When Hitler joined the German Workers’ Party he became its 55th member (his membership card showed 555, as they started counting members from 500 to show they were more popular than they actually were!). By the end of 1920 the newly named Nazi Party recorded a membership of 2,000 and during the upheaval of the hyperinflation crisis its membership grew rapidly, to 20,000 by the time of the Munich Putsch in November 1923.
The role and impact of the SA
In 1921 Hitler assembled a large group of unemployed young men and former soldiers, known as the Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung) or SA, as the Nazi Party’s private army:
they gained the nickname ‘Brownshirts’, after their brown shirted uniforms
their role was to protect party meetings, march in Nazi rallies and intimidate political opponents by breaking up their meetings
after the failure of the Munich Putsch, the SA was reorganized
it began to be used to intimidate voters into voting for the Nazi Party