How did Hitler become involved in politics?

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The German Workers' Party

After the war Hitler returned to Munich, where a communist revolution had just been suppressed. Hitler was given a job in the German army investigating small political parties.

In September 1919 Hitler joined the German Workers’ Party, a small, extreme nationalist group. It soon changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeitespartei – NSDAP or ‘Nazi’ for short.)

By July 1921 Hitler was leader of the party. By the end of the year the Nazis had 3,000 members, with Hitler recognised as ‘Fűhrer’(leader).

Born on 20 April 1889 in Brannau in Austria, near the border with Germany, Adolf Hitler was the son of a customs official. Hitler’s mother was his father’s third wife, and 22 years her husband’s junior. When Hitler’s father died, he left a small pension for the family.

As a schoolboy, Hitler was a shy loner, deeply influenced by his history teacher, a staunch, right-wing German nationalist. Hitler left school aged 16. 

Hoping to become an artist, Hitler moved to Vienna in 1907. His mother died of cancer in 1908. He later described his time in Vienna as five years of misery and woe.

Hitler failed to gain either recognition or work and looked for someone to blame. The easiest target were the Jews who made up 10 per cent of the population of the city.

In 1913 Hitler left for Munich, in southern Germany. At the outbreak of World War One, he enlisted in the German army, and during the war was awarded medals for bravery. He was in hospital, recovering from a gas attack when the war ended.