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Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
of
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
from 1933 to 1945. He rose to power as the leader of the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
, becoming
Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the ''cancellarii Cancelli are lattice-work, placed before a window, a door-way, the tribunal o ...
in 1933 and then assuming the title of in 1934. During his
dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
from 1933 to 1945, he initiated
World War II in Europe The European theatre of World War II was the main theatre of combat during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved W ...
by invading Poland on 1 September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
, the
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
of about 6 million Jews and millions of other victims. Hitler was born in
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
– then part of
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
– and was raised near
Linz Linz ( , ; cs, Linec) is the capital of Upper Austria Upper Austria (german: Oberösterreich ; bar, Obaöstareich) is one of the nine states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly m ...
. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. In 1919, he joined the
German Workers' Party The German Workers' Party (german: Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP) was a short-lived far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political s ...
(DAP), the precursor of the Nazi Party, and was appointed leader of the Nazi Party in 1921. In 1923, he attempted to seize governmental power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned with a sentence of five years. In jail, he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto ("My Struggle"). After his early release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
and promoting
pan-Germanism Pan-Germanism (german: Pangermanismus or '), also occasionally known as Pan-Germanicism, is a pan-nationalist political idea. Pan-Germanists originally sought to unify all the German-speaking people – and possibly also Germanic-speaking ...
,
anti-Semitism Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and ...
and
anti-communism Anti-communism is a political movement A political movement is a collective attempt by a group of people to change government policy or social values. Political movements are usually in opposition to an element of the status quo  and are o ...

anti-communism
with
charismatic Charisma () is compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. Scholars in sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that s ...
oratory and
Nazi propaganda Propaganda in Nazi Germany was the practice of state directed communication to promote German nationalism, the goals of the Nazi Party of Germany, and the party itself. The propaganda used by the German Nazi Party in the years leading up to and ...
. He frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as part of a
Jewish conspiracy This is a list of conspiracy theories that are notable. Many conspiracy theories relate to clandestine government plans and elaborate murder plots. Conspiracy theories usually deny consensus or cannot be proven using the historical History ...
. By November 1932, the Nazi Party had the most seats in the German
Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as ''Diet (assembly), Diet of the Realm'' or ''National diet'', or more loosely as ''Imperial Diet''. It may refer to: Buildings and places is the god specific German word ...
but did not have a majority. As a result, no party was able to form a majority parliamentary coalition in support of a candidate for chancellor. Former chancellor
Franz von Papen Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen, Erbsälzer zu Werl und Neuwerk (; 29 October 18792 May 1969) was a German conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals wit ...
and other conservative leaders persuaded President
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the Imperial German Army The Imperial German Army (1871–1919), officially referred to ...

Paul von Hindenburg
to appoint Hitler as chancellor on 30 January 1933. Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the
Enabling Act of 1933 The Enabling Act (German language, German: ') of 1933, officially titled ' ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich"), was a law that gave the Hitler Cabinet, German Cabinet—most importantly, the Chancellor of Germany, Chancellor—t ...
which began the process of transforming the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
into
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
, a
one-party A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. Unitary st ...
dictatorship based on the
totalitarian 259x259px, Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2020): perceived authoritarian regimes in red, democracies in green, and color intensity ≈ regime intensity Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohi ...
and
autocratic Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a State (polity), state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (exc ...
ideology of
Nazism Nazism ( ), officially National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about th ...

Nazism
. Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a
New OrderNew Order may refer to: Politics * ''L'Ordine Nuovo'' (''The New Order''), a socialist newspaper edited by Antonio Gramsci in the early 1920s * ''New Order in East Asia'', propaganda term for Japanese-dominated East Asia announced by Japanese p ...
to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France. His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories inhabited by millions of
ethnic Germans Germans (, ) are the natives or inhabitants of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German lan ...
, which gave him significant popular support. Hitler sought () for the German people in Eastern Europe, and his aggressive foreign policy is considered the primary cause of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and, on 1 September 1939, invaded Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an
invasion of the Soviet Union An invasion is a military offensive in which large numbers of combatants Combatant is the legal status of an individual who has the right to engage in hostilities during an armed conflict. The legal definition of "combatant" is found at artic ...

invasion of the Soviet Union
. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...
. These gains were gradually reversed after 1941, and in 1945 the Allied armies defeated the German army. On 29 April 1945, he married his longtime lover
Eva Braun Eva Anna Paula Hitler (; 6 February 1912 – 30 April 1945) was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was a 17-year-old assistant and model for his personal phot ...
in the in Berlin. Less than two days later, the couple committed suicide to avoid capture by the Soviet
Red Army The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army,) frequently shortened to Red Army, was the army and air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR or RSFSR; rus, links= ...
. Their corpses were burned. Historian and biographer
Ian Kershaw Sir Ian Kershaw (born 29 April 1943) is an English historian whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is par ...
describes Hitler as "the embodiment of modern political evil". Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of about 6 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed ''
Untermensch ''Untermensch'' (, ''underman'', ''sub-man'', ''subhuman''; plural: ''Untermenschen'') is a Nazi Nazism (), officially National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus; ), is the ideology An ideology () is a set of beliefs or philosophi ...
en'' (subhumans) or socially undesirable. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre. The number of civilians killed during World War II was unprecedented in warfare, and the casualties constitute the
deadliest conflict in history
deadliest conflict in history
.


Ancestry

Hitler's father, Alois Hitler Sr. (1837–1903), was the
illegitimate Legitimacy, in traditional Western common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opi ...
child of
Maria Anna Schicklgruber Maria Anna Schicklgruber (15 April 1795 – 6 January 1847) was the mother of Alois Hitler, and the paternal grandmother of Adolf Hitler. Family Maria was born in the village of Strones in the Waldviertel region of Archduchy of Austria. She w ...
. The baptismal register did not show the name of his father, and Alois initially bore his mother's surname, . In 1842,
Johann Georg Hiedler Johann Georg Hiedler (baptised 28 February 1792 – 9 February 1857) was officially considered to be the paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler by Nazi Germany. Whether Hiedler was in fact Hitler's biological paternal grandfather is disputed by ...

Johann Georg Hiedler
married Alois's mother. Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedler's brother,
Johann Nepomuk Hiedler Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, alternatively spelled as Johann Nepomuk Hüttler (19 March 1807 – 17 September 1888), was the maternal great-grandfather and possibly also the paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 18 ...
. In 1876, Alois was made legitimate and his baptismal record annotated by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Alois's father (recorded as "Georg Hitler"). Alois then assumed the surname "Hitler", also spelled , or . The name is probably based on the German word (lit., "hut"), and likely has the meaning "one who lives in a hut". Nazi official
Hans Frank Hans Michael Frank (23 May 1900 – 16 October 1946) was a German politician and lawyer who served as head of the General Government in German occupation of Poland, Nazi-occupied Poland during the World War II, Second World War. Frank was an e ...

Hans Frank
suggested that Alois' mother had been employed as a housekeeper by a
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
family in
Graz Graz ( , ; sl, Gradec) is the capital city of the Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that ...

Graz
, and that the family's 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois. No Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, no record has been produced of Leopold Frankenberger's existence, and Jewish residency in
Styria Styria (german: Steiermark ; Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also * Croati ...
had been illegal for nearly 400 years and would not become legal again until decades after Alois' birth, so historians dismiss the claim that Alois' father was Jewish.


Early years


Childhood and education

Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in
Braunau am Inn Braunau am Inn () (German for "Braunau on the Inn") is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in ...

Braunau am Inn
, a town in
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
(in present-day Austria), close to the border with the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
. He was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and his third wife,
Klara Pölzl Klara Hitler (''née'' Pölzl; 12 August 1860 – 21 December 1907) was the mother of Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Germany ) , image_map ...

Klara Pölzl
. Three of Hitler's siblings—Gustav, Ida, and Otto—died in infancy. Also living in the household were Alois's children from his second marriage: Alois Jr. (born 1882) and
Angela Angela may refer to: * Angela (given name) * Angela (mantis), ''Angela'' (mantis), a genus of praying mantises Places * Angela, Montana * Angela Lake, in Volusia County, Florida * Lake Angela, in Lyon Township, Oakland County, Michigan * Lake ...
(born 1883). When Hitler was three, the family moved to
Passau Passau (; bar, label=Central Bavarian, Båssa) is a city in Lower Bavaria, Germany, also known as the Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") as the river Danube is joined by the Inn (river), Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north. P ...

Passau
, Germany. There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than
Austrian German Austrian German (german: Österreichisches Deutsch), Austrian Standard German (ASG), Standard Austrian German (), or Austrian High German (), is the variety of Standard German written and spoken in Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreic ...
, which marked his speech throughout his life. The family returned to Austria and settled in Leonding in 1894, and in June 1895 Alois retired to Hafeld, near
Lambach Lambach is a market town in the Wels-Land district of the Austrian state of Upper Austria on the Ager (river), Ager and Traun (river), Traun Rivers. A major stop on the Salt Trade, salt trade, it is the site of the Lambach Abbey, built around 1056. ...

Lambach
, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended (a state-funded primary school) in nearby Fischlham. The move to Hafeld coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts caused by Hitler's refusal to conform to the strict discipline of his school. His father beat him, although his mother tried to protect him. Alois Hitler's farming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure, and in 1897 the family moved to Lambach. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered becoming a priest. In 1898 the family returned permanently to Leonding. Hitler was deeply affected by the death of his younger brother Edmund, who died in 1900 from
measles Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to ...
. Hitler changed from a confident, outgoing, conscientious student to a morose, detached boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers. Alois had made a successful career in the customs bureau and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. Hitler later dramatised an episode from this period when his father took him to visit a customs office, depicting it as an event that gave rise to an unforgiving antagonism between father and son, who were both strong-willed. Ignoring his son's desire to attend a classical high school and become an artist, Alois sent Hitler to the in Linz in September 1900. Hitler rebelled against this decision, and in states that he intentionally did poorly in school, hoping that once his father saw "what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to my dream". Like many Austrian Germans, Hitler began to develop
German nationalist German nationalism is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans The Germans (german: Deutsche) are a Germanic peoples, Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe.. "Germans are a Germanic (or Teutonic) people that are in ...
ideas from a young age. He expressed loyalty only to Germany, despising the declining
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
and its rule over an ethnically variegated empire. Hitler and his friends used the greeting "Heil", and sang the "
Deutschlandlied The "" (; "Song of Germany"), officially titled "" ("The Song of the Germans"), or part of it, has been the national anthem A national anthem is a Patriotism, patriotic musical composition symbolizing and evoking eulogies of the history a ...

Deutschlandlied
" instead of the
Austrian Imperial anthem
Austrian Imperial anthem
. After Alois's sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler's performance at school deteriorated and his mother allowed him to leave. He enrolled at the in
Steyr Steyr (; Central Bavarian Central Bavarian, also known as Central Austro-Bavarian, form a subgroup of Bavarian language, Bavarian dialects in large parts of Austria and the German state of Bavaria along the Danube river, on the northern side of the ...

Steyr
in September 1904, where his behaviour and performance improved. In 1905, after passing a repeat of the final exam, Hitler left the school without any ambitions for further education or clear plans for a career.


Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich

In 1907, Hitler left Linz to live and study fine art in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
, financed by orphan's benefits and support from his mother. He applied for admission to the
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (german: Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien) is a public art school 's Waterman Building, Providence, Rhode Island, Providence, RI. An art school is an educational institution with a primary focus on the visual a ...
but was rejected twice. The
director Director may refer to: Literature * Director (magazine), ''Director'' (magazine), a British magazine * The Director (novel), ''The Director'' (novel), a 1971 novel by Henry Denker * The Director (play), ''The Director'' (play), a 2000 play by Nanc ...
suggested Hitler should apply to the School of Architecture, but he lacked the necessary academic credentials because he had not finished secondary school. On 21 December 1907, his mother died of
breast cancer Breast cancer is cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most o ...

breast cancer
at the age of 47, when he himself was 18. In 1909 Hitler ran out of money and was forced to live a
bohemian A Bohemian () is a resident of Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. Bohemia can also refer to a wider area cons ...
life in homeless shelters and a men's dormitory. He earned money as a casual labourer and by painting and selling watercolours of Vienna's sights. During his time in Vienna, he pursued a growing passion for architecture and music, attending ten performances of , his favourite
Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( ; ; 22 May 181313 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemic A polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic ( ...
opera. It was in Vienna that Hitler first became exposed to
racist Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hi ...

racist
rhetoric. Populists such as mayor
Karl Lueger Karl Lueger (; 24 October 1844 – 10 March 1910) was an Austrian Austrian may refer to: * Austrians, someone from Austria or of Austrian descent ** Someone who is considered an Austrian citizen, see Austrian nationality law * Something associate ...
exploited the climate of virulent
anti-Semitism Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and ...
and occasionally espoused German nationalist notions for political effect. German nationalism had a particularly widespread following in the
Mariahilf Mariahilf (; Central Bavarian Central Bavarian, also known as Central Austro-Bavarian, form a subgroup of Bavarian language, Bavarian dialects in large parts of Austria and the German state of Bavaria along the Danube river, on the northern side of ...

Mariahilf
district, where Hitler lived. Georg Ritter von Schönerer became a major influence on Hitler. He also developed an admiration for
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
. Hitler read local newspapers such as ' that fanned prejudice and played on Christian fears of being swamped by an influx of Eastern European Jews. He read newspapers and pamphlets that published the thoughts of philosophers and theoreticians such as
Houston Stewart Chamberlain Houston Stewart Chamberlain (; 9 September 1855 – 9 January 1927), a British-born philosopher and naturalised German citizen, wrote works about political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical ...
,
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
,
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, me ...

Friedrich Nietzsche
,
Gustave Le Bon Charles-Marie Gustave Le Bon (; 7 May 1841 – 13 December 1931) was a leading French polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, ...

Gustave Le Bon
and
Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (; ; 22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citize ...
. The origin and development of Hitler's anti-Semitism remains a matter of debate. His friend,
August Kubizek August ("Gustl") Friedrich Kubizek (3 August 1888 – 23 October 1956) was an Austrians, Austrian musical conductor best known for being a close friend of Adolf Hitler, when both were in their late teens. He later wrote about their friendship in h ...
, claimed that Hitler was a "confirmed anti-Semite" before he left Linz. However, historian Brigitte Hamann describes Kubizek's claim as "problematical". While Hitler states in that he first became an anti-Semite in Vienna,
Reinhold Hanisch Reinhold Hanisch (27 January 1884, Grünwald an der Neiße ( cs, }) near Gablonz/ Neiße, northern Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or histo ...
, who helped him sell his paintings, disagrees. Hitler had dealings with Jews while living in Vienna. Historian Richard J. Evans states that "historians now generally agree that his notorious, murderous anti-Semitism emerged well after Germany's defeat n World War I as a product of the paranoid "stab-in-the-back" explanation for the catastrophe". Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
, Germany. When he was conscripted into the
Austro-Hungarian Army The Austro-Hungarian Army (german: Landstreitkräfte Österreich-Ungarns; hu, Császári és Királyi Hadsereg) was the ground force of the Austria-Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the jo ...
, he journeyed to
Salzburg Salzburg (, ; literally "Salt Castle"; bar, Soizbuag, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian) is the List of cities and towns in Austria, fourth-largest city in Austria. In 2020, it had a population of 156,872. The town is on the site of the ...

Salzburg
on 5 February 1914 for medical assessment. After he was deemed unfit for service, he returned to Munich. Hitler later claimed that he did not wish to serve the
Habsburg Empire Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire is a modern umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the ana ...

Habsburg Empire
because of the mixture of races in its army and his belief that the collapse of Austria-Hungary was imminent.


World War I

In August 1914, at the outbreak of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, Hitler was living in Munich and voluntarily enlisted in the Bavarian Army. According to a 1924 report by the Bavarian authorities, allowing Hitler to serve was almost certainly an administrative error, since as an Austrian citizen, he should have been returned to Austria. Posted to the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st Company of the List Regiment), he served as a dispatch
runner Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions). This is i ...
on the
Western FrontWestern Front or West Front may refer to: Military frontiers *Western Front (World War I), a military frontier to the west of Germany *Western Front (World War II), a military frontier to the west of Germany *Western Front (Russian Empire), a major ...

Western Front
in France and Belgium, spending nearly half his time at the regimental headquarters in Fournes-en-Weppes, well behind the front lines. He was present at the
First Battle of Ypres The First Battle of Ypres (french: Première Bataille des Flandres; german: Erste Flandernschlacht – was a battle of the First World War World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originati ...
, the
Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is " ...
, the
Battle of ArrasThe name Battle of Arras refers to a number of battles which took place near the town of Arras in Artois, France: *Siege of Arras (1640), a siege by the French against the Spanish during the Thirty Years' War *Battle of Arras (1654), a clash between ...

Battle of Arras
, and the
Battle of Passchendaele The Third Battle of Ypres (german: Dritte Flandernschlacht; french: Troisième Bataille des Flandres; nl, Derde Slag om Ieper), also known as the Battle of Passchendaele (), was a campaign of the First World War, fought by the Allies of World ...
, and was wounded at the Somme. He was decorated for bravery, receiving the
Iron Cross The Iron Cross (german: Eisernes Kreuz, , abbreviated EK) was a military decoration Military awards and decorations are distinctions given as a mark of honor for military heroism, meritorious or outstanding service or achievement.Unit ...

Iron Cross
, Second Class, in 1914. On a recommendation by Lieutenant
Hugo Gutmann Hugo Gutmann later known as Henry G. Grant (19 November 188022 June 1962) was a German Jewish The history of the Jews in Germany goes back at least to the year 321, and continued through the Early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries CE) and Hi ...
, Hitler's Jewish superior, he received the Iron Cross, First Class on 4 August 1918, a decoration rarely awarded to one of Hitler's rank. He received the
Black Wound Badge
Black Wound Badge
on 18 May 1918. During his service at headquarters, Hitler pursued his artwork, drawing cartoons and instructions for an army newspaper. During the Battle of the Somme in October 1916, he was wounded in the left thigh when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners' dugout. Hitler spent almost two months in hospital at
Beelitz Beelitz is a historic town in district, in , . It is chiefly known for its cultivation of white (''Beelitzer Spargel''). Geography Beelitz is situated about 18 km (11 mi) south of , on the rim of the Zauche glacial plain. The town is ...

Beelitz
, returning to his regiment on 5 March 1917. On 15 October 1918, he was temporarily blinded in a
mustard gas Mustard gas or sulfur mustard is a chemical compound belonging to the sulfur-based family of Cytotoxicity, cytotoxic and blister agent Chemical weapon, chemical warfare agents known as sulfur-mustards or mustard agents. The name ''mustard gas'' is ...
attack and was hospitalised in
Pasewalk Pasewalk () is a town in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany. Located on the Uecker river, it is the capital of the former Uecker-Randow district, and the seat of the Uecker-Randow-Tal ''Amt (countr ...
. While there, Hitler learned of Germany's defeat, and—by his own account—upon receiving this news, he suffered a second bout of blindness. Hitler described the war as "the greatest of all experiences", and was praised by his commanding officers for his bravery. His wartime experience reinforced his German patriotism and he was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918. His bitterness over the collapse of the war effort began to shape his ideology. Like other German nationalists, he believed the (stab-in-the-back myth), which claimed that the German army, "undefeated in the field", had been "stabbed in the back" on the
home front Home front is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on the (not to be confused with ), to the area of later n ...

home front
by civilian leaders, Jews,
Marxists Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies soci ...
, and those who signed the
armistice An armistice is a formal agreement Agreement or concord (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) happens when a word changes form depending on the other words to which it relates. It is an instance of inflection, and usually involves making ...
that ended the fighting—later dubbed the "November criminals". The
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
stipulated that Germany had to relinquish several of its territories and demilitarise the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly Middle Rhine, its middle section. Term ...

Rhineland
. The treaty imposed economic sanctions and levied heavy reparations on the country. Many Germans saw the treaty as an unjust humiliation–they especially objected to Article 231, which they interpreted as declaring Germany responsible for the war. The Versailles Treaty and the economic, social, and political conditions in Germany after the war were later exploited by Hitler for political gain.


Entry into politics

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich. Without formal education or career prospects, he remained in the army. In July 1919 he was appointed (intelligence agent) of an (reconnaissance unit) of the , assigned to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the
German Workers' Party The German Workers' Party (german: Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP) was a short-lived far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political s ...
(DAP). At a DAP meeting on 12 September 1919, Party Chairman
Anton Drexler Anton Drexler (13 June 1884 – 24 February 1942) was a German far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum The lef ...

Anton Drexler
was impressed with Hitler's oratorical skills. He gave him a copy of his pamphlet ''My Political Awakening'', which contained anti-Semitic, nationalist,
anti-capitalist Anti-capitalism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use t ...
, and anti-Marxist ideas. On the orders of his army superiors, Hitler applied to join the party, and within a week was accepted as party member 555 (the party began counting membership at 500 to give the impression they were a much larger party). Around this time, Hitler made his earliest known recorded statement about the Jews in a letter (now known as the Gemlich letter) dated 16 September 1919 to Adolf Gemlich about the
Jewish question The Jewish question, also referred to as the Jewish problem, was a wide-ranging debate in 19th- and 20th-century Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm ...
. In the letter, Hitler argues that the aim of the government "must unshakably be the removal of the Jews altogether". At the DAP, Hitler met
Dietrich Eckart Dietrich Eckart (; 23 March 1868 – 26 December 1923) was a German anti-Semitic ''völkisch'' poet, playwright, journalist, publicist, and political activist who was one of the founders of the German Workers' Party, the predecessor to the Nazi Pa ...

Dietrich Eckart
, one of the party's founders and a member of the occult
Thule Society The Thule Society (; german: Thule-Gesellschaft), originally the ''Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum'' ("Study Group for Germanic Antiquity"), was a German occultist and ''Völkisch movement, Völkisch'' group founded in Munich shortly af ...
. Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him and introducing him to a wide range of Munich society. To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name to the (
National Socialist German Workers' Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ...
(NSDAP), known colloquially as the "Nazi Party"). Hitler designed the party's banner of a
swastika The swastika symbol, 卐 (''right-facing'' or ''clockwise'') or 卍 (''left-facing'', ''counterclockwise'', or sauwastika), is an ancient religious icon An icon (from the Greek language, Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious work ...

swastika
in a white circle on a red background. Hitler was discharged from the army on 31 March 1920 and began working full-time for the party. The party headquarters was in Munich, a hotbed of anti-government German nationalists determined to crush Marxism and undermine the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
. In February 1921—already highly effective at
crowd manipulationCrowd manipulation is the intentional use of techniques based on the principles of crowd psychology to engage, control, or influence the desires of a crowd in order to direct its behavior toward a specific action. This practice is common to religi ...
—he spoke to a crowd of over 6,000. To publicise the meeting, two truckloads of party supporters drove around Munich waving swastika flags and distributing leaflets. Hitler soon gained notoriety for his rowdy
polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims ...
speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and especially against Marxists and Jews. In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
, a mutiny broke out within the Nazi Party in Munich. Members of its executive committee wanted to merge with the Nuremberg-based
German Socialist Party The German Socialist Party (German: ''Deutschsozialistische Partei'', DSP) was a short-lived German nationalist, far-right party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' party in 19th ce ...
(DSP). Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that the resignation of their leading public figure and speaker would mean the end of the party. Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman, and that the party headquarters would remain in Munich. The committee agreed, and he rejoined the party on 26 July as member 3,680. Hitler continued to face some opposition within the Nazi Party. Opponents of Hitler in the leadership had
Hermann Esser Hermann Esser (29 July 1900 – 7 February 1981) was an early member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). A journalist, Esser was the editor of the Nazi paper, '' Völkischer Beobachter'', a Propaganda Leader, and a Vice President of the Reichstag (Nazi G ...

Hermann Esser
expelled from the party, and they printed 3,000 copies of a pamphlet attacking Hitler as a traitor to the party. In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself and Esser, to thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful, and at a special party congress on 29 July, he was granted absolute powers as party chairman, replacing Drexler, by a vote of 533to1. Hitler's vitriolic beer hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. A
demagogue A demagogue (from Greek , a popular leader, a leader of a mob, from , people, populace, the commons + leading, leader) or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who gains popularity by arousing the common people against elites, es ...
, he became adept at using populist themes, including the use of
scapegoat In the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-reg ...

scapegoat
s, who were blamed for his listeners' economic hardships. Hitler used personal magnetism and an understanding of crowd psychology to his advantage while engaged in public speaking. Historians have noted the hypnotic effect of his rhetoric on large audiences, and of his eyes in small groups.
Alfons Heck Alfons Heck (3 November 1928 – 11 April 2005) was a Hitler Youth The Hitler Youth (german: Hitlerjugend , often abbreviated as HJ, ) was the youth organisation of the Nazi Party in Germany. Its origins date back to 1922 and it received the ...
, a former member of the Hitler Youth, recalled: Early followers included
Rudolf Hess Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (Heß in German; 26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987) was a German politician and a leading member of the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, Hess served in that position ...
, former air force ace
Hermann Göring Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering; ; 12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German politician, military leader and convicted war criminal. He was one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially ...

Hermann Göring
, and army captain
Ernst Röhm Ernst Julius Günther Röhm (; 28 November 1887 – 1 July 1934) was a German military officer and an early member of the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistisc ...
. Röhm became head of the Nazis' paramilitary organisation, the (SA, "Stormtroopers"), which protected meetings and attacked political opponents. A critical influence on Hitler's thinking during this period was the , a conspiratorial group of White Russian exiles and early National Socialists. The group, financed with funds channelled from wealthy industrialists, introduced Hitler to the idea of a Jewish conspiracy, linking international finance with
Bolshevism Bolshevism (from Bolsheviks, Bolshevik) is a revolutionary Marxism, Marxist current of political thought and political regime associated with the formation of a rigidly centralized, cohesive and disciplined party of social revolution, focused on o ...
. The programme of the Nazi Party was laid out in their 25-point programme on 24 February 1920. This did not represent a coherent ideology, but was a conglomeration of received ideas which had currency in the Pan-Germanic movement, such as
ultranationalism Ultranationalism is "extreme nationalism that promotes the interest of one state or people above all others", or simply "extreme devotion to one's own nation". When combined with the notion of national rebirth, ultranationalism is a key foundati ...
, opposition to the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
, distrust of
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
, as well as some
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...

socialist
ideas. For Hitler, though, the most important aspect of it was its strong
anti-Semitic Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is generally considered to be a form of racism. A ...
stance. He also perceived the programme as primarily a basis for propaganda and for attracting people to the party.


Beer Hall Putsch and Landsberg Prison

In 1923, Hitler enlisted the help of World War I General
Erich Ludendorff Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (9 April 1865 – 20 December 1937) was a Imperial Germany, German general, politician and military theorist. He achieved fame during World War I for his central role in the German victories at Battle of Lièg ...

Erich Ludendorff
for an attempted coup known as the "
Beer Hall Putsch The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch,Dan Moorhouse, ed schoolshistory.org.uk, accessed 2008-05-31.Known in German language, German as the or was a failed coup d'état by Nazi Party ( or NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler, Erich Lu ...
". The Nazi Party used
Italian Fascism Italian Fascism ( it, fascismo italiano), also known as Classical Fascism or simply Fascism, is the original fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism ...
as a model for their appearance and policies. Hitler wanted to emulate
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
's "
March on Rome The March on Rome ( it, Marcia su Roma) was an organized mass demonstration in October 1922 which resulted in Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party (PNF) ascending to power in the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Itali ...

March on Rome
" of 1922 by staging his own coup in Bavaria, to be followed by a challenge to the government in Berlin. Hitler and Ludendorff sought the support of (State Commissioner)
Gustav Ritter von Kahr Gustav Ritter von Kahr (; born Gustav Kahr; 29 November 1862 – 30 June 1934) was a German right-wing politician, active in the state of Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Fr ...
, Bavaria's ''de facto'' ruler. However, Kahr, along with Police Chief
Hans Ritter von SeisserColonel Hans Ritter von Seisser (German ''Seißer''; 9 December 1874 – 14 April 1973) was the head of the Bavarian State Police in 1923. In September 1923, following a period of turmoil and political violence, Prime Minister Eugen von Knilling ...
and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, wanted to install a nationalist dictatorship without Hitler. On 8 November 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting of 3,000 people organised by Kahr in the Bürgerbräukeller, a beer hall in Munich. Interrupting Kahr's speech, he announced that the national revolution had begun and declared the formation of a new government with Ludendorff. Retiring to a back room, Hitler, with handgun drawn, demanded and got the support of Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow. Hitler's forces initially succeeded in occupying the local Reichswehr and police headquarters, but Kahr and his cohorts quickly withdrew their support. Neither the army, nor the state police, joined forces with Hitler. The next day, Hitler and his followers marched from the beer hall to the Ministry of War (Kingdom of Bavaria), Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government, but police dispersed them. List of Nazis who died in the Beer Hall Putsch, Sixteen Nazi Party members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup. Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl and by some accounts contemplated suicide. He was depressed but calm when arrested on 11 November 1923 for high treason. His trial before the special People's Court (Bavaria), People's Court in Munich began in February 1924, and Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the Nazi Party. On 1 April, Hitler was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison. There, he received friendly treatment from the guards, and was allowed mail from supporters and regular visits by party comrades. Pardoned by the Bavarian Supreme Court, he was released from jail on 20 December 1924, against the state prosecutor's objections. Including time on remand, Hitler served just over one year in prison. While at Landsberg, Hitler dictated most of the first volume of ''Mein Kampf'' (''My Struggle''; originally entitled ''Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice'') at first to his chauffeur, Emil Maurice, and then to his deputy,
Rudolf Hess Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (Heß in German; 26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987) was a German politician and a leading member of the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, Hess served in that position ...
. The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an autobiography and exposition of his ideology. The book laid out Hitler's plans for transforming German society into one based on race. Throughout the book, Jews are equated with "germs" and presented as the "international poisoners" of society. According to Hitler's ideology, the only solution was their extermination. While Hitler did not describe exactly how this was to be accomplished, his "inherent genocidal thrust is undeniable", according to
Ian Kershaw Sir Ian Kershaw (born 29 April 1943) is an English historian whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is par ...
. Published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, sold 228,000 copies between 1925 and 1932. One million copies were sold in 1933, Hitler's first year in office. Shortly before Hitler was eligible for parole, the Bavarian government attempted to have him deported to Austria. The Austrian federal chancellor rejected the request on the specious grounds that his service in the German Army made his Austrian citizenship void. In response, Hitler formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925.


Rebuilding the Nazi Party

At the time of Hitler's release from prison, politics in Germany had become less combative and the economy had improved, limiting Hitler's opportunities for political agitation. As a result of the failed Beer Hall Putsch, the Nazi Party and its affiliated organisations were banned in Bavaria. In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bavaria Heinrich Held on 4 January 1925, Hitler agreed to respect the state's authority and promised that he would seek political power only through the democratic process. The meeting paved the way for the ban on the Nazi Party to be lifted on 16 February. However, after an inflammatory speech he gave on 27 February, Hitler was barred from public speaking by the Bavarian authorities, a ban that remained in place until 1927. To advance his political ambitions in spite of the ban, Hitler appointed Gregor Strasser, Otto Strasser and Joseph Goebbels to organise and enlarge the Nazi Party in northern Germany. Gregor Strasser steered a more independent political course, emphasising the socialist elements of the party's programme. The stock market in the United States Wall Street Crash of 1929, crashed on 24 October 1929. The impact in Germany was dire: millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. Hitler and the Nazi Party prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty, strengthen the economy, and provide jobs.


Rise to power


Brüning administration

The
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent about the parliamentary republic, which faced challenges from right- and left-wing extremists. The moderate political parties were increasingly unable to stem the tide of extremism, and the 1929 German referendum, German referendum of 1929 helped to elevate Nazi ideology. The elections of September 1930 resulted in the break-up of a grand coalition and its replacement with a minority cabinet. Its leader, chancellor Heinrich Brüning of the Centre Party (Germany), Centre Party, governed through emergency powers, emergency decrees from President
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the Imperial German Army The Imperial German Army (1871–1919), officially referred to ...

Paul von Hindenburg
. Governance by decree became the new norm and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government. The Nazi Party rose from obscurity to win 18.3 per cent of the vote and 107 parliamentary seats in the 1930 election, becoming the second-largest party in parliament. Hitler made a prominent appearance at the trial of two Reichswehr officers, Lieutenants Richard Scheringer and Hanns Ludin, in late 1930. Both were charged with membership in the Nazi Party, at that time illegal for Reichswehr personnel. The prosecution argued that the Nazi Party was an extremist party, prompting defence lawyer Hans Frank to call on Hitler to testify. On 25 September 1930, Hitler testified that his party would pursue political power solely through democratic elections, which won him many supporters in the officer corps. Brüning's austerity measures brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular. Hitler exploited this by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been affected by the inflation of the 1920s and the Depression, such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class. Although Hitler had terminated his Austrian citizenship in 1925, he did not acquire German citizenship for almost seven years. This meant that he was Statelessness, stateless, legally unable to run for public office, and still faced the risk of deportation. On 25 February 1932, the interior minister of Free State of Brunswick, Brunswick, Dietrich Klagges, who was a member of the Nazi Party, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state's delegation to the Reichsrat (Germany), Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick, and thus of Germany. Hitler ran against Hindenburg in the 1932 German presidential election, 1932 presidential elections. A speech to the Industry Club in Düsseldorf on 27 January 1932 won him support from many of Germany's most powerful industrialists. Hindenburg had support from various nationalist, monarchist, Catholic, and republicanism, republican parties, and some Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democrats. Hitler used the campaign slogan "" ("Hitler over Germany"), a reference to his political ambitions and his campaigning by aircraft. He was one of the first politicians to use aircraft travel for political purposes, and used it effectively. Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 35 per cent of the vote in the final election. Although he lost to Hindenburg, this election established Hitler as a strong force in German politics.


Appointment as chancellor

The absence of an effective government prompted two influential politicians,
Franz von Papen Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen, Erbsälzer zu Werl und Neuwerk (; 29 October 18792 May 1969) was a German conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals wit ...
and Alfred Hugenberg, along with several other industrialists and businessmen, to write a letter to Hindenburg. The signers urged Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as leader of a government "independent from parliamentary parties", which could turn into a movement that would "enrapture millions of people". Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after two further parliamentary elections—in July and November 1932—had not resulted in the formation of a majority government. Hitler headed a short-lived coalition government formed by the Nazi Party (which had the most seats in the Reichstag) and Hugenberg's party, the German National People's Party (DNVP). On 30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Hindenburg's office. The Nazi Party gained three posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring Minister of the Interior for Prussia. Hitler had insisted on the ministerial positions as a way to gain control over the police in much of Germany.


Reichstag fire and March elections

As chancellor, Hitler worked against attempts by the Nazi Party's opponents to build a majority government. Because of the political stalemate, he asked Hindenburg to again dissolve the Reichstag, and elections were scheduled for early March. On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag fire, Reichstag building was set on fire. Göring blamed a communist plot, because Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe was found in incriminating circumstances inside the burning building. Until the 1960s, some historians including William L. Shirer and Alan Bullock thought the Nazi Party itself was responsible, the current consensus of nearly all historians is that van der Lubbe actually set the fire alone. At Hitler's urging, Hindenburg responded by signing the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February, drafted by the Nazis, which suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial. The decree was permitted under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which gave the president the power to take emergency measures to protect public safety and order. Activities of the Communist Party of Germany, German Communist Party (KPD) were suppressed, and some 4,000 KPD members were arrested. In addition to political campaigning, the Nazi Party engaged in paramilitary violence and the spread of anti-communist propaganda in the days preceding March 1933 German federal election, the election. On election day, 6 March 1933, the Nazi Party's share of the vote increased to 43.9 per cent, and the party acquired the largest number of seats in parliament. Hitler's party failed to secure an absolute majority, necessitating another coalition with the DNVP.


Day of Potsdam and the Enabling Act

On 21 March 1933, the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening ceremony at the Garrison Church (Potsdam), Garrison Church in Potsdam. This "Day of Potsdam" was held to demonstrate unity between the Nazi movement and the old Prussian elite and military. Hitler appeared in a morning coat and humbly greeted Hindenburg. To achieve full political control despite not having an absolute majority in parliament, Hitler's government brought the (Enabling Act) to a vote in the newly elected Reichstag. The Act—officially titled the ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich")—gave Hitler's cabinet the power to enact laws without the consent of the Reichstag for four years. These laws could (with certain exceptions) deviate from the constitution. Since it would affect the constitution, the Enabling Act required a two-thirds majority to pass. Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to arrest all 81 Communist deputies (in spite of their virulent campaign against the party, the Nazis had allowed the KPD to contest the election) and prevent several Social Democrats from attending. On 23 March 1933, the Reichstag assembled at the Kroll Opera House under turbulent circumstances. Ranks of SA men served as guards inside the building, while large groups outside opposing the proposed legislation shouted slogans and threats towards the arriving members of parliament. The position of the Centre Party (Germany), Centre Party, the third-largest party in the Reichstag, was decisive. After Hitler verbally promised party leader Ludwig Kaas that Hindenburg would retain his power of veto, Kaas announced the Centre Party would support the Enabling Act. The Act passed by a vote of 441–84, with all parties except the Social Democrats voting in favour. The Enabling Act, along with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler's government into a de facto legal dictatorship.


Dictatorship

Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his allies began to suppress the remaining opposition. The Social Democratic Party was banned and its assets seized. While many trade union delegates were in Berlin for May Day activities, SA stormtroopers occupied union offices around the country. On 2 May 1933, all trade unions were forced to dissolve and their leaders were arrested. Some were sent to Nazi concentration camps, concentration camps. The German Labour Front was formed as an umbrella organisation to represent all workers, administrators, and company owners, thus reflecting the concept of Nazism in the spirit of Hitler's ("people's community"). By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. This included the Nazis' nominal coalition partner, the DNVP; with the SA's help, Hitler forced its leader, Hugenberg, to resign on 29 June. On 14 July 1933, the Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany. The demands of the SA for more political and military power caused anxiety among military, industrial, and political leaders. In response, Hitler purged the entire SA leadership in the Night of the Long Knives, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934. Hitler targeted Ernst Röhm and other SA leaders who, along with a number of Hitler's political adversaries (such as Gregor Strasser and former chancellor Kurt von Schleicher), were rounded up, arrested, and shot. While the international community and some Germans were shocked by the murders, many in Germany believed Hitler was restoring order. On 2 August 1934, Hindenburg died. The previous day, the cabinet had enacted the "Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich". This law stated that upon Hindenburg's death, the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government, and was formally named as (leader and chancellor), although was eventually quietly dropped. With this action, Hitler eliminated the last legal remedy by which he could be removed from office. As head of state, Hitler became commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Immediately after Hindenburg's death, at the instigation of the leadership of the , the traditional loyalty oath of soldiers was altered to Hitler oath, affirm loyalty to Hitler personally, by name, rather than to the office of commander-in-chief (which was later renamed to supreme commander) or the state. On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by 88 per cent of the electorate voting in a 1934 German referendum, plebiscite. In early 1938, Hitler used blackmail to consolidate his hold over the military by instigating the Blomberg–Fritsch affair. Hitler forced his War Minister, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, to resign by using a police dossier that showed that Blomberg's new wife had a record for prostitution. Army commander Colonel-General Werner von Fritsch was removed after the (SS) produced allegations that he had engaged in a homosexual relationship. Both men had fallen into disfavour because they objected to Hitler's demand to make the ready for war as early as 1938. Hitler assumed Blomberg's title of Commander-in-Chief, thus taking personal command of the armed forces. He replaced the Ministry of War with the (OKW), headed by General Wilhelm Keitel. On the same day, sixteen generals were stripped of their commands and 44 more were transferred; all were suspected of not being sufficiently pro-Nazi. By early February 1938, twelve more generals had been removed. Hitler took care to give his dictatorship the appearance of legality. Many of his decrees were explicitly based on the Reichstag Fire Decree and hence on Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. The Reichstag renewed the Enabling Act twice, each time for a four-year period. While elections to the Reichstag were still held (in 1933, 1936, and 1938), voters were presented with a single list of Nazis and pro-Nazi "guests" which carried with well over 90 per cent of the vote. These elections were held in far-from-secret conditions; the Nazis threatened severe reprisals against anyone who did not vote or dared to vote no.


Nazi Germany


Economy and culture

In August 1934, Hitler appointed President Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics, and in the following year, as Plenipotentiary for War Economy in charge of preparing the economy for war. Reconstruction and rearmament were financed through Mefo bills, printing money, and seizing the assets of people arrested as enemies of the State, including Jews. Unemployment fell from six million in 1932 to one million in 1936. Hitler oversaw one of the largest infrastructure improvement campaigns in German history, leading to the construction of dams, autobahns, railroads, and other civil works. Wages were slightly lower in the mid to late 1930s compared with wages during the Weimar Republic, while the cost of living increased by 25 per cent. The average work week increased during the shift to a war economy; by 1939, the average German was working between 47 and 50 hours a week. Hitler's government sponsored Nazi architecture, architecture on an immense scale. Albert Speer, instrumental in implementing Hitler's classicist reinterpretation of German culture, was placed in charge of the Welthauptstadt Germania, proposed architectural renovations of Berlin. Despite a threatened 1936 Summer Olympics#Boycott debate, multi-nation boycott, Germany hosted the 1936 Olympic Games. Hitler List of people who have opened the Olympic Games#Dignitaries who have opened the Olympic Games, officiated at the opening ceremonies and attended events at both the 1936 Winter Olympics, Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the 1936 Summer Olympics, Summer Games in Berlin.


Rearmament and new alliances

In a meeting with German military leaders on 3 February 1933, Hitler spoke of "conquest for in the East and its ruthless Germanisation" as his ultimate foreign policy objectives. In March, Prince Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, secretary at the Federal Foreign Office, Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office), issued a statement of major foreign policy aims: with Austria, the restoration of Germany's national borders of 1914, rejection of military restrictions under the Treaty of Versailles, the return of the former German colonies in Africa, and a German zone of influence in Eastern Europe. Hitler found Bülow's goals to be too modest. In speeches during this period, he stressed the peaceful goals of his policies and a willingness to work within international agreements. At the first meeting of his cabinet in 1933, Hitler prioritised military spending over unemployment relief. Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference in October 1933. In January 1935, over 90 per cent of the people of the Saarland, then under League of Nations administration, 1935 Saar status referendum, voted to unite with Germany. That March, Hitler announced an expansion of the Wehrmacht to 600,000 members—six times the number permitted by the Versailles Treaty—including development of an air force () and an increase in the size of the navy (). Britain, France, Italy, and the League of Nations condemned these violations of the Treaty, but did nothing to stop it. The Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) of 18 June allowed German tonnage to increase to 35 per cent of that of the British navy. Hitler called the signing of the AGNA "the happiest day of his life", believing that the agreement marked the beginning of the Anglo-German alliance he had predicted in . France and Italy were not consulted before the signing, directly undermining the League of Nations and setting the Treaty of Versailles on the path towards irrelevance. Germany Remilitarization of the Rhineland, reoccupied the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland in March 1936, in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Hitler also sent troops to Spain to support General Franco during the Spanish Civil War after receiving an appeal for help in July 1936. At the same time, Hitler continued his efforts to create an Anglo-German alliance. In August 1936, in response to a growing economic crisis caused by his rearmament efforts, Hitler ordered Göring to implement a Four Year Plan to prepare Germany for war within the next four years. The plan envisaged an all-out struggle between "Judeo-Bolshevism" and German Nazism, which in Hitler's view required a committed effort of rearmament regardless of the economic costs. In October 1936, Count Galeazzo Ciano, foreign minister of Mussolini's government, visited Germany, where he signed a Italo-German protocol of 23 October 1936, Nine-Point Protocol as an expression of ''rapprochement'' and had a personal meeting with Hitler. On 1 November, Mussolini declared an "axis" between Germany and Italy. On 25 November, Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Empire of Japan, Japan. Britain, China, Italy, and Poland were also invited to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, but only Italy signed in 1937. Hitler abandoned his plan of an Anglo-German alliance, blaming "inadequate" British leadership. At a meeting in the Reich Chancellery with his foreign ministers and military chiefs that November, Hitler restated his intention of acquiring for the German people. He ordered preparations for war in the East, to begin as early as 1938 and no later than 1943. In the event of his death, the conference minutes, recorded as the Hossbach Memorandum, were to be regarded as his "political testament". He felt that a severe decline in living standards in Germany as a result of the economic crisis could only be stopped by military aggression aimed at seizing Austria and Czechoslovakia. Hitler urged quick action before Britain and France gained a permanent lead in the arms race. In early 1938, in the wake of the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair, Hitler asserted control of the military-foreign policy apparatus, dismissing Neurath as foreign minister and appointing himself as War Minister. From early 1938 onwards, Hitler was carrying out a foreign policy ultimately aimed at war.


World War II


Early diplomatic successes


Alliance with Japan

In February 1938, on the advice of his newly appointed foreign minister, the strongly pro-Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler ended the Sino-German cooperation until 1941, Sino-German alliance with the Republic of China (1912–49), Republic of China to instead enter into an alliance with the more modern and powerful Empire of Japan. Hitler announced German recognition of Manchukuo, the Japanese-occupied state in Manchuria, and renounced German claims to their former colonies in the Pacific held by Japan. Hitler ordered an end to arms shipments to China and recalled all German officers working with the Chinese Army. In retaliation, Chinese General cancelled all Sino-German economic agreements, depriving the Germans of many Chinese raw materials.


Austria and Czechoslovakia

On 12 March 1938, Hitler announced the unification of Austria with
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
in the . Hitler then turned his attention to the ethnic German population of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. On 28–29 March 1938, Hitler held a series of secret meetings in Berlin with Konrad Henlein of the Sudeten German Party, the largest of the ethnic German parties of the Sudetenland. The men agreed that Henlein would demand increased autonomy for Sudeten Germans from the Czechoslovakian government, thus providing a pretext for German military action against Czechoslovakia. In April 1938 Henlein told the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Hungary), foreign minister of Hungary that "whatever the Czech government might offer, he would always raise still higher demands ... he wanted to sabotage an understanding by any means because this was the only method to blow up Czechoslovakia quickly". In private, Hitler considered the Sudeten issue unimportant; his real intention was a war of conquest against Czechoslovakia. In April Hitler ordered the OKW to prepare for (Case Green), the code name for an invasion of Czechoslovakia. As a result of intense French and British diplomatic pressure, on 5 September Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš unveiled the "Fourth Plan" for constitutional reorganisation of his country, which agreed to most of Henlein's demands for Sudeten autonomy. Henlein's party responded to Beneš' offer by instigating a series of violent clashes with the Czechoslovakian police that led to the declaration of martial law in certain Sudeten districts. Germany was dependent on imported oil; a confrontation with Britain over the Czechoslovakian dispute could curtail Germany's oil supplies. This forced Hitler to call off , originally planned for 1 October 1938. On 29 September Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, and Mussolini attended a one-day conference in Munich that led to the Munich Agreement, which handed over the Sudetenland districts to Germany. Chamberlain was satisfied with the Munich conference, calling the outcome "peace for our time", while Hitler was angered about the missed opportunity for war in 1938; he expressed his disappointment in a speech on 9 October in Saarbrücken. In Hitler's view, the British-brokered peace, although favourable to the ostensible German demands, was a diplomatic defeat which spurred his intent of limiting British power to pave the way for the eastern expansion of Germany. As a result of the summit, Hitler was selected ''Time (magazine), Time'' magazine's Time Person of the Year, Man of the Year for 1938. In late 1938 and early 1939, the continuing economic crisis caused by rearmament forced Hitler to make major defence cuts. In his "Export or die" 30 January 1939 Reichstag speech, speech of 30 January 1939, he called for an economic offensive to increase German foreign exchange holdings to pay for raw materials such as high-grade iron needed for military weapons. On 14 March 1939, under threat from Hungary, Slovak Republic (1939–1945), Slovakia declared independence and received protection from Germany. The next day, in violation of the Munich accord and possibly as a result of the deepening economic crisis requiring additional assets, Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to invade the Czech rump state, and from Prague Castle he proclaimed the territory a Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, German protectorate.


Start of World War II

In private discussions in 1939, Hitler declared Britain the main enemy to be defeated and that Poland's obliteration was a necessary prelude for that goal. The eastern flank would be secured and land would be added to Germany's . Offended by the British "guarantee" on 31 March 1939 of Polish independence, he said, "I shall brew them a devil's drink". In a speech in Wilhelmshaven for the launch of the battleship on 1 April, he threatened to denounce the Anglo-German Naval Agreement if the British continued to guarantee Polish independence, which he perceived as an "encirclement" policy. Poland was to either become a German satellite state or it would be neutralised in order to secure the Reich's eastern flank and prevent a possible British blockade. Hitler initially favoured the idea of a satellite state, but upon its rejection by the Polish government, he decided to invade and made this the main foreign policy goal of 1939. On 3 April, Hitler ordered the military to prepare for ("Case White"), the plan for invading Poland on 25 August. In a Reichstag speech on 28 April, he renounced both the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact. Historians such as William Carr (historian), William Carr, Gerhard Weinberg, and
Ian Kershaw Sir Ian Kershaw (born 29 April 1943) is an English historian whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is par ...
have argued that one reason for Hitler's rush to war was his fear of an early death. He had repeatedly claimed that he must lead Germany into war before he got too old, as his successors might lack his strength of will. Hitler was concerned that a military attack against Poland could result in a premature war with Britain. Hitler's foreign minister and former Ambassador to London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, assured him that neither Britain nor France would honour their commitments to Poland. Accordingly, on 22 August 1939 Hitler ordered a military mobilisation against Poland. This plan required tacit Soviet support, and the non-aggression pact (the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact) between Germany and the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, included a secret agreement to partition Poland between the two countries. Contrary to Ribbentrop's prediction that Britain would sever Anglo-Polish ties, Britain and Poland signed the Anglo-Polish alliance on 25 August 1939. This, along with news from Italy that Mussolini would not honour the Pact of Steel, prompted Hitler to postpone the attack on Poland from 25 August to 1 September. Hitler unsuccessfully tried to manoeuvre the British into neutrality by offering them a non-aggression guarantee on 25 August; he then instructed Ribbentrop to present a last-minute peace plan with an impossibly short time limit in an effort to blame the imminent war on British and Polish inaction. On 1 September 1939, Germany invasion of Poland, invaded western Poland under the pretext of having been denied claims to the Free City of Danzig and the right to extraterritorial roads across the Polish Corridor, which Germany had ceded under the Versailles Treaty. In response, British and French declaration of war on Germany, Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September, surprising Hitler and prompting him to angrily ask Ribbentrop, "Now what?" France and Britain did not act on their declarations immediately, and on 17 September, Soviet forces invaded eastern Poland. The fall of Poland was followed by what contemporary journalists dubbed the "Phoney War" or ("sitting war"). Hitler instructed the two newly appointed Gauleiters of north-western Poland, Albert Forster of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia and Arthur Greiser of Reichsgau Wartheland, to Germanise their areas, with "no questions asked" about how this was accomplished. In Forster's area, ethnic Poles merely had to sign forms stating that they had German blood. In contrast, Greiser agreed with Himmler and carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign towards Poles. Greiser soon complained that Forster was allowing thousands of Poles to be accepted as "racial" Germans and thus endangered German "racial purity". Hitler refrained from getting involved. This inaction has been advanced as an example of the theory of "working towards the Führer", in which Hitler issued vague instructions and expected his subordinates to work out policies on their own. Another dispute pitched one side represented by Heinrich Himmler and Greiser, who championed ethnic cleansing in Poland, against another represented by Göring and Hans Frank (General Government, governor-general of occupied Poland), who called for turning Poland into the "granary" of the Reich. On 12 February 1940, the dispute was initially settled in favour of the Göring–Frank view, which ended the economically disruptive mass expulsions. On 15 May 1940, Himmler issued a memo entitled "Some Thoughts on the Treatment of Alien Population in the East", calling for the expulsion of the entire Jewish population of Europe into Africa and the reduction of the Polish population to a "leaderless class of labourers". Hitler called Himmler's memo "good and correct", and, ignoring Göring and Frank, implemented the Himmler–Greiser policy in Poland. On 9 April, German forces Operation Weserübung, invaded Denmark and Norway. On the same day Hitler proclaimed the birth of the Greater Germanic Reich, his vision of a united empire of Germanic nations of Europe in which the Dutch, Flemish, and Scandinavians were joined into a "racially pure" polity under German leadership. In May 1940, Germany Battle of France, attacked France, and conquered German occupation of Luxembourg in World War II, Luxembourg, the Battle of the Netherlands, Netherlands, and Battle of Belgium, Belgium. These victories prompted Mussolini to have Italy join forces with Hitler on 10 June. France and Germany signed an Armistice of 22 June 1940, armistice on 22 June. Kershaw notes that Hitler's popularity within Germany—and German support for the war—reached its peak when he returned to Berlin on 6 July from his tour of Paris. Following the unexpected swift victory, Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of field marshal during the 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony. Britain, whose troops were forced to evacuate France by sea from Dunkirk evacuation, Dunkirk, continued to fight alongside Commonwealth of Nations, other British dominions in the Battle of the Atlantic. Hitler made peace overtures to the new British leader, Winston Churchill, and upon their rejection he ordered a series of aerial attacks on Royal Air Force airbases and radar stations in south-east England. On 7 September the systematic nightly bombing of London began. The German Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force in what became known as the Battle of Britain. By the end of September, Hitler realised that air superiority for the invasion of Britain (in Operation Sea Lion) could not be achieved, and ordered the operation postponed. The The Blitz, nightly air raids on British cities intensified and continued for months, including London, Plymouth, and Coventry. On 27 September 1940, the Tripartite Pact was signed in Berlin by Saburō Kurusu of Empire of Japan, Imperial Japan, Hitler, and Italian foreign minister Ciano, and later expanded to include Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, thus yielding the Axis powers. Hitler's attempt to integrate the Soviet Union into the anti-British bloc failed after inconclusive talks between Hitler and Vyacheslav Molotov, Molotov in Berlin in November, and he ordered preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union. In early 1941, German forces were deployed to North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. In February, Operation Sonnenblume, German forces arrived in Libya to bolster the Italian presence. In April, Hitler launched the invasion of Yugoslavia, quickly followed by the Battle of Greece, invasion of Greece. In May, German forces were sent to support Anglo-Iraqi War, Iraqi forces fighting against the British and to Battle of Crete, invade Crete.


Path to defeat

On 22 June 1941, contravening the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, over three million Axis troops attacked Operation Barbarossa, the Soviet Union. This offensive (codenamed Operation Barbarossa) was intended to destroy the Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent aggression against the Western powers. The invasion conquered a huge area, including the Baltic region, Baltic republics, Belarus, and West Ukraine. By early August, Axis troops had advanced and won the Battle of Smolensk (1941), Battle of Smolensk. Hitler ordered Army Group Centre to temporarily halt its advance to Moscow and divert its Panzer groups to aid in the encirclement of Leningrad and Kiev. His generals disagreed with this change, having advanced within of Moscow, and his decision caused a crisis among the military leadership. The pause provided the Red Army with an opportunity to mobilise fresh reserves; historian Russel Stolfi considers it to be one of the major factors that caused the failure of the Moscow offensive, which was resumed in October 1941 and Battle of Moscow, ended disastrously in December. During this crisis, Hitler appointed himself as head of the . On 7 December 1941, Japan attack on Pearl Harbor, attacked the American fleet based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four days later, Hitler German declaration of war against the United States, declared war against the United States. On 18 December 1941, Himmler asked Hitler, "What to do with the Jews of Russia?", to which Hitler replied, ("exterminate them as partisans"). Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer has commented that the remark is probably as close as historians will ever get to a definitive order from Hitler for the genocide carried out during the Holocaust. In late 1942, German forces were defeated in the Second Battle of El Alamein, second battle of El Alamein, thwarting Hitler's plans to seize the Suez Canal and the Middle East. Overconfident in his own military expertise following the earlier victories in 1940, Hitler became distrustful of his Army High Command and began to interfere in military and tactical planning, with damaging consequences. In December 1942 and January 1943, Hitler's repeated refusal to allow their withdrawal at the Battle of Stalingrad led to the almost total destruction of the 6th Army (Wehrmacht), 6th Army. Over 200,000 Axis soldiers were killed and 235,000 were taken prisoner. Thereafter came a decisive strategic defeat at the Battle of Kursk. Hitler's military judgement became increasingly erratic, and Germany's military and economic position deteriorated, as did Hitler's health. Following the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Fall of the Fascist regime in Italy, Mussolini was removed from power by King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III after a vote of no confidence of the Grand Council of Fascism. Marshal Pietro Badoglio, placed in charge of the government, soon Armistice of Cassibile, surrendered to the Allies. Throughout 1943 and 1944, the Soviet Union steadily forced Hitler's armies into retreat along the Eastern Front (World War II), Eastern Front. On 6 June 1944, the Western Allied armies landed in northern France in one of the largest amphibious warfare, amphibious operations in history, Operation Overlord. Many German officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that continuing under Hitler's leadership would result in the total war, complete destruction of the country. Between 1939 and 1945, there were many plans to Assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler, assassinate Hitler, some of which proceeded to significant degrees. The most well known, the 20 July plot of 1944, came from within Germany and was at least partly driven by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war. Part of Operation Valkyrie, the plot involved Claus von Stauffenberg planting a bomb in one of Führer Headquarters, Hitler's headquarters, the Wolf's Lair at Kętrzyn, Rastenburg. Hitler narrowly survived because staff officer Heinz Brandt moved the briefcase containing the bomb behind a leg of the heavy conference table, which deflected much of the blast. Later, Hitler ordered savage reprisals resulting in the execution of more than 4,900 people.


Defeat and death

By late 1944, both the
Red Army The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army,) frequently shortened to Red Army, was the army and air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR or RSFSR; rus, links= ...
and the Allies of World War II, Western Allies were advancing into Germany. Recognising the strength and determination of the Red Army, Hitler decided to use his remaining mobile reserves against the American and British troops, which he perceived as far weaker. On 16 December, he launched the Ardennes Offensive to incite disunity among the Western Allies and perhaps convince them to join his fight against the Soviets. After some temporary successes, the offensive failed. With much of Germany in ruins in January 1945, Hitler spoke on the radio: "However grave as the crisis may be at this moment, it will, despite everything, be mastered by our unalterable will." Acting on his view that Germany's military failures meant it had forfeited its right to survive as a nation, Hitler ordered the destruction of all German industrial infrastructure before it could fall into Allied hands. Minister for Armaments Albert Speer was entrusted with executing this scorched earth policy, but he secretly disobeyed the order. Hitler's hope to negotiate peace with the United States and Britain was encouraged by the death of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 12 April 1945, but contrary to his expectations, this caused no rift among the Allies. On 20 April, his 56thbirthday, Hitler made his last trip from the (Führer's shelter) to the surface. In the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery, he awarded Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth, who were now fighting the Red Army at the front near Berlin. By 21 April, Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front had broken through the defences of General Gotthard Heinrici's Army Group Vistula during the Battle of the Seelow Heights and advanced to the outskirts of Berlin. In denial about the dire situation, Hitler placed his hopes on the undermanned and under-equipped (Army Detachment Steiner), commanded by Felix Steiner. Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the Salients, re-entrants and pockets, salient, while the German 9th Army (Wehrmacht), Ninth Army was ordered to attack northward in a pincer attack. During a military conference on 22 April, Hitler asked about Steiner's offensive. He was told that the attack had not been launched and that the Soviets had entered Berlin. Hitler asked everyone except Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Hans Krebs (Wehrmacht general), Hans Krebs, and Wilhelm Burgdorf to leave the room, then launched into a tirade against the treachery and incompetence of his commanders, culminating in his declaration—for the first time—that "everything was lost". He announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself. By 23 April the Red Army had surrounded Berlin, and Goebbels made a proclamation urging its citizens to defend the city. That same day, Göring sent a telegram from Berchtesgaden, arguing that since Hitler was isolated in Berlin, Göring should assume leadership of Germany. Göring set a deadline, after which he would consider Hitler incapacitated. Hitler responded by having Göring arrested, and in his last will and testament of Adolf Hitler, last will and testament of 29 April, he removed Göring from all government positions. On 28 April Hitler discovered that Himmler, who had left Berlin on 20 April, was trying to negotiate a surrender to the Western Allies. He ordered Himmler's arrest and had Hermann Fegelein (Himmler's SS representative at Hitler's HQ in Berlin) shot. After midnight on the night of 28–29 April, Hitler married
Eva Braun Eva Anna Paula Hitler (; 6 February 1912 – 30 April 1945) was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was a 17-year-old assistant and model for his personal phot ...
in a small civil ceremony in the . Later that afternoon, Hitler was informed that Death of Benito Mussolini, Mussolini had been executed by the Italian resistance movement on the previous day; this presumably increased his determination to avoid capture. On 30 April 1945, Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery when Hitler shot himself in the head and Braun bit into a cyanide capsule. Their corpses were carried outside to the garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater, doused with petrol, and set on fire as the Red Army shelling continued. Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz and Joseph Goebbels assumed Hitler's roles as head of state and chancellor respectively. Berlin surrendered on 2 May. The remains of Joseph and Magda Goebbels, the six Goebbels children, General Hans Krebs (Wehrmacht general), Hans Krebs, and Blondi, Hitler's dogs were repeatedly buried and exhumed. Hitler and Braun's remains were alleged to have been moved as well, but this is most likely Soviet disinformation. There is no evidence that any actual bodily remains of Hitler or Braunwith the exception of the dental bridgeswere found by the Soviets, which could be identified as their remains. In 1946, the remains of Goebbels and the others were exhumed again and moved to the SMERSH unit's then new facility in Magdeburg, where they were buried in five wooden boxes on 21 February. By 1970, the facility was under the control of the KGB and scheduled to be relinquished to East Germany. A KGB team was given detailed burial charts and on 4 April 1970 secretly exhumed the remains of ten or eleven bodies "in an advanced state of decay". The remains were thoroughly burned and crushed, and the ashes thrown into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the nearby Elbe.


The Holocaust

The Holocaust and Germany's war in the East were based on Hitler's long-standing view that the Jews were the enemy of the German people and that was needed for Germany's expansion. He focused on Eastern Europe for this expansion, aiming to defeat Poland and the Soviet Union and then removing or killing the Jews and Slavs. The (General Plan East) called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to West Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered; the conquered territories were to be colonised by German or "Germanised" settlers. The goal was to implement this plan after the conquest of the Soviet Union, but when this failed, Hitler moved the plans forward. By January 1942, he had decided that the Jews, Slavs, and other deportees considered undesirable should be killed. The genocide was organised and executed by Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. The records of the Wannsee Conference, held on 20 January 1942 and led by Heydrich, with fifteen senior Nazi officials participating, provide the clearest evidence of systematic planning for the Holocaust. On 22 February, Hitler was recorded saying, "we shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews". Similarly, at a meeting in July 1941 with leading functionaries of the Eastern territories, Hitler said that the easiest way to quickly pacify the areas would be best achieved by "shooting everyone who even looks odd". Although no direct order from Hitler authorising the mass killings has surfaced, his public speeches, orders to his generals, and the diaries of Nazi officials demonstrate that he conceived and authorised the extermination of European Jewry. During the war, Hitler repeatedly stated his Hitler's prophecy, prophecy of 1939 was being fulfilled, namely, that a world war would bring about the annihilation of the Jewish race. Hitler approved the —killing squads that followed the German army through Poland, the Baltic, and the Soviet Union—and was well informed about their activities. By summer 1942, Auschwitz concentration camp was expanded to accommodate large numbers of deportees for killing or Forced labour under German rule during World War II, enslavement. Scores of other concentration camps and satellite camps were set up throughout Europe, with several camps devoted exclusively to extermination. Between 1939 and 1945, the (SS), assisted by Collaboration with the Axis Powers, collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied countries, was responsible for the deaths of at least eleven million non-combatants, including about 6 million Jews (representing two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe), and between 200,000 and 1,500,000 Porajmos, Romani people. Deaths took place in concentration and extermination camps, Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe, ghettos, and through mass executions. Many victims of the Holocaust were gas chamber, gassed to death, while others died of starvation or disease or while working as slave labourers. In addition to eliminating Jews, the Nazis planned to reduce the population of the conquered territories by 30 million people through starvation in an action called the Hunger Plan. Food supplies would be diverted to the German army and German civilians. Cities would be razed and the land allowed to return to forest or resettled by German colonists. Together, the Hunger Plan and would have led to the starvation of 80 million people in the Soviet Union. These partially fulfilled plans resulted in additional deaths, bringing the total number of civilians and prisoners of war who died in the democide to an estimated 19.3 million people. Hitler's policies resulted in the killing of nearly two million non-Jewish Nazi crimes against the Polish nation, Polish civilians, over three million German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war, Soviet prisoners of war, communists and other political opponents, Persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany, homosexuals, the physically and mentally disabled, Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany, Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, and trade unionists. Hitler did not speak publicly about the killings, and seems never to have visited the concentration camps. The Nazis embraced the concept of racial hygiene. On 15 September 1935, Hitler presented two laws—known as the Nuremberg Laws—to the Reichstag. The laws banned sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and Jews and were later extended to include "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring". The laws stripped all non-Aryans of their German citizenship and forbade the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households. Hitler's early Nazi eugenics, eugenic policies targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities in a programme dubbed Child euthanasia in Nazi Germany, Action Brandt, and he later authorised a euthanasia programme for adults with serious mental and physical disabilities, now referred to as .


Leadership style

Hitler ruled the Nazi Party
autocratic Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a State (polity), state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (exc ...
ally by asserting the (leader principle). The principle relied on absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors; thus he viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the Leaderism, infallible leader—at the apex. Rank in the party was not determined by elections—positions were filled through appointment by those of higher rank, who demanded unquestioning obedience to the will of the leader. Hitler's leadership style was to give contradictory orders to his subordinates and to place them into positions where their duties and responsibilities overlapped with those of others, to have "the stronger one [do] the job". In this way, Hitler fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and maximise his own power. Hitler Cabinet, His cabinet never met after 1938, and he discouraged his ministers from meeting independently. Hitler typically did not give written orders; instead he communicated verbally, or had them conveyed through his close associate, Martin Bormann. He entrusted Bormann with his paperwork, appointments, and personal finances; Bormann used his position to control the flow of information and access to Hitler. Hitler dominated his country's war effort during World War II to a greater extent than any other national leader. He strengthened his control of the armed forces in 1938, and subsequently made all major decisions regarding Germany's military strategy. His decision to mount a risky series of offensives against Norway, France, and the Low Countries in 1940 against the advice of the military proved successful, though the diplomatic and military strategies he employed in attempts to force the United Kingdom out of the war ended in failure. Hitler deepened his involvement in the war effort by appointing himself commander-in-chief of the Army in December 1941; from this point forward he personally directed the war against the Soviet Union, while his military commanders facing the Western Allies retained a degree of autonomy. Hitler's leadership became increasingly disconnected from reality as the war turned against Germany, with the military's defensive strategies often hindered by his slow decision making and frequent directives to hold untenable positions. Nevertheless, he continued to believe that only his leadership could deliver victory. In the final months of the war Hitler refused to consider peace negotiations, regarding the destruction of Germany as preferable to surrender. The military did not challenge Hitler's dominance of the war effort, and senior officers generally supported and enacted his decisions.


Personal life


Family

Hitler created a public image as a celibate man without a domestic life, dedicated entirely to his political mission and the nation. He met his lover,
Eva Braun Eva Anna Paula Hitler (; 6 February 1912 – 30 April 1945) was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was a 17-year-old assistant and model for his personal phot ...
, in 1929, and married her on 29 April 1945, one day before they both committed suicide. In September 1931, his half-niece, Geli Raubal, took her own life with Hitler's gun in his Munich apartment. It was rumoured among contemporaries that Geli was in a romantic relationship with him, and her death was a source of deep, lasting pain. Paula Hitler, the younger sister of Hitler and the last living member of his immediate family, died in June 1960.


Views on religion

Hitler was born to a practising Catholic mother and an anticlerical father; after leaving home Hitler never again attended Mass (liturgy), Mass or received the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, sacraments. Speer states that Hitler railed against the church to his political associates and though he never officially left it, he had no attachment to it. He adds that Hitler felt that in the absence of organised religion, people would turn to mysticism, which he considered regressive. According to Speer, Hitler believed that Japanese religions, Japanese religious beliefs or Islam would have been a more suitable religion for Germans than Christianity, with its "meekness and flabbiness". Historian John S. Conway (historian), John S. Conway states that Hitler was fundamentally opposed to the Christian churches. According to Bullock, Hitler did not believe in God, was anticlerical, and held Christian ethics in contempt because they contravened his preferred view of "survival of the fittest". He favoured aspects of Protestantism that suited his own views, and adopted some elements of the Catholic Church's hierarchical organisation, liturgy, and phraseology. Hitler viewed the church as an important politically conservative influence on society, and he adopted a strategic relationship with it that "suited his immediate political purposes". In public, Hitler often praised Christian heritage and German Christian culture, though professing a belief in an "Aryan Jesus" who fought against the Jews. Any pro-Christian public rhetoric contradicted his private statements, which described Christianity as "absurdity" and nonsense founded on lies. According to a US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) report, "The Nazi Master Plan", Hitler planned to destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Reich. His eventual goal was the total elimination of Christianity. This goal informed Hitler's movement early on, but he saw it as inexpedient to publicly express this extreme position. According to Bullock, Hitler wanted to wait until after the war before executing this plan. Speer wrote that Hitler had a negative view of Himmler's and Alfred Rosenberg's mystical notions and Himmler's attempt to mythologise the SS. Hitler was more pragmatic, and his ambitions centred on more practical concerns.


Health

Researchers have variously suggested that Hitler suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, irregular heartbeat, coronary sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, syphilis, giant-cell arteritis, and tinnitus. In a report prepared for the OSS in 1943, Walter Charles Langer, Walter C. Langer of Harvard University described Hitler as a "neurotic psychopath". In his 1977 book ''The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler'', historian Robert G. L. Waite proposes that he suffered from borderline personality disorder. Historians Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann consider that while he suffered from a number of illnesses including Parkinson's disease, Hitler did not experience pathological delusions and was always fully aware of, and therefore responsible for, his decisions. Theories about Hitler's medical condition are difficult to prove, and placing too much weight on them may have the effect of attributing many of the events and consequences of Nazi Germany to the possibly impaired physical health of one individual. According to Kershaw, it is better to take a broader view of German history by examining what social forces led to the Nazi dictatorship and its policies rather than to pursue narrow explanations for the Holocaust and World WarII based on only one person. Sometime in the 1930s Adolf Hitler and vegetarianism, Hitler adopted a mainly vegetarian diet, avoiding all meat and fish from 1942 onwards. At social events he sometimes gave graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make his guests shun meat. Bormann had a greenhouse constructed near the Berghof (residence), Berghof (near Berchtesgaden) to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for Hitler. Hitler stopped drinking alcohol around the time he became vegetarian and thereafter only very occasionally drank beer or wine on social occasions. He was a non-smoker for most of his adult life, but smoked heavily in his youth (25 to 40 cigarettes a day); he eventually quit, calling the habit "a waste of money". He encouraged his close associates to quit by offering a gold watch to anyone able to break the habit. Hitler began using amphetamine occasionally after 1937 and became addicted to it in late 1942. Speer linked this use of amphetamine to Hitler's increasingly erratic behaviour and inflexible decision making (for example, rarely allowing military retreats). Prescribed 90 medications during the war years by his personal physician, Theodor Morell, Hitler took many pills each day for chronic stomach problems and other ailments. He regularly consumed amphetamine, barbiturates, opiates, and cocaine, as well as potassium bromide and atropa belladonna (the latter in the form of Doktor Koster's Antigaspills). He suffered ruptured eardrums as a result of the 20 July plot bomb blast in 1944, and 200 wood splinters had to be removed from his legs. Newsreel footage of Hitler shows tremors in his left hand and a shuffling walk, which began before the war and worsened towards the end of his life. Ernst-Günther Schenck and several other doctors who met Hitler in the last weeks of his life also formed a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.


Legacy

Hitler's suicide was likened by contemporaries to a "spell" being broken. Public support for Hitler had collapsed by the time of his death and few Germans mourned his passing; Kershaw argues that most civilians and military personnel were too busy adjusting to the collapse of the country or fleeing from the fighting to take any interest. According to historian John Toland (author), John Toland, Nazism "burst like a bubble" without its leader. Kershaw describes Hitler as "the embodiment of modern political evil". "Never in history has such ruination—physical and moral—been associated with the name of one man", he adds. Hitler's political programme brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe. Germany suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as (Zero Hour). Hitler's policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale; according to R. J. Rummel, the Nazi regime was responsible for the democidal killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre of World War II. The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in the history of warfare. Historians, philosophers, and politicians often use the word "evil" to describe the Nazi regime. Many European countries have Laws against Holocaust denial, criminalised both the promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial. Historian Friedrich Meinecke described Hitler as "one of the great examples of the singular and incalculable power of personality in historical life". English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper saw him as "among the 'terrible simplifiers' of history, the most systematic, the most historical, the most philosophical, and yet the coarsest, cruelest, least magnanimous conqueror the world has ever known". For the historian John Roberts (historian), John M. Roberts, Hitler's defeat marked the end of a phase of European history dominated by Germany. In its place emerged the Cold War, a global confrontation between the Western Bloc, dominated by the United States and other NATO nations, and the Eastern Bloc, dominated by the Soviet Union. Historian Sebastian Haffner asserts that without Hitler and the displacement of the Jews, the modern nation state of Israel would not exist. He contends that without Hitler, the de-colonisation of former European spheres of influence would have been postponed. Further, Haffner claims that other than Alexander the Great, Hitler had a more significant impact than any other comparable historical figure, in that he too caused a wide range of worldwide changes in a relatively short time span.


In propaganda

Hitler exploited documentary films and newsreels to inspire a cult of personality. He was involved and appeared in a series of propaganda films throughout his political career, many made by Leni Riefenstahl, regarded as a pioneer of modern filmmaking. Hitler's propaganda film appearances include: * (''Victory of Faith'', 1933) * (''Triumph of the Will'', 1935) * (''Day of Freedom: Our Armed Forces'', 1935) * ''Olympia (1938 film), Olympia'' (1938)


See also

* Bibliography of Adolf Hitler * Führermuseum * Hitler and Mannerheim recording * Julius Schaub – chief aide * Karl Mayr – Hitler's superior in army Intelligence 1919–1920 * Karl Wilhelm Krause – personal valet * List of Adolf Hitler's personal staff * List of streets named after Adolf Hitler * Paintings by Adolf Hitler * Toothbrush moustache – also known as a "Hitler moustache", a style of facial hair


References

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External links

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