I Was Hitler's Boss

Current History, 1:3(November 1941), 193-199

part of the Hitler in History Project
by Prof. Harold Marcuse (homepage)
page created Sept. 29, 2005, updated 8/20/07

to page 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, links

Background (back to top)

  • The author of this anonymously published article was a Reichswehr (World War I-era imperial German army) officer who supervised Hitler during the summer and fall of 1919, when Hitler was working for the conservative "white" Reichswehr as an informant on "red" groups.
  • We now know that he was Captain Karl Mayr. See Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris (New York: Norton, 1998), 122 (with note 62 on p. 642):
    "The organization of a series of 'anti-Bolshevik courses', beginning in early June, was placed in the hands of Captain Karl Mayr, who, a short while earlier, on 30 May, had taken over the command of the Information Department. Mayr, one of the 'midwives' of Hitler's political 'career', could certainly have claimed prime responsibility for its initial launch.
    The first of Hitler's many patrons, Mayr had a maverick career which saw him swing from active engagement on the extreme counter-revolutionary Richt -- he was an important Bavarian link with the putschist Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 -- to become a strong critic of Hitler and an active figure in the Social Democrat paramilitary organization, the Reichsbanner. He fled to France in 1933, but was later captured by the Nazis, and died in Buchenwald concentration camp in February 1945. In 1919, his influence in the Munich Reichswehr extended beyond his rank as captain, and he was endowed with considerable funds to build up a team of agents or informants, organize the series of 'educational' courses to train selected officers and men in 'correct' political and ideological thinking, and finance 'patriotic' parties, publications, and organizations. Mayr first met Hitler in May 1919, after the crushing of the "Red Army'. Hitler's involvement in his battalion's investigations into subversive actions during the Räterepublik may have drawn him to Mayr's attention. And as we have noted, Hitler had already been engaged in propaganda work in his barracks earlier in the spring -- though on behalf of the Socialist government."
  • [check for text in Machtan]
  • A. Joachimsthaler, Adolf Hitler, 1908-1920: Korrektur einer Biographie (Munich: Herbig, 1989): text and notes about Mayr. [added 8/20/07] This page has an introductory discussion about sources for Mayr's biography, including Machtan's 2001 Hidden Hitler.
  • See also the Links section, at bottom for information on Mayr gleaned from the internet.

Hitler's boss, page 193

to page 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, links
Hitler's boss, page 194

to page 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, links
Hitler's boss, page 195

to page 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, links
Hitler's boss, page 196

to page 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, links
Hitler's boss, page 197

to page 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, links
Hitler's boss, page 198

to page 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, links
Hitler's boss, page 199

Links (back to top)

  • A US army secret service source book on Hitler contains a summary of this article (text and scans at Nizkor.org)
  • The H-German version of Hitler's first documented writing about the "Jewish question", a Sept. 16, 1919 answer to an inquiry, contains the following in its intoductory text:
    "Because antisemitism had not played a notable part in Bavarian politics prior to the revolutionary disturbances, a Herr Adolf Gemlich was prompted to send an inquiry about the importance of the "Jewish question" to Captain Karl Mayr, the officer in charge of the Reichswehr News and Enlightenment Department in Munich. Mayr referred him to Hitler, who had distinguished himself in the above-mentioned course by the vehemence of his radical nationalist and antisemitic views, and by his oratorical talents. Hitler was already feeling his way toward a political career; four days before responding to Gemlich in the letter translated below, he had paid his first visit to the German Workers' Party (eventually renamed, the National Socialist Workers' Party) as a confidential agent of the Reichswehr. In the letter to Gemlich he appears anxious to establish his credentials as a knowledgeable and sober antisemite."
  • Walter S. Frank's Adolf Hitler: The Making of a Fuhrer (published only on-line at smoter.com), contains the following text, referencing Richard Hanser, Putsch (1971), 189; Maser 104-7; Charles B. Flood, Hitler: The Path to Power (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989), 63:
    'Because the majority of the troops the students would be speaking to were of the "less educated," without University induced "sophistication and depth," the students were taught to deliver their talks in an easily comprehendible form which could be understood by everyone. They were taught to appeal to nationalistic and patriotic feelings held by the majority of Germans. Hitler was being trained to fashion clear and inventive dialogues, dialogues which liberate what is already in most people's minds.
    Shortly after the classes began, one of Hitler's lecturers, Professor Karl Alexander von Muller, would be the first to notice Hitler among the crowd. Von Muller later described his first impression of Hitler:
    "My lecture and the lively discussion that followed it were over and the students had already begun to leave when my attention was caught by a small group of people in the hall. They were standing spellbound round a man who was vehemently haranguing them in a curiously guttural voice and with ever mounting passion. I had the peculiar feeling that he was feeding on the excitement he himself had whipped up. His face was pale and thin, his forehead partially concealed by an unmilitary lock of hair. He wore a close-cropped mustache and his striking large, clear-blue eyes had a cold passion in them."*
    At the next class, Captain Karl Mayr, the General Staff officer in charge of the soldier-speaker program, was present. The Professor asked Captain Mayr if he was aware that he had among his students "a natural-born speaker." The Captain asked who the person was, and the professor pointed to Hitler.
    "That's Hitler from the List Regiment," the Captain said and called out, "You Hitler, come up here."
    The Professor remembered that Hitler, still ill at ease among superiors, approached the Captain "awkwardly, with a kind of defiant embarrassment."*[Hanser, 189] Nothing came of the talk between Mayr and Hitler immediately, but Hitler was beginning to attract attention.
    During the last days of June, Hitler sat in class listening to von Muller's version of history in which the German's were exalted as a "master race." Because Hitler had been exposed to such teaching in Austrian schools, and since Europe was alive with nationalistic fervor, he took offense when after von Muller's speech, a student delivered a speech protesting the professor's negative version of the Jews. Hitler, therefore, entered his name "as wishing to take part in the discussion,"* and when he got his turn to speak, he defended the professor's opinion with such passion that he held his audience and swayed it. This was Hitler's first and self admitted "anti-Semitic" speech, and as he would later write: "The overwhelming majority of the students present took my standpoint."*'

    (see also Frank's bibliography, which has a blurb about him at the end)
  • ThirdReich.net's Was Hitler Gay page contains the following text from a Nov. 2001 History Today article about Lothar Machtan's book The Hidden Hitler:
    "There is evidence to suggest that, after the campaign against him, Röhm abandoned his hitherto steadfast loyalty to Hitler and decided to pursue a policy of his own. For this he needed allies, spies and informants. As early as April 1931 he had instructed the agent Georg Bell to build up an SA intelligence service. All this entailed at first was the intimidation of 'politicians inside the NSDAP who wanted to exploit Röhm's predicament'. But after the publication of the 'Röhm letters', he came to terms with opposition forces. Bell arranged a meeting with a former Reichswehr comrade of Rohm, the one-time intelligence officer Karl Mayr, who had since joined the SPD. With his help, the SA commander tried to track down the real authors of the campaign against him."
  • Rictor Norton's Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals page includes the following:
    "Hitler knew of Röhm's homosexuality at least by 1927, as well as that of others such as Edmund Heines, Karl Ernst, and La Paz, who owed their promotions to their "services" to Röhm. Heines would scour Germany picking up boys for his commander, and the clique met often in Munich for orgies.
    But Hitler was not yet strong enough in his own right either to quash his rival (Röhm lead a 100,000-strong army) or to maintain power without his help. He wisely decided to come to Röhm's defence: 'His private life cannot be an object of scrutiny unless it conflicts with basic principles of National Socialist ideology.'
    When Röhm's army grew to 500,000 men by 1932, Hitler saw a threat and decided that Röhm's private life did so conflict. Party Judge Walter Buch arranged for the assassination of the gay leaders of the SA: Röhm, Count Du Moulin, Eckhart, George Bell, Stabsführer Uhl. But the plot was discovered, Buch was denounced, and Röhm and Bell fled to their friend Major Karl Mayr to find out who was behind the conspiracy."
  • The UK Spartakus Schoolnet site's Hitler page contains the following mention of Mayr:
    "The German Army also began using Hitler as a spy. In September 1919, he was instructed to attend a meeting of the German Worker's Party (GWP). The army feared that this new party, led by Anton Drexler, might be advocating communist revolution. Hitler discovered that the party's political ideas were similar to his own. He approved of Drexler's German nationalism and anti-Semitism but was unimpressed with the way the party was organized. Although there as a spy, Hitler could not restrain himself when a member made a point he disagreed with, and he stood up and made a passionate speech on the subject.
    Drexler was impressed with Hitler's abilities as an orator and invited him to join the party. At first Hitler was reluctant, but urged on by his commanding officer, Captain Karl Mayr, he eventually agreed. He was only the fifty-fourth person to join the GWP. Hitler was immediately asked to join the executive committee and was later appointed the party's propaganda manager."
  • R.H. Perez de Cruet's Holocaust Project's "selected biographies" M page contains the following entry:
    "MAYR, KARL (18??-1945) Bavarian General Staff officer and Hitler's immediate superior in an Army Intelligence Division, 1919-1920. He later became Hitler's opponent, and wrote in his memoirs that it was General Ludendorff who had personally ordered him to have Hitler join the Nazi party and build it up. He was murdered in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945."

page created by Harold Marcuse on Sept. 29, 2005; last update: see page header
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