Chapter three of “Adolf Hitler” deals with our protagonist’s life in the German army and his subsequent political developments. Spurred on by “Red revolution” and by virulent anti-Semitism his political extremism was what one might describe as the natural outgrowth of a disgruntled military man who felt betrayed by his leaders and society.
Starting with his life as a 24 year old painter in Bavaria the author describes a destitute picture of Hitler scavenging off of the small proceeds he made from hawking his paintings from door-to-door; while he was talented he was never accepted into the local art academy and so was forced to find other means of subsistence.
However, all of this came to an abrupt end when war broke out. Being the ardent patriot Hitler literally begged the local garrison commanders to accept him into their armed forces. Not about to allow a recruit to fall loose they accepted him with open arms. As it turned out military life suited Hitler well and he flourished; not only did he make a name for himself among his brothers-in-arms but also never flinched in undertaking the most dangerous of missions. His love for country propelling him nothing could dampen Hitler’s love for war.
Yet all wars end eventually and the First World War was no exception. Eventually Germany was forced to make peace with her enemies. When this happened “revolution” broke out in the German homeland forcing the Kaiser to resign, in his place a government of social-democrats taking over. Yet revolutionary communism was popular and throughout the coming months a series of insurrections and uprisings rocked Germany with the republic very nearly “falling” to Bolshevik oriented radicals.
It was during this time that Hitler was more down then anyone had ever seen him before. With “Jewish Reds” everywhere and the military barely holding on to the reigns of bourgeois society, Hitler searched for a means by which to save Germany. He found his hope in the form of a small political group called the German Workers Party.
Closely identifying with their politics Hitler was torn: while he loved their rabid stance against internationalism he deplored their lack of organization. Should he enlist in such a party when it only had a handful of members and no conception of expansion? Fortunately this problem was solved for him when his commanders, thinking it would be positive in the rebuilding on Germany to take over some smaller worker-oriented groups, ordered him to join the German Workers Party, build it up, and report on their activities. Being a natural orator and already skilled from his previous infiltration assignments (such was his most recent position within the military during peace time), not to tell of which he liked their positions, he gladly joined.
His soon to be illustrious history with this small grouping continues in the next chapter (“The Birth of a Party”) when the reader is informed of Hitler’s dynamic impact on the reorganization on the group. It would not be an overstatement to say that because of Hitler’s influence he single handedly pushed the German Workers Party from being a socialite debate group into a boa fide political party.
Utilizing cheap restaurants as meeting places and cellars and beer halls as speaking engagements, Hitler enthused his crowd with raucous tirades against “International Jewry” and the menace of Communism. Slowly working his way up he, in a matter of months, went from attracted but a few curious onlookers to hundreds and eventually thousands of memorized Germans.
During this time of growth Hitler began to expound upon his political ideas. Not only becoming sharper in his anti-Jew polemics but also through steeling after yet another round of Red uprisings, Hitler asserted his views into both German and Bavarian life with his appearance as a major force against a draconian Bavarian law aimed at keeping order as well as his impromptu ambassador eventually receiving an audience with Italy’s Benito Mussolini.
While to Leftists it is depressing to see all the failed attempts at Socialist revolution, as well as infuriating to see the pardons given to extreme right-wing dissidents, this whole episode in history is one which we can learn from; namely that fascism, whether it is German or Italian, festers in the roots of national decay and to combat this trend a more sophisticated counter must be prepared.