Background: This is Chapter 7 of Philipp
Bouhler’s 1938 textbook on the history of the Nazi Party, intended
for use in the schools.
The source: Philipp Bouhler, Kampf um Deutschland. Ein Lesebuch
für die deutsche Jugend (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., Frz.
Eher Nachf., 1939), pp. 77-92.
The Battle for Germany
by Philipp Bouhler
Chapter 6: Munich
The 3 Cities of the
I. From the Sterneckergäßchen to the Königsplatz
These words comprise the history of the development of the NSDAP in Bavaria,
as well as the outline of the history of the movement throughout the Reich.
Nothing else shows more clearly the amazing rise of National Socialism
from a tiny, insignificant and despised movement to a movement of millions
of Germans than the location of its offices.
The movement did not have an office when Adolf Hitler joined
the young “German Worker’s Party.” The work was done
in the homes of the board members. Hitler immediately recognized
the need for a business office, and his efforts resulted in the
party securing a business office on 1 January 1920. The location
was a room in the Sterneckerbräu on Thal 54, with an entrance
on the Sterneckergäßchen. But it was a “business
office,” and for a while it met the need.
One day Hitler met his old army comrade Max Amann on the street.
He had been Hitler’s superior. Just then Hitler had numerous
problems in his small party. Intrigues were being formed against
him. He had to spend a lot of time and energy getting the necessary
decisions through, and the business affairs were not exactly
in good hands. Hitler realized that Amann was the right man,
and asked him to become business manager of the NSDAP. That was
at the end of July 1921. Although Amann had a well-paid position
with the Bayerischen Siedelungs- und Landesbank, he gave it up.
His boundless industry, his business abilities and his unlimited
energy soon overcame all the difficulties. He took over the Völkischer
Beobachter several months later, and put it on a sound footing
as well. Now Adolf Hitler knew that the business affairs were
in good hands, and could put his full energies into his real
Amann thought that the small dark corner of the Sterneckergasse
was not suited to attract members, and soon found a new business
office in a former restaurant at Corneliusstraße 12. There
was a large room at the front, later divided by a counter. The
party’s business took place there. Membership dues were collected,
propaganda materials distributed, information given. The membership
records were later kept in a large iron safe. Julius Schreck
and others ran the counter, as well as the telephone switchboard.
During the winter months, the room was a shelter for unemployed
party members and supporters who made a lot of noise playing
cards. At times the din was so loud that one could not talk,
and Christian Weber who ran the office had to come out and clear
the area with his long “riding whip.”
There was a “meeting room” in the rear, in which
an old billiards table served as the conference table. Later,
the growing number of typists was housed here. There was another
small and hidden room for the “party leadership” and
business office, in which letters were dictated and visitors
received. Another room was later the office of Lieutenant Brückner,
leader of the Munich S.A. Göring, the S.A.’s national leader,
had his office in 1923 in the editorial building of the “VB,”
After the collapse of 1923, during the “leaderless, terrible
times” until Adolf Hitler left prison at the end of 1924
and into the beginning of the following year, we had no business
office at all, not to mention money or office equipment, since
the Bavarian government had seized the entire property of the
party on 10 November 1923 and illegally held on to it. The party’s
work was conducted in the offices of the “VB” on Thierschstraße
by Reichsschatzmeister Schwarz and by me as business manager.
The entire staff of the party leadership consisted of one secretary.
We began looking for suitable space, but could find nothing.
Rescue finally came through Party Comrade Heinrich Hoffmann.
He had a photographic studio on the second floor in a back courtyard
at Schellingstraße 50. A bankrupt film company had subleased
several rooms. They had to move out, and we moved in.
The biggest room, filled with old red furniture, was the Führer’s
office. Rudolf Heß, the Führer’s private secretary, sat in
a small adjoining room. I had another nearby room, and Reichsschatzmeister
Schwartz he was still called the treasurer shared an office
with a bookkeeper at the end of a long hallway.
We were all very proud of our business office, which we had
to expand step by step. Rebuilding the movement required enormous
effort and a growing staff. Within a few months, the space was
no longer adequate.
The first step was to take over a bankrupt gold workshop on
the ground floor. This became the reception room, and a large
safe kept the membership records secure. We made an office for
the Reichsschatzmeister out of the washroom.
When the S.A. leadership was centralized, the attic was transformed
into another story. Now we had a hall of honor for those who
fell on 9 November, with pictures of the movement and the flags
of the Munich S.A. The problem was that the glass roof was in
poor shape, and water came through when it rained.
More than that, the building was in bad condition, anything
but respectable. One passed through a dark gate to a dirty courtyard
before finally reaching our business office. We were nonetheless
happy to have it, and the more money we spent to make our quarters
clean and livable, the less we could think about giving them
The Führer joked to Hoffmann: “It will not be long
before we, like the coo coo, take over the nest and throw you
out of your studio.”
That is exactly what happened. After we had taken over a wine shop and
the last three rooms on the ground floor, we needed room for the Organisationsabteilung
II in 1929. There was no choice but to persuade Hoffman to seek other
Now we had done everything we could at Schellingstraße
50. We thought about securing the building behind us, but that
did not work out. We had to look elsewhere, for the steadily
growing membership of the party and its expanding activities
required new staff.
We inspected various buildings and the Führer considered
buying a large office building, but finally we found an entirely
We learned by accident that in summer 1930 that the “Barlow
Palace” on Brienner Street was for sale. We looked it over
and were enthused. We had no money, but we bought the building
for 1 1/2 million Reichsmarks. We immediately appealed to the
entire party membership for contributions, and we did it. In
the following January, we moved into the renovated building.
There were certainly critics even within the party who wondered
what the party would do with such a large and costly building!
A palace! A workers’ party in a palace!
The Führer put an end to the discussion and renamed the
Barlow Palace the “Brown House.” It quickly became
known throughout the world as a symbol for the Führer and
Events proved that no better solution to a headquarters for
the NSDAP could have been found. Indeed, it soon was clear that
the “Brown House” was still too small for the growing
activities of the Reichsleitung. We needed the neighboring building
for the S.A. headquarters, and the Hotel “Der Reichsadler”
was taken over by the Reichsorganisationsleitung. Finally, however,
the Führer and his staff had a worthy place that was appropriate
for the size and significance of the movement.
The Bavarian People’s Party Stützel, the Interior Minister,
and his Munich Police Chief were outraged. They looked for any
possible reason to proceed against the National Socialists. One
search followed another, but all was in vain. The Führer
was much too intelligent to tolerate any illegal action by members
of the movement or to endanger by a careless word the final success
he was sure of sooner or later.
Since searches failed, they tried other means. One day two
hundred police armed with pistols and machine guns rolled up
in trucks, surrounded the Brienner Street, and moved in on the
street and grounds. An army of criminal police followed them
and searched from top to bottom to find something incriminating.
They occupied our quarters for two days and nights. The Brown
House resembled an army camp. Police stood at every entrance
and the telephone was watched. But the assault failed. Finally
the intruders had to give up.
The movement’s advance could no longer be halted. After the
victory of 30 January, the Bavarian government had to give way
on 7 March 1933. Finally Adolf Hitler had a free hand, as did
the NSDAP headquarters. Together with the brilliant architect
Professor Ludwig Troost, who unfortunately died before the work
was completed, he developed two large buildings, the “Führerbau”
and the “Administration Building,” which now crown
the Königsplatz and are the center of the National Socialist
Through these buildings and by giving the proud name “Capital
of the Movement” to Munich, Hitler has laid out his will:
Munich will forever be the headquarters of the NSDAP.
II. The City of the Reich Party Rallies
In the years after the war one could see a man in Northern
Bavaria going from place to place, his rucksack filled with anti-Semitic
pamphlets. He never tired of meetings in which he told the Franconians
about the danger the Jews are to the world. In tough, constant
work the teacher Julius Streicher built a following ready to
stand by him through thick and thin. They did not desert him
when at the end of 1922 he left the German Socialist Party and
joined Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP.
The later Frankenführer was one of the first proclaimers
of National Socialism in Franconia. He naturally had as his goal
conquering red Nuremberg and turning it into a National Socialist
fortress and a center of anti-Semitism. It took hard and bitter
struggle, but he succeeded. Nuremberg was soon second only to
Munich not only in numbers, but in enthusiasm for the cause.
Here more than anywhere else, the Führer could be sure of
halls filled to capacity and a public that gave stormy expression
to its loving and confident faith in the Führer.
As late as 1922 the Marxists were able to break up the “Artillery
Day” with iron bars. But on 1 September of the following
year, the impressive German Day was held on the Deutschherrenwiese,
to which the German Fighting League owes its origin.
This made it easy for the Führer to decide in spring
1927 to hold the NSDAP’s 3rd Reich Party Rally (the second since
its restoration) in the walls of the lovely old Reich city.
Today the Reich Party Rally of the movement is not only a matter of our
traditions and styles, but above all a symbol of the unity of the nation.
It embodies the Medieval concept of the Reichstag in all its power and
glory in a rejuvenated, new and broader form. It also provides the Führer
just as does the Reichstag in Berlin with a forum in which
he can handle political matters of concern to the entire world. Only a
part of the larger formations, only a fraction of those whose hearts beat
with the millions, can experience the revelations of these days each year.
Formerly the party rally was a display to National Socialists as well
as to its enemies and those who were indifferent of the powerful and unstoppable
growth of the movement. The members received new strength for the coming
struggles, the others saw the world’s lies about the presumed decline
of the NSDAP shattered.
The Führer consecrated the first four S.A. banners on
28 January 1923 on Munich’s Marsfeld. The young movement was
filled with warm courage and a desire for action, wanting to
solve the German question by strength. It did not know that a
bitter day in November would shatter all its hopes and plans.
Three and a half years later, Adolf Hitler chose the German National
Theater in Weimar as the locale for the congress and for the consecration
of the banners of National Socialism. Where once the Weimar coalition
baptized the ungerman System state [the Weimar
Republic], the Führer gave the blood-sanctified flag of
9 November to the loyal hands of his SS. The Weimar Party Rally broke
the bonds that had restrained the party since its reestablishment. New
courage filled National Socialist hearts, and once more the hope grew
strong that the Reich would someday be theirs.
The Reich Party Rally of 1927 in Nuremberg was of a size corresponding
to the growth of the party. It was the greatest proclamation of freedom
in Germany since the unforgettable days of August 1914. Mass meetings
and 13 special sessions on aspects of National Socialist policy and organization
were held at various places in the festively decorated city. The large
delegates’ conference took place in the main hall of the Kulturvereinshaus.
The Luitpoldhain Arena was the ideal place for the S.A. march and the
consecration of the banners, even if the masses who came by trucks and
trains and on foot and bicycle were not sufficient to fill the arena.
The big event for Nuremberg, however, was the S.A. procession.
The population cheered as they marched through the streets to
the Hauptmarkt, the present Adolf Hitler Square, where the Führer
stood in his car as his followers marched past.
Adolf Hitler personally supervised the preparations, repeatedly
traveling to Nuremberg with his aides to work out every detail.
Arrivals and departures, housing and provisions, street closings
and security, the routes of the masses required the most careful
and through preparation if everything was to work out. The movement
had to make every effort to ensure that it worked.
The success of the party rally, the attractiveness of the ancient Reich
city, and the appropriateness of the area led the Führer to chose
Nuremberg for the next party rally, which was to occur from 1-4 August
The various locations were now determined, but everything
was larger and more impressive than before. Over 100,000 people
came in 170 special trains and countless trucks to Nuremberg,
whose streets carried the stamp of National Socialism.
The party rallies of the period of struggle never could be given full
attention. That became clear to the movement and the nation after the
victorious National Socialist revolution. Now the Führer had the
necessary freedom of action to conduct the Reich Party Rally as his will
and spirit wished. The first efforts went into expanding the Luitpoldhain
area to the extent necessary for the new conditions. One could also soon
see the Führer’s gigantic building projects, with which names like
Speer and Ruoff will be associated for all times.
The Führer determined that Nuremberg would forever be the “City
of the Reich Party Rallies.” The world reputation of the city, already
famous in the Middle Ages, has been restored. Then Albrecht Dürer
produced masterpieces of art, Peter Bischer created the noblest sculptures
of stone and bronze, and Hans Sachs raised popular literature to the highest
level. Outstanding craftsmen in every field were at work and commerce
flourished. Nuremberg was a center of German cultural life.
It is no accident that the Reich Party Rally begins each year
with a performance of the “Meistersinger.” What could
be better than this immortal masterpiece of Richard Wagner? It
recalls the magic of old Nuremberg, and points resoundingly and
powerfully to the heroic struggle of Adolf Hitler for the German
Outside the old walls and towers that testify to a great past, yet bound
to them by a thousand ties, a new Nuremberg is growing according to the
Führer’s will. His genius is calling forth enormous buildings, the
temples of our faith, our desire, our deeds. They give eternal expression
in marble to the National Socialist spirit.
Nuremberg is a concept for us today. The old yet simultaneously
young city is a bridge from the time-honored past to the proud
present and the glorious future. It is a precious shrine that
holds old and newly forged traditions. Its monuments and the
annual events tied to its name are manifestations of the new
political and cultural style.
III. The Battle for Berlin
Berlin may not be ignored when considering the three cities
that have been particularly important in the movement’s history.
Berlin! Capital of the Reich and seat of the Reich government,
metropolis, world city, Berlinan endless sea of buildings with
a population larger than that of Switzerland! Berlin at last,
the city where during the struggle for power everything came
together, where the tread of the proletarian masses was louder
and more confident, where the Jew in full confidence of his power
was more obvious and insolent than anywhere else.
As the National Socialist movement began to recover after
the collapse of 9 November and slowly spread to northern Germany,
including Berlin, the conditions were highly unfavorable.
During Adolf Hitler’s imprisonment, internal and personal
problems split the völkisch movement, with results that
lasted into the party’s re-establishment. The problems were even
more evident in an enormous city like Berlin. The asphalt wilderness
with its largely proletarian population was fertile ground for
political fringe groups of every kind. The result was that the
Berlin local group of the NSDAP, despite hard work, was going
nowhere, and was a real concern for Munich. It was in the same
state as the German Workers’ Party was before Adolf Hitler arrived
to give meaning and purpose to its struggle. Berlin too lacked
a personality of stature sufficient to win the masses of the
working class for National Socialism through the power of his
words, to deal with the leaders of other parties, to battle the
intellectual currents of the System Era and combat the brutal
terror of the political underworld, all the while raising high
the Swastika banner in this city of millions.
The party leadership waited for a time, hoping that a leader
would grow out of Berlin itself. Only after various attempts
had proved unsuccessful did the Führer decide in fall 1926
to entrust Dr. Goebbels with the conquest of Berlin, giving him
special authority. Dr. Goebbels has already proved himself as
Gauleiter of the Rhineland to be a passionate and exciting speaker
to workers in the Ruhr area. Events would show whether or not
he was the right man for Gauleiter of the Reich capital. On 30
October 1936, the Führer spoke these moving words of thanks
to Dr. Goebbels at the ten year anniversary of the Gau: “Your
name symbolizes this ten-year battle for Berlin! It will never
fade from German history, from the history of the National Socialist
movement, and never from the history of this city.”
In truth, the history of the NSDAP in Berlin begins with the
day Dr. Goebbels assumed its leadership. He had to undertake
major changes to strengthen the organization, including expelling
expelling a large clique of quarreling members. The party headquarters
were then in a back courtyard on Potsdamer Street named the “opium
den.” This was quickly replaced by clean, dignified offices
on Lützow Street, and later on Hedemann Street. He began
an organized campaign of propaganda and meetings that gradually
spread from Spandau to the entire city.
It is obvious that the Berlin NSDAP needed its own “Hofbräuhaus
battle” to prove to its opponents that it could stand up
against the bloody deeds of the Reds. On 11 February 1927, Dr.
Goebbels spoke in the Pharus Hall, the favorite meeting hall
of the Communists in the red Wedding district. “The government
is near its end. A new Germany must be forged! White collar workers
and blue, the fate of the German people is in your hands.”
Those were the words on the big red posters on all the poster
The Marxist parties saw the meeting as a declaration of war,
and they were right. The NSDAP was about to invade their strongest
districts. As Dr. Goebbels entered the hall, it has been closed
for an hour by the police and was two-thirds filled with Red
fighters. A Red rabble-rouser making provocative remarks in the
hall was hauled out of the mob of his fellow believers by several
SS men and brought to the stage. That was the sign for the Red
mob to attack. What happened next was identical to what had happened
more than five years earlier as the first Storm Troop unit earned
its fame. Here too a tiny minority of fanatic National Socialists
began what seemed a hopeless battle against a brutal Red force
that shrank at nothing. They won in the end, enabling the further
growth of the movement.
The elements that characterized the National Socialist battle throughout
the Reich are evident in concentrated form in the struggle for Berlin.
There were governmental problems and difficulties of every variety, periodic
speaking bans for the Gauleiter, bans of the S.A. and the whole
party, tiring trials, searches, arrests, prison, meeting hall battles,
and everywhere murder...
The whole battle transpired during the glorious era of Vice President
of Police Isidor Weiss, whose real name was Bernhard instead of Isidor.
However, his origins and his nose fully justified the mocking name that
Berlin jokesters gave him.
The periods when the party was banned posed major challenges
to the party membership. The party maintained a shaky existence
under the cover of organizations like savings societies, bowling
clubs and swimming clubs. Missing propaganda activities were
replaced to some extent by founding the newspaper “Der Angriff.”
The diehard slogan “Though banned, we’re not dead”
helped the party survive the crisis, which in the end threatened
to dishearten even the most devoted members.
Happier times now came, times that justified the heaviest
sacrifices. The inroads into the ranks of the Marxists could
no longer be stopped. On an election night, the Führer could
stand nervously in Munich as the “Doctor” reported
to him the number of National Socialist votes from working class
districts, numbers that exceeded his expectations.
None of the occasional and inevitable setbacks that sometimes threatened
the Berlin NSDAP and even the unity of the entire movement could stop
Adolf Hitler. The public defection of Dr. Otto Strasser, who had always
been a troublemaker, the S.A. mutiny led by Stennes, the betrayal by Gregor
Strasser all these passed like ghosts.
Much blood was shed in the battle for Berlin. Many a promising
Berliner had to give his young life for the struggle, the struggle
for Germany. One cannot recall these sacrifices without remembering
the immortal one murdered on 23 February 1930. Berlin was where
the young student Horst Wessel built a unit of young lads who
until then had proudly called themselves proletarians, but now
were filled with the fighting spirit that came from National
Socialist ideals. And the confidence in coming victory led to
the song that made his name immortal.
”Raise high the flag, close the ranks...” That is not only
a portrait of the march of the Berlin S.A. through the streets in the
east and north of the city. It is a command, an order, an appeal to the
conscience of the comrades not to waver or weaken until Hitler’s flag
wave over every street. Horst Wessel embodies the young leaders of a new
age and his name has become a symbol for the unknown S.A. man.
The Führer spoke often in Berlin, in Clou and the Sport
Hall. But only in the decisive year 1932 did he become a regular
guest in the Reich capital, staying in the Hotel Kaiserhof. The
negotiations for taking over the government took place in Berlin,
as did the last political and diplomatic struggles. The last
barriers had to be eliminated here until the way was free for
the most capable in Germany. Today Berlin has the good fortune
to have Adolf Hitler as Führer and Chancellor of the German
people in its midst, and to take a greater role than any other
city in Germany in his struggle, his work, his plans and concerns.
The transformation of Berlin has begun. This enormous city’s
random growth will be tamed by the Führer’s plans. Within
a few years, the stony wilderness will have a new face, characterized
by great avenues, impressive squares and noble buildings. These
too are symbols of those enormous tasks facing Adolf Hitler and
the German people: the building of a National Socialist German
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