New Light on Hitler’s Apprenticeship
Hitler had taken enthusiastically to his years in the army during the first World War. D.C. Watt describes how, afterwards, the future führer worked with equal zeal — and served his political apprenticeship — as a propagandist for a Bavarian counter-revolutionary army group.
In the 1930’s Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s personal photographer, and his master were discussing the outbreak of war in 1914. When Hoffmann revealed that he had taken a photograph of the crowds in Munich, Hitler exclaimed: “But I was there.”
A prolonged search of the photograph disclosed the young man of twenty-five gazing, with a look of exaltation in his eyes, towards the balcony from which the proclamation of war was being read.
Here for the first time the young déclassé, tramp, Bohemian and political visionary found himself caught up in a great movement of public feeling. He enlisted almost at once, as a volunteer, his date of enlistment being given on the master rolls of the 2nd Bavarian Infantry regiment as August 16th, 1914.
On November 1st, he was promoted to Corporal, and on December 2nd, he won the Iron Cross, Second Class. At that rank he stayed throughout his army career.