Subtitled “Personal Experiences with my Leader,” this work, written by Adolf Hitler’s chief of press in 1934, details the three tumultuous election campaign years from 1930 through to the coming to power of the NSDAP in January 1933. The author formed part of Hitler’s inner circle and campaign staff during this period—which included six full elections in two-and-a-half years—and later went on to become the chancellor’s personal press officer.
Starting with a short backgrounder of the growth of the National Socialist party, Dietrich then springs into a vivid description of the exhausting and intense electoral campaigns. Many fascinating details are included, such as Hitler’s hectic speaking schedule, and his ground-breaking—and sometimes highly dangerous—innovation of flying to meetings up and down the country. Hitler’s schedule, Dietrich recalled, was so intense that his entourage had trouble keeping up with him.
Also detailed are accounts of the Communist Party’s endeavors to stop Hitler—which included the setting of ambushes, and the attempts by the supposedly democratic parties to legally restrict the NSDAP.
Finally, the triumph of winning power—and the political intrigue which preceded it—are ably presented, before the work finishes with a broader philosophical discussion on the new National Socialist government’s position and interaction with the rest of the world.
From the preface:
“These pages shall comprise no biography of Adolf Hitler, no description of his political activity during the last years, but they shall recount decisive days of struggle and great moments, in a series of fragments from personal reminiscences, which the author has been privileged to experience with his leader during the last years until the attainment of power.
“I shall describe the historical course of events as I have personally seen and felt them.
“The reader may form for himself a conclusive picture of Adolf Hitler’s personality from the individual scenes of this struggle, comparable to that of Faust, of this fantastically modern way of work of this truly heroic struggle for the triumphal advance of the National Revolution. Probably these scenes reveal to some readers not only the man Adolf Hitler, but also the secret of his success.”
About the author: Otto Dietrich (1897–1952), served in the trenches in World War I before obtaining a doctorate in political science in 1921. After working as a journalist, he joined the NSDAP in 1929. His experience with the press led him to being appointed press chief for the party. Although this was his only role in the state, he was convicted in 1949 of “crimes against humanity” and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. The charges and sentencing were however acknowledged even then as trumped up, and he was released in 1950.