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German Workers' Party was known as the DAP.


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The German Workers' Party (German: Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, acronym DAP) was the short-lived predecessor of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, acronym NSDAP).

Origins of the German Workers' Party.

The DAP was founded in Munich in the "Café Gasteig" on the 5th of January 1919 by Anton Drexler and Michael Lotter, a former marine. It developed out of the "Freien Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten Frieden," which Drexler had also founded and led. Its first members were mostly colleagues of Drexler's from the Munich rail depot. Drexler was encouraged to found the DAP by his mentor, Dr. Paul Tafel, a leader of the Alldeutscher Verband, a director of the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg, and a member of the Thule Society, and his wish was for a party which was both in touch with the masses and nationalist, unlike the middle class parties. The initial membership was of about forty people.

On 24 March 1919, Karl Harrer (a sports journalist and member of the Thule Society) joined the DAP to increase the influence of the Thule Society over the DAP's activities, and the party name was changed to the "Political Workers' Circle". The membership was as scarce as the original DAP's and the meetings were reduced to the local beer houses.

Adolf Hitler joins the of the German Workers' Party.

Adolf Hitler, then a corporal in the German army, was ordered to spy on the DAP in September 1919. He attended a meeting and got into a violent argument with one party member. Following this incident, Anton Drexler was impressed with Hitler's oratory skills and invited him to join the party. After some thinking, Hitler accepted the invitation and joined on October 19 as member number 555 (he was actually only the 55th person to join the DAP; membership numbers began at 500 in order to make the group appear larger). Hitler quickly rose up to become a leading figure in the DAP, becoming the 7th member of its central committee (he would later try to rewrite history and claim that he was "Party Member number 7" to make it look like he was a founder).

German Workers' Party: From DAP to NSDAP.

Under Hitler's influence, the small number of party members were quickly won over to his views. In an attempt to make the party more broadly appealing to larger segments of the population, the DAP was renamed on February 24, 1920 to the "National Socialist German Workers' Party". The name was borrowed from a different Austrian party active at the time (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei), although Hitler earlier suggested the party to be renamed the "Social Revolutionary Party"; it was Rudolf Jung who persuaded Hitler to follow the DNSAP naming. (Konrad Heiden, "Les débuts du national-socialisme", Revue d'Allemagne, VII, No. 71 (Sept. 15, 1933), p 821.)


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