Max Amann served with Adolf Hitler during World War One and maintained his association with the future Fűhrer after the war ended. Amann was the Nazi Party’s treasurer and in the 1920’s worked with Alfred Rosenberg on the party’s newspaper ‘Volkischer Beobachter’.
Max Amann was born in Munich on November 24th 1891. At the start of World War One he joined the Bavarian Army and served in the infantry. He rose to the rank of company sergeant and Adolf Hitler was in his infantry regiment. Amann was awarded the Iron Cross (Second Class) for bravery.
After the war ended, Amann went to business school but maintained contact with Hitler. Once Hitler declared his intentions of moving into politics, Amann became one of his earliest followers.
In 1921, Hitler appointed Amann to be the Nazi Party’s first business manager. In the following year, he became the head of Eher Verlag, the party’s publishing house. It was Amann who suggested to Hitler that the title for his book written in prison was awkward. What was originally titled “Four and a half years of struggle against lies, stupidity and cowardice” was changed to “Mein Kampf on the advice of Amann.
Amann was also the publisher of ‘Volkischer Beobachter’. In this capacity he clashed with Rosenberg. Typical of the man, Rosenberg wanted the newspaper to appeal to the intellectual and erudite and planned to fill the newspaper with deep meaning philosophical articles that would support all that Hitler stood for. Amann wanted the total opposite and wanted a daily newspaper that would appeal to the masses and bring in much needed cash for the party’s coffers. Therefore, he wanted cheap appeal as opposed to Rosenberg’s intellectual approach. It was not unusual for both men to hurl heavy objects at the other when they discussed and argued about what should appear in future copies of ‘Volkischer Beobachter’.
Amann ensured that Hitler was very well rewarded financially for any article he wrote in ‘Volkischer Beobachter’ and other publications. However, he also ensured that he accrued a fortune at the same time.
After Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30th 1933, Amann was appointed Reichsleiter (Reich Leader) of the entire Nazi Party press organisation as well as head of the Reich Press Chamber. He was also given an honorary rank of SS-Obergruppenfuehrer in the SS.
From 1933 to 1939, he used his position in the Nazi Party to buy up media concerns that he claimed were not fully supportive of Hitler. Amann used his position to shut down newspapers and then put them up for auction with only himself, as the sole representative of Eher Verlag, in a position to buy them. Invariably the price paid was way below what the concerns were worth. In this way, Amann made his fortune and at the height of his power he earned 3.8 million Reich Marks a year.
At the end of World War Two, Amann was arrested and charged with being a ‘Prominent Guilty Party’. He was sentenced to 10 years in a labour camp in September 1948. Amann was released from prison in 1953. However, he had been stripped of all his wealth including his pension rights and property.
Max Amann died in poverty in Munich on March 30th 1957.