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Anschluss 1923 by John P. Braungart

Author says: what if Anton Drexler convinced Adolf Hitler that the anschluss should unite Austria just with Bavaria? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1902, Anton Drexler was a railway locksmith in Berlin when he joined the Fatherland Party during World War I. He was a poet and a member of the Völkisch agitators who, together with journalist Karl Harrer, founded the German Worker's Party (DAP) in Munich with Gottfried Feder and Dietrich Eckart in 1919.

At a meeting of the Party in Munich in September 1919, the main speaker was Gottfried Feder. When he had finished speaking, a member of the audience stood up and suggested that Baveria should break away from Prussia and form a separate nation with Austria. Adolf Hitler, a young Army corporal who was there at the behest of Army Intelligence to observe the meeting, sprang up from the audience to rebut the argument. After the meeting, Drexler approached Hitler and thrust a booklet into his hand. It was entitled My Political Awakening and, according to Adolf Hitler's writing in his book Mein Kampf, it reflected much of what he had himself decided upon. Later the same day Adolf Hitler received a postcard telling him that he had been accepted for membership of what was at that time the German Workers' Party.

After some internal debate, he says, he decided to join. A year later, at Hitler's behest, Drexler changed the name of the Party to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbiterpartei or NSDAP).

By 1921, Adolf Hitler was rapidly becoming the undisputed leader of the Party. In the summer of that year he travelled to Berlin to address a meeting of German Nationalists from northern Germany. While he was away the other members of the Party Committee, led by Drexler, circulated as a pamphlet an indictment of Adolf Hitler, which accused him of seeking personal power without regard to other considerations. Hitler brought a libel suit and Drexler was forced to repudiate at a public meeting. He was thereafter moved to the purely symbolic position of honorary president, and left the Party in 1923.

Drexler was also a member of a völkisch political club for affluent members of Munich society known as the Thule Society. His membership in the NSDAP ended when it was temporarily outlawed in 1923 following the Beer Hall Putsch, in which Drexler had not taken part. In 1924 he was elected to the Bavarian state parliament for another party, in which he served as vice-president until 1928. He had no part in the NSDAP's refounding in 1925, and rejoined only after Hitler had come to power in 1933. He received the party's "Blood Order" in 1934 and was still occasionally used as a propaganda tool until about 1937, but was never again allowed any real power. He was largely forgotten by the time of his death.

Author says at the meeting in 1919, Hitler, a native Austrian, is suffering from a bout of post-traumatic stress and as the unnamed speaker is delivering his motion to seceed, Hitler comes to feel that it was the Prussian military elite and the monarchy that started that terrible war and lied to the people (including him) that it would be a simple matter to march in, destroy half of Europe and march home wreathed in glory inside of six months.

Glory, humph, what glory is there in seeing a man with his intestines hanging out after schrapnal from an artillary shell has maimed him? How glorious was it for those who had survived but were blinded or had their lungs seared from the clouds of poison gas? Where was the glory in the endless mud, filth and vermin of the trenches. The officer corps all went back to their big homes to enjoy their fine wines and rich foods - they were seldom at the front and almost never in the fighting. Hitler had been a noncommissioned officer; he knew what fighting and dying were all about.

While Adolf had little love for the Austrian Empire, that was also a thing of the past. His Austrian homeland was now a Republic where the common man could vote for the people who believed in the same things as he did. Baveria had much in common with the Austrian Republic, language, culture and other common bonds such as religion (such as that was, four years in the trenches with death as a constant companion had given Adolf little taste for religion) and history.

The more Adolf thought about it, the more he agreed with the other speaker and stood with him in making his arguments; anschluss between Baveria and Austria was the only natural way to go. By the end of the meeting, the seeds were sown, the DAP would start to aggitate for Baverian secession in the next few weeks. Printers friendly to their cause would produce handbills and leaflets and the unemployed and youths would pass them around. As the aggitation continued and increased, they would slowly build alliances with other like-minded political parties and politicans to start passing legislation to make their dream reality.

To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

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John P. Braungart

Guest Historian on Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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