Anton Drexler

Anton Drexler

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Anton Drexler was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 right-wing political leader of the 1920s, known for being Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's mentor during his early days in politics.

Biography


Born in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Drexler was a machine-fitter before becoming a railway locksmith in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 in 1902. He joined the Fatherland Party
Fatherland Party (Germany)
German Fatherland Party was a pro-war party in the German Empire.The party was founded close to the end of 1917 and represented political circles supporting the war. Among founding members were Wolfgang Kapp and Alfred von Tirpitz . Walter Nicolai, head of the military secret service, was also...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. He was a poet and a member of the völkisch
Völkisch movement
The volkisch movement is the German interpretation of the populist movement, with a romantic focus on folklore and the "organic"...

 agitators who, together with journalist Karl Harrer
Karl Harrer
Karl Harrer was a German journalist and politician, one of the founding members of the "Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" in 1919, the party that soon would become the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei .Harrer was also a member of the Thule Society, which gave him the task of founding a...

, founded the German Workers' Party
German Workers' Party
The German Workers' Party was the short-lived predecessor of the Nazi Party .-Origins:The DAP was founded in Munich in the hotel "Fürstenfelder Hof" on January 5, 1919 by Anton Drexler, a member of the occultist Thule Society. It developed out of the "Freien Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten...

 (DAP) in Munich with Gottfried Feder
Gottfried Feder
Gottfried Feder was an economist and one of the early key members of the Nazi party. He was their economic theoretician. Initially, it was his lecture in 1919 that drew Hitler into the party.- Biography :...

 and Dietrich Eckart
Dietrich Eckart
Dietrich Eckart was a German journalist and politician, together with Adolf Hitler one of the early key members of the Nazi Party and a participant of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.-Biography:...

 in 1919.

At a meeting of the Party in Munich in September 1919, the main speaker was Gottfried Feder
Gottfried Feder
Gottfried Feder was an economist and one of the early key members of the Nazi party. He was their economic theoretician. Initially, it was his lecture in 1919 that drew Hitler into the party.- Biography :...

. When he had finished speaking, a member of the audience stood up and suggested that Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 should break away from Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 and form a separate nation with Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 sprang up from the audience to rebut the argument. Drexler approached Hitler and thrust a booklet into his hand. It was entitled My Political Awakening and, according to Adolf Hitler's writing in his book Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

, it reflected the ideals he already believed in. Later the same day Adolf Hitler received a postcard telling him that he had been accepted for membership of what was at that time the German Workers' Party. After some internal debate, he says, he decided to join. Though Hitler was originally against the idea (but later convinced), Drexler changed the name of the party to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) early in 1920. By 1921, Adolf Hitler was rapidly becoming the undisputed leader of the Party. Drexler was thereafter moved to the purely symbolic position of honorary president, and left the Party in 1923.

Drexler was also a member of a völkisch political club for affluent members of Munich society known as the Thule Society
Thule Society
The Thule Society , originally the Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum , was a German occultist and völkisch group in Munich, named after a mythical northern country from Greek legend...

. His membership in the NSDAP ended when it was temporarily outlawed in 1923 following the Beer Hall Putsch
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

, in which Drexler had not taken part. In 1924 he was elected to the Bavarian state parliament for another party, in which he served as vice-president until 1928. He had no part in the NSDAP's refounding in 1925, and rejoined only after Hitler had come to power in 1933. He received the party's Blood Order
Blood Order
The Blood Order , officially known as the Decoration of 9 November 1923 , was one of the most prestigious decorations in the Nazi Party...

 in 1934 and was still occasionally used as a propaganda
Nazi propaganda
Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany...

 tool until about 1937, but he was never again allowed any real power. He was largely forgotten by the time of his death.

In popular culture


In Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

's Southern Victory Series of alternate history novels, the character Anthony Dresser appears to be based on Drexler.

In the 2003 film Hitler: The Rise of Evil
Hitler: The Rise of Evil
Hitler: The Rise of Evil is a Canadian TV miniseries in two parts, directed by Christian Duguay and produced by Alliance Atlantis. It explores Adolf Hitler's rise and his early consolidation of power during the years after World War I and focuses on how the embittered, politically fragmented and...

, British actor Robert Glenister
Robert Glenister
Robert Lewis Glenister is a British actor known for his roles as con man Ash "Three Socks" Morgan in the British TV series Hustle, and Nicholas Blake in the BBC spy drama Spooks.-Career:...

 plays Drexler, although Drexler is portrayed without his trademark spectacles and moustache.

External links