No one shook the world as much as Adolf Hitler. Yet his insignificant birth at Braunau in Austria, close to the German border, did not suggest the infamy he would achieve. His, father, a lowly customs official, died when Hitler was 14, and he spent many years in poverty.
Seeing himself as a great artist, he flunked his exams and couldn’t get into art school. The young Hitler went to live in Vienna, selling bad postcard sketches and arguing against the Jews in cafes. He emigrated to Munich to dodge military service. However, with World War One, he joined the German Army, making corporal and being recommended for the Iron Cross.
In 1919 he was sent to spy on a small political group, the German Worker’s Party. He liked their nationalist politics, joining them and becoming leader by 1921, changing them to the Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazis. In 1923 he attempted to overthrow the Bavarian government, his party marching in the Munich Putsch. Failing when police machine gunned them, he was imprisoned. He began writing ‘Mein Kampf’, declaring his intentions for the Germanic peoples, and the fate of the Jews and other ‘inferiors.’
Developing a charismatic personality, the Depression allowed him to blame the Jews for Germany’s woes, gaining electoral credibility in the 1930 election. A fire at the German Parliament in 1933 – almost certainly begun by him – allowed him to blame communists and, already having a large minority, he was made Chancellor, becoming head of state, or Fuhrer (as he called himself), the following year. Leaving the League of Nations, he began to re-arm, opened concentration camps for undesirables, organised the state police, or Gestapo, and began to systematically kill all opponents.
Ecomomically, he began building the autobahns and began a massive industrial project, whilst the whole of Germany was Nazified. By 1936 he was confident enough to re-take the demilitarised Rhineland, as well as forming an alliance with Mussolini in Italy. In 1938 he annexed Austria, and the Sudetenland of Czeckoslovakia the following year. Signing a non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union, he invaded Poland in 1939, causing World War Two. In 1940 he launched his offensive against western Europe and in 1941, ignored his treaty with the Soviets and invaded Russia. This was the greatest strategic blunder of all time, causing him to fight on two fronts, guaranteeing his failure.
Clearly approaching insanity by this time, several attempts were made on his life, but failed. On 29 April 1945, this teetotal vegetarian married his friend Eva Braun in his Berlin bunker as the Soviets surrounded him. The following day, he committed suicide, his Third Reich in ruins.
Click link, below, to return