To be on the safe side, the Thule Society created not one, but two political parties– the German Workers’ Party (DAP) and the German Socialist Party (DSP). Subsequently, it proved to be a wise decision.
Both parties were essentially clones of each other as they were designed as bridges between the esoteric ideology of the Thule Society and “the masses”. Both aimed to win the allegiance of the German proletariat away from communism, which had become highly influential following the German Revolution of 1918.
The DAP was founded in Munich in the hotel “Fürstenfelder Hof” on January 5, 1919 by Anton Drexler who was once a member of the short-lived German Fatherland Party (DVP) which played a vital role in the emergence of the stab-in-the-back myth and the defamation of certain politicians as the “November Criminals”.
Like the DAP two years later, it was backed by a nationalist organization – Pan-German League – which had a lot in common with the Thule Society. However, it apparently had little interest in a radical transformation of a German society (and thus in the establishment of a powerful political party).
Consequently, although DVP did have some very powerful members – Wolfgang Kapp (of the Kapp Putsch fame), Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (a naval minister), Walter Nicolai, head of the German military intelligence and media baron Alfred Hugenberg) and at the peak of its popularity boasted over 1 million members, it soon fell apart and was officially dissolved on December 10, 1918. Most of its members later joined the German National People’s Party (DNVP), the major right-wing party of the Weimar Republic.
Undeterred by this failure, Drexler decided to try again – this time with the backing of the Thule Society of which he was a member. He obtained the support of his mentor – Dr. Paul Tafel – who was a leader of the Pan-Germanist League (one of those members who were still interested in establishing a political party), a director of the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg – and a prominent member of the Thule Society.
Having received this important blessing (and obviously a pledge of some financial support), he joined forces with three other members of the Thule Society – Karl Harrer, Gottfried Feder and Dietrich Eckart (the latter will subsequently become the mentor to Adolf Hitler after the latter joined the DAP).
Harrer was a German journalist and politician who was “commissioned” by the Thule Society to try and politically influence German workers in Munich after the end of World War I. Later he became the editor-in-chief of the Völkischer Beobachter.
Feder was a German civil engineer, a self-taught economist who subsequently became the chief economic adviser of the Nazi Party. According to Adolf Hitler, it was one of his lectures that made him join the party in September 1919.
However, the DAP was initially far less successful than even the DVP. On May 17, only ten members were present at the meeting and only 38 attended a meeting in August. When Adolf Hitler joined the party in September 1919, he was only the 55th member.
German Socialist Party was founded in 1918 by Alfred Brunner (an engineer), Philipp Stauff (theosophist) and Professor Heinrich Kraeger. It was backed by the Thule Society and sponsored in part by Hans Georg Grassinger – the editor-in-chief of “Münchener Beobachter”.
Alfred Brunner aimed to create a party that would be both nationalist, socialist and attractive to the German proletariat. Which made it essentially a copycat of DAP the only difference being purely geographic – DAP was based in Munich while DSP initially existed in only in Nuremberg and around Franconia (it later expanded to Düsseldorf, Kiel, Frankfurt am Main and Dresden).
Eventually, DSP will be led by Julius Streicher – the future publisher of Der Stürmer – the official NSDAP weekly and one of the key elements of the Nazi propaganda machine.
It did not help DSP much, though – by the end of 1920 it had only 7,000 members. Party leaders tried to negotiate the merger with NSDAP but the merger did not go through. In late 1922, party was officially dissolved with many officers and members following Streicher to the NSDAP.
The key reason why the party (and the merger talks) failed was Adolf Hitler. In 1919, prior to attending the DAP meeting, he applied for membership in DSP but was rejected. It was a colossal blunder that ultimately killed the German Socialist Party (and brought NSDAP to an absolute power in Germany).