was the leader of the Nazi Party (from 1919) and dictator of Germany from 1933 to 1945. Widely regarded as a great orator and skillful propagandist, he inspired and mobilized many followers. He was appointed Reichskanzler (Reich Chancellor) on January 30, 1933 and assumed the twin titles of Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Reich Chancellor) after President Paul von Hindenburg's death on August 2, 1934. Under his leadership, Germany started World War II and committed the Holocaust, a major case of genocide.
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a small town in upper Austria on the Austro-German border. He was the third of five children from Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl.
Hitler was born in a family of a customs officer. Hitler's father, Alois (born 1837), was illegitimate and for a time bore his mother's name, Schicklgruber, but by 1876 he had established his claim to the surname Hitler. Adolf never used any other name, and the name Schicklgruber was revived only by his political opponents in Germany and Austria in the 1930s.
His boyhood was spent under the strict discipline of his retired civil-servant father. Adolf read books by James Fenimore Cooper and Karl May. On January 3, 1903, Hitler's father died. On December 21, 1907 Hitler's mother died.
Hitler tried unsuccessfully to become a fine arts student at the Vienna Arts Academy in 1907. He had developed a special interest in architecture. He then had several odd jobs, but never long enough to escape poverty and he lived on the streets, working as a street painter, and eating at soup kitchens.
He spent some time in the public gallery of the Austrian Parliament. He later wrote that his observations there developed his contempt of democracy and what he saw as the contaminating dominance of Jews in parliament and society. He also cultivated his love of Germanism, and observed how political activists influenced the masses.
In Spring 1913, to avoid the Austrian Army's draft, Hitler moved to Munich and made a living selling paintings of landmarks to local shops. His draft evasion was detected, but after failing a medical exam back in Austria, he was let go and moved back to Munich.
Introduction to war and politics
In 1914, elated with Germany's entering into World War I, Hitler volunteered to the 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment and fought on the western front. He was wounded once in the thigh and later in a gas attack at the end of the war. Hitler was an enthusiastic soldier, sometimes to the dismay of his compatriots. He was well liked by his peers and superiors but his lack of a sense of humor was notable. Later most of his comrades became Nazis. Corporal Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class for completing a dangerous delivery of a dispatch in 1918.
The war ended while Hitler was in the hospital recovering from his injuries due to gas. He was devastated by the news of German capitulation and wept. On discharge from the hospital he returned to his regiment in Munich, Germany. Bavaria was in the hands of a revolutionary government, the Rätrepublik; his barracks was governed by an elected council, to which he was elected. After the suppression of the revolutionary government, Hitler remained in the army and served as a propagandist in the reindoctination of the troops. He was noted for his talent in this work and at the request of the army joined a small political party, the German Workers' Party, Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, which was to become the Nazi Party, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei .
In April 1919, while still in the army, he became the leader of the party (He was not discharged from the army until March 31, 1920). Due to Hitler's organizing and speaking talents the party gained increasing popularity. On November 8 and November 9, 1923, he was involved in an abortive coup known as the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. He was accused of state treason and received a five-year prison sentence and was jailed in Landsberg. During his imprisonment he wrote his political manifesto: Mein Kampf. After nine months he received amnesty and was released from prison. He soon rebuilt his party and again gained tremendous popularity.
Rise to Power and after the 1930 elections
Hitler became Chancellor of the Weimar Republic in 1933 through a coalition with conservative and right wing parties, who had hoped to use Hitler's popularity to gain power. Once in power he initiated what was called the "legal seizure of power." In the course of a few years he managed to consolidate dictatorial powers through parliamentary legislation. Later he turned out to be an erratic and unpredictable leader of the armed forces, often disregarding opinions of experienced generals and marshals.
Under Hitler's leadership, driven by a vision of a Nordic master race, Germany invaded several of its smaller neighbors, igniting World War II. This vision also drove an attempt to systematically exterminate other peoples--notably the Jews--later called the Holocaust, in which 5-10 million people were killed. Other hated peoples included the Romani or Tzigane (Gypsies) of which between 600,000 and 2 million were killed (about 70% of the population in German controlled areas) and Slavs, who were considered an inferior race and supposed to be partly exterminated and partly enslaved.
World War II itself brought the death of tens of millions more, including 20 million casualties in the Soviet Union alone.
After midnight on 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in the Führerbunker. After a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife, Hitler dictated his will to his secretary Traudl Junge. The event was witnessed and documents signed by Krebs, Burgdorf, Goebbels, and Bormann. Later that afternoon, Hitler was informed of the execution of Mussolini, which presumably increased his determination to avoid capture.
On 30 April 1945, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler shot himself and Braun bit into a cyanide capsule. Their bodies were carried outside to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater and doused with petrol. The corpses were set on fire as the Red Army shelling continued. Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz and Joseph Goebbels assumed Hitler's roles as head of state and chancellor respectively.
In the testament he left, he circumvented other Nazi leaders and appointed Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor.
In her 1980 book "Am Anfang war Erziehung" (translated as "For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence"), Alice Miller attempts an explanation of Hitler's violent urges from childhood trauma.
His mother had married a man 23 years her elder whom she called "uncle Alois"; her three small children died in the course of a few years surrounding Adolf's birth, leading to extreme pampering of Adolf by his mother. He was regularly beaten and ridiculed by his father; once when Adolf tried to escape from home he was almost beaten to death. Adolf hated his father throughout his life and there are reports of him having nightmares about his father in late life. When Nazi Germany had occupied Austria, Hitler had the village where his father grew up destroyed.
Throughout Hitler's (and his father's) life, there were speculations that the father of his father was a Jew (his grandmother was a maid in a Jewish household which later paid alimony for her son); this would have been a great shame in the pervasive anti-semitism of the times. This insecurity correlates with Hitler's later command that every German prove their non-Jewish ancestry up to the third generation.
Cultural depictions and representation
Hitler has frequently been used as a character in works of fiction. An early example of a cryptic depiction is in Bertolt Brecht's 1941 play, The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui in which Hitler (in the persona of the principal character Arturo Ui), a Chicago racketeer in the cauliflower trade, is ruthlessly satirised.
Amongst many other film representations, Charlie Chaplin made fun of Hitler in his 1940 movie The Great Dictator. Alec Guinness's depiction of Hitler in Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973) was, to say the least of it, a curiously idiosyncratic take on Hitler's persona.
The photomontage artist John Heartfield made frequent use of Hitler's image as a target for his brand of barbed satire.
Forged diaries of Hitler, known as The Hitler Diaries, were published in Germany in 1983.
After midnight Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun got married on the morning of April 30, 1945. On the April 30, 1945 at 3 pm. Hitler and Eva comitted suicide.