Dietrich joined the German army in 1911 and rose to the rank of sergeant during World War I.

An early acquaintance of Hitler, he joined the Nazi Party’s paramilitary organization, the SA (Storm Troopers), in 1923, he worked at various jobs after the failure of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch that year, and rejoined the Nazi Party in 1928, becom-ing a member of the SA (the elite corps of the party).

He soon became the commander of Hitler’s bodyguard and acted as Hitler’s chauffeur during automobile tours through-out Germany. Dietrich was elected a Nazi member of the Reichstag (German parliament) in 1930, and by 1931 he had achieved the rank of Gruppenführer (lieutenant general) in the SS.