This paper describes the process of identity formation that occurred just after World War I as certain Germans converted to National Socialism. Based on the autobiographical narratives of early joiners, these self-described Old Fighters, or the Old Guard, recall the Kampfzeit (the struggle-time) as a difficult period of near apocalyptic collapse. Further, they were convinced that National Socialism and its divinely appointed leader Adolf Hitler were the only means of salvation. The Old Guard identified themselves as an elect community given a holy mission to save Germany, indeed the world, from destruction by defeating Communism and its supposed progenitor, the Jew. The Nazis hoped thereby to usher in the millennial Third Reich by creating a Volksgemeinschaft (a community of people) united by a Glaubensgemeinschaft (a community of faith).
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