– Bornin Austria in 1889- Cold and strict dad, loving mother who pampered her son- When he lost his younger brother at only 11 years old, hebecame introverted and detached- With only 14 Hitler’s father died and his mom let him dropout of school 2 years later- He spent his time in Linz, reading, drawing, attending thetheatre or opera; he had developed a passion for the German composer Richard Wagner- Afterhis mom’s death in 1907 he moved to Vienna, Austria in hope to study art.However, he was rejected twice at the Academy of Fine Arts.
With hisinsignificant orphan’s pension and a small amount that he earned by sellingpostcards that he drew, Hitler lived a lonely and isolated life going from onehomeless shelter to another- At ageof 24 Hitler wants to avoid military service for the hated Habsburg Empire(Habsburg Empire was the Austro-Hungarian empire he grew up in -> mixture of”races” in its army)- Movedto Munich, Germany- Acceptedin the German military at the outbreak of WWIo According to a report by the Bavarian authorities hisacceptance was most likely an administrative error- He gaveup Austrian citizenship in 1925 and was granted German citizenship in 1932- Hitlerwas rewarded with the Iron Cross for bravery in WWI- Lostwar – signed the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty that ended the war betweenGermany and the Allied- Hitlerbecame embittered over the collapse of the war effort. The experiencereinforced his passionate German patriotism. – Anti-Semitismdeveloped as core of Hitler’s world view- Hitler’spolitical career began in Munich in 1919 o Joined the small German Workers’ Party (DAP), a small groupof extreme nationalists and anti-Semites who were trying to win over Germanworkers from the internationalist Social Democratic Party and persuade peoplethat Jews were primarily responsible for Germany’s misery.
o A year later renamed to the National-Sozialistische DeutscheArbeiterpartei NSDAP (Nazi)- In1921 he joined a private party army called the SA (Sturmabteilung)- Withhis charismatic personality and dynamic leadership he attracted more membersquickly- Becamethe leader within the first year with almost unlimited power- In1923 during the Beer Hall Putsch Hitler and the Sturmabteilung stormed a publicmeeting featuring Bavarian prime minister at a large beer hall in Munich.Hitler announced that the national revolution had begun and declared theformation of a new governmento The coup failed. Hitler was arrested for high treason andsentenced to five years in prison. He only served 9 months.
In those 9 monthshe worked on his book “Mein Kampf” which is a political autobiography andoverview of his idea to transform German society into one, based on race. The”Aryan race”. Quickly after his release he continued to pursue his politicalcareer. Rise of Power:- Dueto depression in 1929 the US called in its loans to Germany which made the Germaneconomy collapse and raise the unemployment rate to 6 million- Overwhelmed government -> cut government expenditure,wages and unemployment pay- Frightenedwealthy businessmen financed Hitler’s campaigns.
People needed someone to blame-> started looking at extreme solutions. Hitler offered both- Learnedfrom failed Beer Hall Putsch -> Hitler was now determined to overthrow thegovernment legally by getting elected – Due tothe misery in Germany and Hitler’s power of speech he was able to raise theseats of the Nazis within the Reichstag (parliament) from 12 seats in 1928 to230 seats in 1932 (which was the largest party)- Hitlerran in the presidentialelections against Hindenburgo Came in second with around 35 % of the vote in the finalelectiono Established Hitler as a strong force in German politics- InJanuary 1933, Hindenburg wanted to get the Nazis on his side by offering tomake Hitler vice chancellor. He refused and demanded to be chancellor.Hindenburg eventually agreed, thinking he could control him which turned out hecouldn’t. – Hitlerbecame chancellor, and immediately started to work on making himself theabsolute ruler of Germany- Thefirst regular concentration camp was established which was officially describedas “the first concentration camp for political prisoners.
” by theChief of Police of Munich- PresidentHindenburg died on August 2, 1934 and Hitler replaced the offices of chancellorand president with a single dictatorial position by declaring himself Führer(Leader)- Overthe years more concentration camps had been established- Between1939 and 1945, the Schutzstaffel (SS)was responsible for the deaths of at least eleven million people includingaround 6 million Jews (represented around two-thirds of the Jewish populationof Europe at that pointHitler’s Defeat:- By early 1945, Hitler realized that Germany was going to losethe war- The Soviets had driven the German army back into WesternEurope- The Allies were advancing into Germany- At midnight of April 29, 1945, Hitler married his girlfriend,Eva Braun- Around the same time he was informed of the execution ofItalian dictator Benito Mussolini- Didn’t want to fall into the hands of enemy troops -> Evaand Adolf committed suicide the day after their wedding on April 30, 1945 Not Who, But Why?- Hitler was inspired by operas from his favoriteGerman composer Richard Wagner- After seeing opera “Rienzi” in 1905 some sourcesclaimed Hitler professed he would someday embark on a great mission, leadinghis people to freedom- -> after failing his mission around 40 yearslater his defeat was similar to another one of Wagner’s operas o End of opera “Twilight of the gods” the hero,betrayed by all those around him, ends up on a funeral pyre while the kingdomof the gods had been destroyed. Similar to Hitler’s death- Hitler achieved leadership position partiallybecause his public speaking skills and charismatic leadership skills andpartially because of the situation he found himself in -> nation in crisisdue to great depression- Acceptance in German army could have partially beenan administrative error but he was also trying to get in at a “convenient”time, right at the outbreak of WWI