01-055 The Seventh Member
Saturday Aug 02, 2014
Lead: In September 1919, a 30-year-old corporal in the 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment was sent to spy out the meeting of a tiny political party. He was not impressed.
Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: Twenty-five people sat around in a bar listening to boring speeches. It was hardly a threat to the national interests and the corporal reported that back to his superiors.
The next day, however, he received a postcard notifying him that he was now a member of the party and inviting him to a meeting. He later recalled not knowing whether to be angry or laugh. Their presumption was astounding and he was about to write them as such when on a whim he decided to go to the meeting and explain his reasons for not joining.
On the appointed day he found four men sitting around a gas lamp in a run-down tavern. The minutes of the last meeting were read and the treasurer's report was a joke, yet something about these shabby men captivated him.
Later, back at the barracks he would wrestle with competing emotions. Should he join this pitiful bunch or follow his as yet unspoken dream of founding his own political party? He said later, "After two days of agonized pondering and reflection, I finally came to the conviction that I had to take this step. From here, there could be no turning back."
He joined this strange collection of misfits. To the confused locksmith, the drunken poet, the misguided economist, the flustered army officer, was now added a former tramp. By the sheer force of his twisted personality and will he would drag that party out of obscurity, sustain it through years in the wilderness, control it even while in prison, lead it to absolute power, and compel it and Germany to great triumph and horrible defeat.
The seventh member of the Committee of the German Workers Party was Adolf Hitler.
The producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond. This is Dan Roberts.
Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Exter Books, 1987.
Smith, Bradley F. Adolf Hitler: His Family, Childhood and Youth. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, 1968.
Copyright 2014 by Dan Roberts Enterprises, Inc.
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