The man who misused his absolute power – Adolf Hitler is known for being a dictator of Germany, and persecuting approximately six million people, including Jews and people from other ethnic religious groups. Infamous for ‘the Holocaust,’ Hitler committed extreme war crimes that no other person in history has ever done. His fascist policies led to World War II, which continued for six years and cost lives of over 50 million people. The monstrous and terrifying leader of the 20th century, led his nation into a war that was hard to for Germany, and the world to recover from.
- Born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, Austria, Hitler spent most of his childhood in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. He did not get along with his controlling and harsh father Alois Hitler, who also did not support his interest in painting and fine art.Rebellious as he was, Hitler dropped out of formal education and spent his time reading, painting and dreaming of becoming an artist.
- In 1907, he moved to Vienna – the capital city of the Empire, to enroll in the famous ‘Academy of Fine Arts,’ but failed to clear the entrance exam. That same year his mother died, and that pushed Hitler to the verge of depression. After another failed attempt in the Art exam in 1909, he was directed towards Antisemitism.
- Hitler claimed that he first became anti-Jewish in the town of Vienna, where the environment was already anti-Semitic. Apparently, the professor who rejected his application was Jewish himself. It is speculated that the two rejections might have played a significant role in the development of his character, that bewildered the nation in the future.
The Rise of Nazis
- Adolf Hitler continued to develop interest in anti-Semitic and Pan-German teachings of Professor Leopold Poetsch.
- Being a nationalist, he joined the Bavarian army in Munich in 1913. He fought for Germany in World War I and under the Bavarian Reserve Regiment, and served in Belgium and France. He was wounded in the battles that he fought, and was awarded ‘Iron Cross First Class’ on August 4, 1918.
- His passionate German patriotism made him popular amid the members of Germans Workers Party (DAP), which he subsequently joined. He had a sense of pride to be a German which was reflected in his powerful speeches.
- Germany’s surrender in the Treaty of Versailles – that was signed to bring an end to World War I, had shocked Adolf Hitler. He believed that the party was betrayed by the leaders themselves.
- While inducing the anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist ideas into the group, Hitler soon became a prominent leader and renamed the party as Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) – or what we call ‘Nazi.’ He had personally designed the party’s banner – the swastika symbol, with a white circle and red background.
- Hitler has seen prison time for nine months in 1924, when he was arrested for a failed “Beer Hall Putsch” mission. While in the Landsberg Prison, he wrote a political manifesto, Mein Kampf (“My Fight”) which sold five million copies and was an entire work of propaganda and falsehoods, so the German society could be transformed into one race.
Rise of Hitler
- The Great Depression made people reluctant to parliamentary republic and more open to other extremist options, which Hitler seized upon.
- In the 1932 presidential elections, he stood second with 30% of the votes. He was declared as the chancellor, and Hitler took it as a great opportunity to establish dictatorship.
- After two years in August 1934, the appointed president Hindenburg died and all his powers were adjoined with the chancellor. Adolf Hitler was now the head of the state.
- Once the control was within his hands, Hitler began his military conquest for World War II, while asserting racial domination. He wanted to eradicate other ethnic groups, especially Jews, and eventually set up concentration camps to imprison and destroy all the Jewish men, women, and children.
- On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland which was followed by a surrender of Denmark and Norway in 1940, with the help of extensive bombings in the regions.
Defeat in World War II and his Suicide
- The German rapid advancements were eventually stopped by Russian armies and the Allied powers of America, England, and Russia. By 1945 the Allies were in control, and Hitler had realized that he was defeated.
- The leaders had been looking forward to catch Hitler, dead or alive. On April 29, 1945, Hitler escaped to his Berlin bunker and married his girlfriend Eva Braun. Afraid of being caught by the enemy, the evidence supports that both of them committed suicide the very next day.
Hitler’s regime inflicted unprecedented human suffering, and his defeat marked the end of Germany’s dominance in Europe. There are numerous factors to why the Nazi Germany was a willing participant in the Holocaust. Conflicts between Judaism and Christianity have been prevalent for thousands of years, and since both the communities were present dominantly in Europe, ethnic tensions had remained. On the other hand, the majority of the financial institutions were under the hands of Jews, and Hitler blamed them for the defeat in World War I, and the further economic crisis. Like Hitler, other Nazis also believed that Germans were superior, and the world would be a better place if the other inferior groups were wiped out.