Völkischer Beobachter

In 1918, the Thule Society bought a local weekly newspaper, the Münchener Beobachter (“Munich Observer”) – an anti-Semitic semi-weekly scandal-oriented newspaper.

In an attempt to improve its circulation (apparently, anti-Semitic scandals by themselves were not that popular at that time), its name was changed to Münchener Beobachter und Sportblatt (“Munich Observer and Sports Paper”).

In August 1919, in an attempt to make it a nationwide newspaper (which it ultimately became), and to stress its ideological foundation, the Society changed the name of its newspaper again – to Völkischer Beobachter (“Populist Observer”).

It did not help much to improve its finances (völkisch ideas by themselves were apparently not that popular either – or the newspaper staff was simply grossly incompetent) and by the end of 1920 the paper was heavily in debt and thus on the verge of bankruptcy.

The dying newspaper was saved by the Nazis. Major Ernst Röhm and Dietrich Eckart (one of the founders of DAP) persuaded Röhm’s commanding officer, Major General Franz Ritter von Epp, to purchase the Völkischer Beobachter in December 1920, for the NSDAP from the Thule Society for 60,000 marks.

It was never definitively established where von Epp got the money, but it almost certainly came from secret army funds. Which proved beyond the reasonable doubt that German Reichswehr was one of the “midwives” of the Nazi movement.  

In 1921, Adolf Hitler, who had taken full control of the NSDAP earlier that year and became its Führer, acquired all shares in the newspaper, making him the sole owner of the publication. Subsequently he made it an official newspaper of the Nazi Party.



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