The Mentor

Most likely, by the time he joined the DAP in September 1919, Adolf Hitler already had the feeling that his great and glorious Mission was to become the leader and of Germany. But to get the confirmation of this feeling from an influential individual was a different matter entirely.

He got this conformation from Dietrich Eckart – a German journalist, playwright, poet, and politician who was one of the founders of the DAP – who became a “political mentor” for Adolf Hitler and even took part in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.

Eckart was a highly successful playwright, especially with his 1912 (openly nationalistic and anti-Semitic) adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt”, one of the best attended productions of the age with more than 600 performances in Berlin alone.

This success not only made Eckart wealthy, but gave him the social contacts that he later used to introduce Hitler to dozens of influential German citizens. These introductions proved to be pivotal in Hitler’s ultimate rise to power.

Later on, Eckart developed an ideology of a “genius superman”, based on writings of Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels. Months before Eckart met Hitler, he wrote a poem in which he anticipated the coming of “the Great One,” “the Redeemer”.

He was not a formal member of the Thule Society, but nevertheless was deeply involved in its activities. Interestingly enough, the Society as a whole also believed in the coming of a “German Messiah” who would redeem Germany after its defeat in World War I.

They found their “genius superman”, their “Messiah”, their “Redeemer” in Adolf Hitler. Consequently, Eckart did everything in his power to help the latter launch his political career and establish the firm theoretical foundation for the Nazi party.

To raise funds for the Party, Eckart introduced Hitler into influential German circles. Through Eckart, Hitler met Alfred Rosenberg (who introduced him to the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain – later referred to as “Hitler’s John the Baptist”) and to his future etiquette tutor, socialite Helene Bechstein. Thus, Dietrich Eckart became another “midwife” of Hitler’s political career.

On 9 November 1923, Eckart participated in the failed Beer Hall Putsch. He was arrested and placed in Landsberg Prison along with Hitler and other putschists, but was released shortly thereafter due to his poor health. He died of a heart attack in Berchtesgaden on 26 December 1923.

Eckart was held in high esteem by the Nazis (he was even called “the spiritual father of National Socialism”). During the Nazi period, several monuments and memorials were created to Eckart. Hitler even dedicated the second volume of Mein Kampf to Eckart.

 

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