What Did Adolf Hitler Do in World War One?

What Did Adolf Hitler Do in World War One?

Hitler has the cross above his head. Image credit: Commons.

During World War One, Hitler served in the Bavarian army, despite his Austrian citizenship. His experiences in war years helped reinforce many of his attitudes that would later emerge when he became leader of the Nazi Party.

He left Vienna in order to avoid being conscripted into the Austrian army, and he would later suggest that he did not want to fight for the Habsburg Empire because of the mixture of “races” in the army.

Bavarian police actually forced him to return to Austria in order to enlist for the Habsburg Empire, but he failed a medical and was able to return to Munich.

His induction to the Bavarian Army was likely an error, and a later report by the Bavarian authorities could not determine how Hitler was allowed to enlist when he had failed a prior medical exam.

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Fighting on the front

Hitler had held nationalistic ideas from a young age, and continued to espouse them once in the army.

Hitler was an infantryman in the first battle of Ypres. Prior to the battle, the Germans enlisted nine new infantry divisions, and in the battle around 40,000 men from these divisions alone became casualties.

Consequently, the battle is referred as the Kindermord bei Ypern (Ypres Massacre of the Innocents) in Germany.

The statistics from Hitler’s division are staggering – Hitler’s regiment entered the battle with 3,600 men and ended the battle with 611, and his own company was reduced from 250 men to just 42.

It is difficult to imagine the bloodshed simply through numbers, and the traumatic nature of this decimation of the German army took its toll.

John Keegan argues that Hitler’s psyche shifted fundamentally after this experience, and he became much more aloof and withdrawn for the rest of the war.

Hitler was then assigned to be a regimental message-runner.

The rest of the war

As the telephone replaced many of his duties, Hitler’s comrades in his regiment supposedly laughed at “Adi” for his aversion to smutty stories, and traded their jam rations for his tobacco.

A postcard sent by Hitler from Munich on 19 December 1916, where he explains how he wants to participate in the battles of the First World War voluntarily. Credit: Europeana / Commons.

Hitler was twice decorated for bravery. He received the relatively common Iron Cross Second Class in 1914 and the Iron Cross First Class in 1918, an honour rarely given to a Gefreiter.

Hitler’s First Class Iron Cross was recommended by Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, a Jewish adjutant in the List Regiment.

Hitler’s medal was awarded after an attack in open warfare during which messengers were indispensable and on a day in which the depleted regiment lost 60 killed and 211 wounded.

On 16 August Adolf Hitler was accepted as a war volunteer. The Führer with his war comrades of the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16, to which he belonged up to the end of war. Credit: German Federal Archives / Commons.

Further studies have suggested that this story is completely untrue, as it seems extremely unlikely that Hitler would have been able to recognise Private Tandey, as his biographer suggests he was “extremely dishevelled and covered in mud and blood”.

Hitler was hospitalised in Pomerania, in Prussia. While he was there, he learned of Germany’s defeat.

Hitler was also supposedly on leave on the date of the incident, 28 September 1918, and it’s almost too convenient that the most honoured British soldier happened to be the one to spare Hitler’s life. It seems much more likely that Hitler constructed the narrative, choosing the most prominent British soldier for his story.

On 15 October 1918, he and several comrades were temporarily blinded due to a British mustard-gas attack.

Hitler was hospitalised in Pomerania, in Prussia. While he was there, he learned of Germany’s defeat.

After the war

Hitler was outraged by the subsequent Treaty of Versailles, and this anger would inform many of his later policies. Hitler and other German nationalists would place the blame erroneously with civilian leaders, Jews and Marxists — a conspiracy theory known as the ‘Dolchstoßlegende’ or stab-in-the-back-myth.

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Hitler later wrote:

“When I was confined to bed, the idea came to me that I would liberate Germany, that I would make it great. I knew immediately that it would be realised.”

Hitler wanted to remain in the armed forces after the war, but with the widespread disarmament of the German army, this was not possible.

In July 1919, he was appointed to a role in intelligence and assigned to infiltrate the German Workers’ Party (DAP).

Whilst he was monitoring their activities, Hitler became enamoured with founder Anton Drexler’s antisemitic and nationalist ideas. Impressed with Hitler’s oratory skills, Drexler invited him to join the DAP, which Hitler did on 12 September 1919.

First World War Edit

In Vienna, where he had been living in relative poverty since 1907, Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich, where he earned money painting architectural scenes. He may have left Vienna to evade conscription into the Austrian Army. [3] Hitler later claimed that he did not wish to serve the Habsburg Empire because of the mixture of "races" in its army. The Bavarian police sent him back to Salzburg for induction into the Austrian Army, but he failed his physical exam on 5 February 1914 and returned to Munich. [3]

He was 25 years old in August 1914, when Austria-Hungary and the German Empire entered the First World War. Because of his Austrian citizenship, he had to request permission to serve in the Bavarian Army. Permission was granted. [4] On the evidence of a report by the Bavarian authorities in 1924, which questioned how Hitler was allowed to serve in the Bavarian Army, Hitler almost certainly was enlisted through an error on the part of the government. The authorities could not explain why he was not deported back to Austria in 1914 after he failed his physical exam for the Austrian Army. They concluded that the matter of Hitler's citizenship was simply not raised thus he was allowed to enter the Bavarian Army. [5] In the army, Hitler continued to put forth his German nationalist ideas which he developed from a young age. [6]

During the war, Hitler served in France and Belgium in the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st Company of the List Regiment). [7] [8] He was an infantryman in the 1st Company during the First Battle of Ypres (October 1914), which Germans remember as the Kindermord bei Ypern (Ypres Massacre of the Innocents) because approximately 40,000 men (between a third and a half, many of them university students) of nine newly-enlisted infantry divisions became casualties in the first twenty days. Hitler's regiment entered the battle with 3,600 men but at its end mustered only 611 men. [9] By December, Hitler's own company of 250 was reduced to 42. Biographer John Keegan claims that this experience drove Hitler to become aloof and withdrawn for the remaining years of war. [10] After the battle, Hitler was promoted from Schütze (private) to Gefreiter (lance corporal). He was assigned to be a regimental message-runner. [11] [12]

Some have regarded this assignment as "a relatively safe job", because regimental headquarters was often several miles behind the Front. [13] According to Thomas Weber, earlier historians of the period had not distinguished between regimental runners, who were based away from the front "in relative comfort", and company, or battalion runners, who moved among the trenches and were more often under fire. [13]

Messengers' duties changed as the German Army on the Western Front settled into their defensive positions as a result of the ongoing stalemate. Fewer messages went by foot or bicycle and more by telephone. Hitler's circle of comrades also served at headquarters. They laughed at "Adi" for his aversion to smutty stories, and traded their jam rations for his tobacco. [A 2]

In early 1915, Lance Corporal Hitler adopted a stray dog he named Fuchsl (Little Fox), who was taught many tricks and became his beloved companion. Hitler described him as a "proper circus dog". In August 1917 the List Regiment transferred to a quiet sector of the front in Alsace. During the journey, both Fuchsl and Hitler's portfolio of sketches and paintings were stolen. [15] Hitler, though heartbroken by his loss, did take his first leave, which consisted of an 18-day visit to Berlin where he stayed with the family of a comrade. [16]

The List Regiment fought in many battles, including the First Battle of Ypres (1914), the Battle of the Somme (1916), the Battle of Arras (1917), and the Battle of Passchendaele (1917). [17] During the Battle of Fromelles on 19–20 July 1916 the Australians, mounting their first attack in France, assaulted the Bavarian positions. The Bavarians repulsed the attackers, who suffered the second-highest losses they had on any day on the Western Front, about 7,000 men. [18] The history of the List Regiment hailed this brilliant defense as the "personification of the German Army on the Western Front". [19]

At the Nuremberg Trials, two of his former superiors testified that Hitler had refused to be considered for promotion. [A 3] Hitler was twice decorated for bravery. He received the relatively common Iron Cross Second Class in 1914 and the Iron Cross First Class in 1918, an honour rarely given to a lance corporal. [20] Hitler's First Class Iron Cross was recommended by Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, a Jewish adjutant in the List Regiment. [21] According to Weber, this rare award was commonly awarded to those posted to regimental headquarters, such as Hitler, who had contact with more senior officers than did combat soldiers. [13] Hitler's Iron Cross First Class was awarded after an attack in open warfare during which messengers were indispensable and on a day in which the depleted regiment lost 60 killed and 211 wounded. [22]

During the Battle of the Somme in October 1916 Hitler received a wound in his left thigh when a shell exploded at the entrance to the dispatch runners' dugout. [23] He begged not to be evacuated, [24] but was sent for almost two months to the Red Cross hospital at Beelitz in Brandenburg. Thereafter, he was ordered to the depot in Munich. He wrote to his commanding officer, Hauptmann Fritz Wiedemann, asking that he be recalled to the regiment because he could not tolerate Munich when he knew his comrades were at the Front. [25] Wiedemann arranged for Hitler's return to his regiment on 5 March 1917. [16]

On 15 October 1918, he and several comrades were temporarily blinded—and according to Friedelind Wagner, [26] Hitler also lost his voice—due to a British mustard gas attack. After initial treatment, Hitler was hospitalized in Pasewalk in Pomerania. [27] While there, on 10 November, Hitler learned of Germany's defeat from a pastor, and—by his own account—on receiving this news he suffered a second bout of blindness. [28] Hitler was outraged by the subsequent Treaty of Versailles (1919), which forced Germany to accept responsibility for starting the war, deprived Germany of various territories, demilitarised the Rhineland (which the Allies occupied), and imposed economically damaging sanctions. Hitler later wrote: "When I was confined to bed, the idea came to me that I would liberate Germany, that I would make it great. I knew immediately that it would be realized." [29] However, it is unlikely that he committed himself to a career in politics at that point in time. [30]

On 19 November 1918, Hitler was discharged from the Pasewalk hospital and returned to Munich. Arriving on 21 November, he was assigned to 7th Company of the 1st Replacement Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. In December he was reassigned to a Prisoner of War camp in Traunstein as a guard. [31] There he would stay until the camp dissolved January 1919. [A 4]

He returned to Munich and spent a few months in barracks waiting for reassignment. Munich, then part of the People's State of Bavaria, was in a state of chaos with a number of assassinations occurring, including that of socialist Kurt Eisner [A 5] who was shot dead in Munich by a German nationalist on 21 February 1919. His rival Erhard Auer was also wounded in an attack. Other acts of violence were the killings of both Major Paul Ritter von Jahreiß and the conservative MP Heinrich Osel. In this political turmoil, Berlin sent in the military – called the "White Guards of Capitalism" by the communists. On 3 April 1919, Hitler was elected as the liaison of his military battalion and again on 15 April. During this time he urged his unit to stay out of the fighting and not join either side. [32] The Bavarian Soviet Republic was officially crushed on 6 May 1919, when Lt. General Burghard von Oven and his military forces declared the city secure. In the aftermath of arrests and executions, Hitler denounced a fellow liaison, Georg Dufter, as a Soviet "radical rabble-rouser." [33] Other testimony he gave to the military board of inquiry allowed them to root out other members of the military that "had been infected with revolutionary fervor." [34] For his anti-communist views he was allowed to avoid discharge when his unit was disbanded in May 1919. [35]

Army intelligence agent Edit

In June 1919 he was moved to the demobilization office of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. [A 6] Around this time the German military command released an edict that the army's main priority was to "carry out, in conjunction with the police, stricter surveillance of the population . so that the ignition of any new unrest can be discovered and extinguished." [33] In May 1919 Karl Mayr became commander of the 6th Battalion of the guards regiment in Munich and from 30 May as head of the "Education and Propaganda Department" (Dept Ib/P) of the Bavarian Reichswehr, Headquarters 4. [36] In this capacity as head of the intelligence department, Mayr recruited Hitler as an undercover agent in early June 1919. Under Captain Mayr "national thinking" courses were arranged at the Reichswehrlager Lechfeld near Augsburg, [36] with Hitler attending from 10–19 July. During this time Hitler so impressed Mayr that he assigned him to an anti-bolshevik "educational commando" as 1 of 26 instructors in the summer of 1919. [37] [38] [39] [A 7]

As an appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, Hitler's job was to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP). While monitoring the activities of the DAP, Hitler became attracted to the founder Anton Drexler's antisemitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist ideas. [40] Impressed with Hitler's oratory skills, Drexler invited him to join the DAP, which Hitler did on 12 September 1919. [41]

Henry Tandey incident Edit

Although disputed, Hitler and decorated British soldier Henry Tandey allegedly encountered each other at the French village of Marcoing. The story is set on 28 September 1918, while Tandey was serving with the 5th Duke of Wellington's Regiment, and relates that a weary German soldier wandered into Tandey's line of fire. The enemy soldier was wounded and did not even attempt to raise his own rifle. Tandey chose not to shoot. The German soldier saw him lower his rifle and nodded his thanks before wandering off. That soldier is purported to have been Adolf Hitler. [42] [43] [44] The author David Johnson, who wrote a book on Henry Tandey, [45] believes this story was an urban legend. [46]

Hitler apparently saw a newspaper report about Tandey being awarded the VC (in October 1918, whilst serving with the 5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment), recognized him, and clipped the article. [44]

In 1937, Hitler was made aware of a particular Fortunino Matania painting [47] by Dr Otto Schwend, a member of his staff. Schwend had been a medical officer during the First Battle of Ypres in 1914. He had been sent a copy of the painting by a Lieutenant Colonel Earle in 1936. Earle had been treated by Schwend in a medical post at the Menin Crossroads and they remained in touch after the war. [48]

The painting was commissioned by the Green Howards Regiment from the Italian artist in 1923, showing a soldier purported to be Tandey carrying a wounded man at the Kruiseke Crossroads in 1914, northwest of Menin. The painting was made from a sketch, provided to Matania, by the regiment, based on an actual event at that crossroads. A building shown behind Tandey in the painting belonged to the Van Den Broucke family, who were presented with a copy of the painting by the Green Howards Regiment. [49]

Schwend obtained a large photo of the painting. Captain Weidemann, Hitler's adjutant, wrote the following response:

I beg to acknowledge your friendly gift which has been sent to Berlin through the good offices of Dr. Schwend. The Führer is naturally very interested in things connected with his own war experiences, and he was obviously moved when I showed him the photograph and explained the thought which you had in causing it to be sent to him. He was obviously moved when I showed him the picture. He has directed me to send you his best thanks for your friendly gift which is so rich in memories.

Apparently Hitler identified the soldier carrying the wounded man as Tandey from the photo of him in the newspaper clipping he had obtained in 1918. [50]

In 1938, when Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler at his alpine retreat, the Berghof, for the discussions that led to the Munich Agreement, he noticed the painting and asked about it. Hitler replied:

That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again Providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us. [51]

According to the story, Hitler asked Chamberlain to convey his best wishes and gratitude to Tandey. Chamberlain promised to phone Tandey in person on his return, which apparently he did. The Cadbury Research Centre, which holds copies of Chamberlain's papers and diaries, has no references relating to Tandey from the records of the 1938 meeting. [52] [53] The story further states that the phone was answered by a nine-year-old child called William Whateley. [54] William was related to Tandey's wife Edith. However, Tandey at that time lived at 22 Cope Street, Coventry, and worked for the Triumph Motor Company. According to the company records, they only had three phone lines, none of which was at Tandey's address. British Telecommunications archive records also have no telephones registered to that address in 1938. [55]

Historical research throws serious doubts on whether the incident actually ever occurred. Hitler took his second leave from military service on 10 September 1918 for 18 days. [56] This means that he was in Germany on the presumed date of the alleged event.

In 1918 Hitler did however fight opposite Anthony Eden, a future British prime minister, as they both found out when they met during the Munich negotiations. [57] [58]

Paramilitary career Edit

After Hitler became the leader of the Nazi Party, he began acquiring paramilitary-like titles and using Nazi Party paramilitary uniforms to denote his position. Hitler's main title within the Nazi Party was simply that of Führer (leader) and there was never any special uniform designed for Hitler's position. The brown Nazi Party uniform that Hitler is most often associated with was a paramilitary uniform of the SA and denoted Hitler's position as Oberster SA-Führer. Hitler was, by default as Führer, the supreme commander of every Nazi paramilitary organization, but he never adopted extra ranks in these organizations nor did he have special uniforms to denote his position. Hitler also technically qualified for every Nazi political decoration, but in practice only wore his World War I Iron Cross, the Golden Nazi Party Pin, and the Wound Badge in Black. During Nazi rallies at Nuremberg in the early 1930s, Hitler temporarily wore the 1929 Nuremberg Party Day Badge, but discontinued this after about 1935.

Rearmament Edit

Six days after being sworn in as Chancellor in 1933, Hitler met with the German military leaders, declaring that his first priority was rearmament. [59] The new Defense Minister, General Werner von Blomberg, introduced Nazi principles into the armed forces, emphasizing the concept of Volksgemeinschaft (national community), in which Germans were united in a classless society. [60] "The uniform makes all men equal." [61] Military rank specified a chain of command, not class boundaries. Officers were instructed to mingle with other ranks. Blomberg's decree on the army and National Socialism on 25 May 1934 ordered: "When non-commissioned officers and men take part in any festivity, care must be taken that the officers do not all sit together. I request that this guidance be given the most serious attention." [62] The rapidly expanding armed forces enlisted many new officers and men from the Hitler Youth. The American William L. Shirer reported that all ranks ate the same rations, socialized when off duty, and that officers were concerned with their men's personal problems. [63]

On 1 August 1934, a new law stated that on Hindenburg's death the presidency would be abolished, and its powers merged with those of the Chancellor. From that day onward, Hitler would be known as Führer and Reich Chancellor. As head of state, Hitler became supreme commander of all armed forces. [64] Hindenburg died the following day. (The new office was confirmed by a plebiscite on 19 August 1934.) Blomberg, on his own initiative, introduced the Oath of 2 August 1934: "I swear by God this sacred oath that I will render unconditional obedience to the Führer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the commander in chief of the armed forces, and, as a brave soldier, will be prepared at all times to stake my life for this oath." (In 1939, God was removed from the oath. [65] ) The Reichswehr was reorganized as the Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935, bringing the army, navy and air force under unified command.

Hitler guided the steps of their rearmament, thanks to his retentive memory and interest in technical questions. General Alfred Jodl wrote that Hitler's "astounding technical and tactical vision led him also to become the creator of modern weaponry for the army". [66] He hammered home arguments by reciting long passages from Frederick the Great and other military thinkers. "Although the generals might at times refer to Hitler as a 'facile amateur', he was so far as an understanding of military history and weapons technology went, better educated and equipped than most of them." [67] On 4 February 1938, after Blomberg's disgrace and retirement, Hitler announced in a decree: "From henceforth I exercise personally the immediate command over the whole armed forces." [68] He abolished the War Ministry and took Blomberg's other title, Commander-in-Chief, for himself. By that year's end, the army had more than 1 million men and 25,000 officers.

World War II Edit

In his speech of 1 September 1939 at Kroll Opera House following the invasion of Poland, Hitler declared: "From now on I am just the first soldier of the German Reich. [A 8] I have once more put on the coat that was most sacred and dear to me. I will not take it off again until victory is secured, or I will not survive the outcome." [69] From then on, he began wearing a grey military jacket with a swastika eagle sewn on the upper left sleeve. Throughout the war, the only military decorations Hitler displayed were his Wound Badge and Iron Cross from World War I and the Nazi Golden Party Badge. Hitler's position in World War II was essentially supreme commander of the German Armed Forces (Oberbefehlshaber der Deutschen Wehrmacht).

After ordering the preparations for the attack on Poland, he scrutinized all of the orders the staff prepared for the first three days of operations down to the regimental level. He rewrote the plans for the capture of a crucial bridge, making them much bolder. [70] His status with the military escalated when they seized Norway and conquered Western Europe, with the major thrust coming through the Ardennes, which he had implemented despite the misgivings of many professional advisers. [71]

On 19 December 1941, Hitler appointed himself Commander-in-Chief of the German Army (Heer), thus taking a direct operational posting usually held by a full German general. Overconfident in his own military expertise following the earlier victories in 1940, Hitler became distrustful of his Army High Command and began to interfere in military and tactical planning with damaging consequences. [72] By late 1942, he began to make disastrous mistakes. [72] The historian who wrote the Wehrmacht war diary concluded that, ". within him the tension between rational insight and emotional delusion was never resolved", and that he was one of the "terrible simplifiers who thought to reduce the complexity of life to the dogmas they had worked out." [73] Late in the war by 22 April 1945, Hitler told Generals Wilhelm Keitel and Jodl that he had no further orders to give. [74]

Decorations from World War I

    , Second Class – 2 December 1914 [20]
  • Bavarian Cross of Military Merit, Third Class with Swords – 17 September 1917 – 5 May 1918 in Black – 18 May 1918 [75]
  • Iron Cross, First Class – 4 August 1918 [20]
  • Bavarian Medal of Military Service, Third Class – 25 August 1918 with Swords – 13 July 1934 (retroactively awarded to all war veterans)

After the end of the war, the only decorations Hitler regularly wore were the Wound Badge and First Class Iron Cross. Of the Nazi Party badges, the Golden Party Badge number '1' was the only one he wore on a regular basis. [76]

The early years

Adolf Hitler as a schoolboy (top row centre) in 1899 © Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn on the Austro-German border on 20th April 1889. His family background has given rise to much psychological speculation. His father, a customs official who died when Hitler was 13, was cold and strict, while his mother was gentle and loving and pampered her son, who adored her. Hitler was clearly intelligent but bored by much of his formal education, except for history, which was taught with a strong German nationalist bias.

His family background has given rise to much psychological speculation.

He was growing up at a time when the German-speaking parts of the Austro-Hungarian (Habsburg) empire were saturated with Pan German ethnic nationalism. Although extreme ethnic nationalism was a general feature of early 20th century Europe, it was particularly virulent in Austria because of the growing threat to German dominance posed by the rise of other nationalities within the empire, in particular the Czechs.

Hitler's school career ended in failure, but the death of his father had removed the pressure on him to get a job. By now he had developed the self-image of an artist, a superior being above mundane employment, who would one day create great works of art or architecture. He spent his time in his home town, Linz, reading, drawing, attending the theatre or opera he had developed a particular passion for Wagner.

Invariably polite and well turned out, his behaviour was marked by a combination of arrogance and insecurity not unusual in adolescence, but in his case extreme. He was particularly gauche in his relations with girls indeed, his only relationship during this period was a fantasy one. But there is no suggestion from anyone who knew him then that he was homosexual.

Adolf Hitler timeline

Adolf Hitler born in Austria

At 6:30 p.m. on the evening of April 20, 1889, he was born in the small Austrian village of Braunau Am Inn just across the border from German. Read more

Adolf Hitler's father, Alois, dies

In the town of Leonding, Austria, on the bitterly cold morning of Saturday, January 3, 1903, Alois Hitler, 65, went out for a walk, stopping at a. Read more

Adolf Hitler Moves to Vienna, where He Acquires His Anti-Semitic Beliefs

From 1905 on, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna on an orphan's pension and support from his mother. He was rejected twice by the Academy of. Read more

Adolf Hitler's mother, Klara, dies

On January 14, 1907, Adolf Hitler's mother went to see the family doctor about a pain in her chest, so bad it kept her awake at night. The doctor. Read more

Adolf Hitler lives in Vienna

The beautiful old world city of Vienna, capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with its magnificent culture that had seen the likes of Beethoven. Read more

Adolf Hitler serves in World War I

Hitler, by all accounts, was an unusual soldier with a sloppy manner and unmilitary bearing. But he was also eager for action and always ready to. Read more

Second Battle of Ypres

Canadian Forces, 30,000 First Brigade, Gen. Mercer Second Brigade, Gen. Currie Third Brigade, Gen. Turner Artillery, Gen. Burstall British. Read more

Battle of the Somme

Allied Forces, 1,500,000 General Ferdinand Foch, Commander-in-Chief British Army, 700,000 General Sir Douglas Haig, Commander General Sir Henry. Read more

Battle of Arras

The Battle of Arras was a British offensive during World War I. From 9 April to 16 May, 1917, British, Canadian, and Australian troops attacked. Read more

Adolf Hitler joins German Workers' Party

Corporal Adolf Hitler was ordered in September 1919 to investigate a small group in Munich known as the German Workers' Party. The use of the. Read more

Nazi Party formed

Adolf Hitler never held a regular job and aside from his time in World War One, led a lazy lifestyle, from his brooding teenage days in Linz. Read more

Adolf Hitler Delivers 'Twenty-Five Theses' Speech at the Munich Hofbräuhaus

Given responsibility for publicity and propaganda, Hitler first succeeded in attracting over a hundred people to a meeting in held October at which. Read more

Hitler is Discharged from the Army and Begins Participating Full-Time in the German Workers' Party (DAP)

Hitler was discharged from the army in March 1920 and with his former superiors' continued encouragement began participating full time in the. Read more

Adolf Hitler named leader of the Nazi Party

By early 1921, Adolf Hitler was becoming highly effective at speaking in front of ever larger crowds. In February, Hitler spoke before a crowd of. Read more

The Beer Hall Putsch

A series of financial events unfolded in the years 1921 though 1923 that would propel the Nazis to new heights of daring and would even prompt. Read more

Adolf Hitler goes on trial for treason

The trial of Adolf Hitler for high treason after the Beer Hall Putsch was not the end of Hitler's political career as many had expected. In many. Read more

Adolf Hitler is Sentenced to Five Years' Imprisonment at Landsberg Prison for Treason

Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl and contemplated suicide. He was soon arrested for high treason. Alfred Rosenberg became temporary. Read more

"Mein Kampf" published

Although it is thought of as having been 'written' by Hitler, Mein Kampf is not a book in the usual sense. Hitler never actually sat down and. Read more

"A New Beginning": Hitler released from prison

A few days before Christmas, 1924, Adolf Hitler emerged a free man after nine months in prison, having learned from his mistakes. In addition to. Read more

Adolf Hitler, Nazis come to power through the Great Depression

When the stock market collapsed on Wall Street on Tuesday, October 29, 1929, it sent financial markets worldwide into a tailspin with disastrous. Read more

Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun Meet

Born in Munich, Eva Braun was the second daughter of school teacher Friedrich "Fritz" Braun and Franziska "Fanny" Kronberger, who both came from. Read more

Adolf Hitler runs for president of Germany

In February 1932, President Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to run again and announced his candidacy for re-election. Hitler decided to oppose him. Read more

Adolf Hitler is Granted German Citizenship

In 1932, Hitler intended to run against the aging President Paul von Hindenburg in the scheduled presidential elections. His 27 January 1932 speech. Read more

Hindenburg Appoints Hitler Chancellor of Germany

On the morning of 30 January 1933, in Hindenburg's office, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor during what some observers later described as a. Read more

Adolf Hitler First Reveals his Foreign Policy Goal of Conquering the Lebensraum

In a meeting with his leading generals and admirals on 3 February 1933 Hitler spoke of "conquest of Lebensraum in the East and its ruthless. Read more

1 Answer 1

Q: How long did Hitler serve on the front lines as an infantryman prior to becoming a regimental message-runner?

If that question is meant to mean 'how long was the timespan between arriving in the combat zone at the front and being assigned as message runner', then the answer is 11 days.

Neither does that mean 11 days of continuous fighting nor that after that he was always 'safe' by virtue of some more physical distance between him and no-man's land. Artillery is often said to be somewhat of a dangerous nuisance.

On October 29th, 1914, at 0600, the man really arrived at the front during the Battle of Ypres:

Fridolin Solleder, who fought in 12th Company, later recalled that his company leader sent them off into battle with the words: ‘Men, we must attack! Conduct yourselves bravely! Good luck!’ The objective for the List Regiment was first to get past the hill, then to face the enemy in the hollow beyond, and finally to fight their way up the next hill. The primary goal was to throw the British out of the Flemish village of Gheluvelt on top of the hill and to break through towards Ypres.

which lastet 4 days, which the British regiments recorded as 'three great days' of which not all soldiers were equally deployed:

While their comrades from 3rd Battalion were fighting from house to house, Hitler and the men of 1st Battalion spent the attack on Gheluvelt inside the relative safety of a former British trench outside of the park of Gheluvelt Castle. […]

Nearly a quarter of all German losses in 1914 occurred at 1st Ypres. On the first day alone 349 men of the List Regiment died but the remaining days of 1st Ypres were no less bloody. By 24 November, the end of 1st Ypres, as many as 725 men of the regiment—or approximately one in four men—had died. Hitler, though, was still alive. Hitler’s survival was in part due to his assignment to 1st Company. Had he joined any of the companies of 3rd Battalion, he would have been twice as likely to die during the first seven days of combat. Had he been put with Ludwig Klein in 11th Company, the chances of him today being buried in some grave in Flanders and of a dramatically different twentieth century would have even been three times higher than the odds he faced through his service in 1st Company. The Highlanders of the Black Watch and the Coldstream servicemen had missed their golden opportunity to kill Hitler on the List Regiment’s first day of battle. […]

As Hitler celebrated Christmas, he was no longer a simple infantryman. His experience as a combat soldier and a regular infantryman had lasted only a few days longer than those who had died in the fields and hedges of Gheluvelt. Soon after the List Regiment’s initiation into the war, on 3 November (but retrospectively effective from 1 November), at a time when the List Regiment was desperately short of officers, NCOs, and troops of higher rank—when virtually all NCOs and higher-ranking NCOs had been promoted to fill the vacant ranks (as was Albert Weisgerber, who had become a Offiziersstellvertreter, or warrant officer)—Hitler had been promoted to Gefreiter. This was a promotion in the Bavarian Army still within the rank of Private in the US or British armed forces. It was a rank that did not provide Hitler with any power of command over other soldiers—as the rank of Corporal or Lance Corporal (which English-language publications tend incorrectly to apply to Hitler) would have done. […]

Another event which occurred around the same time transformed Private Hitler’s war to an even greater extent, an event without which Hitler’s life and that of the world he made would have been very different. Eleven days after arriving at the front, on 9 November, Hitler was made a dispatch runner and was assigned to regimental headquarters.
— Thomas Weber: "Hitler’s First War. Adolf Hitler, The Men Of The List Regiment, and the First World War", Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York, 2010. Page 53 in print, unpaginated on gBooks, [all emphasis above added, LLC]

Was Hitler Jewish?

For someone so obsessed with “ethnic cleansing” and ancestry, Adolph Hitler was quite vague about his own descent. In the years following the war, and the ascent of Freudian psychoanalysis in the mid-twentieth century, many rumors circulated that Hitler might have been related to the very people he despised and persecuted it was a form of self loathing and projection that sadly culminated in the nearly-successful attempt to destroy those people he hated to belong to.

However, none of these rumors have been proven true beyond doubt. Hitler was definitely not a Jew in the true sense of word, but there is a faint possibility that one of his ancestors might have been Jewish.

Paternal Grandfather Theory

The identity of Adolph Hitler’s paternal grandfather is not known, because Hitler’s father has been registered as an illegitimate child. Hans Frank, a former Nazi official stated that Hitler’s grandmother used to work as a housekeeper for a Jewish family named Franken
berger, in Graz. He claimed that Alois, Hitler’s father, was the result of a sexual relationship with Leopold Frankenberger, the family’s 19-year old son. With further investigation, no records of the existence of a Leopold Frankenberger in Graz have been found, causing historians to dismiss this theory.

DNA Test Theory

The Daily Telegraph, a British paper reported in 2010 on a DNA study that was conducted on 39 known relatives of Hitler. Samples showed that these family members of the Fuhrer had a chromosome that is not commonly found in Western Europe. Apparently 18 to 20 percent of carriers of this chromosome (Haplogroup E1b1b1) are Ashkenazi Jews, making this scientific study largely inconclusive. DNA tests of hair found on the hair brush Eva Braun (Hitler’s mistress) also pointed to the same chromosome, suggesting that she, too, may have had Jewish ancestry.


Hitler's father, Alois Hitler Sr. (1837–1903), was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. [5] The baptismal register did not show the name of his father, and Alois initially bore his mother's surname, 'Schicklgruber' . In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Alois's mother. Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedler's brother, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler. [6] In 1876, Alois was made legitimate and his baptismal record annotated by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Alois's father (recorded as "Georg Hitler"). [7] [8] Alois then assumed the surname "Hitler", [8] also spelled 'Hiedler', 'Hüttler' , or 'Huettler' . The name is probably based on the German word hütte (lit., "hut"), and likely has the meaning "one who lives in a hut". [9]

Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Alois' mother had been employed as a housekeeper by a Jewish family in Graz, and that the family's 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois. [10] No Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, no record has been produced of Leopold Frankenberger's existence, [11] and Jewish residency in Styria had been illegal for nearly 400 years and would not become legal again until decades after Alois' birth, [11] [12] so historians dismiss the claim that Alois' father was Jewish. [13] [14]

Childhood and education

Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary (in present-day Austria), close to the border with the German Empire. [15] He was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl. Three of Hitler's siblings—Gustav, Ida, and Otto—died in infancy. [16] Also living in the household were Alois's children from his second marriage: Alois Jr. (born 1882) and Angela (born 1883). [17] When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau, Germany. [18] There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian German, which marked his speech throughout his life. [19] [20] [21] The family returned to Austria and settled in Leonding in 1894, and in June 1895 Alois retired to Hafeld, near Lambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended Volksschule (a state-funded primary school) in nearby Fischlham. [22] [23]

The move to Hafeld coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts caused by Hitler's refusal to conform to the strict discipline of his school. [24] His father beat him, although his mother tried to protect him. [25] Alois Hitler's farming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure, and in 1897 the family moved to Lambach. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered becoming a priest. [26] In 1898 the family returned permanently to Leonding. Hitler was deeply affected by the death of his younger brother Edmund, who died in 1900 from measles. Hitler changed from a confident, outgoing, conscientious student to a morose, detached boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers. [27]

Alois had made a successful career in the customs bureau and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. [28] Hitler later dramatised an episode from this period when his father took him to visit a customs office, depicting it as an event that gave rise to an unforgiving antagonism between father and son, who were both strong-willed. [29] [30] [31] Ignoring his son's desire to attend a classical high school and become an artist, Alois sent Hitler to the Realschule in Linz in September 1900. [c] [32] Hitler rebelled against this decision, and in Mein Kampf states that he intentionally did poorly in school, hoping that once his father saw "what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to my dream". [33]

Like many Austrian Germans, Hitler began to develop German nationalist ideas from a young age. [34] He expressed loyalty only to Germany, despising the declining Habsburg Monarchy and its rule over an ethnically variegated empire. [35] [36] Hitler and his friends used the greeting "Heil", and sang the "Deutschlandlied" instead of the Austrian Imperial anthem. [37]

After Alois's sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler's performance at school deteriorated and his mother allowed him to leave. [38] He enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in September 1904, where his behaviour and performance improved. [39] In 1905, after passing a repeat of the final exam, Hitler left the school without any ambitions for further education or clear plans for a career. [40]

Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich

In 1907, Hitler left Linz to live and study fine art in Vienna, financed by orphan's benefits and support from his mother. He applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna but was rejected twice. [41] [42] The director suggested Hitler should apply to the School of Architecture, but he lacked the necessary academic credentials because he had not finished secondary school. [43]

On 21 December 1907, his mother died of breast cancer at the age of 47, when he himself was 18. In 1909 Hitler ran out of money and was forced to live a bohemian life in homeless shelters and a men's dormitory. [44] [45] He earned money as a casual labourer and by painting and selling watercolours of Vienna's sights. [41] During his time in Vienna, he pursued a growing passion for architecture and music, attending ten performances of Lohengrin, his favourite Wagner opera. [46]

It was in Vienna that Hitler first became exposed to racist rhetoric. [47] Populists such as mayor Karl Lueger exploited the climate of virulent anti-Semitism and occasionally espoused German nationalist notions for political effect. German nationalism had a particularly widespread following in the Mariahilf district, where Hitler lived. [48] Georg Ritter von Schönerer became a major influence on Hitler. [49] He also developed an admiration for Martin Luther. [50] Hitler read local newspapers such as Deutsches Volksblatt [de] that fanned prejudice and played on Christian fears of being swamped by an influx of Eastern European Jews. [51] He read newspapers and pamphlets that published the thoughts of philosophers and theoreticians such as Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gustave Le Bon and Arthur Schopenhauer. [52]

The origin and development of Hitler's anti-Semitism remains a matter of debate. [53] His friend, August Kubizek, claimed that Hitler was a "confirmed anti-Semite" before he left Linz. [54] However, historian Brigitte Hamann describes Kubizek's claim as "problematical". [55] While Hitler states in Mein Kampf that he first became an anti-Semite in Vienna, [56] Reinhold Hanisch, who helped him sell his paintings, disagrees. Hitler had dealings with Jews while living in Vienna. [57] [58] [59] Historian Richard J. Evans states that "historians now generally agree that his notorious, murderous anti-Semitism emerged well after Germany's defeat [in World War I], as a product of the paranoid "stab-in-the-back" explanation for the catastrophe". [60]

Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich, Germany. [61] When he was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian Army, [62] he journeyed to Salzburg on 5 February 1914 for medical assessment. After he was deemed unfit for service, he returned to Munich. [63] Hitler later claimed that he did not wish to serve the Habsburg Empire because of the mixture of races in its army and his belief that the collapse of Austria-Hungary was imminent. [64]

World War I

In August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Hitler was living in Munich and voluntarily enlisted in the Bavarian Army. [65] According to a 1924 report by the Bavarian authorities, allowing Hitler to serve was almost certainly an administrative error, since as an Austrian citizen, he should have been returned to Austria. [65] Posted to the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st Company of the List Regiment), [66] [65] he served as a dispatch runner on the Western Front in France and Belgium, [67] spending nearly half his time at the regimental headquarters in Fournes-en-Weppes, well behind the front lines. [68] [69] He was present at the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras, and the Battle of Passchendaele, and was wounded at the Somme. [70] He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914. [70] On a recommendation by Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, Hitler's Jewish superior, he received the Iron Cross, First Class on 4 August 1918, a decoration rarely awarded to one of Hitler's Gefreiter rank. [71] [72] He received the Black Wound Badge on 18 May 1918. [73]

During his service at headquarters, Hitler pursued his artwork, drawing cartoons and instructions for an army newspaper. During the Battle of the Somme in October 1916, he was wounded in the left thigh when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners' dugout. [74] Hitler spent almost two months in hospital at Beelitz, returning to his regiment on 5 March 1917. [75] On 15 October 1918, he was temporarily blinded in a mustard gas attack and was hospitalised in Pasewalk. [76] While there, Hitler learned of Germany's defeat, and—by his own account—upon receiving this news, he suffered a second bout of blindness. [77]

Hitler described the war as "the greatest of all experiences", and was praised by his commanding officers for his bravery. [78] His wartime experience reinforced his German patriotism and he was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918. [79] His bitterness over the collapse of the war effort began to shape his ideology. [80] Like other German nationalists, he believed the Dolchstoßlegende (stab-in-the-back myth), which claimed that the German army, "undefeated in the field", had been "stabbed in the back" on the home front by civilian leaders, Jews, Marxists, and those who signed the armistice that ended the fighting—later dubbed the "November criminals". [81]

The Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany had to relinquish several of its territories and demilitarise the Rhineland. The treaty imposed economic sanctions and levied heavy reparations on the country. Many Germans saw the treaty as an unjust humiliation–they especially objected to Article 231, which they interpreted as declaring Germany responsible for the war. [82] The Versailles Treaty and the economic, social, and political conditions in Germany after the war were later exploited by Hitler for political gain. [83]

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich. [84] Without formal education or career prospects, he remained in the army. [85] In July 1919 he was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance unit) of the Reichswehr, assigned to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP). At a DAP meeting on 12 September 1919, Party Chairman Anton Drexler was impressed with Hitler's oratorical skills. He gave him a copy of his pamphlet My Political Awakening, which contained anti-Semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist ideas. [86] On the orders of his army superiors, Hitler applied to join the party, [87] and within a week was accepted as party member 555 (the party began counting membership at 500 to give the impression they were a much larger party). [88] [89]

Around this time, Hitler made his earliest known recorded statement about the Jews in a letter (now known as the Gemlich letter) dated 16 September 1919 to Adolf Gemlich about the Jewish question. In the letter, Hitler argues that the aim of the government "must unshakably be the removal of the Jews altogether". [90]

At the DAP, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of the party's founders and a member of the occult Thule Society. [91] Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him and introducing him to a wide range of Munich society. [92] To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), known colloquially as the "Nazi Party"). [93] Hitler designed the party's banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red background. [94]

Hitler was discharged from the army on 31 March 1920 and began working full-time for the party. [95] The party headquarters was in Munich, a hotbed of anti-government German nationalists determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar Republic. [96] In February 1921—already highly effective at crowd manipulation—he spoke to a crowd of over 6,000. [97] To publicise the meeting, two truckloads of party supporters drove around Munich waving swastika flags and distributing leaflets. Hitler soon gained notoriety for his rowdy polemic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and especially against Marxists and Jews. [98]

In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the Nazi Party in Munich. Members of its executive committee wanted to merge with the Nuremberg-based German Socialist Party (DSP). [99] Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that the resignation of their leading public figure and speaker would mean the end of the party. [100] Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman, and that the party headquarters would remain in Munich. [101] The committee agreed, and he rejoined the party on 26 July as member 3,680. Hitler continued to face some opposition within the Nazi Party. Opponents of Hitler in the leadership had Hermann Esser expelled from the party, and they printed 3,000 copies of a pamphlet attacking Hitler as a traitor to the party. [101] [d] In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself and Esser, to thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful, and at a special party congress on 29 July, he was granted absolute powers as party chairman, replacing Drexler, by a vote of 533 to 1. [102]

Hitler's vitriolic beer hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. A demagogue, [103] he became adept at using populist themes, including the use of scapegoats, who were blamed for his listeners' economic hardships. [104] [105] [106] Hitler used personal magnetism and an understanding of crowd psychology to his advantage while engaged in public speaking. [107] [108] Historians have noted the hypnotic effect of his rhetoric on large audiences, and of his eyes in small groups. [109] Alfons Heck, a former member of the Hitler Youth, recalled:

We erupted into a frenzy of nationalistic pride that bordered on hysteria. For minutes on end, we shouted at the top of our lungs, with tears streaming down our faces: Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil! From that moment on, I belonged to Adolf Hitler body and soul. [110]

Early followers included Rudolf Hess, former air force ace Hermann Göring, and army captain Ernst Röhm. Röhm became head of the Nazis' paramilitary organisation, the Sturmabteilung (SA, "Stormtroopers"), which protected meetings and attacked political opponents. A critical influence on Hitler's thinking during this period was the Aufbau Vereinigung, [111] a conspiratorial group of White Russian exiles and early Nazis. The group, financed with funds channelled from wealthy industrialists, introduced Hitler to the idea of a Jewish conspiracy, linking international finance with Bolshevism. [112]

The programme of the Nazi Party was laid out in their 25-point programme on 24 February 1920. This did not represent a coherent ideology, but was a conglomeration of received ideas which had currency in the völkisch Pan-Germanic movement, such as ultranationalism, opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, distrust of capitalism, as well as some socialist ideas. For Hitler, though, the most important aspect of it was its strong anti-Semitic stance. He also perceived the programme as primarily a basis for propaganda and for attracting people to the party. [113]

Beer Hall Putsch and Landsberg Prison

In 1923, Hitler enlisted the help of World War I General Erich Ludendorff for an attempted coup known as the "Beer Hall Putsch". The Nazi Party used Italian Fascism as a model for their appearance and policies. Hitler wanted to emulate Benito Mussolini's "March on Rome" of 1922 by staging his own coup in Bavaria, to be followed by a challenge to the government in Berlin. Hitler and Ludendorff sought the support of Staatskommissar (State Commissioner) Gustav Ritter von Kahr, Bavaria's de facto ruler. However, Kahr, along with Police Chief Hans Ritter von Seisser and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, wanted to install a nationalist dictatorship without Hitler. [114]

On 8 November 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting of 3,000 people organised by Kahr in the Bürgerbräukeller, a beer hall in Munich. Interrupting Kahr's speech, he announced that the national revolution had begun and declared the formation of a new government with Ludendorff. [115] Retiring to a back room, Hitler, with handgun drawn, demanded and got the support of Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow. [115] Hitler's forces initially succeeded in occupying the local Reichswehr and police headquarters, but Kahr and his cohorts quickly withdrew their support. Neither the army, nor the state police, joined forces with Hitler. [116] The next day, Hitler and his followers marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government, but police dispersed them. [117] Sixteen Nazi Party members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup. [118]

Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl and by some accounts contemplated suicide. [119] He was depressed but calm when arrested on 11 November 1923 for high treason. [120] His trial before the special People's Court in Munich began in February 1924, [121] and Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the Nazi Party. On 1 April, Hitler was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison. [122] There, he received friendly treatment from the guards, and was allowed mail from supporters and regular visits by party comrades. Pardoned by the Bavarian Supreme Court, he was released from jail on 20 December 1924, against the state prosecutor's objections. [123] Including time on remand, Hitler served just over one year in prison. [124]

While at Landsberg, Hitler dictated most of the first volume of Mein Kampf (My Struggle originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice) at first to his chauffeur, Emil Maurice, and then to his deputy, Rudolf Hess. [124] [125] The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an autobiography and exposition of his ideology. The book laid out Hitler's plans for transforming German society into one based on race. Throughout the book, Jews are equated with "germs" and presented as the "international poisoners" of society. According to Hitler's ideology, the only solution was their extermination. While Hitler did not describe exactly how this was to be accomplished, his "inherent genocidal thrust is undeniable", according to Ian Kershaw. [126]

Published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, Mein Kampf sold 228,000 copies between 1925 and 1932. One million copies were sold in 1933, Hitler's first year in office. [127]

Shortly before Hitler was eligible for parole, the Bavarian government attempted to have him deported to Austria. [128] The Austrian federal chancellor rejected the request on the specious grounds that his service in the German Army made his Austrian citizenship void. [129] In response, Hitler formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925. [129]

Rebuilding the Nazi Party

At the time of Hitler's release from prison, politics in Germany had become less combative and the economy had improved, limiting Hitler's opportunities for political agitation. As a result of the failed Beer Hall Putsch, the Nazi Party and its affiliated organisations were banned in Bavaria. In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bavaria Heinrich Held on 4 January 1925, Hitler agreed to respect the state's authority and promised that he would seek political power only through the democratic process. The meeting paved the way for the ban on the Nazi Party to be lifted on 16 February. [130] However, after an inflammatory speech he gave on 27 February, Hitler was barred from public speaking by the Bavarian authorities, a ban that remained in place until 1927. [131] [132] To advance his political ambitions in spite of the ban, Hitler appointed Gregor Strasser, Otto Strasser and Joseph Goebbels to organise and enlarge the Nazi Party in northern Germany. Gregor Strasser steered a more independent political course, emphasising the socialist elements of the party's programme. [133]

The stock market in the United States crashed on 24 October 1929. The impact in Germany was dire: millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. Hitler and the Nazi Party prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty, strengthen the economy, and provide jobs. [134]

Nazi Party election results [135]
Election Total votes % votes Reichstag seats Notes
May 1924 1,918,300 6.5 32 Hitler in prison
December 1924 907,300 3.0 14 Hitler released from prison
May 1928 810,100 2.6 12
September 1930 6,409,600 18.3 107 After the financial crisis
July 1932 13,745,000 37.3 230 After Hitler was candidate for presidency
November 1932 11,737,000 33.1 196
March 1933 17,277,180 43.9 288 Only partially free during Hitler's term as chancellor of Germany

Brüning administration

The Great Depression provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent about the parliamentary republic, which faced challenges from right- and left-wing extremists. The moderate political parties were increasingly unable to stem the tide of extremism, and the German referendum of 1929 helped to elevate Nazi ideology. [136] The elections of September 1930 resulted in the break-up of a grand coalition and its replacement with a minority cabinet. Its leader, chancellor Heinrich Brüning of the Centre Party, governed through emergency decrees from President Paul von Hindenburg. Governance by decree became the new norm and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government. [137] The Nazi Party rose from obscurity to win 18.3 per cent of the vote and 107 parliamentary seats in the 1930 election, becoming the second-largest party in parliament. [138]

Hitler made a prominent appearance at the trial of two Reichswehr officers, Lieutenants Richard Scheringer and Hanns Ludin, in late 1930. Both were charged with membership in the Nazi Party, at that time illegal for Reichswehr personnel. [139] The prosecution argued that the Nazi Party was an extremist party, prompting defence lawyer Hans Frank to call on Hitler to testify. [140] On 25 September 1930, Hitler testified that his party would pursue political power solely through democratic elections, [141] which won him many supporters in the officer corps. [142]

Brüning's austerity measures brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular. [143] Hitler exploited this by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been affected by the inflation of the 1920s and the Depression, such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class. [144]

Although Hitler had terminated his Austrian citizenship in 1925, he did not acquire German citizenship for almost seven years. This meant that he was stateless, legally unable to run for public office, and still faced the risk of deportation. [145] On 25 February 1932, the interior minister of Brunswick, Dietrich Klagges, who was a member of the Nazi Party, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state's delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick, [146] and thus of Germany. [147]

Hitler ran against Hindenburg in the 1932 presidential elections. A speech to the Industry Club in Düsseldorf on 27 January 1932 won him support from many of Germany's most powerful industrialists. [148] Hindenburg had support from various nationalist, monarchist, Catholic, and republican parties, and some Social Democrats. Hitler used the campaign slogan "Hitler über Deutschland" ("Hitler over Germany"), a reference to his political ambitions and his campaigning by aircraft. [149] He was one of the first politicians to use aircraft travel for political purposes, and used it effectively. [150] [151] Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 35 per cent of the vote in the final election. Although he lost to Hindenburg, this election established Hitler as a strong force in German politics. [152]

Appointment as chancellor

The absence of an effective government prompted two influential politicians, Franz von Papen and Alfred Hugenberg, along with several other industrialists and businessmen, to write a letter to Hindenburg. The signers urged Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as leader of a government "independent from parliamentary parties", which could turn into a movement that would "enrapture millions of people". [153] [154]

Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after two further parliamentary elections—in July and November 1932—had not resulted in the formation of a majority government. Hitler headed a short-lived coalition government formed by the Nazi Party (which had the most seats in the Reichstag) and Hugenberg's party, the German National People's Party (DNVP). On 30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Hindenburg's office. The Nazi Party gained three posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring Minister of the Interior for Prussia. [155] Hitler had insisted on the ministerial positions as a way to gain control over the police in much of Germany. [156]

Reichstag fire and March elections

As chancellor, Hitler worked against attempts by the Nazi Party's opponents to build a majority government. Because of the political stalemate, he asked Hindenburg to again dissolve the Reichstag, and elections were scheduled for early March. On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire. Göring blamed a communist plot, because Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe was found in incriminating circumstances inside the burning building. [157] Until the 1960s, some historians including William L. Shirer and Alan Bullock thought the Nazi Party itself was responsible, [158] [159] the current consensus of nearly all historians is that van der Lubbe actually set the fire alone. [160] At Hitler's urging, Hindenburg responded by signing the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February, drafted by the Nazis, which suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial. The decree was permitted under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which gave the president the power to take emergency measures to protect public safety and order. [161] Activities of the German Communist Party (KPD) were suppressed, and some 4,000 KPD members were arrested. [162]

In addition to political campaigning, the Nazi Party engaged in paramilitary violence and the spread of anti-communist propaganda in the days preceding the election. On election day, 6 March 1933, the Nazi Party's share of the vote increased to 43.9 per cent, and the party acquired the largest number of seats in parliament. Hitler's party failed to secure an absolute majority, necessitating another coalition with the DNVP. [163]

Day of Potsdam and the Enabling Act

On 21 March 1933, the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening ceremony at the Garrison Church in Potsdam. This "Day of Potsdam" was held to demonstrate unity between the Nazi movement and the old Prussian elite and military. Hitler appeared in a morning coat and humbly greeted Hindenburg. [164] [165]

To achieve full political control despite not having an absolute majority in parliament, Hitler's government brought the Ermächtigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) to a vote in the newly elected Reichstag. The Act—officially titled the Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich")—gave Hitler's cabinet the power to enact laws without the consent of the Reichstag for four years. These laws could (with certain exceptions) deviate from the constitution. [166] Since it would affect the constitution, the Enabling Act required a two-thirds majority to pass. Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to arrest all 81 Communist deputies (in spite of their virulent campaign against the party, the Nazis had allowed the KPD to contest the election) [167] and prevent several Social Democrats from attending. [168]

On 23 March 1933, the Reichstag assembled at the Kroll Opera House under turbulent circumstances. Ranks of SA men served as guards inside the building, while large groups outside opposing the proposed legislation shouted slogans and threats towards the arriving members of parliament. [169] The position of the Centre Party, the third-largest party in the Reichstag, was decisive. After Hitler verbally promised party leader Ludwig Kaas that Hindenburg would retain his power of veto, Kaas announced the Centre Party would support the Enabling Act. The Act passed by a vote of 441–84, with all parties except the Social Democrats voting in favour. The Enabling Act, along with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler's government into a de facto legal dictatorship. [170]


At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! . Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power! [171]

Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his allies began to suppress the remaining opposition. The Social Democratic Party was banned and its assets seized. [172] While many trade union delegates were in Berlin for May Day activities, SA stormtroopers occupied union offices around the country. On 2 May 1933, all trade unions were forced to dissolve and their leaders were arrested. Some were sent to concentration camps. [173] The German Labour Front was formed as an umbrella organisation to represent all workers, administrators, and company owners, thus reflecting the concept of Nazism in the spirit of Hitler's Volksgemeinschaft ("people's community"). [174]

By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. This included the Nazis' nominal coalition partner, the DNVP with the SA's help, Hitler forced its leader, Hugenberg, to resign on 29 June. On 14 July 1933, the Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany. [174] [172] The demands of the SA for more political and military power caused anxiety among military, industrial, and political leaders. In response, Hitler purged the entire SA leadership in the Night of the Long Knives, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934. [175] Hitler targeted Ernst Röhm and other SA leaders who, along with a number of Hitler's political adversaries (such as Gregor Strasser and former chancellor Kurt von Schleicher), were rounded up, arrested, and shot. [176] While the international community and some Germans were shocked by the murders, many in Germany believed Hitler was restoring order. [177]

On 2 August 1934, Hindenburg died. The previous day, the cabinet had enacted the "Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich". [3] This law stated that upon Hindenburg's death, the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government, and was formally named as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor), [2] although Reichskanzler was eventually quietly dropped. [178] With this action, Hitler eliminated the last legal remedy by which he could be removed from office. [179]

As head of state, Hitler became commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Immediately after Hindenburg's death, at the instigation of the leadership of the Reichswehr, the traditional loyalty oath of soldiers was altered to affirm loyalty to Hitler personally, by name, rather than to the office of commander-in-chief (which was later renamed to supreme commander) or the state. [180] On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by 88 per cent of the electorate voting in a plebiscite. [181]

In early 1938, Hitler used blackmail to consolidate his hold over the military by instigating the Blomberg–Fritsch affair. Hitler forced his War Minister, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, to resign by using a police dossier that showed that Blomberg's new wife had a record for prostitution. [182] [183] Army commander Colonel-General Werner von Fritsch was removed after the Schutzstaffel (SS) produced allegations that he had engaged in a homosexual relationship. [184] Both men had fallen into disfavour because they objected to Hitler's demand to make the Wehrmacht ready for war as early as 1938. [185] Hitler assumed Blomberg's title of Commander-in-Chief, thus taking personal command of the armed forces. He replaced the Ministry of War with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), headed by General Wilhelm Keitel. On the same day, sixteen generals were stripped of their commands and 44 more were transferred all were suspected of not being sufficiently pro-Nazi. [186] By early February 1938, twelve more generals had been removed. [187]

Hitler took care to give his dictatorship the appearance of legality. Many of his decrees were explicitly based on the Reichstag Fire Decree and hence on Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. The Reichstag renewed the Enabling Act twice, each time for a four-year period. [188] While elections to the Reichstag were still held (in 1933, 1936, and 1938), voters were presented with a single list of Nazis and pro-Nazi "guests" which carried with well over 90 per cent of the vote. [189] These elections were held in far-from-secret conditions the Nazis threatened severe reprisals against anyone who did not vote or dared to vote no. [190]

Economy and culture

In August 1934, Hitler appointed Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics, and in the following year, as Plenipotentiary for War Economy in charge of preparing the economy for war. [191] Reconstruction and rearmament were financed through Mefo bills, printing money, and seizing the assets of people arrested as enemies of the State, including Jews. [192] Unemployment fell from six million in 1932 to one million in 1936. [193] Hitler oversaw one of the largest infrastructure improvement campaigns in German history, leading to the construction of dams, autobahns, railroads, and other civil works. Wages were slightly lower in the mid to late 1930s compared with wages during the Weimar Republic, while the cost of living increased by 25 per cent. [194] The average work week increased during the shift to a war economy by 1939, the average German was working between 47 and 50 hours a week. [195]

Hitler's government sponsored architecture on an immense scale. Albert Speer, instrumental in implementing Hitler's classicist reinterpretation of German culture, was placed in charge of the proposed architectural renovations of Berlin. [196] Despite a threatened multi-nation boycott, Germany hosted the 1936 Olympic Games. Hitler officiated at the opening ceremonies and attended events at both the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Summer Games in Berlin. [197]

Rearmament and new alliances

In a meeting with German military leaders on 3 February 1933, Hitler spoke of "conquest for Lebensraum in the East and its ruthless Germanisation" as his ultimate foreign policy objectives. [198] In March, Prince Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, secretary at the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office), issued a statement of major foreign policy aims: Anschluss with Austria, the restoration of Germany's national borders of 1914, rejection of military restrictions under the Treaty of Versailles, the return of the former German colonies in Africa, and a German zone of influence in Eastern Europe. Hitler found Bülow's goals to be too modest. [199] In speeches during this period, he stressed the peaceful goals of his policies and a willingness to work within international agreements. [200] At the first meeting of his cabinet in 1933, Hitler prioritised military spending over unemployment relief. [201]

Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference in October 1933. [202] In January 1935, over 90 per cent of the people of the Saarland, then under League of Nations administration, voted to unite with Germany. [203] That March, Hitler announced an expansion of the Wehrmacht to 600,000 members—six times the number permitted by the Versailles Treaty—including development of an air force (Luftwaffe) and an increase in the size of the navy (Kriegsmarine). Britain, France, Italy, and the League of Nations condemned these violations of the Treaty, but did nothing to stop it. [204] [205] The Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) of 18 June allowed German tonnage to increase to 35 per cent of that of the British navy. Hitler called the signing of the AGNA "the happiest day of his life", believing that the agreement marked the beginning of the Anglo-German alliance he had predicted in Mein Kampf. [206] France and Italy were not consulted before the signing, directly undermining the League of Nations and setting the Treaty of Versailles on the path towards irrelevance. [207]

Germany reoccupied the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland in March 1936, in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Hitler also sent troops to Spain to support General Franco during the Spanish Civil War after receiving an appeal for help in July 1936. At the same time, Hitler continued his efforts to create an Anglo-German alliance. [208] In August 1936, in response to a growing economic crisis caused by his rearmament efforts, Hitler ordered Göring to implement a Four Year Plan to prepare Germany for war within the next four years. [209] The plan envisaged an all-out struggle between "Judeo-Bolshevism" and German Nazism, which in Hitler's view required a committed effort of rearmament regardless of the economic costs. [210]

In October 1936, Count Galeazzo Ciano, foreign minister of Mussolini's government, visited Germany, where he signed a Nine-Point Protocol as an expression of rapprochement and had a personal meeting with Hitler. On 1 November, Mussolini declared an "axis" between Germany and Italy. [211] On 25 November, Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. Britain, China, Italy, and Poland were also invited to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, but only Italy signed in 1937. Hitler abandoned his plan of an Anglo-German alliance, blaming "inadequate" British leadership. [212] At a meeting in the Reich Chancellery with his foreign ministers and military chiefs that November, Hitler restated his intention of acquiring Lebensraum for the German people. He ordered preparations for war in the East, to begin as early as 1938 and no later than 1943. In the event of his death, the conference minutes, recorded as the Hossbach Memorandum, were to be regarded as his "political testament". [213] He felt that a severe decline in living standards in Germany as a result of the economic crisis could only be stopped by military aggression aimed at seizing Austria and Czechoslovakia. [214] [215] Hitler urged quick action before Britain and France gained a permanent lead in the arms race. [214] In early 1938, in the wake of the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair, Hitler asserted control of the military-foreign policy apparatus, dismissing Neurath as foreign minister and appointing himself as War Minister. [209] From early 1938 onwards, Hitler was carrying out a foreign policy ultimately aimed at war. [216]

Early diplomatic successes

Alliance with Japan

In February 1938, on the advice of his newly appointed foreign minister, the strongly pro-Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler ended the Sino-German alliance with the Republic of China to instead enter into an alliance with the more modern and powerful Empire of Japan. Hitler announced German recognition of Manchukuo, the Japanese-occupied state in Manchuria, and renounced German claims to their former colonies in the Pacific held by Japan. [217] Hitler ordered an end to arms shipments to China and recalled all German officers working with the Chinese Army. [217] In retaliation, Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek cancelled all Sino-German economic agreements, depriving the Germans of many Chinese raw materials. [218]

Austria and Czechoslovakia

On 12 March 1938, Hitler announced the unification of Austria with Nazi Germany in the Anschluss. [219] [220] Hitler then turned his attention to the ethnic German population of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. [221] On 28–29 March 1938, Hitler held a series of secret meetings in Berlin with Konrad Henlein of the Sudeten German Party, the largest of the ethnic German parties of the Sudetenland. The men agreed that Henlein would demand increased autonomy for Sudeten Germans from the Czechoslovakian government, thus providing a pretext for German military action against Czechoslovakia. In April 1938 Henlein told the foreign minister of Hungary that "whatever the Czech government might offer, he would always raise still higher demands . he wanted to sabotage an understanding by any means because this was the only method to blow up Czechoslovakia quickly". [222] In private, Hitler considered the Sudeten issue unimportant his real intention was a war of conquest against Czechoslovakia. [223]

In April Hitler ordered the OKW to prepare for Fall Grün (Case Green), the code name for an invasion of Czechoslovakia. [224] As a result of intense French and British diplomatic pressure, on 5 September Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš unveiled the "Fourth Plan" for constitutional reorganisation of his country, which agreed to most of Henlein's demands for Sudeten autonomy. [225] Henlein's party responded to Beneš' offer by instigating a series of violent clashes with the Czechoslovakian police that led to the declaration of martial law in certain Sudeten districts. [226] [227]

Germany was dependent on imported oil a confrontation with Britain over the Czechoslovakian dispute could curtail Germany's oil supplies. This forced Hitler to call off Fall Grün, originally planned for 1 October 1938. [228] On 29 September Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, and Mussolini attended a one-day conference in Munich that led to the Munich Agreement, which handed over the Sudetenland districts to Germany. [229] [230]

Chamberlain was satisfied with the Munich conference, calling the outcome "peace for our time", while Hitler was angered about the missed opportunity for war in 1938 [231] [232] he expressed his disappointment in a speech on 9 October in Saarbrücken. [233] In Hitler's view, the British-brokered peace, although favourable to the ostensible German demands, was a diplomatic defeat which spurred his intent of limiting British power to pave the way for the eastern expansion of Germany. [234] [235] As a result of the summit, Hitler was selected Time magazine's Man of the Year for 1938. [236]

In late 1938 and early 1939, the continuing economic crisis caused by rearmament forced Hitler to make major defence cuts. [237] In his "Export or die" speech of 30 January 1939, he called for an economic offensive to increase German foreign exchange holdings to pay for raw materials such as high-grade iron needed for military weapons. [237]

On 14 March 1939, under threat from Hungary, Slovakia declared independence and received protection from Germany. [238] The next day, in violation of the Munich accord and possibly as a result of the deepening economic crisis requiring additional assets, [239] Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to invade the Czech rump state, and from Prague Castle he proclaimed the territory a German protectorate. [240]

Start of World War II

In private discussions in 1939, Hitler declared Britain the main enemy to be defeated and that Poland's obliteration was a necessary prelude for that goal. [241] The eastern flank would be secured and land would be added to Germany's Lebensraum. [242] Offended by the British "guarantee" on 31 March 1939 of Polish independence, he said, "I shall brew them a devil's drink". [243] In a speech in Wilhelmshaven for the launch of the battleship Tirpitz on 1 April, he threatened to denounce the Anglo-German Naval Agreement if the British continued to guarantee Polish independence, which he perceived as an "encirclement" policy. [243] Poland was to either become a German satellite state or it would be neutralised in order to secure the Reich's eastern flank and prevent a possible British blockade. [244] Hitler initially favoured the idea of a satellite state, but upon its rejection by the Polish government, he decided to invade and made this the main foreign policy goal of 1939. [245] On 3 April, Hitler ordered the military to prepare for Fall Weiss ("Case White"), the plan for invading Poland on 25 August. [245] In a Reichstag speech on 28 April, he renounced both the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact. [246] Historians such as William Carr, Gerhard Weinberg, and Ian Kershaw have argued that one reason for Hitler's rush to war was his fear of an early death. He had repeatedly claimed that he must lead Germany into war before he got too old, as his successors might lack his strength of will. [247] [248] [249]

Hitler was concerned that a military attack against Poland could result in a premature war with Britain. [244] [250] Hitler's foreign minister and former Ambassador to London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, assured him that neither Britain nor France would honour their commitments to Poland. [251] [252] Accordingly, on 22 August 1939 Hitler ordered a military mobilisation against Poland. [253]

This plan required tacit Soviet support, [254] and the non-aggression pact (the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact) between Germany and the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, included a secret agreement to partition Poland between the two countries. [255] Contrary to Ribbentrop's prediction that Britain would sever Anglo-Polish ties, Britain and Poland signed the Anglo-Polish alliance on 25 August 1939. This, along with news from Italy that Mussolini would not honour the Pact of Steel, prompted Hitler to postpone the attack on Poland from 25 August to 1 September. [256] Hitler unsuccessfully tried to manoeuvre the British into neutrality by offering them a non-aggression guarantee on 25 August he then instructed Ribbentrop to present a last-minute peace plan with an impossibly short time limit in an effort to blame the imminent war on British and Polish inaction. [257] [258]

On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded western Poland under the pretext of having been denied claims to the Free City of Danzig and the right to extraterritorial roads across the Polish Corridor, which Germany had ceded under the Versailles Treaty. [259] In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September, surprising Hitler and prompting him to angrily ask Ribbentrop, "Now what?" [260] France and Britain did not act on their declarations immediately, and on 17 September, Soviet forces invaded eastern Poland. [261]

The fall of Poland was followed by what contemporary journalists dubbed the "Phoney War" or Sitzkrieg ("sitting war"). Hitler instructed the two newly appointed Gauleiters of north-western Poland, Albert Forster of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia and Arthur Greiser of Reichsgau Wartheland, to Germanise their areas, with "no questions asked" about how this was accomplished. [262] In Forster's area, ethnic Poles merely had to sign forms stating that they had German blood. [263] In contrast, Greiser agreed with Himmler and carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign towards Poles. Greiser soon complained that Forster was allowing thousands of Poles to be accepted as "racial" Germans and thus endangered German "racial purity". [262] Hitler refrained from getting involved. This inaction has been advanced as an example of the theory of "working towards the Führer", in which Hitler issued vague instructions and expected his subordinates to work out policies on their own. [262] [264]

Another dispute pitched one side represented by Heinrich Himmler and Greiser, who championed ethnic cleansing in Poland, against another represented by Göring and Hans Frank (governor-general of occupied Poland), who called for turning Poland into the "granary" of the Reich. [265] On 12 February 1940, the dispute was initially settled in favour of the Göring–Frank view, which ended the economically disruptive mass expulsions. [265] On 15 May 1940, Himmler issued a memo entitled "Some Thoughts on the Treatment of Alien Population in the East", calling for the expulsion of the entire Jewish population of Europe into Africa and the reduction of the Polish population to a "leaderless class of labourers". [265] Hitler called Himmler's memo "good and correct", [265] and, ignoring Göring and Frank, implemented the Himmler–Greiser policy in Poland.

On 9 April, German forces invaded Denmark and Norway. On the same day Hitler proclaimed the birth of the Greater Germanic Reich, his vision of a united empire of Germanic nations of Europe in which the Dutch, Flemish, and Scandinavians were joined into a "racially pure" polity under German leadership. [266] In May 1940, Germany attacked France, and conquered Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. These victories prompted Mussolini to have Italy join forces with Hitler on 10 June. France and Germany signed an armistice on 22 June. [267] Kershaw notes that Hitler's popularity within Germany—and German support for the war—reached its peak when he returned to Berlin on 6 July from his tour of Paris. [268] Following the unexpected swift victory, Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of field marshal during the 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony. [269] [270]

Britain, whose troops were forced to evacuate France by sea from Dunkirk, [271] continued to fight alongside other British dominions in the Battle of the Atlantic. Hitler made peace overtures to the new British leader, Winston Churchill, and upon their rejection he ordered a series of aerial attacks on Royal Air Force airbases and radar stations in south-east England. On 7 September the systematic nightly bombing of London began. The German Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force in what became known as the Battle of Britain. [272] By the end of September, Hitler realised that air superiority for the invasion of Britain (in Operation Sea Lion) could not be achieved, and ordered the operation postponed. The nightly air raids on British cities intensified and continued for months, including London, Plymouth, and Coventry. [273]

On 27 September 1940, the Tripartite Pact was signed in Berlin by Saburō Kurusu of Imperial Japan, Hitler, and Italian foreign minister Ciano, [274] and later expanded to include Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, thus yielding the Axis powers. Hitler's attempt to integrate the Soviet Union into the anti-British bloc failed after inconclusive talks between Hitler and Molotov in Berlin in November, and he ordered preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union. [275]

In early 1941, German forces were deployed to North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. In February, German forces arrived in Libya to bolster the Italian presence. In April, Hitler launched the invasion of Yugoslavia, quickly followed by the invasion of Greece. [276] In May, German forces were sent to support Iraqi forces fighting against the British and to invade Crete. [277]

Path to defeat

On 22 June 1941, contravening the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, over three million Axis troops attacked the Soviet Union. [278] This offensive (codenamed Operation Barbarossa) was intended to destroy the Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent aggression against the Western powers. [279] [280] The invasion conquered a huge area, including the Baltic republics, Belarus, and West Ukraine. By early August, Axis troops had advanced 500 km (310 mi) and won the Battle of Smolensk. Hitler ordered Army Group Centre to temporarily halt its advance to Moscow and divert its Panzer groups to aid in the encirclement of Leningrad and Kiev. [281] His generals disagreed with this change, having advanced within 400 km (250 mi) of Moscow, and his decision caused a crisis among the military leadership. [282] [283] The pause provided the Red Army with an opportunity to mobilise fresh reserves historian Russel Stolfi considers it to be one of the major factors that caused the failure of the Moscow offensive, which was resumed in October 1941 and ended disastrously in December. [281] During this crisis, Hitler appointed himself as head of the Oberkommando des Heeres. [284]

On 18 December 1941, Himmler asked Hitler, "What to do with the Jews of Russia?", to which Hitler replied, "als Partisanen auszurotten" ("exterminate them as partisans"). [286] Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer has commented that the remark is probably as close as historians will ever get to a definitive order from Hitler for the genocide carried out during the Holocaust. [286]

In late 1942, German forces were defeated in the second battle of El Alamein, [287] thwarting Hitler's plans to seize the Suez Canal and the Middle East. Overconfident in his own military expertise following the earlier victories in 1940, Hitler became distrustful of his Army High Command and began to interfere in military and tactical planning, with damaging consequences. [288] In December 1942 and January 1943, Hitler's repeated refusal to allow their withdrawal at the Battle of Stalingrad led to the almost total destruction of the 6th Army. Over 200,000 Axis soldiers were killed and 235,000 were taken prisoner. [289] Thereafter came a decisive strategic defeat at the Battle of Kursk. [290] Hitler's military judgement became increasingly erratic, and Germany's military and economic position deteriorated, as did Hitler's health. [291]

Following the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Mussolini was removed from power by King Victor Emmanuel III after a vote of no confidence of the Grand Council of Fascism. Marshal Pietro Badoglio, placed in charge of the government, soon surrendered to the Allies. [292] Throughout 1943 and 1944, the Soviet Union steadily forced Hitler's armies into retreat along the Eastern Front. On 6 June 1944, the Western Allied armies landed in northern France in one of the largest amphibious operations in history, Operation Overlord. [293] Many German officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that continuing under Hitler's leadership would result in the complete destruction of the country. [294]

Between 1939 and 1945, there were many plans to assassinate Hitler, some of which proceeded to significant degrees. [295] The most well known, the 20 July plot of 1944, came from within Germany and was at least partly driven by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war. [296] Part of Operation Valkyrie, the plot involved Claus von Stauffenberg planting a bomb in one of Hitler's headquarters, the Wolf's Lair at Rastenburg. Hitler narrowly survived because staff officer Heinz Brandt moved the briefcase containing the bomb behind a leg of the heavy conference table, which deflected much of the blast. Later, Hitler ordered savage reprisals resulting in the execution of more than 4,900 people. [297]

Defeat and death

By late 1944, both the Red Army and the Western Allies were advancing into Germany. Recognising the strength and determination of the Red Army, Hitler decided to use his remaining mobile reserves against the American and British troops, which he perceived as far weaker. [298] On 16 December, he launched the Ardennes Offensive to incite disunity among the Western Allies and perhaps convince them to join his fight against the Soviets. [299] After some temporary successes, the offensive failed. [300] With much of Germany in ruins in January 1945, Hitler spoke on the radio: "However grave as the crisis may be at this moment, it will, despite everything, be mastered by our unalterable will." [301] Acting on his view that Germany's military failures meant it had forfeited its right to survive as a nation, Hitler ordered the destruction of all German industrial infrastructure before it could fall into Allied hands. [302] Minister for Armaments Albert Speer was entrusted with executing this scorched earth policy, but he secretly disobeyed the order. [302] [303] Hitler's hope to negotiate peace with the United States and Britain was encouraged by the death of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 12 April 1945, but contrary to his expectations, this caused no rift among the Allies. [299] [304]

On 20 April, his 56th birthday, Hitler made his last trip from the Führerbunker (Führer's shelter) to the surface. In the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery, he awarded Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth, who were now fighting the Red Army at the front near Berlin. [305] By 21 April, Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front had broken through the defences of General Gotthard Heinrici's Army Group Vistula during the Battle of the Seelow Heights and advanced to the outskirts of Berlin. [306] In denial about the dire situation, Hitler placed his hopes on the undermanned and under-equipped Armeeabteilung Steiner (Army Detachment Steiner), commanded by Felix Steiner. Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the salient, while the German Ninth Army was ordered to attack northward in a pincer attack. [307]

During a military conference on 22 April, Hitler asked about Steiner's offensive. He was told that the attack had not been launched and that the Soviets had entered Berlin. Hitler asked everyone except Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Hans Krebs, and Wilhelm Burgdorf to leave the room, [308] then launched into a tirade against the treachery and incompetence of his commanders, culminating in his declaration—for the first time—that "everything was lost". [309] He announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself. [310]

By 23 April the Red Army had surrounded Berlin, [311] and Goebbels made a proclamation urging its citizens to defend the city. [308] That same day, Göring sent a telegram from Berchtesgaden, arguing that since Hitler was isolated in Berlin, Göring should assume leadership of Germany. Göring set a deadline, after which he would consider Hitler incapacitated. [312] Hitler responded by having Göring arrested, and in his last will and testament of 29 April, he removed Göring from all government positions. [313] [314] On 28 April Hitler discovered that Himmler, who had left Berlin on 20 April, was trying to negotiate a surrender to the Western Allies. [315] [316] He ordered Himmler's arrest and had Hermann Fegelein (Himmler's SS representative at Hitler's HQ in Berlin) shot. [317]

After midnight on the night of 28–29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in the Führerbunker. [318] [e] Later that afternoon, Hitler was informed that Mussolini had been executed by the Italian resistance movement on the previous day this presumably increased his determination to avoid capture. [319]

On 30 April 1945, Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery when Hitler shot himself in the head and Braun bit into a cyanide capsule. [320] [321] Their corpses were carried outside to the garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater, doused with petrol, and set on fire as the Red Army shelling continued. [322] [323] [324] Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz and Joseph Goebbels assumed Hitler's roles as head of state and chancellor respectively. [325]

Berlin surrendered on 2 May. The remains of Joseph and Magda Goebbels, the six Goebbels children, General Hans Krebs, and Hitler's dogs were repeatedly buried and exhumed. [326] Hitler and Braun's remains were alleged to have been moved as well, but this is most likely Soviet disinformation. There is no evidence that any actual bodily remains of Hitler or Braun – with the exception of the dental bridges – were found by the Soviets, which could be identified as their remains. [327] [328] [329] In 1946, the remains of Goebbels and the others were exhumed again and moved to the SMERSH unit's then new facility in Magdeburg, where they were buried in five wooden boxes on 21 February. [330] [331] By 1970, the facility was under the control of the KGB and scheduled to be relinquished to East Germany. A KGB team was given detailed burial charts and on 4 April 1970 secretly exhumed the remains of ten or eleven bodies "in an advanced state of decay". The remains were thoroughly burned and crushed, and the ashes thrown into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the nearby Elbe. [332]

The Holocaust and Germany's war in the East were based on Hitler's long-standing view that the Jews were the enemy of the German people and that Lebensraum was needed for Germany's expansion. He focused on Eastern Europe for this expansion, aiming to defeat Poland and the Soviet Union and then removing or killing the Jews and Slavs. [334] The Generalplan Ost (General Plan East) called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to West Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered [335] the conquered territories were to be colonised by German or "Germanised" settlers. [336] The goal was to implement this plan after the conquest of the Soviet Union, but when this failed, Hitler moved the plans forward. [335] [337] By January 1942, he had decided that the Jews, Slavs, and other deportees considered undesirable should be killed. [338] [f]

The genocide was organised and executed by Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. The records of the Wannsee Conference, held on 20 January 1942 and led by Heydrich, with fifteen senior Nazi officials participating, provide the clearest evidence of systematic planning for the Holocaust. On 22 February, Hitler was recorded saying, "we shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews". [339] Similarly, at a meeting in July 1941 with leading functionaries of the Eastern territories, Hitler said that the easiest way to quickly pacify the areas would be best achieved by "shooting everyone who even looks odd". [340] Although no direct order from Hitler authorising the mass killings has surfaced, [341] his public speeches, orders to his generals, and the diaries of Nazi officials demonstrate that he conceived and authorised the extermination of European Jewry. [342] [343] During the war, Hitler repeatedly stated his prophecy of 1939 was being fulfilled, namely, that a world war would bring about the annihilation of the Jewish race. [344] Hitler approved the Einsatzgruppen—killing squads that followed the German army through Poland, the Baltic, and the Soviet Union [345] —and was well informed about their activities. [342] [346] By summer 1942, Auschwitz concentration camp was expanded to accommodate large numbers of deportees for killing or enslavement. [347] Scores of other concentration camps and satellite camps were set up throughout Europe, with several camps devoted exclusively to extermination. [348]

Between 1939 and 1945, the Schutzstaffel (SS), assisted by collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied countries, was responsible for the deaths of at least eleven million non-combatants, [349] [335] including about 6 million Jews (representing two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe), [350] [g] and between 200,000 and 1,500,000 Romani people. [352] [350] Deaths took place in concentration and extermination camps, ghettos, and through mass executions. Many victims of the Holocaust were gassed to death, while others died of starvation or disease or while working as slave labourers. [353] In addition to eliminating Jews, the Nazis planned to reduce the population of the conquered territories by 30 million people through starvation in an action called the Hunger Plan. Food supplies would be diverted to the German army and German civilians. Cities would be razed and the land allowed to return to forest or resettled by German colonists. [354] Together, the Hunger Plan and Generalplan Ost would have led to the starvation of 80 million people in the Soviet Union. [355] These partially fulfilled plans resulted in additional deaths, bringing the total number of civilians and prisoners of war who died in the democide to an estimated 19.3 million people. [356]

Hitler's policies resulted in the killing of nearly two million non-Jewish Polish civilians, [357] over three million Soviet prisoners of war, [358] communists and other political opponents, homosexuals, the physically and mentally disabled, [359] [360] Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, and trade unionists. Hitler did not speak publicly about the killings, and seems never to have visited the concentration camps. [361]

The Nazis embraced the concept of racial hygiene. On 15 September 1935, Hitler presented two laws—known as the Nuremberg Laws—to the Reichstag. The laws banned sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and Jews and were later extended to include "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring". [362] The laws stripped all non-Aryans of their German citizenship and forbade the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households. [363] Hitler's early eugenic policies targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities in a programme dubbed Action Brandt, and he later authorised a euthanasia programme for adults with serious mental and physical disabilities, now referred to as Aktion T4. [364]

Hitler ruled the Nazi Party autocratically by asserting the Führerprinzip (leader principle). The principle relied on absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors thus he viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex. Rank in the party was not determined by elections—positions were filled through appointment by those of higher rank, who demanded unquestioning obedience to the will of the leader. [365] Hitler's leadership style was to give contradictory orders to his subordinates and to place them into positions where their duties and responsibilities overlapped with those of others, to have "the stronger one [do] the job". [366] In this way, Hitler fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and maximise his own power. His cabinet never met after 1938, and he discouraged his ministers from meeting independently. [367] [368] Hitler typically did not give written orders instead he communicated verbally, or had them conveyed through his close associate, Martin Bormann. [369] He entrusted Bormann with his paperwork, appointments, and personal finances Bormann used his position to control the flow of information and access to Hitler. [370]

Hitler dominated his country's war effort during World War II to a greater extent than any other national leader. He strengthened his control of the armed forces in 1938, and subsequently made all major decisions regarding Germany's military strategy. His decision to mount a risky series of offensives against Norway, France, and the Low Countries in 1940 against the advice of the military proved successful, though the diplomatic and military strategies he employed in attempts to force the United Kingdom out of the war ended in failure. [371] Hitler deepened his involvement in the war effort by appointing himself commander-in-chief of the Army in December 1941 from this point forward he personally directed the war against the Soviet Union, while his military commanders facing the Western Allies retained a degree of autonomy. [372] Hitler's leadership became increasingly disconnected from reality as the war turned against Germany, with the military's defensive strategies often hindered by his slow decision making and frequent directives to hold untenable positions. Nevertheless, he continued to believe that only his leadership could deliver victory. [371] In the final months of the war Hitler refused to consider peace negotiations, regarding the destruction of Germany as preferable to surrender. [373] The military did not challenge Hitler's dominance of the war effort, and senior officers generally supported and enacted his decisions. [374]


Hitler created a public image as a celibate man without a domestic life, dedicated entirely to his political mission and the nation. [145] [375] He met his lover, Eva Braun, in 1929, [376] and married her on 29 April 1945, one day before they both committed suicide. [377] In September 1931, his half-niece, Geli Raubal, took her own life with Hitler's gun in his Munich apartment. It was rumoured among contemporaries that Geli was in a romantic relationship with him, and her death was a source of deep, lasting pain. [378] Paula Hitler, the younger sister of Hitler and the last living member of his immediate family, died in June 1960. [16]

Views on religion

Hitler was born to a practising Catholic mother and an anticlerical father after leaving home Hitler never again attended Mass or received the sacraments. [379] [380] [381] Speer states that Hitler railed against the church to his political associates and though he never officially left it, he had no attachment to it. [382] He adds that Hitler felt that in the absence of organised religion, people would turn to mysticism, which he considered regressive. [382] According to Speer, Hitler believed that Japanese religious beliefs or Islam would have been a more suitable religion for Germans than Christianity, with its "meekness and flabbiness". [383]

Historian John S. Conway states that Hitler was fundamentally opposed to the Christian churches. [384] According to Bullock, Hitler did not believe in God, was anticlerical, and held Christian ethics in contempt because they contravened his preferred view of "survival of the fittest". [385] He favoured aspects of Protestantism that suited his own views, and adopted some elements of the Catholic Church's hierarchical organisation, liturgy, and phraseology. [386]

Hitler viewed the church as an important politically conservative influence on society, [387] and he adopted a strategic relationship with it that "suited his immediate political purposes". [384] In public, Hitler often praised Christian heritage and German Christian culture, though professing a belief in an "Aryan Jesus" who fought against the Jews. [388] Any pro-Christian public rhetoric contradicted his private statements, which described Christianity as "absurdity" [389] and nonsense founded on lies. [390]

According to a US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) report, "The Nazi Master Plan", Hitler planned to destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Reich. [391] [392] His eventual goal was the total elimination of Christianity. [393] This goal informed Hitler's movement early on, but he saw it as inexpedient to publicly express this extreme position. [394] According to Bullock, Hitler wanted to wait until after the war before executing this plan. [395]

Speer wrote that Hitler had a negative view of Himmler's and Alfred Rosenberg's mystical notions and Himmler's attempt to mythologise the SS. Hitler was more pragmatic, and his ambitions centred on more practical concerns. [396] [397]


Researchers have variously suggested that Hitler suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, irregular heartbeat, coronary sclerosis, [398] Parkinson's disease, [291] [399] syphilis, [399] giant-cell arteritis, [400] and tinnitus. [401] In a report prepared for the OSS in 1943, Walter C. Langer of Harvard University described Hitler as a "neurotic psychopath". [402] In his 1977 book The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler, historian Robert G. L. Waite proposes that he suffered from borderline personality disorder. [403] Historians Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann consider that while he suffered from a number of illnesses including Parkinson's disease, Hitler did not experience pathological delusions and was always fully aware of, and therefore responsible for, his decisions. [404] [309] Theories about Hitler's medical condition are difficult to prove, and placing too much weight on them may have the effect of attributing many of the events and consequences of Nazi Germany to the possibly impaired physical health of one individual. [405] According to Kershaw, it is better to take a broader view of German history by examining what social forces led to the Nazi dictatorship and its policies rather than to pursue narrow explanations for the Holocaust and World War II based on only one person. [406]

Sometime in the 1930s Hitler adopted a mainly vegetarian diet, [407] [408] avoiding all meat and fish from 1942 onwards. At social events he sometimes gave graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make his guests shun meat. [409] Bormann had a greenhouse constructed near the Berghof (near Berchtesgaden) to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for Hitler. [410]

Hitler stopped drinking alcohol around the time he became vegetarian and thereafter only very occasionally drank beer or wine on social occasions. [411] [412] He was a non-smoker for most of his adult life, but smoked heavily in his youth (25 to 40 cigarettes a day) he eventually quit, calling the habit "a waste of money". [413] He encouraged his close associates to quit by offering a gold watch to anyone able to break the habit. [414] Hitler began using amphetamine occasionally after 1937 and became addicted to it in late 1942. [415] Speer linked this use of amphetamine to Hitler's increasingly erratic behaviour and inflexible decision making (for example, rarely allowing military retreats). [416]

Prescribed 90 medications during the war years by his personal physician, Theodor Morell, Hitler took many pills each day for chronic stomach problems and other ailments. [417] He regularly consumed amphetamine, barbiturates, opiates, and cocaine, [418] [419] as well as potassium bromide and atropa belladonna (the latter in the form of Doktor Koster's Antigaspills). [420] He suffered ruptured eardrums as a result of the 20 July plot bomb blast in 1944, and 200 wood splinters had to be removed from his legs. [421] Newsreel footage of Hitler shows tremors in his left hand and a shuffling walk, which began before the war and worsened towards the end of his life. [417] Ernst-Günther Schenck and several other doctors who met Hitler in the last weeks of his life also formed a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. [422]

For peace, freedom
and democracy
never again fascism
millions of dead warn [us]

Hitler's suicide was likened by contemporaries to a "spell" being broken. [424] [425] Public support for Hitler had collapsed by the time of his death and few Germans mourned his passing Kershaw argues that most civilians and military personnel were too busy adjusting to the collapse of the country or fleeing from the fighting to take any interest. [426] According to historian John Toland, Nazism "burst like a bubble" without its leader. [427]

Kershaw describes Hitler as "the embodiment of modern political evil". [4] "Never in history has such ruination—physical and moral—been associated with the name of one man", he adds. [428] Hitler's political programme brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe. Germany suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as Stunde Null (Zero Hour). [429] Hitler's policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale [430] according to R. J. Rummel, the Nazi regime was responsible for the democidal killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. [349] In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre of World War II. [349] The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in the history of warfare. [431] Historians, philosophers, and politicians often use the word "evil" to describe the Nazi regime. [432] Many European countries have criminalised both the promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial. [433]

Historian Friedrich Meinecke described Hitler as "one of the great examples of the singular and incalculable power of personality in historical life". [434] English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper saw him as "among the 'terrible simplifiers' of history, the most systematic, the most historical, the most philosophical, and yet the coarsest, cruelest, least magnanimous conqueror the world has ever known". [435] For the historian John M. Roberts, Hitler's defeat marked the end of a phase of European history dominated by Germany. [436] In its place emerged the Cold War, a global confrontation between the Western Bloc, dominated by the United States and other NATO nations, and the Eastern Bloc, dominated by the Soviet Union. [437] Historian Sebastian Haffner asserts that without Hitler and the displacement of the Jews, the modern nation state of Israel would not exist. He contends that without Hitler, the de-colonisation of former European spheres of influence would have been postponed. [438] Further, Haffner claims that other than Alexander the Great, Hitler had a more significant impact than any other comparable historical figure, in that he too caused a wide range of worldwide changes in a relatively short time span. [439]

In propaganda

Hitler exploited documentary films and newsreels to inspire a cult of personality. He was involved and appeared in a series of propaganda films throughout his political career, many made by Leni Riefenstahl, regarded as a pioneer of modern filmmaking. [440] Hitler's propaganda film appearances include:

Hitler and World War II

Nobody wanted another war, the effects of World War I could still be felt around the world, not to mention

Front page of the U.S. Armed Forces newspaper, Stars and Stripes, 2 May 1945

that there was a crisis going on, the Great Depression. Even those that were militant in nature and would like a war knew that the military’s of most countries were still very weak and small in both numbers and resources. This allowed Hitler to annex Austria in 1938 without firing a single bullet. He then attempted to take Poland but this time the other countries couldn’t turn a blind eye and so World War II began.

Adolf Hitler’s government then began systematically removing Jews from German society. They exploited Jews and other “undesirables” as slave labor and then killed them when they couldn’t use them anymore.

At the start of World War II the Germans seemed unstoppable. The German army was pretty much the only one that had time to prepare, both in gathering personnel as well as preparing weapons and other military technology since no one knew that there would be war other than Germany, who started it. The German army remained pretty much unbeaten until the Battle of Stalingrad in early 1943, this is when the tide changed. By 1945 the Allied Army had not only repelled the German attacks but was advancing on Germany itself. Hitler retreated to an underground bunker in Berlin and would remain there for the rest of his life.

On April 29, 1945, Adolf Hitler wrote his last will and political testament and the next day, on April 30, 1945, committed suicide with his long-time mistress, Eva Braun.

Adolf Hitler

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H1216-0500-002 / CC-BY-SA

Adolf Hitler, a charismatic, Austrian-born demagogue, rose to power in Germany during the 1920s and early 1930s at a time of social, political, and economic upheaval. Failing to take power by force in 1923, he eventually won power by democratic means. Once in power, he eliminated all opposition and launched an ambitious program of world domination and elimination of the Jews, paralleling ideas he advanced in his book, Mein Kampf. His 𔄙,000 Year Reich” barely lasted 12 years and he died a broken and defeated man.


Students will learn:

1. Facts about Hitler’s life and the historical events which occurred during that time.

2. Hitler’s view of history, his theory of race, and his political goals.

3. Hitler’s use of anti-Semitism to advance his career and to consolidate power.

4. How a political leader was able to manipulate the political system in a democracy and obtain autocratic power.


Hitler’s Early Life

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, the fourth child of Alois Schickelgruber and Klara Hitler in the Austrian town of Braunau. Two of his siblings died from diphtheria when they were children, and one died shortly after birth. Alois was a customs official, illegitimate by birth, who was described by his housemaid as a “very strict but comfortable” man. Young Adolf was showered with love and affection by his mother.

When Adolf was three years old, the family moved to Passau, along the Inn River on the German side of the border. A brother, Edmond, was born two years later. The family moved once more in 1895 to the farm community of Hafeld, 30 miles southwest of Linz. Another sister, Paula, was born in 1896, the sixth of the union, supplemented by a half brother and half sister from one of his father’s two previous marriages.

Following another family move, Adolf lived for six months across from a large Benedictine monastery. The monastery’s coat of arms’ most salient feature was a swastika. As a youngster, Adolf’s dream was to enter the priesthood. While there is anecdotal evidence that Adolf’s father regularly beat him during his childhood, it was not unusual for discipline to be enforced in that way during that period.

By 1900, Hitler’s talents as an artist surfaced. He did well enough in school to be eligible for either the university preparatory “gymnasium” or the technical/scientific Realschule. Because the latter had a course in drawing, Adolf accepted his father’s decision to enroll him in the Realschule. He did not do well there.

Adolf’s father died in 1903 after suffering a pleural hemorrhage. Adolf himself suffered from lung infections, and he quit school at the age of 16, partially the result of ill health and partially the result of poor school work.

In 1906, Adolf was permitted to visit Vienna, but he was unable to gain admission to a prestigious art school. His mother developed terminal breast cancer and was treated by Dr. Edward Bloch, a Jewish doctor who served the poor. After an operation and excruciatingly painful and expensive treatments with a dangerous drug, she died on December 21, 1907.

Hitler spent six years in Vienna, living on a small legacy from his father and an orphan’s pension. Virtually penniless by 1909, he wandered Vienna as a transient, sleeping in bars, flophouses, and shelters for the homeless, including, ironically, those financed by Jewish philanthropists. It was during this period that he developed his prejudices about Jews, his interest in politics, and debating skills. According to John Toland’s biography, Adolf Hitler, two of his closest friends at this time were Jewish, and he admired Jewish art dealers and Jewish operatic performers and producers. However, Vienna was a center of anti-Semitism, and the media’s portrayal of Jews as scapegoats with stereotyped attributes did not escape Hitler’s fascination.

In May 1913, Hitler, seeking to avoid military service, left Vienna for Munich, the capital of Bavaria, following a windfall received from an aunt who was dying. In January, the police came to his door bearing a draft notice from the Austrian government. The document threatened a year in prison and a fine if he was found guilty of leaving his native land with the intent of evading conscription. Hitler was arrested on the spot and taken to the Austrian Consulate. Upon reporting to Salzburg for duty, he was found “unfit…too weak…and unable to bear arms.”

Hitler’s World War I Service

When World War I was touched off by the assassination by a Serb of the heir to the Austrian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Hitler’s passions against foreigners, particularly Slavs, were inflamed. He was caught up in the patriotism of the time, and submitted a petition to enlist in the Bavarian army.

After less than two months of training, Hitler’s regiment saw its first combat near Ypres, against the British and Belgians. Hitler narrowly escaped death in battle several times, and was eventually awarded two Iron Crosses for bravery. He rose to the rank of lance corporal but no further. In October 1916, he was wounded by an enemy shell and evacuated to a Berlin area hospital. After recovering, and serving a total of four years in the trenches, he was temporarily blinded by a mustard gas attack in Belgium in October 1918.

Communist-inspired insurrections shook Germany while Hitler was recovering from his injuries. Some Jews were leaders of these abortive revolutions, and this inspired hatred of Jews as well as Communists. On November 9th, the Kaiser abdicated and the Socialists gained control of the government. Anarchy was more the rule in the cities.

Free Corps

The Free Corps was a paramilitary organization composed of vigilante war veterans who banded together to fight the growing Communist insurgency which was taking over Germany. The Free Corps crushed this insurgency. Its members formed the nucleus of the Nazi “brown-shirts” (S.A.) which served as the Nazi party’s army.

Weimar Republic

With the loss of the war, the German monarchy came to an end and a republic was proclaimed. A constitution was written providing for a President with broad political and military power and a parliamentary democracy. A national election was held to elect 423 deputies to the National Assembly. The centrist parties swept to victory. The result was what is known as the Weimar Republic. On June 28, 1919, the German government ratified the Treaty of Versailles. Under the terms of the treaty which ended hostilities in the War, Germany had to pay reparations for all civilian damages caused by the war. Germany also lost her colonies and large portions of German territory. A 30-mile strip on the right bank of the Rhine was demilitarized. Limits were placed on German armaments and military strength. The terms of the treaty were humiliating to most Germans, and condemnation of its terms undermined the government and served as a rallying cry for those who like Hitler believed Germany was ultimately destined for greatness.

German Worker’s Party

Soon after the war, Hitler was recruited to join a military intelligence unit, and was assigned to keep tabs on the German Worker’s Party. At the time, it was comprised of only a handful of members. It was disorganized and had no program, but its members expressed a right-wing doctrine consonant with Hitler’s. He saw this party as a vehicle to reach his political ends. His blossoming hatred of the Jews became part of the organization’s political platform. Hitler built up the party, converting it from a de facto discussion group to an actual political party. Advertising for the party’s meetings appeared in anti-Semitic newspapers. The turning point of Hitler’s mesmerizing oratorical career occurred at one such meeting held on October 16, 1919. Hitler’s emotional delivery of an impromptu speech captivated his audience. Through word of mouth, donations poured into the party’s coffers, and subsequent mass meetings attracted hundreds of Germans eager to hear the young, forceful and hypnotic leader.

With the assistance of party staff, Hitler drafted a party program consisting of twenty-five points. This platform was presented at a public meeting on February 24, 1920, with over 2,000 eager participants. After hecklers were forcibly removed by Hitler supporters armed with rubber truncheons and whips, Hitler electrified the audience with his masterful demagoguery. Jews were the principal target of his diatribe. Among the 25 points were revoking the Versailles Treaty, confiscating war profits, expropriating land without compensation for use by the state, revoking civil rights for Jews, and expelling those Jews who had emigrated into Germany after the war began.

The following day, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were published in the local anti-Semitic newspaper. The false, but alarming accusations reinforced Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Soon after, treatment of the Jews was a major theme of Hitler’s orations, and the increasing scapegoating of the Jews for inflation, political instability, unemployment, and the humiliation in the war, found a willing audience. Jews were tied to “internationalism” by Hitler. The name of the party was changed to the National Socialist German Worker’s party, and the red flag with the swastika was adopted as the party symbol. A local newspaper which appealed to anti-Semites was on the verge of bankruptcy, and Hitler raised funds to purchase it for the party.

In January 1923, French and Belgian troops marched into Germany to settle a reparations dispute. Germans resented this occupation, which also had an adverse effect on the economy. Hitler’s party benefited by the reaction to this development, and exploited it by holding mass protest rallies despite a ban on such rallies by the local police.

The Nazi party began drawing thousands of new members, many of whom were victims of hyper-inflation and found comfort in blaming the Jews for this trouble. The price of an egg, for example, had inflated to 30 million times its original price in just 10 years. Economic upheaval generally breeds political upheaval, and Germany in the 1920s was no exception.

The Munich Putsch

The Bavarian government defied the Weimar Republic, accusing it of being too far left. Hitler endorsed the fall of the Weimar Republic, and declared at a public rally on October 30, 1923 that he was prepared to march on Berlin to rid the government of the Communists and the Jews. On November 8, 1923, Hitler held a rally at a Munich beer hall and proclaimed a revolution. The following day, he led 2,000 armed “brown-shirts” in an attempt to take over the Bavarian government. This putsch was resisted and put down by the police, after more than a dozen were killed in the fighting. Hitler suffered a broken and dislocated arm in the melee, was arrested, and was imprisoned at Landsberg. He received a five-year sentence.

Mein Kampf

Hitler served only nine months of his five-year term. While in prison, he wrote the first volume of Mein Kampf. It was partly an autobiographical book (although filled with glorified inaccuracies, self-serving half-truths and outright revisionism) which also detailed his views on the future of the German people. There were several targets of the vicious diatribes in the book, such as democrats, Communists, and internationalists. But he reserved the brunt of his vituperation for the Jews, whom he portrayed as responsible for all of the problems and evils of the world, particularly democracy, Communism, and internationalism, as well as Germany’s defeat in the War. Jews were the German nation’s true enemy, he wrote. They had no culture of their own, he asserted, but perverted existing cultures such as Germany’s with their parasitism. As such, they were not a race, but an anti-race.

“[The Jews’] ultimate goal is the denaturalization, the promiscuous bastardization of other peoples, the lowering of the racial level of the highest peoples as well as the domination of his racial mishmash through the extirpation of the folkish intelligentsia and its replacement by the members of his own people,” he wrote. On the contrary, the German people were of the highest racial purity and those destined to be the master race according to Hitler. To maintain that purity, it was necessary to avoid intermarriage with subhuman races such as Jews and Slavs.

Germany could stop the Jews from conquering the world only by eliminating them. By doing so, Germany could also find Lebensraum, living space, without which the superior German culture would decay. This living space, Hitler continued, would come from conquering Russia (which was under the control of Jewish Marxists, he believed) and the Slavic countries. This empire would be launched after democracy was eliminated and a “FÅhrer” called upon to rebuild the German Reich.

A second volume of Mein Kampf was published in 1927. It included a history of the Nazi party to that time and its program, as well as a primer on how to obtain and retain political power, how to use propaganda and terrorism, and how to build a political organization.

While Mein Kampf was crudely written and filled with embarrassing tangents and ramblings, it struck a responsive chord among its target those Germans who believed it was their destiny to dominate the world. The book sold over five million copies by the start of World War II.

Hitler’s Rise to Power

Once released from prison, Hitler decided to seize power constitutionally rather than by force of arms. Using demagogic oratory, Hitler spoke to scores of mass audiences, calling for the German people to resist the yoke of Jews and Communists, and to create a new empire which would rule the world for 1,000 years.

Hitler’s Nazi party captured 18% of the popular vote in the 1930 elections. In 1932, Hitler ran for President and won 30% of the vote, forcing the eventual victor, Paul von Hindenburg, into a runoff election. A political deal was made to make Hitler chancellor in exchange for his political support. He was appointed to that office in January 1933.

Upon the death of Hindenburg in August 1934, Hitler was the consensus successor. With an improving economy, Hitler claimed credit and consolidated his position as a dictator, having succeeded in eliminating challenges from other political parties and government institutions. The German industrial machine was built up in preparation for war. By 1937, he was comfortable enough to put his master plan, as outlined in Mein Kampf, into effect. Calling his top military aides together at the “FÅhrer Conference” in November 1937, he outlined his plans for world domination. Those who objected to the plan were dismissed.

Hitler Launches the War

Hitler ordered the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938. Hitler’s army invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, sparking France and England to declare war on Germany. A Blitzkrieg (lightning war) of German tanks and infantry swept through most of Western Europe as nation after nation fell to the German war machine.

In 1941, Hitler ignored a non-aggression pact he had signed with the Soviet Union in August 1939. Several early victories after the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, were reversed with crushing defeats at Moscow (December 1941) and Stalingrad (winter, 1942-43). The United States entered the war in December 1941. By 1944, the Allies invaded occupied Europe at Normandy Beach on the French coast, German cities were being destroyed by bombing, and Italy, Germany’s major ally under the leadership of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, had fallen.

Hitler’s Last Days

Several attempts were made on Hitler’s life during the war, but none was successful. As the war appeared to be inevitably lost and his hand-picked lieutenants, seeing the futility, defied his orders, he killed himself on April 30, 1945. His long-term mistress and new bride, Eva Braun, joined him in suicide. By that time, one of his chief objectives was achieved with the annihilation of two-thirds of European Jewry.


– The absence of government or law in a society.

– A person who gains power through impassioned public appeals to the emotions and prejudices of a group by speaking or writing. Free Corps – A paramilitary organization of German World War I veterans who organized to oppose Communist insurgency.

– A leader, especially one exercising the absolute power of a tyrant. Hitler’s title as leader of the Nazi party, and Chief of the German state.

– A foreign policy which includes the taking of territory by force or coercion.

Lebensraum (Living Space) – A German term indicating the Germans’ imperialistic designs on Europe. It also refers to the additional territory deemed necessary to the nation for its economic well-being.

– “My Struggle” in German. A book written by Hitler while in prison which became the standard work of Nazi political doctrine.

– The abbreviation for National Socialist German Worker’s Party. The fascist dictatorship under Adolf Hitler in Germany from 1933-1945.

– Describing an organization which operates in the style of an army, but in an unofficial capacity, and often in secret, such as the S.A. Putsch – A revolt or uprising.

– Payments made by a defeated country to the victors to make amends for losses suffered.

– The Sturmabteilung (Stormtroopers), also known as the “brown-shirts.” It was the Nazi paramilitary arm under the command of Ernst Rîhm. It was active in the Nazi battle for the streets against members of other German political parties and was notorious for its violent and terroristic methods.

– An ancient symbol in the form of a twisted cross which was adopted by the Nazi party as its logo in the 1920s.

Third Reich – The Third Empire. It refers to Hitler’s name for his German Empire as a successor to the 1st Empire of the Roman Emperors (First Reich) and the Empire of Bismarck in 19th century Germany (Second Reich).

Weimar Republic – The German democratic government from 1919-1934 formed after Germany’s defeat in World War I. Its capital was located in Berlin.


  • Research the early childhood of several left-wing and right-wing dictators. Are there any similarities?
  • Compile a list of demagogues in U.S. history. What issues were they promoting, and to what prejudices did they appeal?
  • Research Hitler’s family tree. How valid are the views of some historians that Hitler had Jewish ancestors who did not pass Hitler’s test for being of “pure Aryan” stock?
  • View a videotape of a speech by Hitler with English subtitles. Would the content of this speech have any relevance today? Follow this speech with an “instant analysis” network TV broadcast. If television had been available and had covered Hitler’s speeches, how different would the coverage have been in Hitler’s Germany compared to that which would occur in the United States today?


  • If Hitler were alive and able to visit your classroom today, what questions would you ask him? How would you think he would have answered these questions?
  • Why did ex-soldiers join the Free Corps?
  • Why was it significant that Hitler and the German Workers’ Party were able to purchase a newspaper?
  • Why was it significant that The Protocols were published in a newspaper?
  • Who owns the various newspapers which are available in your community, including those distributed for free?
  • How influential are newspapers in shaping the opinions of those who read them?


  1. swastika
  2. fuhrer
  3. Mein Kampf
  4. Demagogue
  5. Lebensraum
  6. putsch
  7. S.A.

2. What was the Third Reich, and what were the first two “Reichs”?

3. What was the Weimar Republic, and how did its type of government differ from what succeeded it under Adolf Hitler?

4 What was the “Free Corps” and what role did it play during the political upheavals in post-World War I Germany?

5. What were the economic conditions in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power?

6. Name three of Hitler’s foreign policy goals, as outlined in Mein Kampf.

7. What did Hitler discuss at the “FÅhrer Conference” in November 1937?

8. What were Hitler’s first three territorial objectives? Describe whether they were taken politically or militarily.

9. How and when did Hitler die, and what was the status of the Third Reich at the time?

10. Describe Hitler’s views about the Jews and how he came to hold these views.

To what Extent did Adolf Hitler Change the Course of History

Hitler was judge of Germany from 1933 to 1945, serving as leader of the Nazi Party, for the bulk of his time in power. With defeat on the horizon, Hitler committed suicide with wife Eva Braun on April 30, 1945, in his Berlin bunker.The fourth of six children, Adolf Hitler was born to Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl. As a child, Hitler Fought often with his emotionally harsh father, who also didn’t approve of his son’s later interesting fine art as a career. Due to the death of Hitler’s brother in 1900 he became detached and afraid of the world.. Hitler showed an early interest in German (believing that your country is the best), rejecting the authority of Austria-Hungary. This (believing that your country is the best) would become the (giving a reason to do something) force of Hitler’s life.

Early life

Hitler connected to the College/school of Fine Arts twice and was rejected the multiple times. Missing cash outside of a vagrant’s (cash paid frequently after retirement) and cash from moving postcards, he remained in destitute asylums. Hitler later indicated these years as when he previously developed his scorn of Jews, however there is some discussion about this record.
In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich. At the flare-up of World War I, he connected to serve in the German armed force. He was acknowledged in August 1914, however he was as yet an Austrian individual (who legally lives in a nation, state, and so forth.). In spite of the fact that Hitler invested a lot of his energy far from the cutting edges (with a few reports that his recollections of his time on the field were by and large (expressed that something is a lot greater, more regrettable, and so on., than it truly is)), he was available at some huge battles and was injured at the Somme. He was adorned for grit, getting the Iron Cross First Class and the Black Wound Badge.


Hitler became irritated and angry over the collapse of the war effort. The experience reinforced his emotional (in a good way) German country-loving, and he was shocked by Germany’s (giving up in a fight) in 1918. Like other German (people who believe that their country is the best), he supposedly believed that the German army had been betrayed by (non-military related) leaders and Marxists. He found the Agreement (between countries) of Versailles insulting/terrible, especially the (removal of military forces) of the Rhineland and the condition that Germany accept responsibility for starting the war. Adolf Hitler was conceived on April 20,1889. The was a man who cherished war and battling. Second, he was accountable for putting the majority of the blameless Jews into Concentration Camps and murdering them. Third, he needed one rule race of all a similar sort of individuals. Fourth, he had a deep rooted fixation on risk. Fifth, he rebuked the Jews for the war obligation and condemned them all incredible. So as should be obvious as of now Hitler was an extremely remorseless individual. The way that he needed one rule race was extraordinarily valid. First of all, the reality he would murder everybody somehow that didn”t have light hair and blue eye and was of German plummet, was a startling actuality.

The thought of this gives me a significant terrify my self, since I have dark colored hair, and dark colored eyes and would I have been murdered on the grounds that I didn’t Hitler’s physical benchmarks. Likewise Hitler himself did not have light hair and blue eyes. Next, I don”t believe that you should pass judgment on anybody by the manner in which they look or what they do that is off-base. Hitler”s thought of one overwhelm race was a terrible one. Adolf Hitler was conceived in an Austrian town known as Braunau am Inn. Hitler was the child of a man named Alois. Alois Hitler”s father was a Custom official”s, and his mom was named Klara. Alois was ill-conceived, as a matter of first importance he utilized his mother”s name, Schicklgruber until 1876, when he embraced the name Hitler. Adolf”s father was extremely strict with him, and overlooked him the majority of the time in light of the fact that Adolf got a kick out of the chance to dream. As should be obvious Adolf did not romanticize his father without question, and his demise in 1903 really came as a help to Adolf. Adolf truly admired his mom, whose demise in 1907 traumatically affected him. So as should be obvious Adolf lead an extremely stirred up adolescence. As Hitler grew up, he flopped as an understudy in the established optional schools. This drove Hitler to new chances, for example his longing to turn into a craftsman. Adolf attempted to seek after this fantasy be that as it may, was not able achieve affirmation to the Academy of Fine Arts. Since he was not able do anything, he lead a shadowy, estranged presence in multicultural Vienna until 1913. Hitler was portrayed as carrying on with his life in despairing, aimlessness, and racial disdain. Additionally in Vienna he built up his long lasting fixation on peril. Hitler was a disappointment at practically all that he attempted in his initial a long time as should be obvious. In 1913 Hitler went to Munich, mostly to avoid being drafted into the Austrian armed force. There he addressed the call to hues at the flare-up of World War I and Served in the Bavarian Sixteenth Regiment on the Western Front. This turned Hitler”s life around, for instance, he separated himself for courage furthermore, was granted the Iron Cross, First Class. Without precedent for Hitler”s life, he had discovered a home. He celebrated, for instance, the “crude superbness of life under fire, the excellence of comradeship, and the honorability of the warrior.” His soldiery dreams of triumph and satisfaction were broken, nonetheless, by German annihilation. He ended up persuaded that Germany had been “cut in the back” by Jews and Marxists. So now you can see this began his extraordinary disdain if the Jewish individuals and the acknowledgment he expected to wind up engaged with this issue. After the war, Hitler came back to Munich and joined a little National gather called the German Workers Party. In 1920, this gathering changed it”s name to the National Socialist German Workers Party, which ended up known as the Nazi party. A portion of the things t Nazi”s called for were the making of a solid focal government, and the crossing out of the Versailles Treaty

So in end Hitler turned out to be extremely associated with this new gathering. Hitler was a capable rascal, government official, and coordinator. For instance, he progressed toward becoming pioneer of the Nazi party and developed participation quick. This came incompletely from his capacity to blend road swarms with his discourses. Hitler had as well much authority over the Nazi party for instance he assaulted the legislature and guaranteed that the Nazi party would guarantee employments for specialists and significance for Germany. So in conclusion Hitler was ended up being a decent coordinator and legislator. Hitler composed a private armed force of gangsters who ended up known as tempest troopers. They battled Communist and other people who attempted to separate the Nazi party. Hitler set up a large number of these. For instance, in October 1923, he had 15,000 Nazi gathering individuals with assault rifles and rifles. Next, to recognize these men as uncommon Nazi gathering individuals, he gave them dark colored shirts with swastikas on them to recognize them as a component of the Nazi party. In 1923 Germany was somewhere down stuck in an unfortunate situation first it”s cash had lost nearly all of it”s esteem in view of serious monetary issues. Second, France and Belgium had sent troops to possess the Ruhr valley of Germany. Third, the Bavarian state government in Munich was available to strife with the national government in Berlin. Hitler viewed this squabble as an opportunity to assume control both the Bavarian and the national German governments. So as should be obvious Hitler was beginning to cause himself harm. On November 8, 1923, at a rally in a Munich lager lobby, Hitler declared a Nazi unrest. The following day he attempted to grab the Bavarian government in what wound up known as the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler drove in excess of 2,000 Storm Troopers in a walk against the administration.

This prompted the police opening flame what’s more, murdering 16 Nazis the plot fizzled. Hitler was captured and sent to imprison for 5 a long time in jail for conspiracy. As A result the upset fizzled. Since a few Germans concurred with his thoughts, Hitler was liberated after as it were nine months. Incredible changes had occurred in Germany since his detainment. For instance, the vast majority of the general population had started to get homes, employments, and had seek after what’s to come. When Hitler was discharged, he transformed the Nazi party. They had been restricted and a considerable lot of the individuals hosted gone to other political gatherings. Hitler said that he would not let the Nazi gathering would not do any longer unlawful acts, and the government made them change. Hitler additionally made up a private armed force of world class protects, after his discharge, the Schutzstaffel, known as the SS. The SS was a fight prepared armed force. In definite end after the arrival of Hitler he had transformed an arrangement to refine the gathering further. In 1930 an overall misery hit Germany. This as a matter of first importance caused individuals to confront joblessness and hunger once more. This dejection began the equivalent year that Germany consented to pay the Young Plan which it had consented to pursue to pay off the war obligation. Hitler”s restriction to the arrangement made him known all through the nation. To start with, he drove challenge walks. Second, he composed mass gatherings. Third, he gave numerous discourses. In end you can see Hitler was searching for somebody to pay for the end result for Germany in the World War I. The war obligation had to be paid. Hitler added his old contentions to the subject of the war obligation installment plan. As a matter of first importance he censured Jews, and Communist, for Germany”s vanquish in World War I. He believed that now the Jews were plotting to cheat “genuine” Germans by decimating the product of their long stretches of battle. In view of this Hitler guaranteed to free Germany of the Germans and the Communist, and rejoin the parts of Europe in which German was talked. As should be obvious Hitler previously begun to ascend to incredible power, and achieve the removal all things considered. In Conclusion you would now be able to comprehend that the ascent of Adolf Hitler marks a rough part in German history. He and his Nazi gathering still have followers today, ideally not to a similar end.

Propaganda in Nazi Germany

Promulgation is the specialty of inducing individuals to have a specific view about something. Purposeful publicity is constantly one-sided. It is utilized by political pioneers or associations to purposely deceive a populace into trusting a specific arrangement of realities or convictions to be valid. Promulgation is utilized by most nations during war to energize disdain towards the adversary and to advance patriotism (being agreeable to one’s nation) in the populace. Hitler accepted so firmly in the intensity of publicity that he made a post in his new government for a Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. Joseph Goebbels (left) was the man delegated to the post.One of the principal things that Goebbels did was to set up the Reich Chamber of Culture. This new association was set up to manage all parts of culture. It was sub-partitioned into seven offices that managed writing, news, radio, theater, music, visual expressions, film. the media, human expressions and writing. Every division issued directions with regards to the subjects and styles that were adequate and unsuitable to be delivered. In all territories the main material that was permitted to be delivered was what advanced Nazi goals. The Reich Broadcasting Company had been established in 1925 and was a system of nine German radio channels. In 1933 the organization was nationalized and went under the control of Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels saw that radio had an extraordinary potential for spreading the Nazi’s message. Amplifiers were introduced in production lines and open spots and the Nazi’s made it a need to deliver a cheap radio recipient. The People’s Receiver 301, named after the date Hitler progressed toward becoming Chancellor (30th January), was delivered in August 1933 costing 76 Reichsmarks. A less expensive rendition costing only 35 Reichsmarks was later delivered and radio proprietorship ascended from 4 16 million families. Both radio sets were arranged to just get Nazi radio communicates yet on the off chance that individuals were enticed to tune in to different stations the Nazi’s made tuning in to outside radio stations a criminal offense. Two of the numerous movies delivered that got the Nazis message to the general population were Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and The Eternal Jew, a bigot assault on the Jewish populace.

Families In Nazi Germany

The Holocaust managed a mortal hit to the family and to Jewish life all in all. Proof from the work and killing camps, in which the genders were isolated, uncovers that there were part of families that stayed in place, for example, kin and cousins who endeavored to look after contact where this demonstrated unthinkable, the detainees made a sort of elective family. Such proof is more copious with respect to ladies in the camps, for whom recollections of family life were a wellspring of quality even while they likewise stimulated dread of lost expectation. One may have anticipated that miserable recollections would cause significant discouragement as a result of the unbridgeable hole amongst them and the terrible reality.

However, ladies survivors report discussions about formulas, occasion traditions and family life all in all as a method for adapting to the brutality of their everyday lives. There is no better confirmation of the family’s filling in as a genuine grapple to life than the availability of the survivors to set up families in the years instantly following the finish of the war, regardless of whether they had lost a life partner and youngsters. In the 1940s, Jewish families were an atomic unit whose grown-up individuals were accomplices underway and property. The lady was responsible for household life and child raising, while the man filled in as wage workers. Indeed, even with this unmistakable division of duties, all the more East European ladies shared the pay gaining, since most families lived in bring down levels of pay.

Furthermore, Jews were limited to ghettos, it turned out to be more hard to keep up the run of the mill family structure. The same number of families were compelled to pack together in one little condo, and some relatives had just been expelled, a specific level of “commonality” was saved. The manner by which families adapted to reality varied contingent upon place and stage in the “Last Solution.” Families were regularly left without a spouse or father, or without a kid, and still tried to keep living. There are awful stories of guardians who were compelled to pick which tyke to spare and which to send to be expelled. Moms pushed more youthful kids in accordance with more seasoned youngsters so they may work and survive. The Nazis proposed to tear separated and debilitate families, but then individuals review the manner by which being with family gave them the quality to keep living, and the closeness they keep on feeling for relatives who helped them survive, regardless of whether the relatives were at last killed. The Nazis upheld executing offspring of “undesirable” or “risky” gatherings either as a major aspect of the “racial battle” or as a measure of precaution security.

Moreover, the Germans and their partners murdered youngsters for these ideological reasons and in countering without a doubt or claimed divided assaults. The Germans and their colleagues executed upwards of 1.5 million youngsters. This number included over a million Jewish kids and a huge number of Romani kids, German youngsters with physical and mental handicaps living in establishments, Polish kids, and kids dwelling in the possessed Soviet Union. Some Jewish and some non-Jewish young people (13-18 years of age) had a more prominent possibility of survival, as they could be utilized for constrained work. Following the episode of war on September 1, 1939, the administration forced new confinements on Jews staying in Germany. One of the primary wartime statutes forced a strict time limit on Jewish people and denied Jews from entering assigned territories in numerous German urban communities. Once a general sustenance apportioning started, Jews got diminished proportions.

Additionally, the eras constrained dealing with the jews could buy nourishment and different supplies and confined access to specific stores, with the outcome that Jewish family units frequently confronted deficiencies of the most fundamental things. German specialists additionally requested that Jews surrender property “basic to the war exertion, for example, radios, cameras, bikes, electrical apparatuses, and different resources, to nearby authorities. In September 1941, an announcement precluded Jews from utilizing open transportation. Basically jewish families were separated and a lot of them were killed if they did not comply, other families were living with depression with the woman staying home to cook clean and take care of the children while the men go to work or mostly go to war.


To conclude,the time period of this investigation is not to far or to close, due to how much original and trustworthy sources is available to anybody. Methods that I used was diaries and alot of primary source research along with my own hypothesis before analysing and investigating the topic to predict the result of the general question. The methods that i used did not have a lot of limitation due to all the diaries the children wrote during the holocaust about their hard life with families. Archive based history did not have a lot of challenges due to all the primary sources and original evidence this topic has to support the general question. The reliability of these sources is extremely reliable because the original diaries and books written by the children and parents can be seen at museum. Historical significance is used to evaluate what was significant about selected events, people, and developments in the past. Historians use different sets of criteria to help them make judgements about significance.

Finally, to describe historical events in an unbiased way depends on the topic and situation, and also if the source is extremely true and reliable. Historian role is to find and put together the information that was written or told in the past and find better evidence to support conflict and important events in the past. The term “atrocity should be used when writing about history due to ost events in history dealt with conflict and suffering toward people and their lifestyle. Somethings in history can difficult to proof in history depending on how deep the evidence and sources go, also how original the sources are and have the sources been twisted or coming from a different person than the one that originally told that story.