Eight days before elections in Bavaria, the DAP was founded in Munich in the Café Gasteig on 5 January 1919 by Anton Drexler and Michael Lotter. The DAP grew out of the 'Free Worker's Committee for a Good Peace' (German: Freien Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten Frieden) which Drexler had also started.
Most of the DAP's first members were friends of Drexler's from the Munich rail depot. Drexler wanted a party that was nationalist and aimed at ordinary people. Most other nationalist parties were middle class parties. The first membership was about forty people.
On 24 March 1919,
Karl Harrer (a sports journalist and member of the
Thule Society) joined the DAP to try to get more control over the DAP for the Thule Society. There were still not many members, and meetings were often held in local pubs.