Adolph Hitler joined the German Workers's party in 1919, but he initially played a fairly small role in it, as other men were more prominent at that time. In 1920, the party was renamed as the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) party.
The founder of the party was Anton Drexler. Drexler, a locksmith, was a nationalist and an antisemite. Drexler believed that Jews, Bolsheviks, and other traitors were responsible for Germany's defeat in World War I. Drexler was a poor speaker, and party membership never exceeded a few dozen in its first year.
Drexler was impressed by Hitler's speaking ability. It was Hitler's oratorical skills that enabled him to rise in the party, and he became chairman in 1921. Hitler's ascent in the party was also helped by Ernst Röhm, leader of the Nazi shock troops.
Hitler quickly secured control of the Nazi party. Drexler died in obscurity in 1942, and Röhm was executed under Hitler's direction in 1934.