16: The Civilian
Home Up 16: The Civilian 17: The Struggle 18: Der Fuhrer


ThierschSt.jpg (57874 bytes)On leaving the army, Hitler took up residence in a lower middle class district on Thiersch Strasse. The neighborhood, located a short distance from Maximilian Bridge, was dominated by four and five storied buildings with stores and shops on the ground floor and rooms and apartments above. The ground floor of Hitler's building (left) held a drug store and directly across the street was a produce store where Hitler bought apples nearly everyday.

The builder of the establishment Hitler chose had preserved an old German tradition that was dying within the larger cities. On the front of the building, directly above the ground floor shop entrance, a small niche had been constructed where a statue of the Madonna, as protector of the building and those living there, was placed. Hitler would live in the building for nearly ten years, during a period when thousands of political enemies wished him bodily harm, and never suffer a serious pain or illness.

Hitler chose a furnished sleeping room, two flights up, in the rear of the building. The room was only eight feet wide by fifteen feet deep with a single window opposite the door. At the window end of the room a bed occupied one corner, while on the opposite wall were some makeshift shelves. A rough table, a single chair and a small cupboard took up most of the space at the entrance end of the room. The floor was covered with worn linoleum and a few shabby rugs.  To brighten up his humble abode, Hitler decorated the walls with drawings and a picture of his mother.*  According to one visitor: "Hitler used to walk around in carpet slippers, frequently with no collar to his shirt and wearing suspenders."*  In all the years Hitler lived in the establishment, the only major change was an addition of an adjoining room.

In accordance with the custom of many German rental establishments, Hitler also had the use of a large entrance hall where people gathered and entertained. Against one of the walls sat an old upright piano which residents or guests occasionally played. Hitler enjoyed listening to the music of Schumann, Chopin and Richard Strauss, but his favorite pieces were still by Wagner which he occasionally whistled along to.*  The only pieces Hitler was ever known to have played were by Wagner or Verdi.*  Hitler's landlady found him to be a "nice man," but untalkative. "Sometimes weeks go by when he seems to be sulking and does not say a word to us," she would state. "He looks through us as if we were not there."*  She noted that Hitler always paid his rent in advance and never caused any problems. The owner of the building, who was Jewish, often passed Hitler in the hall and they occasionally exchanged greetings. He noted that Hitler was usually lost in thought or was jotting something down in a small note book he carried with him. Hitler, he later stated, "never made me feel that he regarded me differently from other people."*

Hitler spent most of his time at the party headquarters on Sternecker Strasse and ate meager meals in the brewery/cafe above.*  He also acquired a large dog (and books on the care of German shepherds) which, besides guarding his sleeping room door at night, often accompanied Hitler to and from party headquarters.

A month before leaving the army, Hitler and Drexler had changed the party's name from the German Workers' Party to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische (later abbreviated NAZI by foes and friends) Deutsche Arbeiterpartei).

National Socialist parties were not unknown before Hitler. There was a National Socialist group in Austria and one in the German speaking area of the new state of Czechoslovakia. There were also rival national socialist groups in Bavaria as well as other parts of Germany. Drexler originally wanted to call the party the "German National Socialist Party" but the word Socialist scared him off. By 1920 "national socialist" was becoming identified with any group or person that was anti-Marxist, yet anti-capitalist. As one noted nationalist stated: "The politics of the nationalist opposition can't be communistic....but it also can't be capitalistic."*  "National," which expressed the dream of a united German people (even under a monarchy) countered "Marxist," while "Socialist" countered "capitalist." Hitler, who would have preferred a monarchy to the present government,*  wanted the new title so that there would be no misunderstanding as to where the party stood.

The change of the party's name was well timed. Fed up with the inept Weimar Republican government, German sympathies were taking a notable turn toward the right. In the elections held on June 6, 1920 the government parties (capitalists, Catholics and workers) suffered and received only 11 million votes as opposed to 19 million eighteen months before.*  (Although the Center (Catholics) only lost 15% of their supporters, the Social Democrats (workers) lost nearly half, while the left liberal Democrats (capitalists) lost almost 60%.)*  Never again would the founders and supporters of the Weimar Republic ever achieve a majority.*  In addition, the Communists (including the Independent Socialist) more than doubled their vote to over five million, while the Right (the Nationalists and the People's Party) nearly doubled theirs to over nine million.*  The Weimar Republic would stumble along for twelve more years, governed by unpopular minority cabinets, weak coalitions and finally authoritarian Presidential decrees. Each, driven by greed or power, would prove as inept as its predecessor (until Hitler took control and used the Weimar body of laws with such effectiveness). More and more, the German people began looking for a savior.

By the end of Spring, Hitler's days of talking to small audiences were over. By holding weekly public meetings at different locations about the city, the crowds seldom fell to less than 1200. After each meeting it was not unusual for thirty or forty people to join the party. After one meeting 92 newcomers signed up.*  By the beginning of summer Hitler was speaking to over 1800 people at an average meeting.*  In his speeches Hitler continued to attack the "iniquities" of the Versailles Treaty, "Jewish Marxism" and the "founders of the Weimar Republic" who had giving in to the Allies. He called on his audience to join him and his party in helping to build a new, proud, national Germany, which would tear up the Treaty and fight, if necessary, to restore Germany to its "proper place" in the world. He lambasted the "cowardly" new Center government and predicted the certainty of "Germany awaking" once the Republic have been swept away. He assaulted the Liberals, the Democrats, the Socialist, the Communist and the Jews. More and more Hitler hammered home his belief that the Marxist revolutions in Europe, and their success in Russia, was but a first step in a Jewish/Marxist plot to control the world.

In support of Hitler's beliefs, a document, The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, had been published in various European newspapers in the early part of 1920. The Protocols were declared to have been written by Jewish leaders from all over the world who gathered in Basel Switzerland in 1897 to discuss the conquest of the world. The Protocols did outline a very real and logical method for achieving world domination. They demonstrated that if carried to its extreme, democracy provides fertile ground for an usurper to establish a dictatorship. Once firmly established in one country, the document revealed with what ease a dictator, willing to take the chance, could influence other countries. Society and morality would be undermined, Christianity would be destroyed, and governments would be overthrown. "By all these methods," state the Protocols, "we shall so wear down the nations that they will be forced to offer us world domination."*

In May the London Times had ran an article reporting that the Protocols should be taken seriously and "appeared" to be a genuine document written by Jews for Jews.*  The Protocols were soon published in 16 other countries.

In America, Henry Ford included the Protocols in his paper the Dearborn Independent, and later in his book: The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem. The book was printed in three separate volumes, and three million copies were distributed with many given or sold to city, school and college libraries. Ford's analyses (which Hitler would pay tribute to a few years later)* was not much different than many of the "anti-Semitic" publications in Germany.

Ford Ad.jpg (64709 bytes) "Of English Protestant stock," Ford used promotional methods to sell his ideas which were comparable to some of the promotional posters used by Hitler to sell his ideas.*  In Volume III of Ford's book, "Jewish Influences In American Life," a small sheet of light, blue promotional material (Hitler would have used red) was placed between the pages of copies "presented" to those who had previously ordered or accepted volumes one and two. The "ad" explained that additional copies of all three volumes could be had for "25 cents each." It also encouraged readers to subscribe to Ford's newspaper, the Dearborn Independent by baiting:   "Discussion of the Jewish Question is but one of the many interesting and worth-while features of America's most talked-of weekly."

On the reverse side of the ad, testimonials, which Hitler also liked to use,* were provided which did little to camouflage where the "paper" stood:

I feel that it is a matter of the highest importance to the future welfare of this country that its citizens be enlightened and informed on the greatest menace that threatens its very existence.

--A colonel of the U.S. Army

Allow me to congratulate you upon the fearless manner in which you are attacking the Jewish problem.

--Department Head in a State College

I heartily congratulate you on the noble and absolutely necessary articles on the Jewish question you have written. I admire your deep insight and your thoroughness--and your courage. You will be up against the greatest power in the world today.

--Professor Theological Seminary*

In addition to Ford, and his supporters, there were many others outside of Germany who saw Jews in a sinister light. Even before the publication of the Protocols in western Europe, Winston Churchill publicly referred to the Jews as "a most formidable sect, the most formidable sect in the world."*

With such respectable personalities voicing their beliefs, a wave of anti-Jewish sentiment swept through America and Europe in 1920. In Germany, anti-Jewish sentiment reached new heights. In Berlin, noted one Jewish reporter, "passions were whipped up to the boiling point."*  In Bavaria, passions were fueled by the memory of the short lived "Jewish dictatorships" and "hostage killings" which added a very sinister touch to the Protocols. Anti-Jewish feelings grew in leaps and bounds, with even members of respectful right wing political parties and the Church taking part. Hitler was not about to let such an opportune moment slip by.

Starting in June, Hitler dropped his normal attacks against "Marxist Jews" and began to encompass them all. At one mass meeting in late June, where a reporter described the audience as "middle class," Hitler was constantly interrupted by applause and shouts of approval in his attack against the Jewish community. At one point when Hitler shouted: "Out with the Jews who are poisoning our people!" there was "sustained wild applause."  At another meeting, when Hitler asked the audience how they were to "protect themselves" against Jewish domination, shouts of "Hang them!" and "Beat them to death!" rose from the audience.*   In a July meeting, when leftist hecklers protested against Hitler's anti-Jewish remarks and shouted "Human Rights!" Hitler shouted back: "The Jew should look for them where he ought to go, where he belongs, in his own state of Palestine."*  In another July meeting at the Hofbrauhaus, when a Jewish woman attempted to voice her opposition to one of Hitler's comments, she was shouted down and was unable to finish her remarks. In August, at another meeting at the Hofbrauhaus, Hitler's attacks against the Jews went on for over two hours. In a speech titled "Why We Are Against the Jews," there was no longer a difference between East and West Jews, poor or rich, intellectuals or commoners, but a struggle of the "Aryan race" against the "Jewish race." Hitler now portrayed the Jews as outsiders who had no respect for the morals and traditions of Germany. He portrayed them as nuisances, conspirators, robbers, and destroyers of nations. He called for "the removal of the Jews from the midst of our people."  On numerous occasions, Hitler was interrupted by applause, shouts of approval, or laughter.

The center newspapers which usually ignored or belittled Hitler now saw the effect he had on many people. Though most reporters and undercover investigators noted that the majority of Hitler's audiences were of the "lower middle class" or "middle class," the Munich Post called him (in the tradition of America's early "firebrands") a "rabble rouser."*   The Party, nevertheless, continued to grow. By August it had 725 dues paying members* and new followers now began signing up at the rate of 70 a week.

Money for expansion was the Party's greatest problem at this time. Hitler was receiving some financial support from the army*  (of which part was undoubtedly used for his personal needs), but the party lived from hand to mouth. The monthly dues paid the rent at the Sternecker and some of the administration costs, but most of the party funds came from the "one mark" admission fee that Hitler now charged to his meetings. Rent for a meeting hall however, cost 700 marks an evening, while promotion and other costs nearly equaled that.

"To be sure," Hitler would later state, "the party did have one big backer at that time, our unforgettable Dietrich Eckart."*  It was through Eckart's endeavors that Hitler began receiving funds from a "group of wealthy men."*  Like Eckart, most of these men were Munich "outsiders" who didn't support the socialist republic. They were anti-Communists "headstrong individualists" who owned "small and medium-sized" businesses.*   Hitler wisely hired a business manager and was consequently able to expand the party on a limited basis.

The first new local was established at Rosenheim (Hermann Goering's birth place), a small town 40 miles south-east of Munich. When Hitler appeared at the inauguration festivities to speak, the largest beer hall in town could not accommodate all those who wished to attend--"friends as well as foes."*

That summer Hitler introduced the swastika as the party emblem. He recognized the importance of symbolism for the young movement. An effective insignia alone, he once said, can spark interest in a movement. The swastika had been used by people around the world, including Semites, for thousands of years. It represented many things to different people, but in Germany it had recently come to represent the "struggle of Aryan man." One of the main reasons Hitler chose the swastika was, as he said, "to outdo" the Reds with their "hammer and sickle."

There were numerous renderings of the swastika. Some had curved arms, some straight arms. Some pointed to the right, some to the left. Some had thick arms, some had thin. Some were red, some were black. Some were placed in a square, some in a circle. Those placed in a circle sometimes touched the edge, sometimes not. Hitler wasn't happy with any of the designs. Using his artist background, Hitler altered the swastika in relation to thickness and size to get the best effect. He finally came up with a bold black swastika whose arms pointed to the right. This design was to decorate party stationary, membership cards, party pins, arm bands, and promotional material.

Hitler also wanted his swastika incorporated into a party flag, and the colors were a matter of great concern to him. He thought of using white and blue, because of "their wonderful esthetic effect," as he put it,* but the Bavarian Separatists used a blue and white banner. He finally decided to use the colors of the old Imperial flag of red-white-black. "In 'red' we see the social idea," Hitler stated, "in 'white' the nationalist idea, in the 'swastika' the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man."*  He finally decided on a red field (to counter the "red rag" of the Communists), and in the center placed a large white circle. His swastika design was placed neatly within the circle. After hundreds of trials and errors in relation to size of swastika, circle and field, he finally got what he wanted. A "female party comrade" stitched the flag together and Hitler now had a symbol that no other party could match. His arrangement was one of the most eye-catching, memorable, and effective designs ever created. At the "Sternecker brewery," Hitler would later write, "we brightened up the walls...and for the first time hung up our new party flag....it remained always before our eyes."*

Though Hitler's party was expanding, most people in Munich had never heard of him, and his demeanor and appearance off the speaking platform betrayed his abilities. Though many observers still noted that Hitler's eyes were his most captivating quality, many felt that he looked like a common "waiter" or an "office clerk." In early August, when Hitler and Drexler traveled to Salzburg, Austria to attend a meeting of various National Socialist groups, Hitler was treated like a junior partner. In a group photograph of twenty-one National Socialist "leaders," of which three were women, Drexler was in the front row center while Hitler was conspicuously absent.*   Hitler undoubtedly felt slighted and realized that, on paper, he held no significant position within the party. His name did not even appear among the six who were listed as the party's board of directors. On the train ride back to Munich (which stopped at Traunstein where seven years before Hitler guarded Russian prisoners of war) the cozy relationship between Drexler and Hitler began to crumble.*

Once home in Munich, Hitler began spending most of his time with his own circle of followers. Besides Eckart, Hitler had attracted a few other disciples who would do much to further his position.

One of Hitler's new followers was 26 year old Rudolf Hess, a shy, but well-spoken student of philosophy, economics, and geophysics. The son of a prosperous and respected international merchant, Hess had attended schools in Egypt and Switzerland. He enlisted in the military during the first days of W.W.I and had risen to the rank of lieutenant. Twice wounded, he returned to Bavaria after the war and entered the Munich University. Determined to play a part in returning Germany to her former greatness he joined the Thule Society and narrowly escaped death at the time of the "soviet republic."*  He developed into a fanatic anti-Semite and anti-Communist. He fought with the Free Corps and was wounded in the leg. When the hostilities ended, Hess took a job as salesman for a furniture company since the British had confiscated his father's business. He nevertheless established some solid connections with members of the Bavarian government and became an excellent recruiter and fund raiser for nationalist organizations. During May of 1920, Hess heard Hitler speak for the first time and became a instant disciple. He was introduced to the 31 year old Hitler shortly after and they immediately got along. Hess joined the party in July and by the end of summer became part of Hitler's inner circle. "Rudi," as Hitler called him, would shortly become the second most powerful man in the NAZI party.

Hess began meeting with Hitler and Eckart at their nightly gatherings at the Bratwurstglockl near the Dom or the Brennessel in the Schwabing. During the course of an evening they would often move on to various other medium priced beer gardens or coffee houses around town because such places kept Hitler in touch with the feelings of the population. Hess and Hitler normally nursed a beer or coffee at each stop while the fun loving Eckart indulged himself and picked up the bills.*

Contrary to the "speaker" on the stage, when in small gatherings, whether social or party business, Hitler normally talked in a soft, though low-keyed, voice. Though many of his ideas were radical, he spoke reasonably, simply and earnestly, and was always convincing.*  An assistant US military attaché in 1922 noted: "Have rarely listened to such a logical and fanatical man."*  Others found him "pleasant," " modest," "friendly"* and a person who was interested it them.*  Outsiders, who occasionally glimpsed the "distant political figure" were "greatly impressed by the human qualities Hitler revealed in the inner circle of his associates: by the good will he showed the younger among them, by his readiness to laugh, and by the magnanimity he demonstrated.... Within this circle, in fact, Hitler...was a good comrade."*  Hitler used the company for sounding out his ideas and debating on how best to take advantage of any changing political situation. He would continue to hold such informal meetings for the rest of his life.*

These informal gatherings were usually joined by other members of Hitler's inner group. Besides Rohm, who kept Hitler informed on military matters, there was Max Amann. During the war Amann had been one of Hitler's sergeants and performed courageously until he lost an arm and became the regiment's historian. Two years younger than Hitler, Amann was a former university student who now held a good position in a Munich mortgage bank. Amann was one of those who always found something to laugh about and Hitler enjoyed his company. "What a jolly chap he is," Hitler would state.*  Amann was the man Hitler had hired as the party business manager. He would not only prove himself more than capable of managing the finances of the party, but also Hitler's personal finances. Amann would later prod Hitler into writing a book to defray his personal expenses. Mein Kampf, would turn Hitler into a millionaire.

Another who frequently joined Hitler's group during these early days was Alfred Rosenberg. The son of middle-class German Balts, Rosenberg was born in Estonia but later moved on to Russia to complete his education. He received a diploma in architecture from the Moscow University and read all the best German and Russian classics. He had witnessed the development of the Russian revolution at first hand and was convinced that it was the work of Jews. He fled Russia and ended up in Munich where he wrote articles and books expounding his view on the coming danger of "Jewish communism." One of his pamphlets reached an audience of 100,000. Multilingual, highly educated, and unusually well read, Rosenberg, though four years younger than Hitler, would become known as the party's first "philosopher."

Another belonging to Hitler's inner circle was Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter. Of middle-class origins Scheubner-Richter was a small, well dressed man who held a degree in engineering. Five years older than Hitler, he had traveled widely, spoke many languages and had a gift for conversation. Born Max Richter in East Prussia, he had married the daughter of a titled industrialist and taken his wife's title and name. During W.W.I he served in several diplomatic positions and later played a part in the Kapp Putsch. He was brought into the party by Rosenberg in early 1920 and by September had endeared himself to Hitler. As with anyone with a "von" in his name, Scheubner-Richter had important contacts and it was probably through his efforts that Hitler now began receiving occasional funds from one or two "national-minded Bavarian industrialists."*   Later, as the party continued to expand, Scheubner-Richter's contacts with Church dignitaries, monarchist high society, and other German industrialists would provide not only recognition for Hitler but larger sums of money.*  Hitler felt real gratitude to these early contributors and would praise them for years to come.*  For the present, however, the party still lived from hand to mouth.*

When party problems were not pressing down on Hitler, he enjoyed going to the movies in the evenings and normally part of his inner circle accompanied him.*  Silent films, with their international appeal, were beginning to encroach on opera and theater and Hitler enjoyed American films. By 1920 silent screen star, Charles Chaplin, had become world famous and was instantly recognizable on screen for his little mustache. Chaplin's characterization of a comic, but also tragic figure who championed the underdog and small man found a devoted following in financially devastated Germany. Members of Hitler's circle had tried to convince him to extend the width of his mustache but Hitler wouldn't hear of it. The symbolism of Chaplin may of had something to do with his decision.

Hitler had never lost his belief in "fate" and was undoubtedly delighted to find that Chaplin (born April 16, 1889) was only four days older than himself. Such coincidences of birthdays always fascinated Hitler and would later feed false rumors that he was a believer in astrology. In reality Hitler considered astrology nothing but "another swindle" and would later state:

In judging any question concerning superstition, it should always be remembered that prophecies may be wrong a hundred times (these are forgotten or kept from the believers). Yet, if one prophecy comes “true” because of resulting events, it will be handed down from generation to generation as an unalterable fact to be believed forever.*

After the movies, Hitler and his friends would head for the Cafe Osteria-Bavaria on Schelling Strasse,** or the Cafe Heck on Galerie Strasse where Hitler enjoyed the coffee and cake. Some evenings they would even stop at the fashionable Tea Room in the Carlton Hotel. During these outings Hitler normally wore one of his old blue suits with white shirt and tie. On many occasions he also wore a belted trench coat (that Eckart had given him) with a large brimmed hat that he kept pulled down over his eyes all night. Observers stated that he looked like an American gangster, but that he was a good tipper.*

Since his new found fame, Hitler enjoyed having people around him, and his friends often introduced him to others. Hitler particularly liked the company of show people, good storytellers and artists in general. He got to know these people well and kept a special place in his heart open to them. Years later, when he came to power, one of his advisers would suggest that he take action against a group of artists who had signed a Communist proclamation. Hitler, with brilliant thoughtfulness and perception, answered:

Oh, you know I don't take any of that seriously. We should never judge artists by their political views. The imagination they need for their work deprives them of the ability to think in realistic terms.... Artists are simple-hearted souls. Today they sign this, tomorrow that; they don't even look to see what it is, so long as it seems to them well-meaning.*

The company Hitler enjoyed most of all, however, was "pretty"* or "beautiful women,"* and despite his lack of sophistication, women of all ages, and classes, were attracted to him.*

The daughters of "quality people," who have been taught for the most part to look for security and stability in a man, have a tendency to throw caution to wind occasionally. Many like their interim men a little cruel and masterful. A flamboyant man, with an air of excitement and danger about him, can often attract women of seemingly exquisite taste. Hitler was a rising rebellious political figure who dredged up primitive emotions while on the speaking platform. As one observer noted, women sniffed "the smell of a barbaric wildness"* about Hitler that aroused them like their proper and tamed men never did. As another observer noted: "The women were crazy about him."*

When meeting women on a personal basis, Hitler's normally low rough voice became soft and gentle.*  Although he played the part of the strongman on the speaking platform he always greeted women politely and charmingly with an awkward bow or kiss of the hand.*   He would always stand on introduction and remain so until they sat down.*    Hitler never made risqué remarks in the presence of a woman and became embarrassed when others did.*  If a woman appeared suffering from the slightest discomfort, Hitler showed nothing but concern.*  Whereas he would show signs of irritation when most men disagreed with him, he would hear a woman out quietly and with patience* and answer her in sweet tones. He still possessed the sense of humor he had during the war and enjoyed laughing* and making others laugh. He was a "gifted mimic" and could bring his guests to "tears of laughter" by embellishing the actions and words of noted personalities. He was also superb at mimicking children and women.*  Women who expected to meet someone crude and vulgar when introduced to Hitler, usually came away charmed and gratified.*  A young female university student found Hitler "charming, tender" and "modest."*  Another young woman stated: "I felt myself melt in his presence."*  A more sophisticated lady reported that he had "a remarkable charm despite all the reports of his ruthlessness."*

Hitler, on the one hand, was not attracted to most upper class women. As he would state years later: "My own particular tragedy is, that, as head of state, I always have the most worthy ladies as my dinner partners! I'd far rather...pick out some pretty little typist or sales-girl as my partner."*  He particularly did not like cultivated and intellectual types and never felt at ease among them. "Educated, intellectual women,” he once said, “are not essential....My mother, for example, would of had a difficult time interacting at social gatherings with cultivated women."*  In addition, Hitler was building an image of a Lohengrin--a man so dedicated to his mission of "saving" Germany that he had to forsake women.*  (As an example, Eva Braun, the daughter of lower-middle-class parents, became Hitler's mistress in late 1931--over a year before he became Chancellor. Yet, very few people knew anything of the relationship until 1937.) An affair with a "woman of breeding," even if Hitler could have found one who appealed to him, would have been impossible to conceal.*  With the exception of a few "motherly types," which never went beyond a platonic friendship, he kept his distance from women of quality. On the other hand, Hitler had an eye for beautiful, uncultivated, younger women* who were, as he put it, "weich, suss und dumm" ("gentle, sweet and dumb")* and, he knew where to find them.

Among Hitler's circle were men without refined manners, cultivated airs or polished vocabularies. Although disliked and mistrusted by the more sophisticated of Hitler's inner circle, they were the men who kept Hitler in touch with the people of less modest means and backgrounds. Hitler, who never passed up a chance to mingle with the lower class, was often seen in their company at the less pretentious beer rooms and cafes of Munich.

One of these men was Ulrich Graf, a noted Munich wrestler who also held a minor position for the city council. Graf was a honest and decent fellow* who once worked as a meat cutter. He was also a renowned bar room brawler and was a good man to have on one's side when "stepping down" for the evening. His appearance in the less sophisticated bars and cafes normally attracted the attention of men as well as women. There was also Christian Weber, a mountain of a man, but good-hearted to his friends. A horse dealer and part-time bouncer for one of the rougher bars of Munich, Weber normally consumed more than his share of beer in an evening. He fancied himself a ladies' man and was suspected of being a part-time pimp.*   Another of these men was Emil Maurice, a W.W.I and Free Corps veteran who worked as a clock-maker. Partly of French extraction, Maurice liked to laugh and had a mischievousness about him that appealed to Hitler.*  Maurice looked like the leader of a Latin band* and in fact could play the mandolin and enjoyed chasing the ladies.*   All three men were responsible for leading the protection squads during Hitler meetings and played alternating roles as Hitler's bodyguard, secretary and valet. At least one of them was always lurking in the background wherever Hitler went. When the nightly get-togethers broke up, and the more genteel of the inner circle withdrew, Hitler, along with Graf, Weber or Maurice would often head for the more worldly spots of Munich.

The "decadence" of the Weimar Republic was having its effect on the character of nearly every man and woman in Germany and Hitler was a man of his time. Although Hitler still considered marriage and sex to be inseparable for most people,* he no longer spoke unfavorably about "loose women" in private. As he later stated: "I have more respect for a young woman who has an illegitimate child and raises it than for an old maid."*  He openly scorned the "pretentious upper ten thousand"* for their moral "hypocrisy" and the Church for its prudishness* and held them "responsible for mass abortions."*  "There is no more primitive instinct than love," Hitler would say,* and he talked often about "wonderful," "dazzling,"* and "ravishing" beauties.*   "What beautiful women there are,"* he would state, and "he certainly had an eye for good-looking women."* He felt that there was something unhealthy about men who failed to "respond accordingly to the smiles of inviting maidens."*

According to Maurice, he and Hitler would sometimes drift from one night spot to another looking for women.*  Besides liking his women beautiful, young, sweet and dumb, Hitler also liked them full figured, especially big busted.*  Otherwise he had few other preferences. Many of Hitler's favorite paintings were of dark haired Latin beauties* and his later mistresses would range from those of "distinctly Slavonic appearance" to fair skinned blondes.*  Hitler however, was a man who liked to be in control and the one thing that put him off was a woman who was too easy or too experienced.*  Because of Maurice's good looks and personality, he and Hitler had little trouble finding what they wanted.

When meeting a woman who appealed to him, Hitler took on the old, but rewarding, role of the attentive admirer. "He always gave a woman the impression that he thought her beautiful and worthy of his admiration."*  He fussed over them with an adoring look in his eyes, kissed their hand and always offered flowers, especially orchids.*   The role fit Hitler well during this period since one acquaintance described him as looking like a "hairdresser on his day off."*  Whereas more sophisticated suitors have alternate ploys to enhance their biological urges to reproduce, the "entranced admirer" act was the only one Hitler ever used. "We chased the girls together and I used to follow him like a shadow,"* recalled Maurice. Some nights the evening would end with Hitler escorting a young woman to his room.*

Hitler had no interest in committing himself to any deep attachments, but he had the prudence to send or bring women, who had caught his eye, flowers, candy, knickknacks and other items of modest value.*  Such chivalrous acts were undoubtedly appreciated by the women Hitler met and he doubtlessly reaped the rewards. Years later, while discussing relationships between men and women, Hitler would state: "The bad side of marriage; it creates rights. Believe me, it is much better to have a lover. The stress is lightened and everything remains on the level of a gift."*

Hitler was so successful at hiding his relations with women that many of his more sophisticated associates were gullible enough to believe him when he made the comment: "The masses, the people, that is a woman for me," or "I have only one love and that is Germany"* (which incidentally is a line out of Wagner's Rienzi). Hitler built his reputation so well that in later years, when he turned his "entranced admirer" act on a few cultivated and/or educated ladies of quality, they naively came away believing that they had been the only woman who had ever "entranced" the Fuhrer.

At other times Hitler and Maurice would walk the streets admiring the women or stop in at places were women were known to gather.*  Women boxers, in their skimpy trunks and shirts, was daring stuff for its day and although Hitler feigned indifference around his more sophisticated circle,* he enjoyed watching such fair. He and Maurice would also stop in the art Academy or artists' studios to check out the models posing in the nude and "Hitler circulated quite at his ease in the mist of all this nudity."* Another frequent stop of Hitler's was the Cafe Weichard opposite the National Theater* where the show people he liked to be around gathered. He got to be on intimate terms with some actresses and also dancers* who he felt were underpaid and mistreated.*  At the time it was considered scandalous for women to smoke in public, yet Hitler, who promoted non-smoking among his male followers, voiced no objection when around such liberated ladies.*  On one occasion Hitler raised some eyebrows when he was seen being driven around Munich by "smoking ladies."*  Hitler never let women or sex consume him, however, and it normally wasn't long before he returned to his political ambitions.

Hitler, often with his friends, attended various lectures and theater performances around town. Hitler soon discovered that such entertainment offered other benefits. Unlike the intellectuals who held that the written word was the most powerful force on the earth, Hitler felt it was the spoken word. He believed that every great movement in history owed its success to great speakers who were capable of spilling out "volcanic eruptions of human passions." Ulrich Graf, who had watched Hitler sway people by the thousands, was surprised one evening when Hitler began demeaning his own abilities as a speaker.*   In company with his friends, or on his own, Hitler began attending the performances of the top comedians, actors and personalities of the day so as to learn from them. He studied their timing, wording, body movements, and their strong points in holding the attention of the crowd. Hitler began practicing his body, head and hand movements before a full length mirror and later had pictures taken of himself so that he could better study his speaking gestures.

Donning his phony beard, Hitler also continued to attend the rallies and meetings of rival speakers, Communists and Nationalists alike, and also learned from them. Although he admired some of the Communist speakers, he found most of the Nationalists to be little more than "sleepwalkers," whose dreams where out of touch with the majority. "These Germans of the old school were fine fellows," Hitler would later say, "but their specialty was literature. Their audience was twenty thousand readers of their own stamp. None of them knew how to speak to the people."*  Hitler was especially contemptuous of the upper-class (bourgeois) national speakers and would later write: "I had the same feeling towards these as towards the compulsory dose of caster oil in my boyhood days. It just had to be taken because it was good for one; but it certainly tasted unpleasant."*  He then added:

I once attended a meeting in the Wagner Hall [on Sonnenstrasse] in Munich....The speech was delivered or rather read out by a venerable old professor from one or other of the universities. The committee sat on the platform: one monocle on the right, another monocle on the left, and in the centre a gentleman with no monocle. All three of them were punctiliously attired in morning coats, and I had the impression of being present before a judge's bench just as the death sentence was about to be pronounced....After the professor, whose voice had meanwhile become more and more inaudible, finally ended his speech, the gentleman without the monocle delivered a rousing peroration to the assembled 'German sisters and brothers'....and emphasized how deeply the professor's words had moved them all....The proceedings finally closed with the [National] anthem....It appeared to me that when the second verse was reached the voices were fewer and that only when the refrain came on they swelled loudly....After this the meeting broke up and everyone hurried to get outside, one to his glass of beer, one to a cafe, and others simply into the fresh air.*

Hitler now understood why the Nationalists were failing so miserably in their desire to attract the crowd. "Out into the fresh air!" he would add, "That was also my feeling.*

Hitler learned a lot from his contemporaries, but most important he learned what not to do. He was glad he did not posses an educated accent or vocabulary because he felt the crowd would sense he was not one of them and drift away. He found that people became bored with sophisticated speakers and believed that "the cruder and more brutal the language," the larger the crowd that would be willing to listen. He felt that most political speeches were "too professional [or] too academic. The ordinary man in the street cannot follow and, sooner or later, falls a victim to the slap-bang methods of Communist propaganda."*  Instead of using "reason" to support his viewpoint, Hitler learned to use "facts" that invoked emotions. He also learned to keep his speeches centered on a few points and to keep them simple. As Hitler would later ask a female friend: "Fraulein...why do you use your brand of toothpaste?" "Because I like it," she answers."False," Hitler replies, "it is because you see that name everywhere--on posters, on theater programs, in magazines. The public must know in order to understand. That's why in politics we have constantly to repeat the same things. Then the people will realize that what we're saying must be true, since we say it over and over again."*


Top of Page