National Socialism across borders: the programme and proceedings of the 2nd Inter-State Representatives’ Conference of the National Socialists of Greater Germany, held in Salzburg, Austria over 7-8 August 1920
In 1904 the German Workers’ Party in Austria (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in Österreich, DAPÖ) was founded in Trautenau, Bohemia, by representatives from Austria-Hungary’s various ethnic-German trade-unions and workers’ associations. In May 1918, as part of a general post-War restructuring, the members of the DAPÖ voted to adopt a new name for their organization: the German National Socialist Workers’ Party (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei, DNSAP). When in November 1918 the Treaty of St. Germain awarded the territories of the Sudetenland to Czechoslovakia and Austrian Silesia to Poland, the DNSAP consequently found itself divided into three separate national branches; in an effort to keep the party unified and coordinated under these new circumstances, the first ‘Inter-State Representatives’ Conference of the National Socialists of Greater Germany’ was held by the DNSAP in December 1919 in Vienna, with delegates attending from party branches across Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The following year the 2nd Inter-State Congress was held in Salzburg, Austria, over 7-8 August, with this meeting in particular proving to be a significant event in the early history of National Socialism. The DNSAP in 1919 had established contact with two nascent political parties in the German Republic: the German Socialist Party (Deutschsozialistische Partei, DSP), most active in northern Germany, and the Munich-based National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP). Although neither group had attended the first Inter-State Congress, both were acknowledged by the DNSAP as National Socialist “brother-parties” and both dispatched formal delegations to the 2nd Congress in Salzburg, where unity was the central topic of conversation. Delegates at Salzburg voted to establish an ‘Inter-State Chancellery’ in Vienna to act as a liaison organization between them, and it was further agreed that the five brother-parties would unite as constituent parts of a single cross-border association, the National Socialist Party of the German Volk (Nationalsozialistischen Partei des deutschen Volkes, NSPDV), in which they would maintain their own programmes and independence while being subordinated to the broader programme of the NSPDV – the eventual aim being formal unification as a single party in a united Greater Germany. To that end, DSP and NSDAP delegates also agreed to divide Germany into respective ‘spheres of influence’ as a prelude to their own unification at the DSP’s upcoming party conference. Although made with great enthusiasm and pursued vigorously by National Socialists in their relations with one another over the next few years, these decisions ultimately proved ineffective. A young and still largely unknown delegate at Salzburg named Adolf Hitler would, through his eventual ascension to the NSDAP leadership, ultimately be their undoing, jettisoning the concepts of consensus-based leadership and merger-as-equals in favor of subordination to the NSDAP and centralized diktat from Munich. The five documents translated below, consisting of articles and reports by National Socialists describing the discussions at Salzburg and the programme of the NSPDV, provide an insight into this early period of ‘inter-state’ National Socialism, when the movement had a more democratic caste and when its leading figures were labor activists from Austria and the Sudetenland, rather than Hitler and his supporters.
The Salzburg Conference in Overview
The Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse of 14 August, 1920.
The article below first appeared in the Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse, the central party-organ of the Austrian DNSAP, on 14 August 1920. It provides a thorough synopsis of the events of the Salzburg Conference, its various attendees, and the topics discussed and voted upon by the conference’s delegates, and thus serves as an excellent introductory overview of the conference and of its significance to the early National Socialist movement. Although the article is unsigned, it is nonetheless probable that Dr. Walter Riehl, the chairman of the Austrian DNSAP at the time, was responsible for its authorship – Riehl was also the editor of the Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse and so would have been behind many of the newspaper’s editorials and unsigned pieces. Furthermore, the article was translated from Dr. Alexander Schilling’s biography of Dr. Walter Riehl (Dr. Walter Riehl und die Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus, 1933), which reproduces a significant number of Riehl’s articles from the course of his long political career. (Schilling, incidentally, was also a longstanding National Socialist, and he attended the Salzburg Conference as a delegate for the DNSAP branch in Bielitz, Poland). The article is particularly notable for its mentions of Hitler, probably the first references to the future Führer within the National Socialist press outside Germany. – Bogumil
The Greater German Representatives’ Conference of all National Socialists in Salzburg.
It cannot be denied that we awaited today’s conference, to which völkisch-socialists from across the Reich were invited for the first time, with great trepidation. To our great joy, to the jubilant enthusiasm of the old National Socialists from the German Sudetenland and of we German-Austrians, the conference not only brought us the reconciliation of two larger groups within the German Reich which had previously stood in opposition to one another (the German Socialist Party – headquartered in Hanover; and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party – headquartered in Munich),1 but also the long-awaited goal, the merger of our groups and of the new Reich-German groups to form the
National Socialist Party of Greater Germany.2
The conference enjoyed excellent attendance, not only from the German-Austrians, who by exercising their full rights of representation sent 180 representatives from all local groups, including almost every member of the party-leadership – party-chairman and Landtag deputy Dr. Riehl;3 the Salzburg Landtag deputies Prodinger4 and Wagner;5 Ertl, the chairman of the Trade-Union of German Railwaymen;6 Gattermayer, chairman of the Trade-Union Council;7 Schulz, vice-chairman of the German Postal Workers’ Union;8 Legmann, director of the district DHV;9 Heiduk, chairman of the Reich Association of German Working Youth and paymaster of the national party-leadership10 – but also representatives from abroad. This time, the German National Socialists of Czechoslovakia sent not only our revered theoretician, Prague parliamentary deputy Ing. Rudolf Jung,11 as at previous conferences, but also the first chairman of the National Socialists of Czechoslovakia, deputy Hans Knirsch,12 editor Dr. Schilling,13 and the chairman of the German-Bohemian provincial party-leadership, Galle,14 as well as Bornemann from Znaim,15 all of whom were sorely missed at the last conference. For the German Socialist Party (headquartered in Hanover), Ing. Brunner (Düsseldorf)16 and Dr. Runge (Leipzig)17 appeared, as well as five other representatives of this tendency, which is located chiefly in the north of Germany. Exceptionally numerous were the delegates from the second group, which has sought its adherents primarily in Bavaria, Württemberg, and Baden: the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. This was represented by its first chairman, the metalworker Drexler from Munich, and by its outstanding popular Munich agitator, Adolf Hitler. Altogether the Inter-State Conference was attended by 235 authorized representatives. About a hundred external guests turned out, among them a member of the German National Assembly, National Councillor Geisler from Berlin,18 and a representative of the Greater German Freedom Party in Berlin,19 as well as representatives from Reich-German newspapers and from German newspapers in the successor states20 and in German-Austria.
The National Socialist student body wired an enthusiastic declaration to the conference, and welcoming telegrams were received from all German-speaking countries. As convener, Dr. Riehl opened this memorable conference, described the development of the individual parties, and, to the approval of those in attendance, emphasized that the difficult work of unification would succeed if the conference stood not under the sign of those old hereditary German evils, discord and provincial narrow-mindedness, but was borne by the indomitable will of unification and of self-sacrificing love for the German Volk. Municipal Councillor Sieger21 welcomed the assembly in the name of the provincial party-leadership, after which deputy Jung took the floor to deliver his programmatic report. Among other things, he explained that: when German land was torn asunder and auctioned off to the highest bidder, when appalling weakness and crippling despondency took ahold of the widest circles, the National Socialists were the only ones who, in the face of every hostility, unfurled the banners of renewal in the highest sense of the word. At a time when Victor Adler22 was still dreaming of a republican galvanization of Austria, in the Vienna parliament Knirsch, our party-chairman, was the first to call for a social Pan-Germany. The speaker [Jung] then emphasized that the programmes of the former German Workers’ Party – now known as the National Socialists – as well as that of the new National Socialist group headquartered in Munich, and that of the German Socialist group based in Hanover, are all essentially the same. By comparison, the issue of the [party/ideology] name is only of secondary importance; the title of the party merely needs to reflect that it is socialist.23 As the basis for agreement, it was stated that the National Socialist Party is no narrow class party but a party of all honest laboring and producing classes [Stände]. It therefore rejects class struggle. The National Socialist Party unites two earth-shattering ideas, nationalism and socialism, into a higher unity. Finance-capital is to be abolished by means of monetary reform and by transferring the banks into the ownership of the German Volk. Within the fields of law, economic organization, and overall cultural life, the German Volk must liberate themselves from the slavish imitation of everything foreign, and must draw upon the sound notions of German antiquity and the early Middle Ages. The National Socialist Party appreciates religion as a precious asset of the Volk, and desires that this branch of our cultural life should also be permeated by the German essence. It is a strictly anti-Semitic party and denies racial-foreigners the right to govern Germans and to administer German property. It strives for the unification of the areas of enclosed German settlement into a unitary state. The form of government is, for it, only of secondary importance. The occupational structure of the German Volk should also be reflected via the bicameral system.24 Extensive plebiscites shall round off the picture of the authentic People’s State. Against the Jewish-commercial spirit the Party sets a defensive nationalism and heroic conception of life. These statements were followed by stormy, never-ending applause, and all the party-groups declared, to the acclamation of the assembly, that they wished to recognize these principles as the framework programme.
During the conference, sustained negotiations between both völkisch-socialist groups of the German Reich took place under the chairmanship of the two National Socialist parliamentarians from Czechoslovakia, deputies Knirsch and Jung; these eventually led to the gratifying result that not only was accession to the newly-created Inter-State Chancellery in Vienna made possible, but also an organizational demarcation of the fields of activity of the two previously separate organizations in Germany was effected, meaning that in essence the south of Germany will fall within the scope of the Munich branch office [the NSDAP], and the north of Germany within that of the Hanover branch [the DSP]. Chairman Dr. Riehl announced this result to the representatives to the accompaniment of rapturous applause from those assembled.
The Inter-State Chancellery will remain entrusted to the German-Austrian party under the proven leadership of Dr. Riehl (Vienna). During the dialogue, Adolf Hitler declared that
he would rather be hanged in a Bolshevised Germany than be content in a French Southern Germany.25
He outlined the rapid development of the National Socialist Party in Germany and emphasized the necessity of converting theoretical knowledge into active force through a mass movement, whereas Ing. Brunner (Düsseldorf) advocated slower-paced but more in-depth propaganda. Ertl highlighted the significance of the hour in which the Greater German National Socialist Party was launched. Dr. Schilling pointed out that the party has repeatedly stated that it is waging a struggle for the international standing of the German national economy, that it is by no means opposed to international connections but is building up the pyramid upon a national base rather than balancing it on its end as Social-Democracy does. This internationalism became the ruin of the German Volk, which, as a tame, defenseless little hare, ventured among ravenous beasts. Herr Schöll from the Württemberg Workers’ Party26 emphasized the importance of organizing the German will via an occupational structure. In a motion endorsed by all party-groups, thanks were expressed to Dr. Riehl for his efforts towards bringing about unification. This ended the first day of discussion, which produced the gratifying result of bringing together kindred German party-groups and of making them subject to a greater purpose.
On the second day, deputy Hans Knirsch delivered his report on Germandom’s position in the lost territories, particularly in Czechoslovakia. He concluded his lecture, after a description of Dr. Renner,27 with the words: “We National Socialists understand that for us subjugated Germans, freedom and social progression will never come through the League of Nations or from international proletarian solidarity. The duty of National Socialists in all German lands must be to make the idea of German unity the pillar of national politics, and to help prepare the inner rebirth of our Volk in order that we are mentally, physically, and politically capable of realizing our dream of a social Pan-Germany.” (Stormy applause).
The Representatives’ Conference thus reached its rousing conclusion on Sunday at noon, with the now simultaneous chairman of the Inter-State Chancellery, Dr. Riehl, concluding with the following remarks:
“Our party is that which not only calls itself national, but is the fiercest exponent of national thought altogether. We are, particularly in German-Austria, the true irredentist party already in terms of our composition, for in our ranks reside those expellees from the German territories which were wrenched from us through the shameful peace. It is not possible for us to greet representatives of our folk-comrades languishing under South Slavic rule, those from Marburg or Cilli; it is incumbent upon us only to commemorate those who are in a truly far worse position. No German tribe, no German territory, has been so brutally violated as the Germans in South Slavia. Today you have heard about the suffering which the Germans in Czechia have had to endure, we can find daily reports in the newspapers about how shamefully our brothers are being treated, but that which the Germans in Marburg28 – and, in general, our folk-comrades in southern Styria – are forced to tolerate from the Slovenian authorities provokes our sharpest objections. As Germans we protest against the violation of our brothers in every country, which is the most terrible sin against the right of national self-determination being denied to us; we protest against the shameful treatment of Germans in the south. The people of Meran send us greetings and are wholeheartedly with our conference today. As far as we are concerned there are only German folk-comrades with the same interests, whether they be the Germans in Schleswig, who are now coming under Danish foreign rule, or those in East and West Prussia, in Posen or Upper Silesia, who were assigned to the Polish state against their will and against all reason. One tribe here we must not forget, that being the group of folk-conscious Alsatians who, as Germans, have perhaps drawn the harshest lot, one which will stand alone in world history, along with those Germans on the left bank of the Rhine who are now oppressed by black gangs.29 No matter how much the French and other Western peoples may praise their high culture, what takes place there under the orders of the Entente and the ‘highly cultured’ French Volk demonstrates to us more clearly than anything the difference between Western ‘culture’ and German ‘barbarism’.
“Yesterday representatives from Westphalia to Teschen, from Kiel to Meran united with us. We are the first German party which can claim to establish a great German Fatherland, as we conceive it, and to be united as far as the German tongue is heard.
“We raise solemn protests (the assembled here rose from their seats) against the oppression of our brothers in north and south, in east and west, everywhere where there is unliberated German land, and we vow never to rest until we see them delivered and united with us, if necessary via the sword. That which is German must be unified within the German Fatherland; this is what we believe, this is what we hope for, and to this we will dedicate all of our strength, now and forever more. Heil the German Volk!” (Stormy, endless applause; the assembled sing, “Wenn alle untreu werden.”)30
A social evening marked the conclusion of the Representatives’ Conference, bringing together our Salzburg compatriots with their guests in the great hall of Salzburg’s Kurhaus. Speeches were given by Sesselmann (Hanover)31 on behalf of the German Socialists, and by Hitler (Munich) on behalf of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, celebrating in rapturous terms the fraternization of national and social thought; deputy Ing. Jung also sketched a brief outline of the suffering which the folk-comrades in Czechoslovakia have had to endure, and gave the assurance that the Germans there are awaiting with strength and determination the moment when their freedom will be restored to them. The delegate of the National Socialist Party of German-Austria, Landtag deputy Dr. Riehl, commemorated the meaningful accomplishments of the conference, which is the finest and most promising that has ever taken place, and which has resulted in the emergence of a unified party bearing only one name from Düsseldorf to Vienna, from Kiel to Villach: the National Socialist Party of the German Volk. And just as 1813 came after 1809, the year of disgrace,32 so will 1918 also be followed by a year which will direct Germans on to the ascending path.
In lengthy remarks, editor Dr. Schilling then discussed the circumstances created by the Treaty of St. Germain and expressed the belief that the ravages of time would gnaw away at this piece of paper as well.
This dignified and highly successful function then closed with words of thanks from Herr Hitler (Munich) to the Salzburg party-comrades for their hospitable accommodation.
The Salzburg Programme
Ratified by Conference Delegates as the
Political Platform of Inter-State National Socialism.
As part of the drive towards the unification of the five National Socialist brother-parties, the establishment of the National Socialist Party of the German Volk (NSPDV) was proclaimed at the Salzburg Conference and its Guiding Principles ratified by the assembled delegates. The NSPDV was intended to function as a kind of umbrella association; the five member-parties would maintain their individual programmes and effective independence, but their programmes and policy positions had to accord with the Guiding Principles of the NSPDV and they theoretically had to abide by the resolutions of its leadership committee, which was made up of representatives of each member-party. From this point onwards many National Socialists (particularly those in Austria and Czechia) acted as though there were only one National Socialist party, with each constituent member-group (the NSDAP, DSP, and three DNSAPs) being treated simply as separate branches of the same party-organization; the hope was that this would one day become a reality on an organizational level as more territories were returned to the German Reich. Those familiar with the programme of the DNSAP may notice that the NSPDV programme is virtually identical, although considerably shortened in order to make its demands more generally applicable outside German-Austria. Adolf Hitler, who was involved in the unification talks at Salzburg, was reportedly as enthusiastic as anyone else about the NSPDV at the time. His ardor cooled after the conference was over, however, when he realized that a merger might weaken his position, and he consequently became the major obstacle towards unification in following years (at least on terms in which the other parties might be treated as equals). The end result of Hitler’s obstinacy was that the NSPDV, despite the enthusiasm of leading National Socialists like Rudolf Jung and Walter Riehl, never really got off the ground, and by 1923 the concept had been completely discarded in favor of simple submission to Hitler as the emerging “Reich-German Führer.” – Bogumil
Guiding Principles of the National Socialist Party of the German Volk.
The German National Socialist Party seeks the uplift and liberation of the German working-classes from economic, political, and spiritual oppression and their full equality in all areas of völkisch and state life.
It professes itself unreservedly to the cultural community and the community of fate of the German Volk, and is convinced that only within the natural limits of his folkdom [Volkstums] can the worker achieve full value for his labor and intelligence.
It therefore rejects amalgamation on a multi-ethnic [allvölkischer] basis as unnatural. An improvement in economic and social conditions is attainable only through the cooperation of all workers on the soil of their own people. Not revolution and class struggle, but purposeful, creative reform work alone can overcome today’s untenable social conditions.33 Private property in itself is not malign, insofar as it arises from one’s own honest labor, serves labor, and is limited in size so as not to damage the common good. We reject, however, all forms of unearned income, such as ground-rent, interest, and usurious profits squeezed from the misery of one’s fellow man. Against them we stridently advocate the value of productive labor!
The private economy can never be wholly or violently abolished, yet all forms of social property should exist alongside it and be increasingly expanded. We advocate unconditionally for all capitalist large-scale enterprises which constitute private monopolies to be transferred into the possession of the state, province (völkisch self-governing bodies), or municipality.
We see the guiding principles for future progress in the purposeful conversion of all others into cooperative property by steadily increasing the profit-sharing of all those who work within them, whether physically or intellectually.
The National Socialist Workers’ Party is no narrow class party; it represents the interests of all honest, productive labor in general.34 It is a liberal35 and strictly völkisch party and hence combats all reactionary tendencies, all clerical, noble, and capitalist privileges, and every racially-foreign influence – but above all does it combat the overwhelming power of the Jewish-commercial spirit in all areas of public life.
The influence of work and skill in state and society is our goal, the economic and political unity of the working German Volk the means to this end.
We demand therefore:
1. Consolidation of the entire area of German settlement in Europe into a democratic, social German Reich, with the most vigorous protection for all our Volk inhabiting areas ruled by foreign peoples;
2. Equal and universal suffrage in provinces and municipalities following their prior völkisch safeguarding; creation of second parliamentary chambers on the basis of occupational representation;
3. The moral renewal of our Volk and the development of their religious life in the German spirit;
4. Protection against any interference in the exercise of national rights, in particular against the utilization of wage conditions and terms of employment to restrict personal rights to self-determination;
5. Crackdown against party rule, in particular through the introduction of plebiscites (referendums) for all far-reaching laws in Reich, state, and province; creation of a People’s Army [Volksheer].
The Salzburg Conference in Summation
The Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse of 21 August, 1920.
The following brief article, like the first article translated above, is an unsigned piece originally published in the Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse and later reproduced in Alexander Schilling’s biography of Dr. Walter Riehl (from where this translation was made). It offers a general summation of the Salzburg Conference and of the motions adopted at its conclusion, going into a little more detail on the intended management of the Inter-State Chancellery and the NSPDV and also providing some additional context regarding Dr. Riehl’s closing remarks to the Salzburg delegates. – Bogumil
Inter-State Delegation of the National Socialists of Greater Germany.
As previously reported, the organizers of the Inter-State Conference, particularly the older leaders among the National Socialists of Czechoslovakia and Austria, were especially satisfied with the participation of the völkisch National Socialist groups in Germany, which had emerged so rapidly, identically-oriented and without any direct influence from Austria, out of their own accord, so to speak. The turnout from Germany was remarkably splendid. From the so-called German Socialist Party, headquartered in Hanover, party-chairman Ing. Brunner (Düsseldorf), leading member Dr. Runge (Leipzig), as well as Sesselmann and six representatives from other north German cities all appeared in spite of passport difficulties and the long journey. On the very first day, from the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, based in Munich, there arrived along with its chairman, metalworker Drexler (Munich), their principal agitator and extraordinarily popular speaker Hitler, as well as ten local group representatives from Augsburg, Sewald; six representatives from Rosenheim; Setteler from Kempten; Moser from Mannheim; Ulshöfer (from Stuttgart); and, on the second day of the proceedings, ten further south German representatives.36
The Guiding Principles, which were accepted as binding by all five völkisch-socialist parties, are enshrined in the following resolution, whose unanimous acceptance by the participants took place amid much jubilation and singing of the Wacht am Rhein:37
The representatives of the völkisch-socialist parties who assembled on the 7th and 8th of August 1920, namely the National Socialist Workers’ Party of Czechoslovakia, the National Socialist Party of Eastern Silesia (Poland, delegate Dr. Schilling), the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (headquarters, Munich), and the German Socialist Party (headquarters, Hanover), herewith declare their merger into the German National Socialist Party. The party chancellery of the National Socialist Party of German-Austria in Vienna, whose authority will expire with the convocation of the next Representatives’ Conference, is entrusted with the management of the Inter-State Chancellery until the next Representatives’ Conference.
The parties of the individual states are completely independent in tactical matters and draw up the programmes pertaining to their relevant national territories in accordance with the Guiding Principles of all National Socialists.
At the conclusion of the Inter-State Conference a motion was adopted with the following content, amid rousing cries of “Heil” and expressions of gratitude:
The all-German party conference warmly thanks the leader of the Inter-State Chancellery, Dr. Riehl, for his efforts to bring this convention about, as the lion’s share of responsibility for the unification of all groups is due to him, and it calls upon him to retain the leadership of the Chancellery until the next party conference, by which time a clarification of conditions in Germany is expected.
Hitler, National Socialist German Workers’ Party,
Brunner, German Socialist Party,
Knirsch, German National Socialist Party,
Dr. Schilling, Ing. Jung, Galle, Fr. Sieger, Ertl.
By noon on Sunday the agenda for the Representatives’ Conference was exhausted, and Dr. Riehl closed with an inspired speech in which he not only celebrated the significance of the conference as a milestone in the history of German National Socialism, but also emphasized that in actual fact the first true Greater German party has arisen from this conference, since organizations from every Gau of the Greater German Fatherland have merged into a single party with a uniform leadership. The chairman described the difficult course of development for the National Socialist idea, which now, in view of the fact that Marxism has also completely broken through within German districts, has the task of building up the edifice of a true German Socialism in this incipient period of Reaction, and of securing a happier future for the sorely afflicted German Volk. As ever in the world, social and national liberation will not be settled in peaceful conferences but, like all great events, with iron and the sword. Dr. Riehl called upon every nationalist representative – who, God willing, will soon gather together as a body again – to remain true to the cause and to preach and prepare the gospel of National Socialism until the hour of the German homeland draws near, in defiance of the Bolshevist affliction in northern Germany, the probable onset of Reaction, and the French authorities in southern Germany. Representatives from all five parties joined hands and sang the song “Wenn alle untreu werden.”
Taking part in the Representatives’ Conference were 174 German-Austrians, among whom the strong showing from Vienna and Lower Austria was particularly noticeable, six representatives from Czechoslovakia, one representative from Poland, and about 30 Reich-German representatives.
On Sunday afternoon a large proportion of the external38 representatives gathered together in Hellbrunn under the direction of Dr. Troyer39 and Landtag deputy Prodinger. On Monday evening there was an enthusiastic farewell at the Salzburg railway station, for the night train to Vienna was carrying off the bulk of the Austrian representatives from the beautiful Salzachstadt 40 while at the same time the Bavarian delegates were leaving us again for Germany. Not just the representatives, but also the majority of the public who happened to be present all sang the “Wacht am Rhein.”
The German Socialist Party Prepares for Merger
DSP Chairman Wilhelm Sachse’s Post-Salzburg Circular to Party-Members.
One of the key resolutions reached at the Salzburg Conference involved the proposed merger between the German Socialist Party and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Under the mediation of Rudolf Jung and Hans Knirsch, the DSP and NSDAP delegations made a provisional agreement regarding the unification of their parties, acknowledging that putting an end to their “fragmentation” and “division” would ultimately strengthen the National Socialist movement within the German Reich. To that end, it was decided that the parties would begin preparations for a merger at the DSP’s next national party conference in six months’ time. Part of these preparations involved ending their competition by dividing Germany into respective spheres of influence: the NSDAP would take southern Germany and incorporate all the existing DSP chapters there, while the DSP would take northern Germany and absorb any of that region’s nascent NSDAP branches. The exception was to be Nuremberg, where both parties would remain independent of one another but pledged to “work hand in hand.” To assist with these preparations, Wilhelm Sachse, the national chairman of the DSP, issued the following circular to German Socialist chapters throughout Germany, providing instructions on how they should strengthen their local branches as much as possible over the following months in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the more dynamic and better-organized NSDAP when it came time to officially unite. Despite this busy-work on the part of the DSP, the proposed merger never actually took place. Hitler had second thoughts about the idea almost immediately after returning from Salzburg, and although not yet party-leader he managed to persuade others in the NSDAP leadership to turn their backs on the proposal. Subsequent correspondence from Sachse to the NSDAP leadership in Munich, requesting the details of NSDAP groups in Berlin and Westphalia so they could be incorporated into the DSP, was thus met with an unexpectedly aggressive response: an unsigned letter refusing the request, accusing the German Socialists of bad faith, and effectively annulling the agreement reached at Salzburg, stating instead that the two parties would now merely have to settle for “peaceful co-existence”! Genuine merger negotiations would not renew again until March the following year, when Drexler (acting against Hitler’s demands) attended the DSP’s party conference in Zeitz and tentatively reopened the discussion. – Bogumil
German Socialist Party
Electoral Association Hanover E.V.
Post Office Box 270
Postal Account 26623
12 September 1920
The federal conference in Salzburg resulted in the unification of the National Socialists of Austria and Munich with the German Socialists. The merger of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party of Munich with our party has been provisionally completed and will be definitively settled at our next party conference in Nuremberg.41 Since an agreement concerning the name [of the merged party] could not be reached, a final decision on this will also be adopted at the party conference. In the meantime, the following agreement has been concluded:
All local groups of our party situated in southern Germany (Bavaria, Baden) have to affiliate with the National Socialists, while in return every National Socialist German Workers’ Party member in northern, western, eastern, and central Germany is subordinated to the DSP and uses the name of the DSP. Furthermore, the Inter-State Chancellery has been established in Vienna under the leadership of Herr Dr. Riehl. Accordingly, our next party conference will be attended by National Socialists from Bavaria and Austria. The political situation and our contemporary experiences have in the meantime instructed us as to whether “National” or “German” is better received by the broad masses. On the basis of our membership numbers, it is far more important for us to be able to affirm our goals through a larger number of delegates at our representatives’ conference, for at present it is clear that the National Socialist German Workers’ Party emphasizes “National” far more strongly in its guidelines than it does “German” and “Social.”
We must not be pushed against the wall; rather, at the very least we need to keep pace with Bavaria. It is therefore essential for all German Socialists to engage in vigorous recruitment.
The full attention of leaders and sub-leaders must, for the moment, be devoted to promotional activities.
To that end, the most appropriate thing seems to be to engage in lively agitation via meetings. Promotional encouragements in the form of book prizes and commendations are an old, albeit never-failing means of getting everyone to work. Recruitment also involves attracting well-known men and women from every part of Germany, not just those from the district of one’s own place of residence, in order that the network of local groups is completed. Incidentally, this promotional activity will be supported from here through advertisements placed in a wide variety of newspapers. The mailing addresses of newspapers suitable for this purpose are therefore requested.
An arrangement into provincial districts, electoral districts, and local groups will be disseminated at the end of this week. Preparations which appear suitable are to be made now, and must be capable of being adjusted immediately afterwards.
Herr Brunner is drawing up guidelines which, in conjunction with the current guidelines, will also take into consideration the outcome of the National Socialist conference [in Salzburg]. In the meantime, a limited number of guidelines, along with membership applications and a listing of all existing local groups, have gone into print here, samples of which will be shipped out next week. Money must be kept on hand for any orders, since dispatch can only be made against cash on delivery, or by sending the sum of the pure cost price in advance.
The executive committee in Hanover intends to launch a remote speakers’ school in such a fashion that a task report will be issued to all participating local groups once a week. The material is to be inferred from our party’s target objectives. All local groups are desired to participate in this, in view of the fact that promotional lectures constitute an essential weapon for our party.
I would like to request that all local groups report the addresses of the working-groups which have formed in their areas as quickly as possible, as well as individual partners from areas where founding [a party branch] has not yet been possible. I require these in order to be able to direct enquiries to the right people, because it has repeatedly occurred that in places where two or even more people wish to register for our party who know nothing of one another, and who therefore put off registering until the first one is found, these people need to be referred to one another before they are members.
In order to publicize our party-organ Deutscher Sozialist42 it is recommended that members be directed to demand the D.S. at newsagents, in bookstores, in guest-houses, at the barbers, and wherever else newspapers are on display, the goal being that even those who are still completely unfamiliar with our movement will become aware of us.
Let no German Socialist forget to recruit for us when on trips of a commercial or personal nature; in particular, he must also act as a promotional speaker in those local groups which can be linked with his travel destination. Such external speakers always have a much stronger impact upon guests and are more stimulating for members. Arrangements will be undertaken from here, if direct communication is not necessary. I would also like to ask that you name those gentlemen who are willing to work when on the road in return for the reimbursement of their costs. It is desirable to specify the districts and a more detailed description of the material that the speaker has mastered. At the same time, I am asking these local groups to request of suitable speakers wishing to convene public meetings that they indicate the amount available for this purpose and whether lodging can be provided free of charge. Even if at the moment we cannot expect to satisfy everyone’s desires, in the course of time things will be arranged to everyone’s satisfaction. It is imperative, of course, that everyone renders service to the cause to the best of his ability.
Also, do not forget to report here anything that can bring us closer to our goals, so that it is made possible for every local group to perform fruitful work.
The German Freedom Party has begun its own recruiting again, because it is not satisfied with our position towards Silvio Gesell.43 It has great plans prepared with respect to propagandizing in working-class circles, and hence wants to persuade us to adapt our goals to its own. Hunckel circulated his appeal for this a few days ago. It is important for us to bear in mind that there should be no place in our promotional meetings for quarrelling over theories, which usually leads to disappointing results. What is critical for us is that which was decided upon in our last circular and in its supplement at our last party conference in Leipzig. Thus, everyone should remember that the time until the next party conference must now be utilized such that we are no longer able to be pushed to one side, for then we will no longer be alone and our numbers will be decisive. But we want to and must retain the seal of true German Socialism in our hands.
In the process, the collection of funds should also not be forgotten. In the future, these communications will appear every 14 days and should decisively contribute to the exchange of ideas with the leadership, fostering productive work. Letters for such purpose are to be sent here by the 10th and 30th of each month. Likewise, the leaders will endeavour to have regular reports sent here in future, which will consistently facilitate me in informing the executive about the way things are going in order that everyone does his duty. From here, the most extensive assistance is guaranteed. In this spirit,
with truly German greetings,
signed W. Sachse,
Mailing address henceforward: Koebelingerstrasse 14 II.
Post Office Box 270 will remain in effect for the Hanover local group. After the administrative districts have been categorized, such an exchange of ideas will also be organized for the district leaders.
The Salzburg Conference in Retrospect:
Hitler Hitler Hitler!
The Völkischer Beobachter of 20 April, 1939.
The article translated below is a more retrospective piece, first published in the Austrian edition of the Völkischer Beobachter nearly 20 years after the Salzburg Conference. Appearing long after Hitler’s accession to the general leadership of the inter-state National Socialist movement, and after the conclusion of the German-Austrian Anschluss in 1938, this article acts as something of a contrast to the pieces translated above, which were produced in a period when Hitler was still just one “party-comrade” among many. Published as part of a special edition of the Völkischer Beobachter released in celebration of the Führer’s 50th birthday, the article below discusses the Salzburg Conference and its aftermath entirely in a Hitlerian context, reframing the conference and its aftermath as being stepping-stones on Hitler’s path to greatness. One of the more significant features of the article is that it provides detail on the speaking tour of Austrian DNSAP branches which Hitler conducted almost immediately after the conference, a significant event in inter-state NS relations which is often ignored by historians despite it playing an important role in the development of the Hitler-myth outside Germany. The article notably also includes some excerpts from the speech which Hitler delivered to the Salzburg Conference, a speech which was received with great acclaim by attendees and which likewise also helped cement his reputation in Austrian and Sudeten NS circles. A translation of Hitler’s speech can be viewed here. – Bogumil
Political Beginnings in the Ostmark:
“We Wish Now for a Word from Herr Party-Comrade Hitler…”
Salzburg 1920: “We demand a Greater Germany!” – Two Hitler Assemblies in Vienna, October 1920: “All of Vienna is Alarmed” – The Renowned Sophiensaal Meeting of 17 June, 1922 – Salzburg 1923.
Vienna, March 1939.
Dr. Walter Lohmann.
There is a group photograph from the Inter-State National Socialist Party Conference in Salzburg, of 7 and 8 August 1920, in which Adolf Hitler can be seen in the midst of his party-comrades; one among many, a National Socialist from Munich of whom nothing was yet known in the Ostmark when he stepped foot in it for the first time after the World War in order to attend this party congress, and who in a flash became famous to everyone assembled there when he stood before them and unveiled the full power of his formidable personality through a programmatic speech. This Inter-State Conference is called, with complete justification, a milestone in the history of the movement; this Salzburg party congress, at which the leading representatives of the National Socialists of Germany, Austria, the Sudetenland, and Poland came together and resolved to unite in common struggle for a National Socialist Greater Germany. When today, with a National Socialist Greater Germany standing before us, one reads through the handwritten minutes of that party congress which valiant party-comrades have faithfully guarded over the years and which have now been handed over to the Hauptarchiv44 of the NSDAP, one is deeply touched by the firm belief in the future, the prophetic farsightedness, the spirit of Greater German solidarity which radiates from these negotiations and from the speeches of those men who in those days were the standard-bearers of National Socialism in the German region, which was still divided by national borders.
One can only do justice to the full magnitude and significance of this harmony, however, when one keeps in mind that here in Salzburg the five different National Socialist groups came together for the first time and that, for all the essential similarity [Wesensähnlichkeit] of these groups, numerous concepts had yet to be clarified and certain differences in opinion still needed to be bridged. Behind the struggle for a common party name there also stood conceptual differences of a more profound nature. And the Austrian and Sudeten-German National Socialists were slightly inclined to believe that their inclination towards the Reich was not always reciprocated there to the same extent.
There can be no doubt that Adolf Hitler’s appearance made a decisive contribution towards turning the will to unity into action, overcoming all inhibitions and thereby giving this party congress quite an uplifting conclusion.
When, following Dr. Jung and Ing. Brunner, the chairman gave him the floor by saying:
“We wish now for a word from Herr party-comrade Hitler”
and he stepped briskly up to the lectern, all faces there turned intently towards him. What will this Herr Hitler from Munich have to say, they surely wondered, without expecting anything exceptional.
Barely had he started, however – “I am almost ashamed that only today, after so many years, has that same movement which began in German-Austria as early as 1904 begun to gain a foothold in the German Reich,” – and already he was casting his spell over everyone, as surviving eyewitnesses recount.
“We demand a Greater Germany, the unification of all German tribes,” – Why shouldn’t these words, which Adolf Hitler hammered out into the hall and into the world, find a roaring echo in a meeting in which primarily sat National Socialist men from the Ostmark and the Sudetenland, men who had only recently been crudely thrust by enemy hands into an uncertain fate full of misery and privation? Can we not understand precisely, we who today see realized what at that time was still a far distant prospect, the enthusiasm of those men in the Landtagssaale of Salzburg when he concluded: “Something which I will be proud and glad to be able to declare in Munich is that, if the conference has not achieved anything else, then it achieved one thing – the courage to continue working to a greater extent than hitherto. And the conviction that this work is successful makes me aware that you harbor the same thoughts, that you know only one goal: firstly, Germany above all else in the world, and secondly, that our Germany reaches as far as the German tongue is heard!”
The deep impression left by Adolf Hitler’s groundbreaking and pioneering words, of whose future greatness many already had an inkling, was summed up by the chairman in the words: “Come what may, we are all moved and no-one is disappointed after the splendid words which we have experienced just now, for so seldom have we heard such heartfelt love expressed so directly from the Reich-German side.”
From then on Salzburg remained particularly closely interlinked with Munich National Socialism, a consequence of Hitler’s impressive appearance, but beyond that the Salzburg party congress of 1920 remained a landmark for the Greater German National Socialist popular movement [Volksbewegung], even if it still underwent some stages of development and crisis in the period leading up to the National Socialist Greater German Reich.
But Adolf Hitler, who had taken by storm the hearts of the Austrian party-comrades, was now all of a sudden the man being assailed from all sides to place his suggestive power, his oratorical talent, at the disposal of the upcoming National Socialist electoral meetings in the Ostmarkgauen. And he did not hesitate to cooperate with the urging of his Austrian party-comrades. On 29 September he began a meeting tour in Innsbruck, which took him via Salzburg to Vienna, Baden, St. Pölten and the Waldviertel, and everywhere people flocked together to hear him speak. A series of telegrams sent from the various district party-leaderships and local party-leaderships to the Inter-State Chancellery in Vienna testify to the value attached to Hitler’s presence. The people of Styria were particularly concerned about acquiring him, but his visit there could not be made possible. “Hitler’s cancellation, terrible disappointment, serious harm,” – so wired the party from Bruck an der Mur at the time when they discovered that Hitler could not come. Members from Graz pointed out in a letter to the Viennese party-leadership that, “party-comrade Hitler would be of enormous importance as a speaker for us Grazer.“
“Under no circumstances can we do without an appearance from party-comrade Hitler of Munich,” categorically declared the district leadership of Gmünd in a letter, “the view of the area’s contributing party-comrades is that, should Hitler not to be made available to the local electoral constituency, then the local party-comrades and also the area’s district party-leadership must draw the necessary conclusions…”
Hitler’s appearances everywhere were a great success. “Herr Hitler is a brilliant speaker,” wrote the Innsbrucker Nachrichten on the occasion of the Innsbruck mass meeting, “his remarks, put forward with rhetorical verve, met with general applause and may have won over many who still looked upon the party with suspicion. But Herr Hitler is also a firebrand, possessing the power to disseminate viewpoints with compelling logic, and he also seems to have the energy required to achieve success as the leader of a political party.”
On 6 October he spoke in St Pölten, where the Red bigwigs [Bonzen] had encouraged their people to “take a look” at the Nazi meeting. When the Marxist wire-pullers noticed that Hitler was a “dangerous” speaker they whipped up a chorus of noise, and then came a verbal duel with two Marxist spokesmen who, however, were no match for Hitler, so that once again the Reds sought their salvation in raving.
On 8 and 9 October Adolf Hitler then spoke for the first time at two large election meetings in Vienna, at the Gschwandner in the Hernals Hauptstraße and at the Marokkaner in the Prater. Fourteen days beforehand, people in Vienna were already eagerly awaiting Adolf Hitler’s first public appearance in this city on the Danube. “All of Vienna is already on alert,” wrote the Viennese party-leadership on 22 September to Hitler in Munich. The Austrian party newspaper Deutsche Arbeiterpresse announced in a special edition with enormous headlines that the “National Socialist labor leader Adolf Hitler from Munich” would be speaking in Vienna. Hitler’s appearance in Vienna, which had to be considered a bold experiment in view of the Marxist predominance there, was a one-hundred-percent success: “A full hall and the roaring enthusiasm of an audience consisting almost exclusively of workers,” – so exulted the Deutsche Arbeiterpresse, and “it goes without saying that the second Hitler assembly at the Marokkaner in the Prater was jam-packed for eastern Vienna!”45
Nearly two years later, on 15 June 1922, Adolf Hitler came to Vienna once again in order to speak there in the Sophiensälen, one of the largest venues in Vienna, in connection with a joint leadership conference with the heads of the Austrian and Sudeten-German National Socialists. With posters and flyers the population were invited to attend the mass meeting on 17 June, the purpose of which was to rouse the Viennese and to “show them the path which uniquely and exclusively leads to salvation.”
Adolf Hitler did not speak in Vienna again until the revolution.46 By contrast, he spoke in Salzburg once more at the August 1923 party conference, which marked the provisional conclusion of the period of Austrian National Socialism’s first stormy advance. Three years earlier in Salzburg Adolf Hitler had still been the unknown National Socialist from Bavaria, but this time the announcement that he would be speaking at the Reitschule was sufficient to trigger a genuine stampede into that massive hall.
Again the Deutsche Arbeiterpresse reports. How completely different this appearance was in contrast to three years ago, when he, the stranger from the ranks of the party-comrades, stepped up to the lectern:
“There, cheering from the street! Horns honking! A car pulls up. Adolf Hitler enters the hall through a side entrance near the stage and, with Pg.47 Esser and Captain Goering, strides through a cordon of Stormtroopers up to the speaker’s platform. Deafening, booming, thunderously roaring cheers and cries of ‘Heil’ wash over the hall for minutes on end, kerchiefs and hats are waved, swastika banners are dipped in salute, the Stormtroopers stand at attention… And Adolf Hitler begins to speak. His voice is throaty from speeches in countless mass meetings. And what he pronounces is no simple political speech, it is the proclamation of a holy gospel, words drawn from the deepest breast of a man steeped in the holiness of his mission, overshadowed by its weight and by its magnitude. The army of thousands listens at his feet with bated breath… His speech is a single iron indictment against all those who have criminally shattered the Holy German Reich. Yet it is much more than that, it is the Song of Songs, it is a symphony of death-defying determination and unyielding awareness of strength. If anyone turns the German tide, it will be Adolf Hitler, he is the incarnation of Germany’s destiny and its future… Adolf Hitler speaks for an hour and a half, and when he has finished the echo of a powerful experience lies over the assembly, manifesting itself in storms of applause whose duration and intensity are beyond any possible description!”
Adolf Hitler’s farewell to the Ostmark proved prescient for many years into the future, for the system governments issued a travel ban against him, whom they classified a ‘foreigner’ after the November Putsch, a ban which only passed in 1932 when the hardest struggle in the Ostmark began. Only secretly via the radio did the Ostmark Germans experience the great speeches of Adolf Hitler, who had in the meantime gained power in the Reich. But the demand for Anschluss from the Salzburg party conference remained pioneering until the day of freedom also arrived for the Ostmark, when Adolf Hitler personally fulfilled what he had at that time set with great foresight as a goal alongside the leading men of the Austrian and Sudeten-German National Socialists.
1. Although the NSDAP and DSP were essentially in accord when it came to their general programmes and worldview (Alfred Brunner, the leader of the DSP, described the NSDAP as being “in and of itself of our spirit”), there was a degree of conflict at times in the relationship between the two parties which lasted until the DSP’s eventual collapse in September/October 1921. The DAP had been founded in Munich on 5 January 1919, while a German Socialist ‘working-group’ had been established there in October 1919 (reconstituted as a party chapter on 20 January 1920); this essentially put the two parties in competition. At the same time, Max Sesselmann, a leading branch-member of the Munich DSP, was also listed on the membership rolls of the (NS)DAP and was a leading proponent of merger between the two groups, having been attempting to bring this about since before the DSP’s first party conference in April 1920. The NSDAP’s reluctance to go through yet another name change, along with its disregard for the DSP’s focus on programmatic and theoretical work rather than on active propaganda and agitation, were major sticking points preventing amalgamation. Such resistance led to suspicions among some members of the DSP that the NSDAP might be being secretly directed by reactionary forces, something intimated at in the transcript of the DSP’s second national party conference, held in Leipzig over 30 July – 2 August 1920:
Sesselmann, Munich: Last year we founded the [Munich branch of the] Schutz- und Trutzbund. The [National Socialist German] Workers’ Party in Munich stands only upon the grounds of a temporary programme. I conducted the negotiations [with them] at the request of the last party conference. These failed. – We understand how stigmatized the word “national” is. For us it is German Socialism that matters. It will likely not be possible to achieve unification yet, as we are holding fast on the name.
Streicher, Nuremberg: The speaker of the National Socialist Workers’ Party [probably meaning Adolf Hitler] threatened: “We will soon come and and convene a meeting in Nuremberg.” I now ask myself: How does our party position itself, how do we wish to respond? I for my part say that behind this party stands a certain power which we may well have to fight against.
Brunner, Düsseldorf: I have the following view: That we go to Munich and try to reach an agreement with these people. If this doesn’t work then it would be our last attempt; then come radical measures. We do not want to be an appendage of the Deutscher Schutz- und Trutzbund, we want to be something new. The Deutscher Schutz- und Trutzbund is against us.
Sesselmann, Munich: If an agreement cannot be reached, then we must accept the division and determine things for ourselves.
2. Meant here is the “National Socialist Party of the German Volk” (Nationalsozialistische Partei des deutschen Volkes, NSPDV). There was a certain slapdash lack of consistency in the naming conventions of early National Socialist parties. The NSDAP programme still made reference to the “German Workers’ Party” throughout its text, for example, and the NSPDV was likewise occasionally referred to by adherents as the “National Socialist Party of Greater Germany,” or as the “German National Socialist Party” or the “National Socialist Workers’ Party” (the latter two names even being used within its own programme!). The Austrian DNSAP was particularly confusing in this regard. At some point between 1918 and 1922 it seems to have formally changed its name to the “National Socialist Party of German-Austria” (Nationalsozialistische Partei Deutschösterreichs), as evidenced by the details on its membership cards, but it was still being called the “German National Socialist Workers’ Party” in official party publications well into the mid-to-late ’20s.
3. Dr. Walter Riehl (b.1881 – d.1955) was, alongside Rudolf Jung and Hans Knirsch, one of the most significant figures within the early National Socialist movement. Riehl came from a progressive family tradition – his grandfather, a lawyer, had been a participant in the 1848 Revolution and was a Radical (i.e. left-liberal) member of the Frankfurt Assembly and the later Austrian Reichsrat, while his father, also a politically-active lawyer, was a socially-conscious man whose home was frequented by prominent Social-Democrats like Alois Ausobsky, Franz Schuhmeier, and Engelbert Pernerstorfer. The last of these, a significant leader among Austrian Social-Democrats and a key advocate of Social-Democracy’s ‘national’ tendency, made a strong impression upon a young Walter Riehl, and Riehl consequently became an active Social-Democrat as well as a lawyer like his father and grandfather. Riehl’s direct experiences of Czech-German ethnic conflict in the industrial areas of northern Bohemia saw him develop German-nationalist sympathies, and by 1909 he had left the Social-Democrats for the DAPÖ, disillusioned with the internationalist line of Austrian Social-Democracy. Riehl’s radical activism on behalf of ethnic-German workers helped make his name within the nascent National Socialist movement: as an activist he established kindergartens for women workers, set up labor exchanges for German jobseekers, and ran educational activities for the nationalist trade-unions (at times he also mobilized German labor activists to physically attack the meetings of rival Czech workers). Riehl was also responsible for helping Rudolf Jung rewrite the DAPÖ programme for the 1913 party conference in Iglau, and his activism on behalf of the party was invaluable to some of its early electoral successes, including the election of its three Reichsrat delegates in 1911. Riehl was conscripted during WWI and after returning home was elected chairman of the Austrian DNSAP at the December 1918 party conference, later also serving as chair of the Inter-State Chancellery. Riehl eventually left the DNSAP in 1923 on account of his frustration with Hitler’s growing influence over the National Socialist movement, and in 1924 he founded a small, competing organization: the “German-Social Association” (Deutschsoziale Verein).
4. Hans Prodinger (b.1887 – d.1938) was a commercial employee and labor activist who worked as a paid official of the DHV (a white-collar workers’ union; see footnote 9, below). Prodinger joined the Salzburg branch of the DAPÖ in 1913 and wrote for the local branch newspaper, the Deutscher Volksruf. Throughout his political career in the DAPÖ/DNSAP Prodinger served as a member of the Salzburg Municipal Council (1919-1920), as a member of the Salzburg Landtag (1919-1927), and as a member of the Salzburg Chamber of Labor (1921-1928). He was also party-chairman of the Salzburg DNSAP for a brief period in 1922. Prodinger was known for being a particularly militant unionist and pro-labor firebrand (something which helped him become head of the Austrian DHV in 1928), and after the 1926 DNSAP split between pro- and anti-Hitler factions he sided with the leftist, anti-Hitler ‘Schulz wing’. Later he left the DNSAP for the bourgeois-nationalist Greater German People’s Party (Grossdeutsche Volkspartei, GdVP), then became an active member of the Fatherland Front during the Austrofascist period. For this ‘betrayal’ in particular he was arrested by Austrian National Socialists after the 1938 Anschluss, dying not long after in the Dachau concentration camp.
5. Hans Wagner (b.1891 – d.1957) was a labor activist and a telegraphist for Austria’s state railway company. In 1912 he founded the Deutscher Volksruf, a trade-union newspaper which became the party-organ of the Salzburg DAPÖ in 1913. Wagner acted as party-chairman of the Salzburg DNSAP from 1918-1920, served as a member of the Salzburg Landtag from 1918-1922, and was briefly a Municipal Councillor in 1919. Wagner sided with the moderate ‘Schulz wing’ of the DNSAP after the 1926 party split, but nonetheless later reconciled with the Hitlerians and joined the German Labor Front and NSDAP after the 1938 Anschluss.
6. Ferdinand Ertl (b.1877 – d.1952) was an Austrian railway official and trade-unionist. Ertl was a National Socialist from the first days of the movement, having attended the founding meetings of the DAPÖ in 1903-04, and in 1909 he was elected to the party’s central leadership committee. Ertl was a highly active participant in Austria’s national labor movement, serving at various times as the chairman of the Trade-Union of German Railwaymen (Gewerkschaft deutscher Eisenbahner), as honorary chairman of the German Transport Union (deutschen Verkehrsgewerkschaft), and as chairman of the German Trade-Union Federation for Austria (Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbundes für Österreich). Ertl represented the more moderate wing of the National Socialist movement, being strongly supportive of reformist, parliamentary tactics and of National Socialism’s close association with organized labor. In November 1925 Ertl would, through somewhat convoluted means, become the DNSAP’s first representative in the post-War Austrian parliament, taking a seat in the Nationalrat which had been vacated following the death of Emmy Stradal, a member of the Greater German People’s Party.
7. Walter Gattermayer (b.1882 – d.?) was another trade-union leader with a railway background (Austria’s railways were a hotbed of blue-collar ethnic nationalism, with railway workers making up approximately 25% of the membership of the nationalist trade-unions by the outbreak of WWI). Gattermayer was known for being a particularly aggressive unionist and, like other DNSAP leaders, had an expansive history as a labor activist. In 1906 he became an executive member of the Association of Germans in Lower Austria (Bundes der Deutschen in Niederösterreich), a protective association for ethnic-German workers; in 1908 he was elected to the central leadership of the Reich Federation of German Railwaymen (Reichsbund Deutscher Eisenbahner), yet another transportation union; and from 1916 to 1922 he served as first chairman of the Reich Federation of German Employees’ Associations (Reichsverbandes deutscher Arbeitnehmer-vereinigungen), a mixed-occupation labor federation. In 1909 he helped establish the General Trade Association (General Gewerkverein), a central office intended to coordinate the various nationalist unions, and he also acted for a time as chair of the German Trade-Union Council (Deutschen Gewerkschaftsrates). Gattermayer joined the DAPÖ in 1909 and came to the fore within the party during the Great War, when he was responsible (along with Rudolf Jung and Ferdinand Burschofsky) for keeping the DAPÖ afloat while most of its membership were off fighting at the front. Gattermayer is credited in party histories with putting forward the proposal to change the DAPÖ’s name to the “German National Socialist Workers’ Party,” a motion initiated by him at a DAPÖ conference in Aussig, Bohemia in April 1918. Like many labor leaders in the DNSAP, he threw his lot in with the leftist/moderate ‘Schulz wing’ of the DNSAP after the 1926 party split.
8. Karl Schulz was a leading official in the German Postal Workers’ Union (Gewerkschaft deutscher Postler,) and at the time of the Salzburg Conference was also the Viennese district leader of the DNSAP. Schulz became national chairman of the Austrian DNSAP in late 1923 after Walter Riehl stood down due to his frustration with Hitler’s growing influence over the movement. Schulz ironically proved to be even more averse to Hitler than Riehl had been, trying to maintain an independent line vis-à-vis the NSDAP and continuously insisting that the DNSAP preserve its culture as a moderate-reformist party of organized labor. Schulz’s leadership decisions proved unpopular with the younger, more radical members of the Austrian party, and on 4 May 1926 these revolutionary dissidents left the DNSAP to found their own group: the “National Socialist German Workers’ Association – Hitler-Movement” (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterverein – Hitlerbewegung, NSDAV-HB). The competing ‘Schulz group’ made various attempts at rapprochement with the Hitlerians over the years, but every effort failed, and on 2 March 1930 the DNSAP leadership declared the party’s break with Hitler and the NSDAV-HB (and, by extension, with the German NSDAP) final and irrevocable. Schulz’s attempts at maintaining an independent line did not ultimately prove successful, and under Schulz’s leadership the DNSAP’s membership numbers progressively dwindled. In 1931 the swastika was removed from the masthead of the party newspaper, the Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse, and in June 1933 the party publicly applauded the Dollfuss government’s decree banning the Hitler-Movement. When the Austro-Fascist government banned all political parties in 1934, the DNSAP actually commended the decision and willingly dissolved itself in response. An account of a March 1933 ‘Schulz group’ meeting by a Hitlerian observer, as recounted in F.L. Carsten’s Fascist Movements in Austria (Sage Publications, 1977), provides a telling insight into Schulz’s style and the general content of his worldview:
In March 1933 Schulz held a meeting in the Mariahilf district of Vienna which was attended by only 35 people, among whom were ten women. Among the points made by Schulz, the most interesting are his comments on Hitler as the new German chancellor… Hitler’s “first deed,” Schulz declared, “has been to put on a top hat and tails for purposes of representation” (actually Hitler had worn a morning coat on the Day of Potsdam a week earlier). “His achievements,” Schulz continued, “have not benefited the worker so far; workers’ leaders have been arrested… The successes gained hitherto are not the achievements of the Leader’s genius but those of the brutal and loyal gendarme Goering.” The treatment of the trade unions was contrary to the workers’ interests; it was even planned to deprive the German worker entirely of his rights after the Italian [i.e. Fascist] pattern, where a workman was not allowed to change his job (this was a remarkably accurate forecast). In Schulz’s opinion Hitler had “no programme,” for his Twenty-Five Points had nothing in common with the original National Socialist programme… The [pro-Hitler] National Socialist observer at the meeting thought that there was no enthusiasm and no drive among Schulz’s followers; several of them left before the meeting was over. He classified them as grumblers and people who knew everything better.
9. I could not find any information on who Legmann might be. The DHV is the Deutschnationaler Handlungsgehilfen-Verband, the German-National Association of Commercial Employees, a white-collar workers’ union founded in Hamburg, Germany in 1893. The DHV was the largest and most successful white-collar union in Germany, growing rapidly from 50,216 members in 1903 to over 409,000 in 1931, and it counted bookstores, publishing houses, and educational institutes among its assets. The DHV considered itself politically neutral, but its founders had been influenced by the Christian Socialism of rabble-rousing Lutheran pastor Adolf Stöcker, and its organizational culture was permeated by völkisch-nationalism; Jews could not be members. At various times in Germany it directed its support towards politicians of the center-right German People’s Party (Deutsche Volkspartei, DVP), the bourgeois-nationalist German National People’s Party (Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP), and the NSDAP. An Austrian branch of the DHV was founded in Vienna in 1903. In Austria the union was much less neutral politically, associating itself fairly directly with the DAPÖ from the beginning of its activities.
11. Ing. Rudolf Jung (b.1882 – d.1945) should be a familiar figure to readers of this blog – a number of his articles have been translated here, as well as the 2nd edition of his book on National Socialist ideology. At the time of the Salzburg Conference, Jung was the second chairman of the Czechoslovakian (Sudeten) branch of the DNSAP (Hans Knirsch was first chair), and was also an elected member of the Chamber of Deputies in Prague, serving there until the Sudeten DNSAP’s forced dissolution in 1933. Jung was an active participant in the various meetings held over 1920-1922 which were intended to negotiate a merger between the NSDAP, DSP, and three DNSAPs. “Ing.”, incidentally, is an honorific title short for “Ingenieur” (“engineer”), signifying that the individual bearing it has a doctorate in engineering.
12. Hans Knirsch (b.1877 – d.1933) was, alongside Walter Riehl and Rudolf Jung, one of the key personalities of the early National Socialist movement. Born in Triebendorf, Moravia, into a poor working-class factory, Knirsch trained as a weavers’ apprentice and later worked as a foreman in a textile factory, where he was first introduced to socialist and radical-democratic ideals. Knirsch was heavily involved in the development of Austria-Hungary’s national labor movement, and he was counted among the co-founders of the DAPÖ in 1903-04, being elected chair of the German-Bohemian branch at the party’s founding conference. In 1906 an amalgamated meeting of various nationalist workers’ groups voted Knirsch their Gewerkschaftsführer (“trade-union leader”), and in 1909 he and Walter Gattermayer set up the General Gewerkverein as a central coordinating body for the nationalist workers’ associations, occupational unions, and labor federations. By 1911 Knirsch had been chosen to be the electoral candidate of the ethnic-German miners of north-western Bohemia, and in this capacity (as a DAPÖ representative) he was elected to the Austrian Reichsrat, to which he belonged until 1918. After the Great War, in which Knirsch served as a volunteer, he returned to German-Austria and delivered a famous speech at the Constituent National Assembly in which he was the first elected representative there to openly demand Austria’s incorporation into Germany:
Only in a unified German state can we Germans of the Eastern March [Ostmarkdeutsche] hope to realize those state-socialist principles which will heal the wounds caused by this war and which will lead our 80 million Volk into a prosperous future of work and activity. Long live free, social Pan-Germany!
In 1920 Knirsch became first chairman of the Czechoslovakian (Sudeten) DNSAP, and from 1920-33 he served as an elected member of the Czechoslovakian Chamber of Deputies. Knirsch’s long history in the National Socialist and national labor movements, his skills as a writer and public speaker, his experience as a parliamentarian, and his expert organizational abilities, all made him an invaluable member of the DNSAP. In 1933, after the DNSAP was banned in Czechoslovakia and most of its elected representatives imprisoned, Knirsch managed to avoid incarceration but refused to be extradited to Germany, instead remaining in Czechia (sometimes living in hiding) in order to provide aid to the families of those National Socialists held in prison. He died not long afterwards, with his comrades blaming the Czech state for contributing to his death. After the Sudeten Anschluss, a commemorative monument with a guard of honor was erected at Knirsch’s grave.
13. Dr. Alexander Schilling-Schletter was, like many in the early National Socialist movement, a former Social-Democrat. After coming over to the National Socialists he became a fairly prominent member of the DAPÖ/DNSAP, being a highly prolific author of ideological pamphlets and newspaper articles, many of which were focused on critiquing Marxist socialism. Schilling was primarily associated with the Austrian wing of the DNSAP, but during the early 1920s he was involved in the leadership of the Polish (Silesian) branch, hence his position as their representative at the Salzburg Conference. Later he left the DNSAP for Dr. Walter Riehl’s splinter-movement, the German-Social Association. Schilling’s various ruminations on his disillusionment with Social-Democracy, such as this extract from a piece which appeared in the Salzburger Volksblatt of 18 April 1916, provide some insight into his anti-capitalist, social-reformist worldview:
I had to realize that the Social-Democratic Party is not at all interested in the well-being of the workers. I noted in particular that they disdain all real social reforms. In leadership circles it was stated quite candidly that it was in the interest of the party to preserve the dissatisfaction of the broad masses, for this dissatisfaction is the springboard to attaining mandates. I encountered within these circles an intentional disrespect for the working-classes, especially among the socialist intellectuals, but most notably among Dr. [Benno] Karpels and director [Julius] Deutsch. Party-comrades complained bitterly to me about it. Dr. Karpels, for example, travels by train first-class from Vienna to Tetschen, has his own carriage, even brings his own cook along on the trip. Yet in Tetschen Dr. Karpels acts like a worker and in Warnsdorf he drinks brandy with the workers. In Vienna he then recounts at the card table how he is highly amused by this comedy, but that he is also repulsed by these people with whom he must drink in brotherhood. l was also outraged at the way the leaders enrich themselves. It is, after all, not a point in the programme that every socialist leader must be the owner of a villa and a house. All of this becomes a boundless hypocrisy when one then reproaches bourgeois society for what one is doing oneself, portraying its representatives as gluttons and spend-thrifts.
14. Josef Galle was a railway official and a DNSAP activist from Aussig, Bohemia. Galle had joined the party before 1918, serving for a time on a DAPÖ committee responsible for managing internal party affairs, and had been involved in helping to keep the DAPÖ afloat during the difficult years of the Great War.
16. Ing. Alfred Brunner (b.1871 – d.1936) was a Düsseldorf-based mechanical engineer and small factory director who, in his travels during the early years of his career, had come into contact with the National Socialists in Austria-Hungary (as early as 1904, according to some accounts) and had maintained contact with them since. Viewing himself as being on the left-wing of the nationalist movement, Brunner opted during the War to establish a völkisch-socialist organization of his own, and to that end began disseminating a draft outline for a German Socialist Party in 1918. There was an enthusiastic response to Brunner’s document, particularly in the north of Germany, and unofficial German Socialist working-groups and party-groups began springing up in response. On 24-26 April 1920 these various organizations convened in Hanover for the first party conference of the German Socialist Party, officially establishing the party on a national (and legally-recognized) basis. Brunner, who did not have the time to run the party himself, was officially elected to an honorary leadership position which recognized him as the “founder” and “spiritual leader” of the party, according him rank and influence but without necessarily committing him to specific concrete responsibilities. Brunner was an enthusiastic advocate for a DSP-NSDAP-DNSAP merger throughout 1920-22 but had very mixed feelings about Hitler, who continuously frustrated every attempt at unification made after the Salzburg Conference. In September 1922 the issue was settled for the DSP when the Nuremberg branch of the party, the only really active and successful chapter, defected en masse under branch-leader Julius Streicher to a rival organization (the Deutsche Werkgemeinschaft). At a meeting in Magdeburg the next month the leaders of the DSP conceded that the party was no longer viable and agreed to merge their remaining membership lists and resources into the NSDAP; only a few stalwart branches held out and tried to maintain an independent existence into 1923. I am not sure whether Brunner was one of those who went over to the NSDAP, but either way he does not seem to have been very active after the demise of the DSP, although he did briefly spend time in prison in mid-1923 for conducting protest actions against Düsseldorf’s French occupational authorities.
18. Fritz Geisler (b.1890 – d.1945?) was one of a number of non-National Socialists invited to the Salzburg Conference as guests, i.e. as observers without any voting rights. Guests were invited partly in the hope that they could be won over to membership in the movement. Geisler was a trained metalworker and engineer who had been active in Germany’s national labor movement since before WWI. He was probably the most politically prominent attendee from Germany; at the time he attended the Salzburg Conference, Geisler was an elected member of the German National Assembly (later Reichstag) for the center-right DVP. He remained in the Reichstag until 1928, although by 1924 he had left the DVP for the more overtly nationalist DNVP.
19. The Greater German Freedom Party (Grossdeutsche Freiheitspartei, GDFP) was a very minor party in Germany which advocated a “national-democratic” ideological line reminiscent of the deutschfreiheitliche political tradition in Austria: it was nationalist, moderately anti-Semitic, and anti-Marxist, but also explicitly supportive of democracy, parliamentarism, and progressive socio-economic reforms which prioritized workers and small businessmen over large corporations (described as “the limitation of big capital” in its programme). There were points of overlap between the GDFP and the National Socialists which led to communication and various discussions about potential unification. The German Socialist Party was particularly eager to arrange a merger with the GDFP, but found over time that the points of difference between the two groups were too strong. At the DSP’s first party conference in April 1920, Dr. Rudolf Runge observed that the GDFP was “völkisch in a washed-out form,” while Alfred Brunner noted that: “We also cannot collaborate with the Greater German Freedom Party, either. The Greater German Freedom Party do not want to be socialists, they wish to Germanize the Jews, their chairman is said to be a Jew…”
20. By “successor states” (“der Nachfolgestaaten”) is meant Poland and Czechoslovakia, two states created through the dismemberment of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and each containing a substantial ethnic-German minority population.
21. Franz Sieger was a typesetter and, at the time of the 2nd Inter-State Conference, the chair of the Salzburg branch of the DNSAP. Sieger also served as an elected member of Salzburg’s Municipal Council from 1919 to 1931.
22. Victor Adler (b.1852 – d.1918) was a prominent Social-Democrat and a leader of the Austrian party’s reformist wing. Adler, who was Jewish, had ironically begun his political career as a pro-German nationalist and had been one of the co-writers (along with Georg von Schönerer, Engelbert Pernerstorfer, and Heinrich Friedjung) of the 1882 Linz Programme, a deutschnational document which had strongly influenced the early ideological development of the DAPÖ.
23. The debate over the potential name for a united National Socialist party (and hence the issue of the name of the ideology in general) occupied a great deal of time in the various negotiations between the NS “brother-parties” during the early 1920s. “National Socialism” (“Nationalsozialismus” or “Nationaler Sozialismus”) and “German Socialism” (“Deutschsozialismus” or “Deutscher Sozialismus”) had essentially been synonymous terms since the movement’s beginnings, and the DAPÖ leadership had at times discussed the possibility of renaming their party the “German Socialist Party” or “German Socialist Workers’ Party” before the DNSAP name was eventually settled on. The membership of Brunner’s DSP were, by contrast, somewhat more averse to the word “national” since it was seen as being too reminiscent of “deutschnational,” a term associated with more traditionalist (i.e. reactionary) bourgeois nationalism. There were also arguments over whether the word “worker” should be included in the party name; some felt that it alienated middle-class supporters, while others contended that it was essential for the movement to openly emphasize its trade-union background. Even the word “party” was contested at times, since it was felt that its use served to legitimize the liberal parliamentary system. An example of such debates is provided in the transcript of the DSP’s third national party conference, held in Zeitz over 28-31 March 1921 (i.e. almost a year after the Salzburg Conference), which was attended by guest delegates from the DNSAP (both the Austrian and Czech branches) and the NSDAP:
Jung, Troppau (DNSAP): It is a question of uniting movements with the same goals and the same tendencies which are moving in parallel. On every side there is a fervent desire to bring about a merger without fail. However, the brother-parties in the German Reich must first come to an agreement before there is any point in joining with those on the other side of the border-posts [i.e. the Austrians and Sudeten-Germans]. On purely national grounds, it would be particularly welcomed if an agreement could be reached today.
Drexler, Munich (NSDAP): It is our desire too to finally achieve unification. However, you may understand that we have become somewhat suspicious after you failed to keep the agreement reached back in Salzburg. Nevertheless, we are ready for further negotiations. If there is to be a merger, we believe that we could proceed with the name in such a way that the word “movement” takes the place of the word “party.”
Holtz, Berlin (DSP): I can certainly agree with the statements made by the two previous speakers. I condemn the frenzy of fragmentation among parties which all have the same programme, programmes which in some places even have the same wording. I resolutely reject the term “workers’ party,” since the broad masses understand it to mean only manual workers. If we had had more resources at our disposal in northern Germany then our party would be much stronger, and no one [there] takes offense at our current name. I, too, am firmly in favor of a merger. What matters is not the name of the party, but the programme. Nonetheless, I suggest the following regarding the name: That the National Socialists give up the term “worker,” and that we give up “German” and replace it with “National.”
Bökenkamp, Bielefeld (DSP): Comrade [Deutschgenosse] Drexler’s point of view is completely wrong. If northern Germany had money like Munich, for example, then we would have at least 30,000 members in Westphalia. It doesn’t matter what the party’s name is, only a very few people in the so-called ‘land of black earth’ even use the term “national.” Nonetheless, we have agreed to accept this designation if necessary. Any fragmentation is harmful; I advocate amalgamation under any circumstance.
Kind, Zeitz (DSP): We are now in the process of gaining a foothold here in Leuna, we only lack for sufficient funding. The guidelines of the DSP have an extraordinary advertising power. We have been able to spread well here under the DSP name and have frequently appeared in public with this name. The word “national” is shunned in central and northern Germany, and in central Germany we might even expect a very serious setback to our movement [by its use]. Perhaps we can drop “German” and adopt the word “völkisch” instead.
24. By this Jung means that the German political system should be corporatist, possessing a bicameral German parliament in which one of the chambers seats occupational (rather than partisan) representatives. He discusses this idea in greater detail in his book; an extract of the specific section can be viewed here.
25. Hitler, then still an almost complete unknown to those outside the NSDAP, delivered a speech to the Salzburg Conference which was met with great acclaim by attendees; there is a story (likely hagiographical) that, after Hitler’s speech was finished, Rudolf Jung turned to his secretary and declared: “One day he will be our greatest.” Hitler’s oratory made such a strong impression upon the delegates that he was invited on a speaking tour after the conference, travelling to DNSAP branches across Austria from 29 September – 11 October 1920 in support of their campaign for the Austrian elections.
26. I could not locate any biographical details for “Herr Schöll.” It is worth noting that some historians have interpreted the mention here of the “Württemberg Workers’ Party” as an indication that this was a separate National Socialist party from the DSP, NSDAP, and DNSAP. So far as I can tell there is no evidence for this. I would contend instead that it is far more likely that the author here is referring to the Württemberg branch of the NSDAP.
27. Meaning Dr. Karl Renner (b.1870 – d.1950), a leading Social-Democrat and the Chancellor of Austria until only a month before the Salzburg Conference. Renner had been a member of the Austrian National Assembly at the same time as Knirsch, and like Knirsch had been a vocal advocate of Anschluss to Germany, although with somewhat different motivations.
28. The book from which I translated this article, Dr. Walter Riehl und die Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus (Forum-Verlag, 1933), includes a footnote here by the author, Dr. Alexander Schilling, which reads: “Unfortunately, the southern Slavs managed to de-Germanize this southeastern German frontier post.”
29. A reference to the Negro soldiers which the French stationed in the Rhineland as part of their post-WWI occupation of German territories. The use of black colonial troops was interpreted by those with völkisch sentiments as being a deliberate act of provocation and racial-defilement.
30. “Wenn alle untreu werden, so bleiben wir doch treu” (“If all become unfaithful, we remain loyal”) was a popular German song written in 1818 by Max von Schenkendorf, a patriotic poet whose works were inspired by the 1813-1815 Wars of Liberation. Von Schenkendorf was highly regarded by the National Socialists – Rudolf Jung also quotes his poem “Freiheit die Ich Meine” in his book on National Socialist ideology.
31. Max Sesselmann (b.1898 – d.1968), also known by his pen-name “Marc Sesselmann,” was an insurance clerk and the founder and leader of the Munich branch (not the Hanover branch, as is incorrectly stated in the article) of the German Socialist Party, which he established in mid-1919 . He also joined Drexler’s DAP in the same year. Cross-party membership of this kind was not unusual within the völkisch movement of the early 1920s; Sesselmann additionally belonged to the Thule Society and had helped found the Munich chapter of the propaganda group Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutzbund. From July 1919 to March 1920 he was the editor of the Völkischer Beobachter (originally the Münchener Beobachter), which was an unaligned völkisch newspaper before it became the official party-organ of the NSDAP in December 1920. Sesselmann was an enthusiastic advocate for DSP-NSDAP unification and seems to have defected to the NSDAP completely sometime in 1921. He participated in the 1923 ‘Beer Hall Putsch,’ in which he was seriously wounded by gunfire from the Bavarian police but managed to survive, and from 1924-28 served as an elected delegate of the Bavarian Landtag on behalf of the Völkischer Block. In the mid-1920s Sesselmann also associated with the National Social People’s League (Nationalsoziale Volksbund), a minor and short-lived National Socialist party started by Anton Drexler after Drexler’s disassociation with Hitler following Hitler’s release from Landsberg Prison. Sesselmann’s summation of National/German Socialism’s general political position, as stated at the DSP’s first party conference in 1920, is worth noting: “We are far-left, and our demands are more radical than those of the Bolshevists.”
32. 1809 was the year of the War of the Fifth Coalition, in which the Napoleonic Empire defeated Austria and reduced it to an effective client state. 1813 marked the defeat of Napoleon in the War of the Sixth Coalition and the collapse of the Confederation of the Rhine, a union of German puppet states dominated by France. The destruction of the Confederation of the Rhine allowed for the establishment of the German Confederation, which incorporated Prussia, Austria, Bavaria, and a large number of other German states and was viewed by German patriots as the true successor to the Holy Roman Empire.
33. At the next Inter-State Representatives’ Conference of the National Socialists of Greater Germany (the third, held in Linz, Austria, over 13-14 August 1921), the assembled delegates voted to amend this line of the Salzburg Programme to read: “Not revolution, but purposeful, creative reform work alone can overcome today’s untenable social conditions.” The motion to omit the words “and class struggle” was initiated by Rudolf Jung, taking advantage of the NSDAP’s decision not to attend the conference (a result of internal conflicts within the NSDAP regarding merger negotiations with the other National Socialist parties, which prompted Hitler to insist that NSDAP members not participate in the Linz Conference) in order to reassert the class nature of National Socialism.
34. At the 3rd Inter-State Representatives’ Conference in Linz, conference delegates voted to amend this line of the Salzburg Programme to read: “The German National Socialist Party is the class party of productive labor.” This was again done in order to explicitly assert National Socialism’s position as a class-oriented movement. The motion for amendment in this instance was initiated by Max Karg, editor of the DNSAP daily newspaper Der Tag.
35. “Liberal” – The word used here in the original German is “freiheitliche,” a term which also appears in the Trautenau Programme, the Iglau Programme, and the Vienna Programme. It is not an easy word to translate to English, sometimes being rendered as “freedom-loving” or “libertarian,” but “liberal” is probably the closest translation of its general meaning (although the fact that the word “liberal” also exists as a political label in German does not make translation any easier). The word freiheitlich in the context used here derives from the political culture of Austria-Hungary, where it emerged as a term of designation for those forces which fell into the so-called “third camp” between Marxism and political Catholicism. The third camp was very broad, comprising ethnic-German political liberals (deutschfreiheitlichen) on the one side and German nationalists (deutschnationalen) on the other, with a highly complex shading of the two groups existing inbetween. What united them generally were their anti-clerical and anti-Marxist sentiments; their Greater German nationalism (although, again, this ranged from a moderate liberal-nationalism to radical völkisch-racialism); and a ‘progressive’ position on politics and culture (i.e. a repudiation of the Catholic Church’s intervention on cultural matters, and a rejection of traditional Habsburg authoritarianism in favor of greater democratic reform and German autonomy). Freiheitlich thus became a useful alternative word to liberal, a way of indicating one’s support for certain progressive-reformist political positions while simultaneously distancing oneself from the word liberal and all of its associated political baggage. In this sense, the early National Socialist movement was undoubtedly freiheitliche in orientation.
36. “Sewald” is presumably one of the NSDAP representatives from Augsburg, although I could locate no definite information on him. By “Setteler” is probably meant Benedikt Settele (b.1893 – d.?), a student (later legal clerk and third-in-line party propaganda chief) who was an active organizer for the early NSDAP. “Ulshöfer” is Ernst Ulshöfer (b.1884 – d.?), a former syndicalist who was highly active as a travelling agitator for the NSDAP in the early 1920s; he was a key figure behind the founding of a number of NSDAP local groups in southwest Germany. I could not ascertain who “Moser from Mannheim” might be.
39. Dr. Otto Troyer (b.1870 – d.1949) was a professional lawyer and a Salzburg-based DNSAP activist. From 1905 to 1931 Troyer was an elected member of the Salzburg Municipal Council, running from 1918 onwards as a DNSAP candidate – presumably indicating that he joined the party around that date. From 1922 to 1927 he also served as a Provincial Councillor in the Landesrat, making him part of the Salzburg state government. Troyer sided with the ‘Schulz’ wing of the DNSAP during the protracted party split which began in 1926. As a result, DNSAP candidates ran separately from pro-Hitler (NSDAV-HB) candidates in the 1932 Landtag elections, contesting the election as part of an alliance with the Greater German People’s Party. This alliance only won 2 mandates, none of which went to DNSAP candidates, thus ending Troyer’s electoral career.
42. The Deutscher Sozialist’s first edition appeared on 4 June 1920. It was published by Julius Streicher, who had been charged by the DSP leadership with founding a party newspaper at the DSP’s first national conference in Hanover in April 1920. Despite ostensibly being the official press-organ of the DSP, Streicher had actually registered the Deutscher Sozialist under his own name rather than that of the party, meaning the DSP leadership could exercise no real editorial control over the publication’s content. This led to constant conflicts between Streicher and the DSP executive, who continuously objected to the aggressive, working-class tone of the paper and to its lurid attacks upon Jews and Jesuits. (The Deutscher Sozialist can thus be viewed as a precursor to Streicher’s later controversial newspaper Der Stürmer). Conflicts with the executive over Streicher’s editorial decisions and his leadership style in general are largely what motivated his decision to leave the DSP in September 1922, a move which took most of the Nuremberg branch (loyal to Streicher as an individual rather than to the DSP itself) with him and which mortally crippled the entire party in the process.
43. The German Freedom Party (Deutsche Freiheitspartei) was a very minor political party founded on 1 November 1919 by völkisch-utopian thinker Dr. Ernst Hunkel (not “Hunkel,” as Sachse misspells his name here). Hunkel (b.1885 – d.1936), a proponent of mystical and proto-New Age ideas (including polygamy, something which landed him in legal hot water at times), had been involved in various attempts at founding völkisch communes before the War, and in 1919 he established another community known as “Donnershag.” Hunkel was inspired by the free-economic theories of economist Silvio Gesell, seeing them as the basis for creating a communal, racially-Nordic society in which capitalism and private land ownership would be eliminated. His German Freedom Party was intended to propagate these ideas, with its platform attacking monarchism, capitalism, Marxism, internationalism, and Judaism, and advocating as an alternative the implementation of Gesell’s economic theories upon a racial-nationalist foundation. The German Freedom Party was one of several parties which the DSP attempted to negotiate a merger with, although unsuccessfully. At the DSP’s April 1920 party conference Hunkel was described by one delegate as “a fantasist,” while Brunner observed that: “We cannot work together with Gesell, either; Hunkel stands behind Gesell, we also can’t work together with him; Gesell and Hunkel have to be encouraged to expose the Jews.”