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It's November the 11th, 1918, a young soldier called Adolf Hitler is confined to a military hospital in Pasovic, northern Germany. He was recently the victim of a mustard gas attack. The gas seemed to have seriously damaged his eyesight. But on closer inspection, the medics have reached a rather different conclusion.


This patient's wounds are more likely psychological rather than physical. Hitler, it would seem, has finally been broken by the war. As so many soldiers have been the last four years have finally come home to roost. The trauma has robbed him, at least temporarily, of his vision. As he lies in his hospital bed, one chapter of Hitler's life is drawing to a close, but a brand new chapter is about to begin. My name is Paul McGann and welcome to Real Dictators, the series that explores the hidden lives of tyrants.


In this episode, we return to Adolf Hitler's early years. How did this man emerge from obscurity to become the very embodiment of evil? Let's find out. In the hospital, priests often slip in and out of the woods as they administer the last rites to the dying soldiers or impart the Christian good news to grateful survivors. But today, on the 11th of November 1918, the news they bear concerns military, not spiritual matters. The First World War has ended.


That's it. No more fighting. It's technically an armistice. Germany has signed a cease fire agreement with the Uloth. But it will become clear in time that this is really a surrender. Kaiser Wilhelm, the German emperor, has abdicated. He's left Berlin and fled to the Netherlands, where he'll die in exile. Throughout the war, German propaganda was given a false impression of the military situation, emphasizing Germany's gains and downplaying the losses, many Germans have a false impression of how well the war has been going.


Professor Claudia Kerns explains. They knew that morale was very low, but no allied soldier had set foot on German territory. And German wartime propaganda was enormously powerful so that even though Germans understood that their lives were very, very difficult, they still believed in the cause of victory. The Russians had surrendered. The entire eastern front collapsed. It looked as if Germany was ahead. But for those in positions of military command, with access to the intelligence that informed strategic decisions.


The end of hostilities comes as little surprise.


Dr Chris Dillon from King's College London is an expert on the history of modern Germany, the German surrender wasn't at all surprising for anyone who was informed about the military and strategic situation, which was hopeless by early September 1918 because of the position on the Balkan front, but also on the Western Front, where American soldiers have really begun to tip the balance against the Germans. The most important reason was that the Americans had declared war and brought fresh troops, tanks, materiel, weapons into the Western Front.


The German forces, after nearly four years, were hammered. The Americans swept back through France and Belgium, wiped out all the conquests. This has been a war of attrition with a catastrophic death toll on both sides. The reality is that after four years of conflict, the German army has suffered extensive losses, around 15 percent of their total force this. They've lost a succession of key battles that leave them territorially exposed. The government has been left with little choice but to pull back Lonsdorf and Hindenburg.


The two generals, the commander of the German army, understood that if they kept fighting, they would be invaded, they would be occupied. So to prevent the inevitable occupation, both the generals calculated that it made sense to surrender before they were utterly and totally defeated. That would prevent them from being occupied. So the two military leaders made a calculation.


This is crucial. Germany has never occupied by the allies. Germany never faces total undeniable defeat. The war ends before it gets to that point. The nature of this resolution will provide fertile ground for conspiracy theories to grow. Without enemy troops on their streets banging down their doors in the years to come, some German citizens will question why exactly the country has laid down its arms. For his part, Adolf Hitler will go on to write about his time in the military hospital in his autobiography, Mein Kampf.


He'll claim that at the moment he receives the news of the armistice, he's overcome with anger. Supposedly, his eyesight has been steadily improving since he was invalided out of the war. Now the blackness returns, his fury is so strong, he states that it plunges him once more into blindness. Skin still burning from the mustard gas. He's alone with his despair. Many in the hospital welcome the news.


These injured soldiers have had more than enough of war.


But Hitler, by contrast, buries his head in the pillows and weeps like a child crying even more than he did on the day his beloved mother died. So hero is Hitler. This poor, wretched soldier blinded in a hospital and he hears the news lying in the black, the darkness of the hospital.


Hitler will turn this moment into a foundational myth in his version of events. It is now, as he lies weeping, that fate speaks to him. This is the moment, so legend has it that Adolf Hitler decides to enter politics.


That's when he decided he had a higher calling. He was summoned to a higher duty. And from that time forward, he said, I decided to go into politics. Now, of course, this does not mean that he decided immediately that's what he was going to be. But all his life, Hitler created a myth about himself. And of course, a myth doesn't have to be true. It only has to be believed. And Hitler was an expert at doing that.


It seems quite likely Hitler would have been devastated by the news of the armistice because the war experience had been really the first time that it really found a purpose and a coherence in his life. But we can probably discount the more melodramatic details that he provides in Mein Kampf. Hitler was, after all, one of the great political leaders and fantasists. So if we believe the account that Hitler gives in Mein Kampf and it's a big if, Hitler immediately concludes that the armistice was the greatest villainy of the century and he supposedly he stumbles back to his bed and wet for some time and then decided that he needed to enter politics to undo this travesty.


In truth, Mein Kampf is basically stones are coming of age text. And the idea of a subsequent dramatic, tearful political awakening is probably a plot device more than anything else. Professor Thomas Veber, he sells this as his moment of radicalization, the moment of his epiphany. Is the story true? There are very good reasons to believe that it's an invented story until nineteen twenty three.


Hitler didn't even claim that his moment of epiphany was right at the end of the war, the scene that Hitler paints of this breakthrough moment in the hospital as a clever piece of fiction. It will serve Hitler's story about himself that he is a figure of destiny. Hitler may well lament Germany's failure to secure victory, but it will actually take months for the reality of defeat to sink in. A lot of Germans didn't really quite realize that they had lost the war.


The shock came with a delay. So kind of half year delay. And the reason for this is that the expectation in the months following the war was that the Americans would make sure that Germany would get a just war. That would reflect the fact that this was a kind of draw or slightly unfavorable draw right now as the armistice arrives.


Germany's leadership is keen to save face. They market the armistice as an honorable draw, not a crushing defeat.


They also listen to our American president. Wilson told them that is that he wanted a peace that would guarantee peace for all times. So the British and the Americans and by then the French seemed to promise an armistice that would result in a kind of peace between equals, not a piece of defeat. And so Germans expected that there would be fair peace. Over the coming weeks, the nurses and priests at Passover will begin the process of winding down the hospital.


Hitler might wish the war had continued and the Germans had triumphed throughout Europe, but for most the end of the conflict at least bring some kind of closure. The wounded can now start on the long road to physical and mental recovery. Most Germans, including soldiers of his own unit, they just wanted to get home. They wanted the war to be over as quickly as possible, whatever the cost or whatever the price they would have to pay for the war being over.


And they just wanted to be home with their wives and kids and friends.


Many see the end of hostilities as a chance to hit the reset button and to negotiate a peace that will sustain Germany's position as a mighty power. A minority of Germans were indeed kind of enraged to hear about the armistice, but this was by no means representative of the overall population. Most soldiers really just thought only of crossing the Rhine and getting back to their families. So Hitler is a pronounced exception, I think, amongst German soldiers. In November 1918 at Pasovic, the grand gothic turrets of the hospital building loom overhead on the ground.


Those soldiers fit enough to look after themselves in the outside world are unceremoniously discharged. Adolf Hitler is among those preparing to leave, he bids farewell to the young ward Sister Anna is nursed him back to health. Hitler is bruised, battered, shell shocked man can have no idea that he will become Germany's dictator within just a decade and a half. Our goals aren't as out of reach as we once thought because things are coming back and if there's anything we've learned, it's that there's no time like the present at U.S. Bank.


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Equal housing lender member, FDIC. Hitler has been discharged from hospital with no war to return to, but he's still employed as a soldier. His Army superiors assigned him to work as a guard at a prisoner of war camp. Hitler wanted to stay in the army. This seems to have been driven by the fact that Hitler had nowhere else to return to and that even Hitler was not so much thinking about how the war exactly had ended, but he was just finding a place to fit in.


A few months later, Hitler is relieved of his duties at the camp. Now, finally, he returns home. Most soldiers receive a hero's welcome from their hometowns. In late 1918, we train stations packed full of grateful and tearful crowds. There's a later myth that's developed by nationalists, by the Nazis that soldiers have returned home to be spat out and abused by ungrateful socialists. But most of this is just entirely from cloth. It's all part of the propaganda of victimhood which is whipped up by the German.


Right home for Hitler is the southern German city of Munich. Professor Frank McDonough, he went back to Munich, he went back to live in a lodging house again at this little room and a lodging house, then he gets himself a little flat, which is over a barrel. He still remains in the army, hasn't left the army. Munich is close to Hitler's heart. It's here. He celebrated on the streets when war was declared in 1914. By now, Hitler has lost virtually all contact with his remaining siblings.


Hitler had been someone who had not stayed in touch with his friends and family during the war. In fact, when Hitler eventually, a couple of years later, shows up for the first time at his sister's place in Vienna, she's totally shocked because she thought that her brother must have died seven years ago because she hadn't heard from him.


Hitler's relatives mean little to him. He has no academic qualifications, no previous career to fall back on. He's desperate to remain a soldier, even if that means something rather different in the post-war years. In the years after the war, all over Germany and particularly in Bavaria, these demobilized soldiers couldn't really demobilize from the war. They couldn't unhook from the war. They had no job prospects.


The Munich Hitler returns to is a very different place to the city he left. People have had more than enough of the exiled Kaisers rule Bavaria and much of Germany is in the midst of a political uprising when Hitler returns to Munich after the end of the war.


He returns to a city that is totally different from the city that he had left.


He is now returning to a city that had experienced revolution in 1871. The great Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck unified the German lands under a single constitution. Now, in 1918, that old order is crumbling, Germany is a country that is refinding itself. Across the land, left wing Social Democrats have taken charge, booting out the hereditary dukes and princes that all swept away very quickly and very easily with no resistance in November 1918, which suggests the monarchy had had its day.


So German soldiers like Hitler returned home in November and December to a greatly changed social and political landscape. To the Social Democrats who have been persecuted. Outsiders in the Kaiser's Germany and now in charge everywhere, is bedecked in red flags rather than dynastic flags. As have been the case in Bavaria, this has been particularly intense. And so Bavaria was the first of the German states to experience the revolution. So as a cauldron of discontent that's available to be whipped up as revolution sweeps the land, a new threat to life emerges.


After the devastation of the Great War, an influenza pandemic is wreaking havoc across Europe. Germany has lost more than two million soldiers in the war. Now the so-called Spanish flu will claimed the lives of more than 400000 civilians.


So the Spanish flu epidemic had a devastating effect on Germany. The death toll in Germany was very high. And interestingly enough, a year or two ago, two political scientists correlated the flu death rate with the vote for Hitler. And they drew the correlation between the areas of Germany that had been most severely hit by high mortality rates in the Spanish flu with the vote for Hitler. Now, of course, that's not a cause and effect, but it does speak to the relationship between poverty and following Hitler.


No doubt life in post-war Germany is hectic and extremely difficult, but that's the case all over Europe, even in the countries on the winning side of the war. Supporters stress that Germany, after the First World War, isn't quite the disaster zone that later Nazi mythology suggested. There's a very strong mythology that emerges in the early 30s that essentially Germany had fallen in 1918 and there needs to be a redeemer who would save it. Most Germans are relieved the war is over.


No country was in a great situation. There was a flu epidemic that was raging around the world and Germany rarely, you know, it wasn't in a fantastic position economically. France was in an equally bad position and so was Britain. They'd also suffered France suffered terribly because all the war was forced on French soil. France and Belgium suffered the most.


Hitler would later claim to be outraged by the Bavarian revolution and disgusted by the sight of the left in power. But there's little evidence for this. In fact, it seems that Hitler, like so many others, was content to go along with the Social Democrats.


It is really only hardcore nationalists who would at that point really radically oppose the revolution as Hitler returns to revolutionary Munich, just like so many others, just going along with it because he realizes that if he goes along with it, he can stay in the army.


This is not a man fixated on political destiny. He's someone scrabbling around to keep his job. He even stands for his first ever election at this time.


This is the first time that election runs for office. Elections take place to elect representatives for soldiers council from his military unit. Hitler stands for election and comes second and is duly elected. This is for the first time in his life. But Hitler has any kind of command over someone else. It seems that the reason why he was running was again driven by necessity. This was, again, a time where even more people were demobilized. But he seems to have known that if he wins that election, he will not be demobilized.


So he runs. He's one of the winners of the election and he realized he can do the job. He seems to be learning on the job that he can lead, that he can be accepted, that he has natural authority over others. It's a pretty remarkable thought. Germany's far right dictator cut his teeth serving a left wing administration, whatever, Hitler's own private political views. For now, at least, he's keeping them largely to himself. He gets on with his work being a soldier, gives him a purpose and put food on the table.


But the army is its own world, and under their watch, it will become increasingly detached from reality. It's in this period as a soldier in post-war Munich when Hitler will become truly, unequivocally radicalized. It's the summer of 1919 and Whiley years of fighting may be over. The First World War still needs to be officially tied up. In June, the victorious allies gather in Paris. It's time to settle the tab for the war. Dignitaries and diplomats posed for photographs outside the Palace of Versailles.


Then they make their way inside to the Hall of mirrors.


This room is the height of French opulence. It's 240 feet long. The walls glisten with gold, interspersed with tall bay windows. The arched ceiling is covered with frescoes and chandeliers. It's quite a setting for an international summit. It was right here in this hall that the German empire was proclaimed in 1871, and it's here on the 28th of June, 1919, where this Germany is buried for good. The assembled dignitaries take it in turns to put pen to paper, the document they're signing is the Treaty of Versailles.


It's a document that finally puts the Great War to bed, consigning the conflict to the history books in France, Britain and America. The treaty is received with relief and even joy. Peace has triumphed. In Germany, on the other hand, the response couldn't be more different. The Vusi treaty is widely viewed as an unmitigated disaster. They had to give up large parts of its territories, they had to agree to reduced its armed forces 200000 man. They had to agree to give up its air force, had to give up their navy.


Germany would no longer lay claim to an overseas empire. The colonies are hoovered up by the French and the British. The allies ex even falls on Germany itself. 13 percent of German home territory in Europe is taken and divided up between neighboring states. Nearly seven million Germans become citizens of friends, Czechoslovakia or Poland, almost overnight, they seed German territory to France in the west. So the province of Alsace Lorraine Bismarck had taken from France in 1871 and in the E territory is ceded to resurrect the state of Poland.


Germany also loses its colonial possessions, whose especially numerous in Africa. On top of all this, Germany has given a whopping great fine for supposedly starting the war.


The total amount demanded in reparations is 260 billion gold mines in today's money, that equates to roughly 860 billion U.S. dollars. The most infamous, the most resented clause was Article two three one, which is the war guilt clause, which criminalises severe penalties to Germany for supposedly singlehandedly causing the outbreak of war in 1914. President Wilson believed, and so did all of the signatories believe that Germany should pay damages for the war Germany lost. Therefore, it should pay reparations.


It wasn't unusual to ask who defeated power to pay reparations, but Wilsonville, unless the Germans admitted they were responsible for starting the war, it wasn't right to charge them reparations for the damage they did. So one clause in the Treaty of Versailles the Germans were forced to sign was that they were guilty for causing the war the war guilt clause.


Germans hated that. They felt that France had caused the war Russia had because any all the other countries, they felt innocent. They felt attacked. The result of that is that Germany did sign to pay steep reparations to pay for the repair of the buildings destroyed, of the railways destroyed, of the hospitals destroyed. So the allies toted up a whole list of damages and charged the Germans with payment. The German people are divided amongst themselves on many issues, but on this, the people are united.


The treaty is widely viewed as a gross humiliation. In hindsight, Baci looks like a bit of an own goal by the Allies, this punitive settlement cedes anger and discontent, emotions that will, in the not too distant future, help propel Adolf Hitler to power. At the time, some amongst the allies are critical of the treaty. But settling the tab for the First World War was never going to be a walk in the park. It wasn't just Germans who felt the treaty was unfair to the British economist John Maynard Keynes, for example, I, who have been part of the British delegation at the site.


He wrote, A stinging denunciation of the treaty is being petty minded and economically disastrous for the entire European economy. Most Australians today say that actually the Treaty of Versailles doesn't deserve its historical reputation, just as good a job as possible in the circumstances, because public opinion in the nations wouldn't have worn anything much gentler on the side. But the judgments of historians like me a century later are far less important than how the treaty was seen and experienced. At the time, Germans were almost universally outraged at the treaty is one of the very few shared sentiments right across the political spectrum in the sense that the treaty is seen as a deliberate, mean spirited, gratuitous humiliation of Germany by countries who had never really come to terms with Germany's arrival as a great power under Bismarck in the 19th century, August 1919 sees the creation of a brand new German national government to steer the country through this phase of reconstruction.


Democracy and free elections are the order of the day. The Germans held elections in early 1919 for the first time because the allies insisted on it. Women were given suffrage and that election elected the government that signed the peace treaty. So the powers that were responsible for starting the war escaped without the ignominy of having to negotiate the peace. This administration will become known as the Weimar government, named after the city where it's founded.


The government immediately attracts abuse from those who hate democracy on principle, even after the government moved back to Berlin, which it did, but always had that tinge of being artificial and being fake, of not really being German. They called it the imposed democracy. Germany had no choice but to accept democracy.


Some, especially in the Army, refused to accept the right of the Weimar government even to exist. The army still stays.


It's reduced in number, but not its offices. All the officers stay in power and all the officers are really right wing nationalistic. A hell of a lot of them want a reset of the monarchy. So you've got a big group who wants the return of the monarchy. Then you've got an even bigger group who wants a kind of a nationalist regime that restores the army and overturns the Treaty of Versailles.


Those who truly loathe the Weimar administration are at this stage a minority.


But one man will soon join their ranks and change the course of German politics. Adolf Hitler will soon nail his colours to the mast and throw himself headlong into the politics of the far right. The reality that Germany has lost, not from the war starts to filter through to the population. It's now unarguable that the war was a defeat for Germany, not a tie. Baci is not the sort of treaty you get for an honorable draw. But there are some in the German military who simply refuse to accept they've been defeated fair and square.


They claim that pound for pound, the Germans remain the superior force to the end, the army in the First World War believe that they were better than the all the other armies put together.


And really, the army didn't believe it had lost the war because it was defeated by superior forces.


If Germany didn't lose fair and square, then surely there must be some other explanation. There must be a reason for Germany ending up in this unfavorable position. A powerful conspiracy theory emerges the stab in the back myth it holds that Germany didn't lose the war on the battlefield. The war was lost back home in the government offices and the banks of Berlin. The thinking goes that the virtuous German army was betrayed by traitors on the domestic front. These traitors threw in the towel and sold out their country.


This will become a powerful theme for the German far right. The stab in the back myth emerged. I remember Germany itself was not invaded, and so the German cities and towns were not decimated and destroyed. So you could actually believe as they walked back into Germany, you know, completely undamaged from France, which was completely decimated. Some of them, you know, largely thought, why did we give up this war? And this was certainly something that's played up by the political right, because it implies that the politicians had accepted peace all too easily and hadn't fought to the very end for the best possible terms.


So who are the supposed traitors? Well, for those on the far right, clutching at straws, desperate for scapegoats, there are two groups of people to blame. Communists and Jews. So they decided it was Jews and it was communists irresponsible and that they of Germany in the past when they could have won the war.


Europe has a long, shameful and bloody history of anti-Semitism. This particular prejudice underpins hundreds of years of history. At the beginning of the 20th century, this bigotry has spread pretty evenly across the continent, but now in Germany, in the aftermath of the First World War, as the reality of defeat sinks in, anti-Semitism is becoming more and more pronounced. anti-Semitism is certainly very widespread in Germany. You can see this sort of anti-Semitism very easily in France and in Britain.


One historian has pointed out that if you were to return to Europe at the turn of the 20th century and try and work out which country was most likely to produce viciously anti-Semitic, murderous regime, you'd have picked France with the Dreyfus affair or Russia with its state sponsored pogroms. You wouldn't have picked Germany in Germany. The experience of defeat and revolution, which France and Britain don't have, creates a wider market for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. For extreme nationalists, anti-Semitism offers a warped framework for making sense of Germany's reduced position throughout the First World War.


You've got anti-Semitic groups on German homefront who are claiming that German Jews are not pulling their weight and are instead profiteering from the war economy, that the church behind Kotsay deaths are not out there in the field. This is nonsense, but it comes very kind of widespread anti-Semitic trope. To be crystal clear. The idea that German Jews somehow betrayed or sold out Germany is utter nonsense, a malicious lie. In fact, in reality, the allies of destroyed Germany, they could have invaded Germany.


Some people say they should have invaded Germany and they should have put the Kaiser on trial and did everything they did after the Second World War because it was a kind of ambiguous ending.


The claim that Jewish soldiers somehow didn't pull their weight in the trenches is equally outrageous. In fact, German Jews served in the armed forces in disproportionately high numbers relative to the population. In World War One, 18000 Jewish soldiers were awarded the Iron Cross for bravery out of 100000 personnel. But these facts hold little or no currency among those on Germany's far right, extreme nationalists are desperate for a simple explanation for the world as it is now.


They're dangerous. Myths will prove to be deadly.


In the summer of 1919, Adolf Hitler is still on the books at the Bavarian army. He's been a messenger in Flanders, a guard at a prisoner of war camp and a soldier's liaison. In five years, he's been promoted, just wants to give Frater a rank that gives him no power of command over anyone else. Hitler has proved himself to be perfectly capable, but he's hardly taken the army by storm. He's about to really find his feet in a brand new role.


His military superiors have noticed that this soldier has a talent for storytelling beyond his peculiar and abrasive exterior, is actually an extremely capable communicator.


He often keeps his own counsel. But when he does speak, when he does perform, he has an uncanny ability to captivate his audience. The army's equality's here that they can make use of men like Hitler could be useful tools to steer fellow soldiers away from communism and other distasteful views.


They want to put him to work trotting out slogans, posters and articles that bolster the Army's position so they decide to send Hitler on a training course to become an Army propagandist. This is an absolutely pivotal moment, it's the moment of no return now during the summer when he is taking this course, it was now that Hitler really realized the war had been lost at the end of the war against Hitler, like so many other people seem to believe that the war ended in a draw.


But now with the Vasari Treaty and crucially, with not just the signing of Stepaside treaty, but also with the ratification of the treaty in Parliament, Germans experienced a rude awakening. They realized, wow, we really have lost the war.


If our politicians see no choice but to sign the first treaty and the Weimar government of bringing everything into focus. Defeat has finally struck home on this so-called national thinking, cause Hitler is taking a big step on his journey to the furthest extremes of the far right. Hitler's emerging anti-Semitism is very much informed by one of the lectures that he is attending that presents the problem of Judaism as supposedly weakening Germany domestically because of the kind of Jewish spirit. So this is one of the lectures that he's turning to for inspiration, where we now see from the moment he listens to that, we see a continuity of political ideas from that moment until the day he dies.


Hitler may well have been an anti-Semite before this point, but it's now in the years following World War One, that a hatred of Jews becomes absolutely central to his worldview. A prejudice that started in Vienna is now his obsession, even if there had been some kind of anti-Semitism pre-existing. Now we see a major mutation office, anti-Semitism. It is now becoming the center of his political ideas. It is the center because he sees as the primary reasons for Germany's domestic weakness, the supposedly pernicious influence of Jews.


In the Bavarian army. Hatred of Jews often goes hand in hand with the hatred of communists, anti-Semitism and anti Bolshevism are often two sides of the same coin.


The Army hates Marxism. Fear to the left is suffused with anti-Semitism for a number of different reasons. And this is what feeds through to Hitler. So most senior German army officers, Bavarian army officers imbibe anti socialism and anti-Semitism with their mother's milk in Imperial Germany. There's also there's a fear in the German army that Marxism, because of its internationalism and working class based politics, is a dire threat to the entire social status of the Army. It's really the army that sets up this connection between Bolshevism and Jews.


We should obsess Hitler all the way through until the last minutes in his bunker in 1945, right the way through to the very end, the same nexus of factors of sexism. Hitler is also being exposed to what are called folkish ideas. Loosely translated, the term falck means people to the German term folk means race, ethnicity and people. It's hard to get a bum pick outside of the context of the German language. It's a particular way of defining germaneness.


It's the spirit and heritage that supposedly binds all Germans together. This idea will become central to Hitler's signature blend of politics, Germany, and then very late to be unified. Other countries unified how in the 18th century, the 19th century. So Germany was more fragmented than most large nations at the time in the north. They spoke with a different dialect than they did in the south. Each state was quite distinctive. Some states were Catholic, some states were Protestant.


So Germany was unusually politically divided culturally, linguistically. So in the 19th century, they began to speak of Germany as the funk, the people volke. The folk meant a people unified by an almost spiritual kind of unity that was not expressed in the divided politics of the day. It was a transcendent unity that pulled Germans together, that made them forget their petty local differences and unify behind a leader.


So it places a mystical, superstitious faith in the shared language. In the blood of Germans. The term blood is very important for focused thinkers and writers, basically focused thinkers. I tout the superiority of the German race as an organic, forest dwelling, superior ethnic tribe. So it's got a deep historical genealogy for this kind of nonsense. Looking back, it can be easy to assume that Adolf Hitler is simply a product of his environment. Conspiracy theories are in currency, especially in the army, and they find their way to him.


But there are all sorts of extreme ideas in the air in Munich at this time, many of them contradictory. Hitler has a smorgasbord of bigotry to choose from. As he sets about his work as an Army propagandist, he selects ideas that appeal to him.


He begins to assemble them into his own personal brand, and he is turning to radical right wing ideas that are in the air and meyrick to arrange his own ideas. So Hitler really has to pick and choose himself. Don't think of an image of a sponge, but think of a very rich buffet of right wing ideas from which Hitler now it picks and chooses and arranges his own meal, his own menu. At this time in the early 1920s, Hitler's fringe views have little cut through to the German people at large.


What is striking is just how normalized they will become. Anyone who's visited Munich as a tourist will know that the thing to do is to drink beer in huge open plan beer holes in the years after the war. These beer halls are where politics as well as socializing happen. In these massive cellars, young men gather to swig booze and rage at their enemies, both real and imagined. The Bavarian army is keeping a bird's eye on some of the most radical groups meeting in the beer halls.


A man called Captain Kamiar heads up a special military unit. His job is to keep Munich's extremists on a leash to make sure they don't get too big for their boots or move in a direction that threatens the army. Maiya has a task he can only entrust to an especially loyal and reliable soldier.


It will involve going undercover to spy on some persons of particular interest, the man he has in mind for this mission. Is Adolf Hitler. In the next episode of Real Dictators, Hitler becomes a spy for the Army, but then an extraordinary plot twist when he joins the very radicals he's been sent to surveil. This group will become the Nazi party as he throws himself into their work, Adolf Hitler finds his voice. Soon he will leave the army behind as his march towards leadership grinds into gear.


That's next time on Real Dictators. Real Dictators is presented by me, Paul McGann, the show was created by Pascal Hughes, produced by Joel Did Our Editing and music by Oliver Baynes With Strings, recorded by Dorie McCoole, sound designer mix by Tom Pink with Ed Assembly by George to follow Noisette podcasts on Twitter for news about upcoming stories. If you haven't already, follow us wherever you listen to your favorite shows or check us out at Dictators Dockum. Tune in on Wednesdays for new episodes.


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