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Official Image of Hitler, taken in 1937
|Führer of Germany|
2 August 1934 – 30 April 1945
Paul von Hindenburg|
|Reichskanzler (Chancellor) of Germany|
30 January 1933 – 30 April 1945
|Preceded by||Kurt von Schleicher|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Goebbels|
20 April 1889|
Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary
30 April 1945 (aged 56)|
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Nationality||Austrian citizen until 7 April 1925 German citizen after 1932|
|Political party||National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP)|
(married on 29 April 1945)
Iron Cross First and Second Class|
|Years of service||1914–1918|
|Unit||16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Adolf Hitler  (20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Austria – 30 April 1945 in Berlin) was the leader of Nazi Germany. Hitler also led the NSDAP (often called the Nazi Party), the democratically elected party which ruled Germany at this time. He became Chancellor of Germany in 1933. This appointment was allowed by the German constitution.
Hitler became dictator (complete ruler) in 1934. He called himself the Führer (leader) of the German Empire. The Nazis created a dictatorship called the Third Reich. In 1933, they blocked out all other political parties. This gave Hitler absolute power.
Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland in 1939, and this started World War II. Because of Hitler, at least 50 million people died. During World War II, Hitler was the Commander-in-Chief of the German forces and made all the important decisions. This was part of the so-called Führerprinzip. He shot himself 1945, as the Soviet Army got to Berlin.
Many war crimes were done during the war by Nazi forces acting under Hitler's directions. They killed their enemies or put them in concentration camps. Hitler and his men persecuted and killed Jews and other ethnic, religious, and political minorities.
Hitler's life story
Hitler's family was born in Waldviertel, in Upper Austria. At the time, the name Hitler changed in this region several times between Hüttler, Hiedler, Hittler and Hitler. The name was commonly in the German-speaking area of Europe in the 19th century. The literature says that this name is descended from the Czech name Hidlar or Hidlarcek.
Childhood and early adulthood
Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889, as the fourth child of six in Braunau am Inn. This is a small town near Linz in the province of Upper Austria. It is close to the German border, in what was then Austria-Hungary. His parents were Klara Pölzl and Alois Hitler. Because of his father's job, Hitler moved from Braunau to Passau, later to Lambach and finally to Leonding. He attended several Volksschule's. Hitler's mother, Klara Pölzl, was the third wife of Alois Hitler and also his cousin. Hitler's father died in 1903. Hitler failed high school exams in Linz twice. In 1905, he left school without an exam. He became interested in the anti-Semitic (anti-Jewish), Pan-German teachings of Professor Leopold Poetsch. In September 1907, he went to Vienna and took an entrance examination. On 1 and 2 October, he failed the second examination. Hitler went back to Linz at the end of October. In December 1907, Hitler's mother died and, because of that, he was depressed. Hitler's mother was Catholic, but Hitler hated Christianity. He also hated Jews.
In 1909, Hitler again went to Vienna to study art. He attempted to become a student at the Academy of Arts but failed the first entrance examination. Hitler said he first became an anti-Semite in Vienna. This town had a large Jewish community.
In 1913, Hitler was 24 years old. At that time, all young Austrian men had to join the army. Hitler did not like the Austrian army, so he left Austria for Germany. He lived in the German city of Munich.
World War I
On 16 August 1914, Hitler joined the Bavarian army. He fought for Germany in World War I. Hitler served in Belgium and France in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment. He spent nearly the whole time on the Western Front. He was a runner, one of the most dangerous jobs on the Front. That means, he ran from one position to another one to carry messages. On 1 November 1914, Hitler became a Gefreiter (equivalent at the time to a private first class in the American and lance corporal in the British armies). The government awarded him the Iron Cross Second Class on 2 December 1914.
On 5 October 1916, he was hurt by a bullet shell. Between 9 October and 1 December, he was in the military hospital Belitz. In March 1917, he went back to the front. There, he was involved in a battle and was awarded with the Militärverdienstkreuz Third Class with swords.
In March 1918, Hitler participated in the Spring Offensive. On 4 August 1918, Hitler was awarded with the Iron Cross First Class by the Jewish Hugo Gutmann. After the capitulation of Germany, Hitler was shocked, because the German army still held enemy area in November 1918.
Entry into politics
After World War I, Hitler stayed in the army and returned to Munich. There he attended the funeral march of the killed Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner. In 1919, he participated in a training programme for propaganda speakers from 5 to 12 June and 26 June to 5 July. Later that year, Hitler joined a small political party called the German Workers Party. He became member number 555. He soon won the support of the party members. Two years later, he became the leader of the party. He renamed the party the National Socialist German Workers Party. It became known as the Nazi Party.
During the Weimar Republic
In 1923, Hitler got together several hundred other members of the Nazi Party and tried to take over the Weimar Republic government (1918–34) in the Beer Hall Putsch. The coup failed. The government killed 13 of his men (the 13 dead men were later declared saints in Nazi ideology). They also put Hitler in the Landsberg Prison. They said that he would stay in prison for five years, but they let him leave after nine months.
While he was in prison, he wrote a book with the help of his friend Rudolf Hess. At first, Hitler wanted to call the book Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice. In the end, he called the book Mein Kampf or My Struggle. The book is full of his racism and violent views.
Mein Kampf brought together some of his different ideas. the idea of life as a battle, he got from Social Darwinism. The idea that the "Aryan race" was better than everybody else, he got from Arthur de Gobineau's book called The Inequality of the Human Races. His plans for an Empire in the East, he got from the way Germany had captured farming land in the First World War. The idea that Judaism and Communism were connected he got from the Nazi writer Alfred Rosenberg. Hitler may also have been influenced by Martin Luther's On the Jews and their Lies. In Mein Kampf, Hitler refers to Martin Luther as "a great warrior, a true statesman and a great reformer."
Start of the dictatorship
In 1933, Hitler was elected into the German government. He ended freedom of speech, and put his enemies in jail or killed them. He did not allow any other party except the Nazi party. Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, spread extreme nationalism within Germany. All media had to praise the Nazis. Also, more people were born because Hitler wanted more people of the "master race" (those he called Aryans). He made Germany a totalitarian Nazi state.
World War II
Hitler started World War II by ordering the German Army to invade Poland. His army conquered Poland and most of Europe, including France and a large part of the Soviet Union. During the war, he ordered the Nazis to kill many people, including women and children. The Nazis killed six million Jews in the Holocaust.
Finally, the other countries in the world worked together to defeat Germany. Hitler lost all of the land that he had taken, and millions of Germans were killed. At the end of World War II, Hitler gave all people in the Führerbunker the permission to leave it. Many people followed this and moved to the region of Berchtesgaden. They used planes and truck convoys. Hitler, the Goebbels family, Martin Bormann, Eva Braun and some other staff remained in the bunker. Hitler got married to Eva Braun in April 1945.
Hitler and Braun both committed suicide (killed themselves) in Berlin the day after their marriage. Eva Braun and Hitler used poison to kill themselves, then Hitler shot himself in the head. Before this, Hitler ordered that their bodies be burned. This prevented him from being captured alive by soldiers of the Red Army, who were closing in on him.
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- German pronunciation: adɔlf hɪtlɐ
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- Mondo Politico Library's presentation of Adolf Hitler's book, Mein Kampf (full text, formatted for easy on-screen reading)