In 1919 Adolf Hitler joins the German Workers Party (that would later become the Nazi Party) as a spy for the German Army.
Adolf Hitler (aged 25) signed up to join the German army just after the outbreak of World War I and joined the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. As an Austrian he would have been obligated to conscript to the Austro-Hungarian army some years before but he moved to Munich to avoid serving in an army which he claimed was too mixed race.
In World War I he was a runner on the German front line trenches in France and Belgium. He was present in many Battles including the Battle of the Somme where he was injured, and briefly hospitalised, later receiving the Iron Cross Second Class for bravery. By the end of the War he had received the Iron Cross First Class for his bravery.
Germany was being financially crippled by the war and with the allied forces continued advance and the continued weakening of ‘The Central Powers’, by November 1918 Germany’s fate was sealed. Although its defeat was inevitable, on the 24th of October 1918 the Naval order came in for the German High Seas Fleet to attack the British Grand Fleet in a desperate attempt to end Royal Navy’s supremacy. When the men were told of the order on the 29th of October they began to mutiny rather than face a pointless defeat. By the 3rd of November 1918 many German naval sailors began mass uprising against the German leaders (The Wilhelmshaven and Kiel Mutinies). This uprising was mirrored throughout Germany and with revolution in the air Germany was forced to effectively surrender to the Allies on the 11th of November 1918.
For Hitler the war had been a source of tremendous pride and his patriotism towards Germany grew. He was angered by the end of the First World War and Germany’s capitulations. He, like many Germans, blamed the revolution on communists rather than any military involvement.
After World War I Hitler remained in the German Army and began to work for the intelligence department. A growing movement of nationalist, angered at Germany’s humiliation of World War I and what they saw as a betrayal by its leaders, was causing concern in the government. Army intelligence wanted spies to keep an eye on some of these groups and report back before they got too out of hand. One such group was the German Workers Party and army intelligence wanted an operative to infiltrate the organisation. With the advantage of hindsight, what could be argued was one of the greatest mistakes of the 20th century; the operative chosen was Adolf Hitler. It wasn’t long before their anti-semitic, anti-communist and Nationalist views had captured Hitler’s full attention. He was briefly split between his sense of duty to the army, which he had felt had ultimately been betrayed by its political leaders, or the new friends that were of the same mind and through he felt he could improve Germany politically. Hitler became the 55th member of the German Workers Party on the 12th of September 1919. In 1920 the name of the party was changed to the National Socialist German Workers Party and on the 31st of March that year Hitler was discharged from the army. His full attention was on the party and his skills of public speaking soon propelled him to the top of the Nazi party.
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