On the 20th April 1889 Adolf Hitler was born in a small town in Austria, Braunau am Inn. His father, Alois was a customs official while his mother, Klara, came from a poor family. Alois was a overbearing man and Adolf frequently found himself the wrong side of his anger. Adolf left school with no qualifications at 16.
Hitler always dreamed of a career as a artist. He applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts but was rejected in October 1907. He then moved to Vienna after the death of his parents and spent his time there sleeping in hostels and painting postcards. Here he developed many of his views of anti-semitism and desired to unite Germany and Austria.
|Hitler in Vienna selling postcards|
as a failed artist.
Hitler and many others were angry by what they saw as a betrayal by the Jews and the socialists at home. In June 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed and Germany were forced to accept sole responsibility for the war. As well as this, Germany had to pay a large amount of reparations and huge chunks of their territories were divided among the victors. Again like most, Hitler hated the treaty. He then decided to go into politics by joining the Germany Workers's Party (later known as the Nazi Party). Hitler completely agreed with their Nationalist and anti-semetic beliefs.
|Hitler doing one of his|
many hateful speeches.
Anton Drexler, founder of the Nazi Party, became unsettled by Hitler's popularity. He formed an alliance with a socialist party while Hitler was in Berlin. Drexler's attempt to undermine Hitler failed as he resigned and rejoined only when he was given control of the party in July 1921.
In 1923, the German Government was at the edge of collapse. The economic situation of the country was worsening as inflation increased. By that year a loaf of bread raised from 250 marks to 200 billion.
Wishing to see Germany to be great again under his control, Hitler encouraged revolution. On the 8th November, Bavarian Prime Minister Gustav Kahr addressed a collection of businessmen at a beer hall in Munich. Hitler and a load of his SA soldiers stormed in and forced Kahr to pledge his support. The next day Hitler led 3,000 men into the streets. However the police were waiting for them. Violence followed which resulted in the deaths of 16 Nazis and 3 policemen. Afterwards Hitler was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison for treason.
|Hitler in prison writing |
his book, Mein Kampf.
After being released he hoped to be elected. However, in 1928 the Nazis only won just 2.6% of votes.
Although, after the American stock exchanged collapsed in October 1929 and the foreign loans on which Germany relied on were stopped and repayment was called in. Unemployment rose to 6 million and parties on both sides saw support increase dramatically. That same year Hitler met 17 year-old Eva Braun, a German Catholic girl.
Hitler led the Nazis to become the largest party, with over 37% of the popular vote in the elections of July 1932. President von Hindenburg was concerned about the Communist's growing support. This persuaded him to give Hitler the post of Chancellor in January 1933. By March he was given dictatorial powers from the Enabling Act. This allowed him to pass laws without the Reichstag. Other Political parties, organisations and unions who were associated with the Nazis were disbanded.
The Army leaders were concerned with the SA who has helped Hitler to power. SA was considered as a group of thugs and Hitler needed to separate himself from them. In June 1934 the leader of the SA, Ernist Rohn and hundreds were assassinated in one night. This was to become known as the The Night of the Long Knives. Hitler couldn't tolerate opposition to his plans to suppress workers rights and make Germany ready for war. The army approved of his plans and when President Hindenburg died in August, they supported his promotion to Fuhrer.
|The "Final Solution" |
(the Holocaust) saw the death of
6 million Jews.
Hitler wished to see Germany great again and territorial expansion was part of achieving this. In March 1938, Hitler led his Nazi troops into Austria, achieving his dream to unify the two countries. Main countries, like Britain and France ignored Hitler's invasion at a attempt to prevent war. In September Neville Chamberlain (British Prime Minister) organised a conference in Munich and here all of Hitler's demands for Germany empire expansion was granted. Later that year Nazi troops marched into Czechoslovakia and took Sudetenland.
Hitler the looked east to Poland. Although before he could do anything he had to make a deal with Stalin's USSR. In late August 1939, the two powers agreed to a non-aggression pact. On 1st September the invasion of Poland began. Hitler was confident that Britain and France would not retaliate to help Poland. He was wrong, Britain and France declared war on 3rd September.
Poland was soon taken by Germany. Hitler's Blitzrieg tactics allowed the German army to take countries with a brutal single stroke.
On 17th June 1940, France surrendered allowing Hitler to take revenge for the German defeat from two decades ago. Hitler ensured the French submitted at Compiegne in the same train carriage Germany had been forced to sign the Armistice which ended the First World War.
|Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin|
making a alliance agreement.
Hitler took control of the operations of the army in the Eastern-Front, convinced he was the only one to make the invasion successful. He directed the army from his headquarters which was thousands of miles away from the action. However, in February 1943, at Stalingrad, the German forces could not hold the city as they were outnumbered, freezing and starving. Hitler blamed the officers on the ground for ignoring orders. As he was the main person in command of the troops, he saw criticism for the first time because of the defeat.
Germany was losing control of the Eastern-Front. German forces retreated from Russia and in June 1944, the Allied forces landed in Normandy on D-Day. Hitler saw the invasion as a good thing and believed his forces could take the US and Britain out of the war.
|The Wolf's Lair after |
the 20th July Plot (Operation Valkyrie)
In April 1945, the Soviet army were close to Berlin. Hitler excepted defeat. So he married Eva Braun, who had been his girlfriend for the last 11 years. They got married on the 29th April. The next day they both took a cyanide pill. Hitler then shot himself in the head. Their remains and two dogs were later discovered in his bunker by the Red Army.