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PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust
 pg. 38 
Hitler got almost everything he asked for while confined in Landsberg Prison. He had a suite of rooms and could even receive visitors.
Photo: Richard Freimark
By early March 1920, the DAP had a new name. Henceforth, it would be known as the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP; National Socialist German Workers' Party). Its members became known as Nazis, which is a contraction of National Socialists. A month later Hitler left the Army to devote himself full-time to the political future of the renamed party. Hitler's speeches--typically they were delivered from rough notes and lasted two hours--drew crowds that often numbered in the thousands. He rapidly became virtually synonymous with the NSDAP. At a party congress on July 29, 1921, Hitler obtained dictatorial leadership of the NSDAP, which he was then able to control as he wished. His plans included the aim of making the Nazis the champions not of special social classes or interest groups but of the German people as a whole--a goal that, of course, found no room within it for Jews or other "non-Germans."

By the following summer, the NSDAP had 6000 members. It also had a paramilitary organization known as the Sturmabteilung (SA; Storm Troopers). Organized by Hermann Göring, the ace flyer from World War I, and under the command of former Army captain Ernst Röhm, the SA drew its membership mainly from the Freikorps and other Germans who distrusted the Weimar Republic's democratic orientation. The SA's taste for street fighting and intimidation not only kept hecklers at bay but also gave the NSDAP an image of strength and loyalty that Hitler prized.

Hitler argued in Mein Kampf that nature's basic law is one of eternal struggle in which conflict is the means to greatness. In addition, Hitler claimed that there are two other natural laws that are vitally important: the laws of heredity and self-preservation. Nature, contended Hitler, balks at the mixing of species in reproduction. It also preserves the strongest while eliminating the weakest. Human life is not exempt from nature's ruthless, unrelenting process, which always favors the strongest. The crucial difference, however, is that human beings can know--they must know--that their individual and social existence unfolds in an arena of unending mortal struggle. The strong, therefore, will not flinch from embracing a principle that was self-evident to Hitler: namely, that national survival may well depend on aggression and violence. Crucial in these considerations, Hitler urged, is the additional fact that a people's survival and movement toward excellence depends on geography. Sufficient land (Lebensraum) is essential for a vital people and for the purity of its way of life. To achieve greatness and the space it requires, brutal means may be necessary. A people's spirit is tested as it is required to apply maximum force in subduing its enemies.

 1919-1923: Romania grants citizenship to Jews.
 1920: The League of Nations (which the United States has declined to join) holds its first meeting, at Geneva, Switzerland.
 1920: A Jewish underground militia, Hagana (Defense), is founded in Palestine.
 February 24, 1920: The first mass meeting of the National Socialist Party (NSDAP) takes place at Munich's Hofbräuhaus. Despite disruptions by adversaries, Adolf Hitler establishes the party program.
 April 1, 1920: Adolf Hitler is honorably discharged from the German Army.
 1921: The Allied Reparations Committee assesses German liability for World War I at 132 billion gold marks (about $31 billion); See January 1923.
 1921: The NSDAP, also known as the Nazi Party, establishes the Sturmabteilung (SA; Storm Troopers; Brown Shirts).
PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust
 pg. 38 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.