The Party Ideologue Gottfried Feder and the NSDAP Program

On February 24, 1920, Adolf Hitler presented a 25-point program to an audience of around 2,000 people at a German Workers’ Party (DAP) event at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. That same evening, the DAP renamed itself the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” (NSDAP).

The Party Ideologue Gottfried Feder and the NSDAP Program

On February 24, 1920, Adolf Hitler presented a 25-point program to an audience of around 2,000 people at a German Workers’ Party (DAP) event at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. That same evening, the DAP renamed itself the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” (NSDAP).

This 25-point program was a hodgepodge of demands from nationalist and ethnic groups, the middle class, and the extreme left and was designed to appeal to as broad an electorate as possible. Hitler called for the rejection of the Versailles Peace Treaty, the return of the colonies, an “expansion of old-age provision,” the “communalization of large department stores,” the “breaking of the bondage to interest,” and the nationalization of large companies. People of Jewish descent were denied the right to German citizenship.

Stadtarchiv München
Hitler, guest speaker

Advertising poster for the rally at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich on February 24, 1920, at which Adolf Hitler spoke as a guest speaker and presented the 25-point program.

Party ideologue Gottfried Feder (18831941) presumably helped formulate the economic policy objectives. However, Hitler’s positive relations with high finance and big industry made Feder feel as if the anti-capitalist ideals he ascribed to had been betrayed. In 1933, Feder wrote a paper entitled “Kampf gegen die Hochfinanz” (Fight against High Finance), in which he renewed his calls for anti-capitalist policies. After holding various party and state offices, he was politically disempowered by Hitler and finally sent offto be a department chair at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin in 1936.

Roter Pfeffer, vol. 5 / 1932, n. 5, 15.5.1932, p. 2
The program speaker

“Jews out! System socialism!  Protection of private property / Legal, more legal, the most legal! Heads must roll! Youngslavery! Fulfillment of the possible”

And if once your spirit is not enough, you babble after a feather …

Duwdiwani caricatured Gottfried Feder’s contradictory phrases with which the NSDAP wooed voters.

Roter Pfeffer, vol. 5 / n. 9, 15.9.1932, p. 15
Adolf's “Catechism of the Movement”

At the instigation of the capitalists, essential points of Feder’s “unchangeable program of the NSDAP” were changed.

The SA man: “The hair bristles, but not the feather!”

On January 26, 1932, Hitler had a very successful speech in front of an audience of about 650 at the Düsseldorf Industrial Club. Hitler’s rapprochement with big business, however, broke from the party’s program and was not supported by all members of the NSDAP. Some party members rallied around the increasingly disempowered Gottfried Feder, who aspired to a kind of national socialism. Others wanted the SA to develop into a “revolutionary people’s militia” under the command of Ernst Röhm (1887–1934) and take the place of the Reichswehr. Neither tendency, however, was in the interests of the economy. Röhm was shot in Stadelheim prison on July 1, 1934, on Hitler’s orders.

Oliver Das Gupta: NSDAP-Gründung. Hitlers Wurf im Hofbräuhaus. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung vom 24.2.2010.
Online: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/hitler-hofbraeuhaus-nsdap-1.13010

Wilhelm Mensing: Einem deutschen Sowjetbürger wird bei Stalin das Schreiben abgewöhnt. Aus dem Leben des Dresdner jüdischen Schriftstellers Helmut Weiß. In: Exil – Forschung. Erkenntnisse. Ergebnisse. Nr. 2, 2003, S. 34 ff.

Gerhard Senft: Antikapitalismus von Rechts? Eine Abrechnung mit Gottfried Feders »Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft«. In: Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie, 106. Folge/1995, S. 18 – 32.

Henry Ashby Turner (Hg.): Legende und Wirklichkeit. Hitlers Rede vor dem Düsseldorfer Industrie-Club am 26. Januar 1932. Düsseldorf 2001.

Albrecht Tyrell: Gottfried Feder – Der gescheiterte Programmatiker. In: Ronald Smelser/Rainer Zitelmann (Hg.): Die braune Elite. 22 biographische Skizzen. Darmstadt 1989, S. 28 – 40.