The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Office of Strategic Services
Hitler Source Book
The Guilt of the German Army
by Hans Ernest Fried

[Page 1]

Fried Hans Ernest: The Guilt of the German Army 1942.

German Labor Party Meeting Nov.12 1919:

...and it is certainly true that upon Adolf Hitler, who was used to the discipline and power of the Army, the meeting made absolutely no impression."

Since that meeting made no impression on Adolf Hitler, why did he join the little group as "executive member"? There is no direct evidence available for the assumption that he did so in order to receive more information for the Army, or in order to influence the group in a sense agreeable to the Army, rather than from genuine interest. But such an explanation of Hitler's steps cannot be excluded.

As of January 1st, 1920, the party decided to draw up new membership lists; and in order to give the illusion of greater strength the lists "began with #500". Thus, in the new alphabetical list, Hitler received membership card #555, as an ordinary member between 554, Georg Heuring, electrician, and 556, Joseph Hoetzel, soldier. Indeed, so little was Hitler known at the time, that on this membership list his name was spelled "Hittler" ans [sic] as his profession the compiler of the list first noted "painter". Only later (as a photograph of the page shows) was the second "t" omitted and "painter" changed to "writer." As late as January 1921, the Voelkische Beobachter called a Viennese lawyer, Walter Riehl, the "Fuehrer" of the National Socialist movement of Greater Germany.

In the early stages. the Army officers gave Hitler an opportunity to exercise his genius for propaganda and oratory such as his party could never have provided. There is, for instance, the officially reported story of Colonel Hans G. Hofmann, who returned September, 1919, with his volunteer troops from a military action against Hamburg, and who, after his volunteer corps have been taken into the regular Reichswehr, went with them to the German fortress of Passau.

At this time Hitler was education officer in the first Bavarian Riflemen's Regiment. For that reason, Hofmann let him come to Passau, because Hofmann's battalion had been thrown together with a troop that left a great deal to be desired. Hitler addressed the officers and noncoms of the battalion with so much success that Hofmann, the same evening... summoned the citizens' guard so that they might hear Hitler (too). Possibly this was Hitler's first appearance in public. Thus it was an active Army officer who arranged for Hitler's debut outside the military lecture rooms to which he had hitherto been limited. The next day, Colonel Hofmann arranged for Hitler to address an audience of high school students. No less important than these connections is the fact that they were by no means concealed by either side. These passages are contained in a eulogizing biography of Colonel Hofmann by the future National Youth Leader, Baldur von Schirach, published before Hitler rose to Chancellorship. Schirach also points out that another active officer ordered the crack troops of an infantry company to protect the first public meeting at which Hitler spoke in Munich. "The first company of the Reichswehr Infantry Regiment (?) that was led by (the officer Adolf) Huehnlein us a strong, proud, and nationalistic- minded troop. Hence it was its shock troopers who in 1919 protected the first meeting held by Adolf Hitler."

pp.91/92. Fried, The Guilt of the German Army.

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