In the First World War, Brückner was an officer in a Bavarian infantry regiment and was discharged as a lieutenant. After the war, he joined the Freikorp Epp and participated in Schützenregiment 42 as a member of the Reichswehr in suppressing the Bavarian Soviet Republic.
Towards the end of 1919 Brückner was once again going to university, but became for three years a film recording technician. In late 1922 he joined the NSDAP (Nazi Party) and on 1 February 1923 became leader of the Munich SA Regiment. He was among those who were active in spurring on the Putsch. He delivered the quote: "The day is coming when I cannot hold the people. If nothing happens now, then the people will slip away."
On 9 November 1923 Brückner took part in the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, as a result of which he was sentenced to a year and a half in prison. He was released only four and a half months later and once again took over his old SA regiment's leadership. Shortly thereafter, he worked until 1927 as the third general secretary at the Association for the German Community Abroad (Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland or VDA). Over the next few years he lived on his income as a sales representative, until 1929 when he found a steady job at the German Foreign Institute.
By the next year, Brückner had become Adolf Hitler's adjutant and bodyguard, later rising to chief adjutant. He thereby counted among those who were in Hitler's innermost personal circle, playing as one of Hitler's closest confidants next to Joseph Goebbels and Sepp Dietrich in the propaganda film "Hitler über Deutschland" (1932).
On 9 November 1934, Brückner was appointed an SA-Obergruppenführer by Hitler. It was through a car accident later that same year that Brückner managed to procure for Hitler his personal doctor, Karl Brandt, who stayed with Hitler for years.
On 15 January 1936, Brückner became an honorary citizen of Detmold (he was stripped of this honour by city council on 9 November 1945). Brückner, who was well liked by applicants and everyday visitors at the Reich Chancellery for his straightforwardness and affability, lost ever more importance with the war's outbreak. He found that he had to yield more and more ground to Wehrmacht and SS adjutants. On 18 October 1940, he was suddenly fired for having an argument with Hitler's house manager Arthur Kannenberg. The string puller in all this was most likely Martin Bormann.
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