Dietrich Eckart (German: [ˈɛkaʁt]; 23 March 1868 – 26 December 1923) was a German journalist, playwright, poet, and politician who was one of the founders of the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party, DAP), which later evolved into the Nazi Party (NSDAP). He was a key influence on Adolf Hitler in the early years of the Nazi Party and was a participant in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.
He died shortly after the putsch, and was elevated, during the Nazi era, to the status of a major thinker and writer.
Dietrich Eckart depicted by Karl Bauer
|Born||Johann Dietrich Eckart|
23 March 1868
Neumarkt, Upper Palatinate, Kingdom of Bavaria
|Died||26 December 1923 (aged 55)|
Rose Marx (m. 1913)
Eckart was born Johann Dietrich Eckart in 1868 in Neumarkt, Upper Palatinate (about twenty miles southeast of Nuremberg) in the Kingdom of Bavaria, the son of royal notary and lawyer Christian Eckart and his wife Anna, a devout Catholic. His mother died when he was ten years old. Young Dietrich was expelled from several schools; in 1895, his father died also, leaving him a considerable amount of money that Eckart soon spent.
Eckart initially studied law at Erlangen, later medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and was an eager member of the fencing and drinking Student Korps. But he finally decided in 1891 to work as a poet, playwright, and journalist. Diagnosed with morphine addiction and nearly stranded, he moved to Berlin in 1899. There he wrote a number of plays, often autobiographical, and became the protégé of Count Georg von Hülsen-Haeseler (1858–1922), the artistic director of the Prussian Royal Theatre. After a duel, he was incarcerated at the Passau Oberhaus.
Eckart was a successful playwright, especially with his 1912 adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt, one of the best attended productions of the age with more than 600 performances in Berlin alone. In Eckart's version, the play became "a powerful dramatisation of nationalist and anti-semitic ideas", in which Gynt represents the superior Germanic hero, struggling against implicitly Jewish "trolls". As Ralph M. Engelman says, "Eckart meant his adaptation of Peer Gynt to represent a racial allegory in which the trolls and Great Boyg represented what [Otto] Weininger conceived to be the Jewish spirit."
This success not only made Eckart wealthy, it gave him the social contacts that he later used to introduce Hitler to dozens of important German citizens. These introductions proved to be pivotal in Hitler's ultimate rise to power. Later on, Eckart developed an ideology of a "genius superman", based on writings by the Völkisch author Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels; he saw himself following the tradition of Heinrich Heine, Arthur Schopenhauer and Angelus Silesius. He also became fascinated by the Buddhist doctrine of Maya (illusion). From 1907 he lived with his brother Wilhelm in the Döberitz mansion colony west of the Berlin city limits. In 1913 he married Rose Marx, an affluent widow from Bad Blankenburg, and returned to Munich.
After World War I, Eckart edited the antisemitic periodical Auf gut Deutsch ("In plain German"), working with Alfred Rosenberg and Gottfried Feder. A fierce critic of the German Revolution and the Weimar Republic, he vehemently opposed the Treaty of Versailles, which he viewed as treason, and was a proponent of the so-called stab-in-the-back legend (Dolchstoßlegende), according to which the Social Democrats and Jews were to blame for Germany's defeat in the war.
In January 1919, Eckart, Feder, Anton Drexler and Karl Harrer founded the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party - DAP), which to increase its appeal to larger segments of the population, in February 1920 changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party – NSDAP); more commonly known as the Nazi Party. He was the original publisher of the party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, and also wrote the lyrics of Deutschland erwache ("Germany awake"), which became an anthem of the Nazi Party.
Eckart met Adolf Hitler when Hitler gave a speech before the DAP members in 1919. Eckart was involved with the Thule Society, although not a member. The Society was a secretive group of occultists who believed in the coming of a “German Messiah” who would redeem Germany after its defeat in World War I. Eckart expressed his anticipation in a poem he wrote months before he first met Hitler. In the poem, Eckart refers to "the Great One," "the Nameless One," "Whom all can sense but no one saw." When Eckart met Hitler, Eckart was convinced that he had encountered the prophesied redeemer. Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him and helping to establish theories and beliefs of the Party.
It was Eckart who introduced Alfred Rosenberg to Adolf Hitler. Between 1920 and 1923, Eckart and Rosenberg labored tirelessly in the service of Hitler and the party. Through Rosenberg, Hitler was introduced to the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Rosenberg's inspiration. Rosenberg edited the Münchener Beobachter, a party newspaper, originally owned by the Thule Society. Rosenberg published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the "Beobachter."
To raise funds for the Party, Eckart introduced Hitler into influential circles including to his future etiquette tutor, socialite Helene Bechstein. In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in Munich. Members of its executive committee wanted to merge with the rival German Socialist Party (DSP). Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that the resignation of their leading public figure and speaker would mean the end of the party. Eckart was asked by the Party leadership to talk with Hitler and relay the conditions in which Hitler would agree to return to the Party. Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman, and that the party headquarters would remain in Munich. The committee agreed, and he rejoined the party on 26 July 1921.
On 9 November 1923, Eckart participated in the failed Beer Hall Putsch. He was arrested and placed in Landsberg Prison along with Hitler and other party officials, but was released shortly thereafter due to illness. He died of a heart attack in Berchtesgaden on 26 December 1923. He was buried in Berchtesgaden's old cemetery, not far from the eventual graves of Nazi Party official Hans Lammers and his wife and daughter.
During the Nazi period, several monuments and memorials were created to Eckart. Hitler dedicated the second volume of Mein Kampf to Eckart, and also named the arena near the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, now known as the Waldbühne (Forest Stage), the "Dietrich-Eckart-Bühne" when it was opened for the 1936 Summer Olympics. The 5th Standarte (regiment) of the SS-Totenkopfverbände was given the honour-title Dietrich Eckart. In 1937 the Realprogymnasium in Emmendingen was expanded and renamed the "Dietrich-Eckart secondary school for boys". Several new roads were named after Eckart. All of these have since been renamed.
His birthplace in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz was officially renamed with the added suffix "Dietrich-Eckart-Stadt". In 1934, Adolf Hitler inaugurated a monument in his honour in the city park. It has since been rededicated to Christopher of Bavaria (1416–1448), King of Denmark, who was probably born in the town.
In March 1938, when Passau commemorated Eckart's 70th birthday at Oberhaus Castle, the Lord Mayor announced not only the creation of a Dietrich-Eckart-Foundation but also the restoration of the room where Eckart had been imprisoned. In addition, a street was dedicated to Eckart.
In 1925, Eckart's unfinished essay Der Bolschewismus von Moses bis Lenin: Zwiegespräch zwischen Hitler und mir ("Bolshevism from Moses to Lenin: Dialogue Between Hitler and Me") was published posthumously, although it has been shown that the dialogues were an invention; the essay was written by Eckart alone. "However, this book still remains a reliable indicator of [Eckart's] own views." The historian Richard Steigmann-Gall quotes from Eckart's book:
In Christ, the embodiment of all manliness, we find all that we need. And if we occasionally speak of Baldur (a god in Norse mythology), our words always contain some joy, some satisfaction, that our pagan ancestors were already so Christian as to have an indication of Christ in this ideal figure.
Steigmann-Gall concluded that, "far from advocating a paganism or anti-Christian religion, Eckart held that, in Germany's postwar tailspin, Christ was a leader to be emulated."
In 1935 Alfred Rosenberg published the book Dietrich Eckart. A Legacy (i.e. Dietrich Eckart. Ein Vermächtnis) with collected writings by Eckart, including this passage:
To be a genius means to use the soul, to strive for the divine, to escape from the mean; and even if this cannot be totally achieved, there will be no space for the opposite of good. It does not prevent the genius to portray also the wretchedness of being in all shapes and colors, being the great artist, that he is; but he does this as an observer, not taking part, sine ira et studio, his heart remains pure. ... The ideal in this, just like in every respect whatsoever is Christ; his words "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one" show the completely divine freedom from the influence of the senses, the overcoming of the earthly world even without art as an intermediary. At the other end you find Heine and his race ... all they do culminates in ... the motive, in subjugating the world, and the less this works, the more hate-filled their work becomes that is to satisfy their motive, the more deceitful and fallacious every try to reach the goal. No trace of true genius, the very opposite of the manliness of genius ....
Eckart was described by Edgar Ansel Mowrer as "a strange drunken genius". His antisemitism supposedly arose from various esoteric schools of mysticism, and he spent hours with Hitler discussing art and the place of the Jews in world history. He has been called the spiritual father of National Socialism.
Alfred Ernst Rosenberg (12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) was the head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories and war criminal during the Nazi era. A Baltic German, he was a theorist and an influential ideologue of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart and held several important posts in the Nazi government.
The author of a seminal work of Nazi ideology, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), Rosenberg is considered one of the main authors of key National Socialist ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to what was considered "degenerate" modern art. He is known for his rejection of and hatred for Christianity, having played an important role in the development of German Nationalist Positive Christianity. At Nuremberg he was sentenced to death and executed by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity.Dietrich
Dietrich (German pronunciation: [ˈdiːtrɪç]) is an ancient German name meaning "Ruler of the People".Eckart
Eckart is a German surname, and may refer to:
Anselm Eckart (1721-1809), German Jesuit missionary
Dennis E. Eckart (born 1950), American lawyer, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Dietrich Eckart (1868-1923), German journalist, poet and one of the founders of the Deutsche Arbeiterparte
Gabriele Eckart (born 1954), German philosopher and author
Malcolm Eckart, an American race car driver who drove Hudson cars in the Carrera Panamericana race in the 1950s.
Max-Eckart Wolff (1902-1988), German naval commander in the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II.
William Eckart Lehman (1821-1895), Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
William and Jean Eckart, a husband-and-wife team of theatre designers in the 1950s and 1960sGiven nameEckart Afheldt (1921–1999), German general in the Bundeswehr
Eckart Berkes (1949–2014), German hurdler
Eckart Breitschuh (born 1964), German comic-book artist and author
Eckart Diesch, German sailor
Eckart Dux (born 1926), German voice actor, film and television actor
Eckart Höfling (1936–2014), German Catholic priest who worked combating poverty in Brazil
Eckart Kehr (1902-1933), Marxist German historian
Eckart Marsch (born 1947), German theoretical physicist
Eckart Märzke (born 1952), former East German football player and currently manager
Eckart Preu (born 1969), East German-born conductor
Eckart Ratz (born 1953), Austrian President of the Supreme Court of Justice
Eckart Schütrumpf (born 1939), American classicist and academician
Eckart Suhl (born 1943), former field hockey player from Germany
Eckart Viehweg (1948-2010), German mathematician
Eckart von Bonin (1911-1943), German Second World War fighter ace
Eckart von Hirschhausen (born 1967), German physician, comedian and talk show host
Eckart von Klaeden (born 1965), German politician of the Christian Democratic Union
Eckart Wagner (1938–2002), German sailor
Eckart Witzigmann, Austrian chefEidgenössische Sammlung
Eidgenössische Sammlung (German; literally "Confederate Collection") was a Swiss political party, founded in 1940 by Robert Tobler as a successor to the recently dissolved National Front.The party demanded an adjustment in Swiss policy to favour the Axis powers. This was particularly important as, after June 1940 the country was surrounded by fascist and Nazi states. It was open in its loyalty towards Nazi Germany.The Eidgenössiche Sammlung was closely supervised by the state because of its origins and so could not develop freely. In 1943 the police finally cracked down on the group and it was outlawed along with all of its sub-organisations as part of a wider government initiative against the National Front and its offshoots.Frankenburg am Hausruck
Frankenburg am Hausruck is a municipality in the district of Vöcklabruck in the Austrian state of Upper Austria.Frankenburger Würfelspiel
The Frankenburger Würfelspiel (Frankenburg Dice Game) is a Thingspiel (a Nazi-era multi-disciplinary open-air drama) by Eberhard Wolfgang Möller based on the historical event of the same name in Frankenburg am Hausruck, Upper Austria. It received its première in Berlin in association with the 1936 Summer Olympics and the inauguration of the Dietrich-Eckart-Bühne, the Berlin Thingstätte which is now the Waldbühne (Forest Stage), and was the most successful Thingspiel.Freilichtbühne Loreley
The Freilichtbühne Loreley (Loreley Open-Air Theatre) is an amphitheatre located on top of the Lorelei rock in St. Goarshausen, Germany. Designed by Hermann Senf, it was built between 1934 and 1939 as one of the Nazi Thingplätze and is one of the best known of them. It has continued in use since World War II, initially mainly for theatrical performances and since 1976 mainly for rock concerts.German Workers' Party
The German Workers' Party (German: Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP) was a short-lived political party established in Weimar Germany after World War I. It was the precursor of the Nazi Party, which was officially known as the National Socialist German Workers' Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP). The DAP only lasted from 5 January 1919 until 24 February 1920.Gottfried Feder
Gottfried Feder (27 January 1883 – 24 September 1941) was a German civil engineer, a self-taught economist and one of the early key members of the Nazi Party. He was their economic theoretician. It was one of his lectures, delivered in 1919, that drew Hitler into the party.Heinrich Anacker
Heinrich Anacker (born 29 January 1901 in Buchs, Aargau — died 14 January 1971 in Wasserburg am Bodensee) was a Swiss-German author.
Anacker entered National Socialist circles in Vienna in 1922, joined the SA, and after 1933 lived in Berlin as a freelance writer. He wrote a spate of SA and Hitler Youth songs and was considered the "lyricist of the Brown Front"; he won the 1934 Dietrich Eckart Prize and the 1936 NSDAP Prize for Art. Nonetheless, after the war he was classified as only minimally incriminated. His poetry collections include Die Trommel (The Drum; 1931), Der Aufbau (Uplift; 1936), and Glück auf, es geht gen Morgen (Hurrah, It Will Soon Be Morning; 1943).
Brothers, what will remain from our time?
Runes will forever glow!
Our bodies will disappear
As dust in the winds they will blow.It was we who built the streets,
That our grandchildren first saw complete;
Along them, cars will boldly whiz,
For a hundred and a thousand years.
What we wrote in inflexible deeds
Unshaken will ever remain,
Forever, beginning and amen,
The most vivid rune: The Führer's name!— "Brothers, What Will Remain?" in Das Schwarze Korps, 14 August 1935.Liechtenstein Homeland Service
Liechtenstein Homeland Service (German: Liechtensteiner Heimatdienst, LHD) was a political party in Liechtenstein that advocated corporate statism and the abolition of party politics.Established in the autumn of 1933, the party's positions began to radicalize and move toward National Socialist ideas within a few months of existence. By December 1933, this radicalization caused some members (such as co-founder Eugen Schafhauser) to abandon the party.LHD merged with the Christian-Social People's Party (VP) in 1936 to form the Patriotic Union (VU).List of Nazi ideologues
This is a list of people whose ideas became part of Nazi ideology. The ideas, writings, and speeches of these thinkers were incorporated into what became Nazism, including antisemitism, eugenics, racial hygiene, the concept of the master race, and Lebensraum. The list includes people whose ideas were incorporated, even if they did not live in the Nazi era.National Socialist Motor Corps
The National Socialist Motor Corps (German: Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps, NSKK) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) that officially existed from May 1931 to 1945. The group was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps (NSAK), which had existed since April 1930.
The NSKK served as a training organization, mainly instructing members in the operation and maintenance of high-performance motorcycles and automobiles. The NSKK was further used to transport NSDAP and SA officials/members. The NSKK also served as a roadside assistance group in the mid-1930s, comparable to the modern-day American Automobile Association or the British Automobile Association. With the outbreak of World War II NSKK ranks were recruited to serve in the transport corps of various German military branches. There was also a French section of the NSKK which was organized after the German occupation of France began in 1940. The NSKK was the smallest of the Nazi Party organizations.Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz
Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz (Northern Bavarian: Neimack or Neimoarkt) is the capital of the Neumarkt district in the administrative region of the Upper Palatinate, in Bavaria, Germany. With a population of about 40,000, Neumarkt is the seat of various projects, and acts as the economic and cultural center of the western Upper Palatinate, along with Nürnberg, Ingolstadt, and Regensburg.The Immortals (neo-Nazis)
The Immortals (German Die Unsterblichen) was a neo-Nazi organization based in Germany that uses flash mobs to coordinate, gather and demonstrate. The members wear black clothing with white facial masks and carry torches when they march.Thule Society
The Thule Society (; German: Thule-Gesellschaft), originally the Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum ("Study Group for Germanic Antiquity"), was a German occultist and völkisch group founded in Munich right after World War I, named after a mythical northern country in Greek legend. The society is notable chiefly as the organization that sponsored the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP; German Workers' Party), which was later reorganized by Adolf Hitler into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party). According to Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw, the organization's "membership list ... reads like a Who's Who of early Nazi sympathizers and leading figures in Munich", including Rudolf Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Julius Lehmann, Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart, and Karl Harrer.Author Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke contends that Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess had been Thule members, but other leading Nazis had only been invited to speak at Thule meetings or they were entirely unconnected with it. According to Johannes Hering, "There is no evidence that Hitler ever attended the Thule Society."Waldbühne
The Waldbühne (German for Woodland Stage or Forest Stage) is an amphitheatre at Olympiapark Berlin in Berlin, Germany. It was designed by German architect Werner March in emulation of a Greek theatre and built between 1934 and 1936 as the Dietrich-Eckart-Freilichtbühne (German for Dietrich Eckart Open Air Theater), a Nazi Thingplatz, and opened in association with the 1936 Summer Olympics. Since World War II it has been used for a variety of events, including boxing matches, film showings and classical and rock concerts. It seats more than 22,000 people. The venue is located off Friedrich-Friesen-Allee just northeast of Glockenturmstraße.