German Worker National Socialist Party. Hitler's party originated from the anticapitalist, anti-Semitic, and nationalist extreme right-wing Deutche Arbeiterpartei (DAP, German Workers Party) founded in Munich in 1919 by the locksmith Anton Drexler (q.v.). Right after World War I, Adolf Hitler was commissioned by the army to obtain intelligence about right-wing parties in Bavaria. In this role he infiltrated the DAP, and decided to enter politics. He joined the party in September 1919, soon became its head, and renamed it Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP). In February 1920, the nascent NSDAP outlined its political platform in twenty-five points. Drawn up by Drexler, Gottfried Feder (q.v.) and Hitler, the Nazi 25-point program remained the official Party guideline until the end of the Nazi movement in May 1945. In essence, the Nazi ideology stood in sharp contrast to modern Western democratic values such as liberty, equality, tolerance, state sovereignty and justice. The Nazi platform was simple, even simplistic, and often contradictory. It was designed to appeal to everyone with a grievance of some kind. Rather than an intellectually constructed doctrine, it was a flexible movement aiming at aggressive action. The 25 demands in the NSDAP program were as follows:
The union of all Germans in a Groß Deutschland (Greater Germany) based on the right of self-determination;
The revocation of the Versailles Treaty of 1919;
Land and territories to feed the German people and settle its surplus population (Lebensraum or “living space”);
The restriction of state citizenship to those of German blood, with no Jew to be a German;
Non-Germans in Germany to be only guests and subject to appropriate laws;
Official posts to be filled only according to character and qualification;
The livelihood of citizens to be the state's first duty;
Non-German immigration to be stopped;
Equal rights and duties for all citizens;
Each citizen must work for the general public good;
All income not earned by work to be confiscated by the state;
All World War I profits to be confiscated;
All large business trusts to be nationalized;
Profit-sharing in all large industries;
Adequate provision for old age;
Small businessmen and traders to be strengthened and large department stores to be handed to them;
Reform of land ownership and end to land speculation;
Ruthless prosecution of serious criminals and death penalty for profiteers;
Materialist Roman law to be replaced by German law;
A thorough reconstruction of the national education system;
The state to assist motherhood and youth;
Abolition of the paid professional army and the formation of a national draftees army;
Newspapers to be owned by Germans, and non-Germans banned from working on them;
Religious freedom, except for religions which endanger the German race;
A strong central government for the execution of effective legislation.
The Nazi Party had some 27,000 duespaying members in 1925, 49,000 in 1926, 108,000 in 1928, and 178,000 by the end of 1929. The NSDAP had 210,000 members in March 1930, and 850,000 in January 1933. By September 1939 this had increased to more than 4 million with 150,000 officials. By January 1943, the NSDAP numbered 6.5 million, and 8.5 million in 1945.
The hierarchy of the NSDAP included the following:
Der Führer. Adolf Hitler, undisputed party leader;
Stellvertreter des Führers. Deputies (first Rudolf Hess, later Martin Bormann).
Reichsleiter der NSDAP. Senior officers with specific areas of responsibility. Propaganda (Goebbels); foreign policy (Rosenberg); law (Frank); finance (Schwartz); court (Buch);
Landesinspekteur (Regional Inspector). Originally nine, each responsible for four Gaue (regions). (This level gradually became insignificant.).
Gauleiter. Leader of a Gau;
Kreisleiter. Leader of a “circuit” or district;
Ortsgruppenleiter. Local group leader, responsible for a group of villages or a town;
Zellenleiter. Cell leader, responsible for a village or a neighborhood in a town;
Blockwart. Warden responsible for several households;
Member of the NSDAP. The NSDAP was composed of various sectors, including the Gliederungen der Partei (q.v.) and the Angeschlossene Verbände (q.v.).
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