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The title of Prince of Wales was instituted in 1307 by King Edward I, when he invested his eldest son, Edward,

as the first English Prince of Wales, at Lincoln. The traditional ostrich feather badge and the motto 'Ich dien' ( I serve) were adopted by Edward, the Black Prince after the battle of Crecy, they were previously believed to have belonged to the blind King John of Bohemia, who died in the battle.

(1) EDWARD OF CAERNARFON The first English Prince of Wales was born at Caernarfon on 25 April, 1284, the fourth and eldest surviving son of Edward I and Eleanor of Castille. On the completion of his father's conquest of the province, he was created Prince of Wales on 7 February, 1301, at the age of 16, at a parliament at Lincoln. Edward was married to Isabella 'the She-Wolf of France' daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre and had issue, which included the future Edward III. He reigned as Edward II from 1307-1327. He was deposed by a rebellion lead by his wife and Roger Mortimer, Earl of March and forced to abdicate in favour of his son. Edward II was murdered in a bestial manner at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. He was buried at Gloucester Cathedral.


Edward of Woodstock, later known as the Black Prince for the colour of his armour, was born on 15 June, 1330, the eldest son of Edward III and Phillipa of Hainault. He was created Prince of Wales on 12 May, 1343, aged 12, at Westminster and was also Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall, making him the first English Duke. At fourteen he was amongst the first of the knights of the Order of the Garter, which was founded by his father. He participated in the Hundred Years War with France and famously won his spurs at the Battle of Crecy, adopting as his personal emblem the Ostrich feather badge of the blind King John of Bohemia, who was killed in the battle. He also fought at the battle of Battle of Poiters. Edward married his cousin, Joan, Countess of Kent, known as 'the Fair Maid of Kent', daughter of Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Kent, the marriage was said to be a love match and produced two sons, Edward of Angouleme, who died yound and the future King Richard II. The Black Prince was never to reign as King, he predeceased his father, dying on 8 June, 1376. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral, near to the shrine of St. Thomas A' Beckett. (4) HENRY OF MONMOUTH The future Henry V was born in August or September, 1386-7 at Monmouth, the eldest son of Henry, Earl of Derby (the future Henry IV) and Mary de Bohun. On his father's accession to the throne he was created Duke of Lancaster and Prince of Wales on 15 October, 1399, aged 12, at Westminster. He succeeded his father in 1413. Due to his conquest of France he was to become one of the most famous of the Plantagenet Kings and an English national hero. Henry married Catherine of Valois, the daughter of Charles VI, King of France and Isabeau of Bavaria the marriage produced one child, the future Henry VI. Henry V died of dysentery at Bois de Vincennes whilst on campaign in France on 31 August, 1422. His body was returned to England where it was buried at Westminster Abbey.

(5) EDWARD OF WESTMINSTER The fifth Prince of Wales, Edward, the only offspring of the marriage of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou, was born on 13 October,1453, at Westminster. He was created Prince of Wales on 15 March, 1454, aged 5 months at Windsor. After his father was deposed by the Yorkists, Edward shared his mother's French exile. In December 1470 he was married to Anne Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, later known to history as Warwick 'the Kingmaker', the marriage produced no issue. Whilst parcipitating in a campaign to restore his father to the throne, Edward was killed either during or after the Battle of Tewksbury at the age of seventeen on 4 May, 1471, there are several versions concerning how Edward, met his end, one states he was cut down as he fled north in the aftermath of the battle another states that following the rout of the Lancastrians at Tewkesbury, a small contingent of men under the Duke of Clarence found Edward near a grove, where he was immediately beheaded on a makeshift block, despite pleas for mercy to his brother-in-law Clarence. An alternative version was given by three other sources: The Great Chronicle of London, Polydore Vergil and Edward Hall, which was the version used by Shakespeare. This records, that Edward, having survived the battle and was taken captive and brought before Edward IV who was with George, Duke of Clarence; Richard, Duke of Gloucester; and William, Lord Hastings. The king received the prince graciously, and asked why he had taken up arms against him. The prince replied defiantly, "I came to recover my father's heritage." The king then struck the prince across his face with his gauntlet hand and those present with the king then suddenly stabbed Prince Edward with their swords.He was buried at Tewksbury Abbey in Gloucestershire. (6) EDWARD OF SANCTUARY The eldest son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Edward was born in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey, on 4 November, 1470 during the brief restoration of Henry VI. He was created Prince of Wales on 26 June, 1471, aged 7 months, at Westminster. He succeeded his father as Edward V on 9 April, 1483. His throne was usurped by his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Edward and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York, known as 'the Princes in the Tower' were imprisoned in the Tower of London and believed to have been murdered there. Bones which were discovered at the Tower in 1674 and assumed to be those of Edward V and his brother were re-interred at Westminster Abbey by order of Charles II.

(7) EDWARD OF MIDDLEHAM Edward of Middleham was the only son of Richard III and his wife Anne Neville, previously the wife of the Lancastrian Prince of Wales (5). He was born around 1473 at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire and created Earl of Salisbury in 1478 and Prince of Wales amongst great celebration on 24 August, 1483 aged 10, at York Minster. Known to be a delicate child, Edward died on 9 April, 1484, at about ten years old, possibly of tuberculosis and was buried at Sherrif Hutton Church in Yorkshire.

(8) ARTHUR TUDOR The first Tudor Prince of Wales was born on 20 September, 1486 at Winchester, the son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. He was created Prince of Wales at the age of 3 on 29 November, 1489 and invested with the title on 27 February, 1490 at Westminster. As part of a political alliance, Arthur was married to the Spanish Princess, Katherine of Aragon, daughter of the joint sovereigns Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille, in November, 1501 at St. Paul's Cathedral. He died at the age of sixteen, during an epidemic of sweating sickness at Ludlow Castle, in the Welsh Marches on 20 April, 1502. He was buried at Worcester Cathedral.


The future Henry VIII was born on 28 June, 1491 at Greenwich, the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. He was created Duke of York in 1494 and after the death of his elder brother Arthur, Prince of Wales, was created Prince of Wales on 18 February, 1504, aged 12. He succeeded to the throne in as Henry VIII 1509 and famously married 6 times. (1) Katherine of Aragon (2) Anne Boleyn (3) Jane Seymour (4) Anne of Cleves (5) Katherine Howard (6) Katherine Parr. Henry had issue from his first three marriages and all three of his children were to reign after him. He died on 28 January, 1547 at the Palace of Whitehall. He was buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and shares his tomb with his third wife, Jane Seymour. (10) HENRY FREDERICK STUART The first Stuart Prince of Wales was born on 19 February,1594, at Stirling Castle, Scotland, he was the eldest son of James VI of Scotland (later I of England) and Anne of Denmark and was named Henry Frederick after both his grandfathers. He became Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Lord of the Isles from birth. On the accession of his father to the throne of England he was further made Duke of Cornwall in 1603. He was created Prince of Wales on 4 June, 1610, aged 16, at Westminster. Although a promising young man, Henry was never to reign as King, he predeceased his father, dying of typhoid on 6 November, 1612 at the age of eighteen. He was buried at Westminster Abbey (11) CHARLES STUART Charles, the second Stuart Prince of Wales, was born on 19 November, 1600 at Dunfermline Palace, Fife, the second son of James I and VI and Anne of Denmark. Charles was a delicate and sickly child who experienced difficulties walking and talking. He was made Duke of Albany in 1603 and Duke of York in 1605. On the death of his elder brother Henry, he was created Prince of Wales in his place on 4 November, 1616, at 15 years old, at Whitehall. He succeeded his father as Charles I in 1625. On 13 June 1625, he married Henrietta Maria of France, the youngest daughter of King Henry IV of France (Henry III of Navarre) and his second wife, Marie de' Medici.

Civil War broke out with parliament and Charles was tried and executed on the order of Oliver Cromwell, on 30 January, 1649, at Whitehall and buried in the tomb of a past Prince of Wales, Henry VIII, at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.


The future Charles II was born on 29 May, 1630 at St. James' Palace, the eldest surviving son ofCharles I and Henrietta Maria of France. He was Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay from birth and was created Prince of Wales around 1638-41 in London, aged 8-11. Due to the upheavals of the Civil War he was never formally invested with the title. On the death of his father in 1649 Charles was already in exile. Charles was restored to the throne in 1660 and married in 1662 the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza, daughter of John II, Duke of Braganza and his wife, Luisa de Guzmn. King Charles II left no legitimate issue. He died of uremia on 6 February, 1685 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. (13) JAMES FRANCIS EDWARD STUART James Francis Edward Stuart was born on 10 January, 1688 at St. James' Palace, London, the only surviving son of James II and his Italian second wife, Mary Beatrice of Modena. He was created Prince of Wales on 4 July,1688, at St. James' Palace and went into French exile with his parents on his father's vacating the throne after a rebellion lead by William of Orange. On the death of his father he was declared 'James III' and recognised as such by Louis XIV of France. He married a Polish Princess, Maria Clementina Sobieski (16671737) daughter of James Louis Sobieski , the eldest son of King John III, and Countess Palatine Hedwig Elisabeth of Neuburg on 3 Sept, 1719, by whom he had issue, Charles Edward Stuart, otherwise known as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' and Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal York. Three failed Jacobite uprisings were led in his name, in 1715, 1719 and 1745, James died in Rome on 1 January, 1766 and was buried within St.Peter's Basilica, the Vatican.

Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 24 March 1603) was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called " The Virgin Queen", "Gloriana" or "Good Queen Bess", Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. The daughter of Henry VIII, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI, bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Grey, cutting his two half-sisters, Elizabeth and the Catholic Mary, out of the succession in spite of statute law to the contrary. His will was set aside, Mary became queen, and Lady Jane Grey was executed. In 1558, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister, during whose reign she had been imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel,and she depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers led by William Cecil, Baron Burghley. One of her first moves as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became theSupreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement later evolved into today's Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir so as to continue the Tudor line. She never did, however, despite numerous courtships. As she grew older, Elizabeth became famous for her virginity, and a cult grew up around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day. In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father and half-siblings had been. One of her mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see, and say nothing"). In religion she was relatively tolerant, avoiding systematic persecution. After 1570, when the pope declared her illegitimate and released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life. All plots were defeated, however, with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, moving between the major powers of France and Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France, and Ireland. In the mid-1580s, war with Spain could no longer be avoided, and when Spain finally decided to attempt to conquer England in 1588, the failure of the Spanish Armada associated her with one of the greatest victories in English history.

Elizabeth's reign is known as the Elizabethan era, famous above all for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such asWilliam Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Sir Francis Drake. Some historians are more reserved in their assessment. They depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler,who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor, in an age when government was ramshackle and limited and when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. Such was the case with Elizabeth's rival, Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she imprisoned in 1568 and eventually had executed in 1587. After the short reigns of Elizabeth's halfsiblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.

Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25, and declared her intentions to her Council and other peers who had come to Hatfield to swear allegiance. The speech contains the first record of her adoption of the mediaeval political theology of the sovereign's "two bodies": the body natural and the body politic:

Elizabeth I in her coronation robes, patterned with Tudor roses and trimmed with ermine. My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God's creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all ... to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel As her triumphal progress wound through the city on the eve of the coronation ceremony, she was welcomed wholeheartedly by the citizens and greeted by orations and pageants, most with a strong Protestant flavour. Elizabeth's open and gracious responses endeared her to the spectators, who were "wonderfully ravished". The following day, 15 January 1559, Elizabeth was crowned and anointed byOwen Oglethorpe, the Catholic bishop of Carlisle, at Westminster Abbey. She was then presented for the people's acceptance, amidst a deafening noise of organs, fifes, trumpets, drums, and bells.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Elizabeth's first policy toward Scotland was to oppose the French presence there. She feared that the French planned to invade England and put Mary, Queen of Scots, who was considered by many to be the heir to the English crown, on the throne. Elizabeth was persuaded to send a force into Scotland to aid the Protestant rebels, and though the campaign was inept, the resulting Treaty of Edinburgh of July 1560 removed the French threat in the north. When Mary returned to Scotland in 1561 to take up the reins of power, the country had an established Protestant church and was run by a council of Protestant nobles supported by Elizabeth. Mary refused to ratify the treaty. In 1563 Elizabeth proposed her own suitor, Robert Dudley, as a husband for Mary, without asking either of the two people concerned. Both proved unenthusiastic, and in 1565 Mary married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, who carried his own claim to the English throne. The marriage was the first of a series of errors of judgement by Mary that handed the victory to the Scottish Protestants and to Elizabeth. Darnley quickly became unpopular in Scotland and then infamous for presiding over the murder of Mary's Italian secretary David Rizzio. In February 1567, Darnley was murdered by conspirators almost certainly led by James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. Shortly afterwards, on 15 May 1567, Mary married Bothwell, arousing suspicions that she had been party to the murder of her husband. Elizabeth wrote to her: How could a worse choice be made for your honour than in such haste to marry such a subject, who besides other and notorious lacks, public fame has charged with the murder of your late husband, besides the touching of yourself also in some part, though we trust in that behalf falsely.

Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926[note 1]) is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, known as theCommonwealth realms, and their territories and dependencies, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. She is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and, in some of her realms, carries the title of Defender of the Faith as part of her full title. On her accession on 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon. From 1956 to 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. At present, in addition to the first four aforementioned countries, Elizabeth is Queen of Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, theSolomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Her reign of 61 years is currently the second longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer at 63 years 7 months. Elizabeth was born in London and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdicationof his brother Edward VIII, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Her coronation service took place in 1953 and was the first to be televised. The Queen's many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and reciprocal visits to and from the Pope. The Queen has seen major constitutional changes in her realms, such as devolution in the United Kingdom and the patriation of the Canadian constitution. Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her children, the births of her grandchildren, the investiture of the Prince of Wales, and the celebration of milestones such as her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively. Major events in the Queen's reign have included the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, wars with Iraq and the War in Afghanistan. There have been times of personal sorrow for her which include the death of her father at 56, the assassination of Prince Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten, the breakdown of her children's marriages in 1992 (a year deemed her annus horribilis), the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales, and the deaths of her mother and sister in 2002. The Queen has occasionally faced severe press criticism of the royal family and republican sentiments, but support for the monarchy and her personal popularity remain high.

Silver Jubilee
In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession. Parties and events took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with her associated national and Commonwealth tours. The celebrations re-affirmed the Queen's popularity, despite virtually coincident negative press coverage of Princess Margaret's separation from her husband.[96] In 1978, the Queen endured a state visit to the United Kingdom by Romania's communist dictator Nicolae Ceauescu and his wife Elena, though privately she thought they had "blood on their hands".The following year brought two blows: one was the unmasking of Anthony Blunt, former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, as a communist spy; the other was the assassination of her relative and in-law Lord Mountbatten by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. According to Paul Martin, Sr., by the end of the 1970s the Queen was worried the Crown "had little meaning for" Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Tony Benn said that the Queen found Trudeau "rather disappointing".Trudeau's supposed republicanism seemed to be confirmed by his antics, such as sliding down banisters at Buckingham Palace and pirouetting behind the Queen's back in 1977, and the removal of various Canadian royal symbols during his term of office. In 1980, Canadian politicians sent to London to discuss the patriation of the Canadian constitution found the Queen "better informed ... than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats". She was particularly interested after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of state. Patriation removed the role of the British parliament from the Canadian constitution, but the monarchy was retained. Trudeau said in his memoirs that the Queen favoured his attempt to reform the constitution and that he was impressed by "the grace she displayed in public" and "the wisdom she showed in private".

Golden Jubilee

Elizabeth II and George W. Bush share a toast during a state dinner at the White House, 7 May 2007

Elizabeth II (centre, in pink) during a walkabout in Queen's Park, Toronto, 6 July 2010

In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as queen. Her sister and mother died in February and March, respectively, and the media speculated as to whether the Jubilee would be a success or a failure. She again undertook an extensive tour of her realms, which began in Jamaica in February, where she called the farewell banquet "memorable" after a power cut plunged the King's House, the official residence of the governor-general, into darkness.As in 1977, there were street parties and commemorative events and monuments were named to honour the occasion. A million people attended each day of the three-day main Jubilee celebration in London, and the enthusiasm shown by the public for the Queen was greater than many journalists had predicted. Though generally healthy throughout her life, in 2003 she had keyhole surgery on both knees. In October 2006, she missed the opening of the new Emirates Stadium because of a strained back muscle that had been troubling her since the summer.Two months later, she was seen in public with a bandage on her right hand, which led to press speculation of ill health. She had been bitten by one of her corgis while she was separating two that were fighting. In May 2007, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported claims from unnamed sources that the Queen was "exasperated and frustrated" by the policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that she had shown concern that the British Armed Forces were overstretched in Iraqand Afghanistan, and that she had raised concerns over rural and countryside issues with Blair repeatedly. She was, however, said to admire Blair's efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland.On 20 March 2008, at the Church of Ireland St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, the Queen attended the first Maundy service held outside England and Wales. At the invitation of Irish President Mary McAleese, the Queen in May 2011 made the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch. The Queen addressed the United Nations for a second time in 2010, again in her capacity as queen of all her realms and Head of the Commonwealth. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon introduced her as "an anchor for our age".[151] During her visit to New York, which followed a tour of Canada, she officially opened a memorial garden for the British victims of the 11 September attacks. The Queen's visit to Australia in October 2011, her 16th since 1954, was called her "farewell tour" in the press because of her age.

Diamond Jubilee and beyond

Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 marks 60 years as queen, with celebrations throughout her realms, the wider Commonwealth, and beyond. In a message released on Accession Day, she stated: "In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness ... I hope also that this Jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart" She and her husband undertook an extensive tour of the United Kingdom, while her children and grandchildren embarked on royal tours of other Commonwealth realms on her behalf. On 4 June, jubilee beacons were lit around the world She is the longest-lived and second-longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom and the second-longest-serving current head of state (after King Bhumibol Adulyadej ofThailand). She does not intend to abdicate] though the proportion of public duties performed by Prince Charles may increase as Elizabeth reduces her commitments.

The Queen opened the 2012 Summer Olympics on 27 July and the Paralympics on 29 August 2012 in London. She played herself in a short film as part of the Olympics opening ceremony, alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond.[160] Her father opened the 1948 London Olympics and her great-grandfather, Edward VII, opened the 1908 London Olympics. She also opened the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and Prince Philip opened the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. She is the first head of state to open two Olympic Games in two different countries. On 18 December 2012, the Queen became the first British Sovereign to attend a peace-time Cabinet meeting since King George III in 1781. Foreign Secretary William Hagueannounced shortly after that the previously unnamed southern part of the British Antarctic Territory had been named Queen Elizabeth Land in her honour.

Adolf Hitler 20 April 1889 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He waschancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Fhrer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the centre of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust. Hitler was a decorated veteran of World War I. He joined the German Workers' Party (precursor of the NSDAP) in 1919, and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted a coup d'tat in Munich, known as the Beer Hall Putsch. The failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting PanGermanism, antisemitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. After his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Weimar Republic into theThird Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism. Hitler's aim was to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe. To this end, his foreign and domestic policies had the aim of seizing Lebensraum ("living space") for the Germanic people. He directed the rearmament of Germany and the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in September 1939, resulting in the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Under Hitler's rule, in 1941 German forces and their European allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In 1943, Germany had been forced onto the defensive and suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time partner, Eva Braun. On 30 April 1945, less than two days later, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by theRed Army, and their corpses were burned. Hitler's supremacist and racially motivated policies resulted in the systematic murder of eleven million people, including an estimated six million Jews, and indirectly and directly caused the deaths of an estimated 50 million people during World War II.

World War I
At the outbreak of World War I, Hitler was a resident of Munich and volunteered to serve in the Bavarian Army as an Austrian citizen. Posted to the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st Company of the List Regiment), he served as a dispatch runner on the Western Front in France and Belgium,] spending nearly half his time well behind the front lines. 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.

Hitler (far right, seated) with his army comrades of the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (c. 19141918)

He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914.] Recommended by Hugo Gutmann, he received the Iron Cross, First Class, on 4 August 1918,] a decoration rarely awarded to one of Hitler's rank ( Gefreiter). Hitler's post at regimental headquarters, providing frequent interactions with senior officers, may have helped him receive this decoration. Though his rewarded actions may have been courageous, they were probably not highly exceptional. He also received the Black Wound Badge on 18 May 1918.

During his service at the 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 either in the groin areaor the left thigh by a shell that had exploded in the dispatch runners' dugout. Hitler spent almost two months in the Red Cross hospital at Beelitz, returning to his regiment on 5 March 1917. On 15 October 1918, he was temporarily blinded by a mustard gas attack and was hospitalised in Pasewalk. While there, Hitler learnt of Germany's defeat, andby his own account on receiving this news, he suffered a second bout of blindness.

Adolf Hitler as a soldier during the First World War (19141918)

Hitler became embittered over the collapse of the war effort, and his ideological development began to firmly take shape. He described the war as "the greatest of all experiences", and was praised by his commanding officers for his bravery. The experience reinforced his passionate German patriotism and he was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918. Like other German nationalists, he believed in the Stab-in-the-back myth (Dolchstolegende), which claimed that the German army, "undefeated in the field", had been "stabbed in the back" on the home frontby civilian leaders and Marxists, later dubbed the "November criminals".The Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany must relinquish several of its territories and demilitarise the Rhineland. The treaty imposed economic sanctions and levied heavy reparations on the country. Many Germans perceived the treatyespecially Article 231, which declared Germany responsible for the waras a humiliation. The Versailles Treaty and the economic, social, and political conditions in Germany after the war were later exploited by Hitler for political gains

Entry into politics

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich Having no formal education and career prospects, he tried to remain in the army for as long as possible. In July 1919 he was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklrungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP). While monitoring the activities of the DAP, Hitler became attracted to the founderAnton Drexler's antisemitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist ideas. Drexler favoured a strong active government, a non-Jewish version of socialism, and solidarity among all members of society. Impressed with Hitler's oratory skills, Drexler invited him to join the DAP. Hitler accepted on 12 September 1919, becoming the party's 55th member.

A copy of Adolf Hitler's German Workers' Party (DAP) membership card

At the DAP, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of the party's founders and a member of the occult Thule Society. Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him and introducing him to a wide range of people in Munich society. To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party NSDAP). Hitler designed the party's banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red background. Hitler was discharged from the army in March 1920 and began working full-time for the NSDAP. In February 1921 already highly effective at speaking to large audienceshe spoke to a crowd of over 6,000 in Munich. To publicise the meeting, two truckloads of party supporters drove around town waving swastika flags and throwing leaflets. Hitler soon gained notoriety for his rowdy polemicspeeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and especially against Marxists and Jews. At the time, the NSDAP was centred in Munich, a major hotbed of anti-government German nationalists determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar Republic. In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in Munich. Members of the its executive committee, some of whom considered Hitler to be too overbearing, wanted to merge with the rival German Socialist Party (DSP). Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised his resignation would mean the end of the party. 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. The committee agreed; he rejoined the party as member 3,680. He still faced some opposition within the NSDAP: Hermann Esser and his allies printed 3,000 copies of a pamphlet attacking Hitler as a traitor to the party. In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself, to thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful: at a general membership meeting, he was granted absolute powers as party chairman, with only one nay vote cast. Hitler's vitriolic beer hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. He became adept at using populist themes targeted at his audience, including the use of scapegoats who could be blamed for the economic hardships of his listeners. Historians have noted the hypnotic effect of his rhetoric on large audiences, and of his eyes in small groups. Kessel writes, "Overwhelmingly ... Germans speak with mystification of Hitler's 'hypnotic' appeal. The word shows up again and again; Hitler is said to have mesmerized the nation, captured them in a trance from which they could not break loose".Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper described "the fascination of those eyes, which had bewitched so many seemingly sober men".He used his personal magnetism and an understanding of crowd psychology to his advantage while engaged in public speaking Alfons Heck, a former member of the Hitler Youth, describes the reaction to a speech by Hitler: "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".Although his oratory skills and personal traits were generally received well by large crowds and at official events, some who had met Hitler privately noted that his appearance and demeanour failed to make a lasting impression.

Third Reich

Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies began to systematically suppress the remaining political opposition. The Social Democratic Party was banned and all its assets seized.[155] While many trade union delegates were in Berlin for May Day activities, SA stormtroopers demolished 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.[156]The German Labour Front was formed as an umbrella organisation to represent all workers, administrators, and company owners, thus reflecting the concept of national socialism in the spirit of Hitler's Volksgemeinschaft (German racial community; literally, "people's community").

In 1934, Hitler became Germany's head of state with the title of Fhrer und Reichskanzler(leader and chancellor of the Reich).

By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. With the help of the SA, Hitler pressured his nominal coalition partner, Hugenberg, into resigning. On 14 July 1933, the NSDAP was declared the only legal political party in Germany, though the country had effectively been a one-party state since the passage of the Enabling Act four months earlier. The demands of the SA for more political and military power caused much anxiety among military, industrial, and political leaders. Hitler responded by purging the entire SA leadership in the Night of the Long Knives, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934.] Hitler targeted Ernst Rhm 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. While the international community and some Germans were shocked by the murders, many in Germany saw Hitler as restoring order. On 2 August 1934, President von Hindenburg died. The previous day, the cabinet had enacted the "Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich". 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 Fhrer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor). This law violated the Enabling Actwhile it allowed Hitler to deviate from the constitution, the Act explicitly barred him from passing any law tampering with the presidency. In 1932, the constitution had been amended to make the president of the High Court of Justice, not the chancellor, acting president pending new elections. Nonetheless, no one objected. With this law, Hitler removed the last legal remedy by which he could be removed from office. As head of state, Hitler became Supreme Commander of the armed forces. The traditional loyalty oath of servicemen was altered to affirm loyalty to Hitler personally, rather than to the office of supreme commander or the state. On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by 90% of the electorate voting in a plebiscite. In early 1938, Hitler used blackmail tactics to consolidate his hold over the military by instigating theBlombergFritsch Affair. Hitler forced his War Minister, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg into resignation by using a police dossier that showed that Blomberg's new wife had a record for prostitution. Army commander Colonel-General Werner von Fritsch was removed in a similar way after the Schutzstaffel (SS) produced allegations that he had engaged in a homosexual relationship. ] Both men had fallen into disfavour because they had objected to Hitler's demand to make the Wehrmacht ready for war as early as 1938. 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 (High Command of the Armed Forces, or 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 having been sufficiently pro-Nazi. By early February 1938, twelve more generals had been removed.