Anton Drexler may sound like a name befitting a bond villain. The name does, in fact, belong to an actual figure from history. Herr Drexler’s crime may well have exceeded the work of any bond villain. Drexler is the man who had conscripted, inspired, and ultimately created the monster known to us historically as the Führer.
Anton Drexler was the co-founder of the German Worker’s Party (DAP). This party was founded in 1919 in Munich. The group was characterized by its far-right ideology as well as its less-than-subtle commitment to anti-semitism. One could well see the salience that Hitler may have placed on this.
According to The History Place, Corporal Adolf Hitler was ordered in September 1919 to investigate a small group in Munich known as the German Workers’ Party. The use of the term ‘workers’ attracted the attention of the German Army which was now involved in crushing Marxist uprisings. On September 12th, dressed in civilian clothes, Hitler went to a meeting of the German Workers’ Party in the back room of a Munich beer hall, with about twenty-five people. He listened to a speech on economics by Gottfried Feder entitled, “How and by what means is capitalism to be eliminated?”After the speech, Hitler began to leave when a man rose up and spoke in favor of the German state of Bavaria breaking away from Germany and forming a new South German nation with Austria. This enraged Hitler and he spoke out forcefully against the man for the next fifteen minutes uninterrupted, to the astonishment of everyone. One of the founders of the German Workers’ Party, Anton Drexler, reportedly whispered: “He’s got the gift of the gab. We could use him.” After Hitler’s outburst ended, Drexler hurried over to Hitler and gave him a forty-page pamphlet entitled: “My Political Awakening.” He urged Hitler to read it and also invited Hitler to come back again.
Having been impressed by Hitler’s speaking ability, Drexler was the man that brought the young Hitler into the party. Hitler saw in the party, only opportunity. His speaking ability quickly made him an active and popular member of the party. So, it was in February 1921 that the party was reformed to what we now know as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), with Hitler being installed as the chairman of the party.
From here, the rest, as they say, is history. Hitler stages a failed coup, known to us historically as the “Beer Hall Putsch” in 1923. For this, Hitler is found guilty of treason and spends five years at Landsberg prison, where he infamously wrote “Mein Kampf”.
Several years later, after becoming a chancellor and having passed the Enabling Act in 1933, Hitler merges the chancellor and president titles and becomes the Fuhrer in 1934.
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