This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Hitler is most commonly known for the unforgivable deeds that he committed in his lifetime. Those acts were terrible and left a scar on the world that can never be mended. However, Hitler did possess extreme brilliance. He was innovative and smart, but as his mind was tainted and as he turned against non-Aryans over time, the possibility of using his brilliance to be an artist slowly drifted from his mind. He was originally a young man who moved to Vienna to become an artist, but his dreams changed to something completely different.
On April 20, 1889, Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary, a town located on the borders of Austria and Hungary. He was the fourth child of the marriage of Alois Hitler, a custom official who was 51 years old at the date of Adolf’s birth and his wife was 28. Adolf had a sister, Paula; a half brother, Alois; and a half sister, Angela. Six years after Adolf’s birth, his father retired and moved to Linz, Austria where Adolf received good marks in elementary school, but he did not do well in high school. Adolf’s harsh, short-tempered father was angry about how poorly he did in high school and wanted him to become a civil servant, not an artist like his son wanted to. Later, he wrote: “I yawned and grew sick to my stomach at the thought of sitting in an office, deprived of my liberty; ceasing to be the master of my own time and being compelled to force the content of a whole life into blanks that had to be filled out” (Haugen, 20). In 1903, Alois died and Adolf was able to convince his mother to let him
drop out at the age of sixteen 2 ½ years later. Hitler’s mother drew a widow’s pension and owned some property. Adolf did not have to work, spending his days daydreaming, drawing pictures, and reading.
Hitler went to Vienna, the capital of Austria-Hungary, in 1907, to continue to pursue his dream of being an artist. The first time he attempted to get into art school, the art he showed the Academy of Fine Arts was considered good but he was unable to get into the school nonetheless. On his second time he was not allowed to even take an entrance examination to see if he could enter. On December 21 of that year, Hitler’s mother died from cancer and Hitler never told his mother he wasn’t admitted into the art school. Later, Adolf wrote “The death of my mother put a sudden end to all my high-flown plans. …It was a dreadful blow, particularly for me. I had honored my father, but my mother I had loved” (Haugen, 25). Adolf lived in Vienna with his best friend, August Kubizek, who were both there to study music. As he spent time in Vienna he developed a growing hatred toward non-Aryans, a supposedly perfect race of non-Jewish, pure blooded Germans with blue eyes and blond hair.
In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich, Germany, where the Austrian Army called him for a physical examination and was found unfit for service, but Hitler volunteered immediately to become a messenger and was accepted. He was in the Western front for the majority of the war, taking part in some of the most gruesome battles. He had a few near death experiences, such as the time a bullet went through the sleeve of his shirt and didn’t even hit his actual body, which convinced him that he was part of some bigger purpose in life.
When Germany surrendered in November 1918, Hitler was very disturbed by the news of the armistice when he was in a military hospital recovering from temporary blindness and believed that he must try to save Germany since the unity of the German nation was jeopardized. The German people were shocked that they were defeated in World War II and the army found a bankrupted country run by a socialist-liberal republic in which millions of Germans could not find word when it returned. Following the war, Germany had to sign the Treaty of Versailles which held Germany responsible for the war and took much of Germany’s territory. The German Army was restricted to a hundred thousand men and provided for a fifteen year foreign occupation of a part of western Germany called the Rhineland; the worst part was the demand Germany pay huge reparations which made peace difficult. It was demanded that the “criminals” who signed the treaty were punished, Hitler included.
Hitler returned to Munich following his recovery from the blindness caused by the mustard gas and served in the army until March 1920. In the fall of 1919, he began to attend meetings of a small nationalist group called the German Workers’ Party, which he joined. When he was part of it, he renamed it the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and the group soon became known as the Nazi party. The Nazis called the union one nation of all Germans, including the Austrians and German minorities in Czechoslovakia and other countries, and demanded the deprivation of German citizenship to those who were of non-German or Jewish origin. The cancellation of the Treaty of Versailles was demanded as well. Adolf was a great politician and organizer who became leader of the Nazis and quickly increased the number of Nazi members. Hitler said in his
speeches that the Nazi party could restore the economy, assure work for all, and restore Germany to its greatness once again. He also organized a private army that he called the storm troopers. Brown shirted uniforms and the swastika emblem were used to give his party and the storm troopers (SA) a sense of unity and power. The SA fought the armies of the Communist, Social Democratic, and other parties who were against the ideas of the Nazis or tried to break up Nazi Party rallies. By October 1923 the storm troopers consisted of 15,000 and had a considerable amount of machine guns and rifles.
By 1923, France and Belgium had sent troops to occupy the Ruhr District, German’s main industrial region. In response, the German workers there went on strike, which resulted in a crisis in Germany’s economy that had already been weakened by the reparation payments. German money was of hardly any value at this time. Communist and national revolts arose throughout the country, and the state of Bavaria was in open conflict with the central government in Berlin. Hitler saw this time as an opportunity to overthrow both the Bavarian and the national government. At a rally in Munich beer hall on November eighth in 1923, Hitler proclaimed a Nazi revolution, or putsch. The following day, he tried to seize the Bavarian government by leading over 2,000 storm troopers on a march against the Bavaria, but their attempt was ruined when the state police opened fire and killed sixteen marchers. This action is now known as the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, and he started writing writing Mein Kampf (My Struggle), a book that stated his beliefs and the ideas he had for the future of Germany.
In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote his plan of conquering Europe in which territories lost in World War I would be Germany’s once more and Austria as well as parts of Czechoslovakia where Germans lived would be part of the country. Living space would be taken from Poland, the Soviet Union, and other countries to the east. His book also stated that Germans represented the highest form of humanity and how they must stay “pure” by avoiding marriage to Jews and Slavs. Hitler blamed the Jews for the evils of the world and said that they corrupt everything of ethical and national value. In it he said, “By defending myself against the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.” He believed that democracy would ultimately lead to Communism and that a dictatorship was the only way in which Germany could be saved from the threats of Communism and Jewish treason.
When Hitler was released in December 1924, nine months after his trial, he discovered that great changes had occurred previously that year: a schedule for Germany’s reparations payments helped stabilize the country’s currency and the nation showed signs of recovery. The government had banned the Nazi party following the Beer Hall Putsch and many members had joined other political groups. Following his release from prison, Hitler began to rebuild his party and got the ban on the Nazi party lifted by gradually convincing the government that the party would not act illegally again. In small towns, labor unions, among farmers, and a few business people and industrialists, Hitler won people over. He set up an elite party guard, the Schutzstaffel, known as the SS; by 1929 the Nazis had made an important minority party, regardless of the fact that they had not yet gained significant voter support. By this time, Hitler had assembled some of the
people who would help him rise to power: Joseph Goebbels, the chief Nazi propagandist; Hermann Goring, who became second in command to Hitler; Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s faithful private secretary; Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS; Ernst Rohm, the chief of the Storm Troopers; and Alfred Rosenberg, the party philosopher. In 1930, the worldwide Great Depression hit Germany, workers once again being faced with unemployment and hunger, and Germany agreed to the Young Plan of 1929, against which Hitler had launched a nationwide campaign the year before, to reschedule reparations.
In 1932, five major elections were held in Germany since its leaders struggled to give public stability to the nation .In the July elections for the Reichstag (parliament), the Nazis became the strongest party and received nearly 38 percent of the votes. In exchange for Nazi support, leaders of the other parties offered Hitler Cabinet posts, but as the leader of the strongest party, he repudiated any arrangements that did not make him chancellor (prime minister) of Germany. Most of the German population did not want Hitler to become chancellor since they understood he would make himself dictator from what he said in his speeches. Paul von Hindenburg, the president of Germany, also had many uncertainties about Hitler, even though he promised to act lawfully. On January 30, 1933, Hitler became chancellor.
Only two Nazis in the Cabinet were beside Hitler-Goring and Willhelm Frick. The rest of the eleven-member Cabinet consisted of politicians who were more moderate than the Nazis. The vice chancellor, Franz von Papen, and his political allies thought this
arrangement would limit Hitler’s power, but to say that about a man who seldom settles for anything less than full control is kind of stupid. He moved toward dictatorship over time and there was no place for freedom under his rule, which Hitler named the Third Reich. The Nazis, through Frick’s key position as minister of the interior, controlled all national police authority and Goring controlled the Prussian police. On February 4, 1933, it was decreed that the Nazis had the authority to prohibit assemblies, outlaw media publications, and to freely arrest anyone that was suspicious. On the 27th of that year an arsonist started a fire that destroyed the Reichstag building and a pro-Communist Dutch anarchist was fount at the site of the fire who admitted to setting it. Another emergency decree that gave the government almost unlimited powers was signed by Hindenburg. On the fifth of March elections for a new Reichstag were held and the Nazis got 43.9 percent of the votes regardless of the fact that they used terror to influence voters. Following the election, the Communist deputies were either arrested or not admitted to the Reichstag, which gave the Nazis the majority of the seats, who passed the Enabling Act on March 1933, which gave the government full dictatorial powers. By the middle of July that year, the government had outlawed freedom of the press, all labor unions, and all political parties with the exception of the Nazis were banned. The Gestapo (secret city police) hunted down the enemies and opponents of the government. By the time Hindenburg died in August 1934, Hitler was the complete dictator of the country. There were so many people jailed because of suspicion alone that concentration camps had to be opened since the jails were overflowing. The media was used by the Nazis in order to fill Germany with propaganda praising the new government and Hitler’s plans. In 1935, Jews were declared people of lesser rights and lots of job opportunities, resulting in thousands of
them leaving the country. Organizations for children from ages 6 to 18 that included the Hitler Youth for boys over the age of 14 and the Society of German Maidens for girls 14 and older were set up. Children were trained to spy on their families and to report any behavior that appears to be treasonous.
Starting on 1933, Germany prepared for war and the nation was rearmed, first in secret, then in open violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler’s steps towards establishing Germany as the world’s leading power and annihilating the Jews became even bolder since none of the other countries took action. In 1936, Hitler sent troops into Rhineland, regardless of the fact that his generals opposed this challenge France, but Hitler was right in his assumption that France would not try to stop them. In March 1938, Hitler conquered Austria, as well as German speaking parts of Czechoslovakia in September and the rest of it in March 1939. Following this, Britain and France took action to attempt to prevent further German expansion and guaranteed Poland’s independence, saying they would go to war against Germany should Hitler attack Poland, and Hitler doubted they would do so. At the beginning of September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, two days after which Britain and France declared war on Germany. After that, Germany became the center of World War II. For the duration of Hitler’s dictatorship, about six billion Jews were massacred, more than two thirds of the Jews in Europe, along with tons of Poles, Slavs, Roma (sometimes called Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, priests and ministers, handicapped people, homosexuals, and other political threats.. In the first part of 1945, the Allies-Britain, France, and the United Statesmarched into the heart of Germany against rapidly dwindling opposition.
By April of 1945, Hitler was a broken man whose body ached. Eva Braun, a young woman who always admired him since the 1930s, joined him in his underground bomb shelter under the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. On April 29th they were married. They killed themselves the next day using poison tablets. Before Hitler committed suicide, he left a note saying that he wanted his and Eva’s dead bodies cremated immediately. Seven days later, Germany surrendered. Hitler’s followers did what was asked of in the note. The Hitlers weren’t the only ones to commit suicide: earlier in April, before he killed himself, Hitler sent for his loyal press secretary, Joseph Goebbels, and his family. Goebbels’ wife Magda knew they would never return to their home and told their nose to pack for their visit. Joseph loved Hitler and didn’t give a second thought to following him to death. In the bunker, Goebbels and Magda poisoned their six children, and then themselves the following day
In his lifetime, Hitler did many unthinkable things. Some so unthinkable that your attention just might be diverted from Hitler’s brilliance. His public speaking and organization skills were great, and he let nothing stop him from accomplishing his dream. One would need to possess extreme brightness to arrange all those concentration camps and that incredible form of government. In the way of his brilliance, we should strive to be like Hitler. In the way of his slightly astringent beliefs, we should not become a man like him at all.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.