally. The NSDAP would enter bodies legally and then become the decisive factor. p.179
Between the two of them, Hugenberg and Krupp had managed to create poverty, unemployment and desperation, the sort of conditions in which people might turn to a dictatorship. However, there remained one bastion of democracy in Germany – Prussia. … The forces of the Right wished to destroy this power. …
In the summer Hugenberg’s DNVP, Hitler’s NSDAP and the Stahlhelm were joined by the Communists in ‘an unnatural alliance; to bring down the Prussian government. (Soon) the strength and legitimacy of the Prussian government was broken. p.200
In October a rally was held by Hugenberg at Bad Harzburg. It was attended by fourteen generals and many notables including Dr Schacht and the Pan German leader, Heinrich Class. Hugenberg (outlined the dangers of Bolshevism.)
Then he asked Hitler to give his speech … Hitler rose to the challenge, declaring repeatedly, ‘We are protecting Germany and the rest of the world from Bolshevism’. This must have encouraged those present to feel that Hugenberg endorsed Hitler’s candidature as Chancellor should Brüning be forced from office. p.189
At the Lausanne reparations conference the Allies agreed to renounce 90% of their (war) reparations claims but it soon became clear that the German parliament had no intention of ratifying the agreement. The Reichstag elections took place three weeks later. Hitler was naturally a beneficiary of the publicity given to the reparations issue
Hitler told them (the voters) … that the parties of the ‘November revolution’ of 1918, – implicitly the Communists and Social Democrats – had ushered in the ruinous Weimar Republic and presided over the untold ruin of every aspect of German life. … And people believed him.
However, they were completely duped if they imagined that the two left-wing parties … would combine to undermine German democracy, for ‘At Moscow’s order, the German Communist party …drove a significant proportion of the workers into the Nazis arms, split the vote of the democratic and socialist forces, and contributed to Hitler’s triumph at the polls’. p.204-5