ADOLF HITLER (German: ( listen ); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945)
was a German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party
(Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), Chancellor of
Germany from 1933 to 1945, and
Führer ("Leader") of
Nazi Germany from
1934 to 1945. As dictator , he initiated
World War II
World War II in Europe with
the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and was central to the
Hitler was born in Austria, then part of
Austria-Hungary , and raised
Linz . He moved to
Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his
service in the German Army in
World War I
World War I . He joined the German
Workers\' Party (DAP), the precursor of the NSDAP, in 1919 and became
leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923 he attempted a coup in
seize power. The failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during
which he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political
Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). After his release in 1924,
Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles
Pan-Germanism , anti-semitism , and anti-communism with
charismatic oratory and
Nazi propaganda .
Hitler frequently denounced
international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish
By 1933, the
Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German
Reichstag , which led to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor on 30
January 1933. Following fresh elections won by his coalition, the
Reichstag passed the Enabling Act , which began the process of
Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party
dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of
National Socialism .
Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from
establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the
World War I
World War I international order dominated by Britain and France.
His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from
Great Depression , the effective abandonment of restrictions
Germany after World War I, and the annexation of
territories that were home to millions of ethnic Germans —actions
which gave him significant popular support.
Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people in
Eastern Europe. His aggressive foreign policy is considered to be the
primary cause of the outbreak of
World War II
World War II in Europe. He directed
large-scale rearmament and on 1 September 1939 invaded Poland,
resulting in British and French declarations of war on Germany. In
Hitler ordered an invasion of the
Soviet Union . By the end
of 1941 German forces and the European
Axis powers occupied most of
Europe and North Africa . In December 1941
Hitler formally declared
war on the United States, bringing them directly into the conflict.
Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into
the war forced
Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of
escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of
Berlin in 1945,
Hitler married his long-time lover,
Eva Braun . On 30
April 1945, less than two days later, the two killed themselves to
avoid capture by the
Red Army , and their corpses were burned.
Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology , the Nazi
regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews
and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed
Untermenschen (sub-humans) and 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, 29 million
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 warfare; the
casualties constituted the deadliest conflict in human history .
* 1 Early years
* 1.1 Ancestry
* 1.2 Childhood and education
* 1.3 Early adulthood in
World War I
World War I
* 2 Entry into politics
Beer Hall Putsch and
* 2.2 Rebuilding the NSDAP
* 3 Rise to power
* 3.1 Brüning administration
* 3.2 Appointment as chancellor
Reichstag fire and March elections
* 3.4 Day of
Potsdam and the Enabling Act
* 4.1 Economy and culture
* 4.2 Rearmament and new alliances
World War II
World War II
* 5.1 Early diplomatic successes
* 5.1.1 Alliance with Japan
* 5.1.2 Austria and
* 5.2 Start of
World War II
World War II
* 5.3 Path to defeat
* 5.4 Defeat and death
* 6 Leadership style
* 7 Legacy
* 8 Views on religion
* 9 Health
* 10 Family
* 11 In propaganda films
* 11.1 List of propaganda and film appearances
* 12 See also
* 13 Notes
* 14 References
* 14.1 Citations
* 14.2 Bibliography
* 14.3 Online
* 15 External links
Alois Hitler Sr. (1837–1903) was the illegitimate
child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber . The baptismal register did not
show the name of his father, and Alois initially bore his mother's
surname Schicklgruber. In 1842,
Johann Georg Hiedler married Alois's
mother Maria Anna. Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedler's
Johann Nepomuk Hiedler . In 1876, Alois was legitimated and
the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg
Hiedler as Alois's father (recorded as "Georg Hitler"). Alois then
assumed the surname "Hitler", also spelled Hiedler, Hüttler, or
Hitler surname is probably based on "one who lives in a
hut" (German Hütte for "hut").
Hans Frank suggested that Alois's mother had been
employed as a housekeeper by a
Jewish family in
Graz , and that the
family's 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois. No
Frankenberger was registered in
Graz during that period, and no record
has been produced of Leopold Frankenberger's existence, so historians
dismiss the claim that Alois's father was Jewish.
CHILDHOOD AND EDUCATION
Hitler as an infant (c. 1889–90)
Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in
Braunau am Inn , a town in
Austria-Hungary (in present-day Austria), close to the border with the
German Empire . He was christened as "Adolphus Hitler". He was the
fourth of six children born to
Alois Hitler and his third wife, 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 (born 1883). When
Hitler was three, the family moved to
Passau , Germany. There he
acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect , rather than Austrian
German , 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 , where he farmed and kept bees.
Volksschule (a state-owned 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. Alois Hitler's farming efforts at Hafeld
ended in failure, and in 1897 the family moved to Lambach. The
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 . Hitler
changed from a confident, outgoing, conscientious student to a morose,
detached boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers.
Hitler's mother, Klara Hitler's father, Alois
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
Linz in September
Hitler rebelled against this decision, and in Mein Kampf
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 ideas from a young age. He expressed loyalty only to
Germany, despising the declining
Habsburg Monarchy and its rule over
an ethnically variegated empire.
Hitler and his friends used the
greeting "Heil", and sang the "
Deutschlandlied " instead of the
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
Steyr in September 1904, where his behaviour and
performance improved. In 1905, after passing a repeat of the final
Hitler left the school without any ambitions for further
education or clear plans for a career.
EARLY ADULTHOOD IN VIENNA AND MUNICH
The house in
Leonding in Austria where
Hitler spent his early
adolescence (photo taken in July 2012)
Linz to live and study fine art in
financed by orphan's benefits and support from his mother. He applied
for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts
Vienna but was rejected
twice. . The director explained his drawings showed "unfitness for
painting" and suggested
Hitler was better suited to studying
architecture. Though this was an interest of his, he lacked the
academic credentials as he had not finished secondary school. On 21
December 1907, his mother died of breast cancer at the age of 47. In
Hitler ran out of money and was forced to live a bohemian life in
homeless shelters and a men's hostel. He earned money as a casual
labourer and by painting and selling watercolours of Vienna's sights.
The Alter Hof in
Munich . Watercolour by Adolf Hitler, 1914
During his time in
Vienna he pursued a growing passion for two
interests, architecture and music, attending ten performances of
Lohengrin , his favorite
It was here that
Hitler first become exposed to racist rhetoric.
Populists such as mayor
Karl Lueger exploited the climate of virulent
anti-Semitism and occasionally espoused German nationalist notions for
German nationalism had a particularly widespread
following in the
Mariahilf district, where
Hitler lived. Georg Ritter
von Schönerer became a major influence on Hitler. He also developed
an admiration for
Martin Luther .
Hitler read local newspapers such
as Deutsches Volksblatt 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 , Charles Darwin
Friedrich Nietzsche ,
Gustave Le Bon
Gustave Le Bon and
Arthur Schopenhauer .
The origin and development of Hitler's anti-Semitism remains a matter
of debate. His friend,
August Kubizek , claimed that
Hitler was a
"confirmed anti-Semite" before he left Linz. However, historian
Brigitte Hamann describes Kubizek's claim as "problematical". While
Hitler wrote in
Mein Kampf that he first became an anti-Semite in
Reinhold Hanisch , who helped him sell his paintings,
Hitler had dealings with Jews while living in Vienna.
Richard J. Evans states that "historians now generally agree
that his notorious, murderous anti-Semitism emerged well after
Germany's defeat , 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
Munich , Germany. As an Austrian,
Hitler was called up for
conscription into the
Austro-Hungarian Army , so he journeyed to
Salzburg on 5 February 1914 for medical assessment. After he was
deemed by the medical examiners as unfit for service, he returned to
WORLD WAR I
Military career of Adolf Hitler
right, seated) with his army comrades of the Bavarian Reserve Infantry
Regiment 16 (c. 1914–18)
In 1914, at the outbreak of
World War I
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 on the Western Front in
France and Belgium, spending nearly half his time at the regimental
Fournes-en-Weppes , well behind the front lines. He
was present at the
First Battle of Ypres
First Battle of Ypres , the
Battle of the Somme
Battle of the Somme ,
the Battle of Arras , and the
Battle of Passchendaele
Battle of Passchendaele , and was
wounded at the Somme. He was decorated for bravery, receiving the
Iron Cross , Second Class, in 1914. On a recommendation by Lieutenant
Hugo Gutmann , Hitler's
Jewish superior, he received the Iron Cross,
First Class on 4 August 1918, a decoration rarely awarded to one of
Gefreiter rank. He received the Black
Wound Badge on 18 May
Hitler as a soldier during
World War I
World War I (1914–1918)
During his service at headquarters,
Hitler pursued his artwork,
drawing cartoons and instructions for an army newspaper. During the
Battle of the Somme
Battle of the Somme in October 1916, he was wounded in the left thigh
when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners' dugout.
almost two months in hospital at
Beelitz , returning to his regiment
on 5 March 1917. On 15 October 1918, he was temporarily blinded in a
mustard gas attack and was hospitalised in
Pasewalk . 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 Dolchstoßlegende
(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 by civilian leaders, Jews, and Marxists , later dubbed the
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles stipulated that
Germany must relinquish
several of its territories and demilitarise the
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
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
Political views of Adolf Hitler Hitler's German
Workers\' Party (DAP) membership card
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 Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an
Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance unit) of the
assigned to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German
Workers\' Party (DAP). At a DAP meeting on 12 September 1919, Party
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 , 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).
At the DAP,
Dietrich Eckart , one of the party's founders
and a member of the occult
Thule Society . Eckart became Hitler's
mentor, exchanging ideas with him and introducing him to a wide range
Munich society. To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name
to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National
Socialist German Workers Party ; NSDAP).
Hitler designed the party's
banner of a 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 NSDAP. The party headquarters was in
Munich, a hotbed of anti-government German nationalists determined to
Marxism and undermine the
Weimar Republic . In February
1921—already highly effective at speaking to large audiences—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 speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival
politicians, and especially against Marxists and Jews. Hitler
poses for the camera, 1930
In June 1921, while
Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to
Berlin , a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in Munich. Members of its
executive committee wanted to merge with the rival German Socialist
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 NSDAP: Opponents of
Hitler in the
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 533 to 1.
Hitler's vitriolic beer hall speeches began attracting regular
audiences. He became adept at using populist themes, including the use
of scapegoats , 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 , a former
member of the
Hitler Youth, later recalled:
We erupted into a frenzy of nationalistic pride that bordered on
hysteria. For minutes on end, we shouted at the top of our lungs, with
tears streaming down our faces: Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil! From
that moment on, I belonged to Adolf
Hitler body and soul.
Nevertheless, some visitors who met
Hitler privately noted that his
appearance and demeanour failed to make a lasting impression.
Early followers included
Rudolf Hess , former air force ace Hermann
Göring , and army captain
Ernst Röhm . Röhm became head of the
Nazis' paramilitary organisation, the
"Stormtroopers"), which protected meetings and attacked political
opponents. A critical influence on Hitler's thinking during this
period was the
Aufbau Vereinigung , 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
BEER HALL PUTSCH AND LANDSBERG PRISON
Beer Hall Putsch Defendants in the Beer Hall
Putsch trial. From left to right: Pernet, Weber, Frick, Kiebel,
Ludendorff, Hitler, Bruckner, Röhm, and Wagner.
Hitler enlisted the help of
World War I
World War I General Erich
Ludendorff for an attempted coup known as the "
Beer Hall Putsch ". The
Italian Fascism as a model for their appearance and
Hitler wanted to emulate
Benito Mussolini 's "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 Staatskommissar (state commissioner) Gustav Ritter von
Kahr , Bavaria's de facto ruler. However, Kahr, along with Police
Hans Ritter von Seisser and
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
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 Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian
government, but police dispersed them. Sixteen NSDAP members and four
police officers were killed in the failed coup.
Dust jacket of
Mein Kampf (1926–28 edition)
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 in
Munich began in February 1924, and Alfred
Rosenberg became temporary leader of the NSDAP. On 1 April,
sentenced to five years' imprisonment at
Landsberg Prison . There, he
received friendly treatment from the guards, and he 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) to his deputy, Rudolf
Hess. 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.
Some passages imply genocide . Published in two volumes in 1925 and
1926, it sold 228,000 copies between 1925 and 1932. One million copies
were sold in 1933, Hitler's first year in office.
Hitler was eligible for parole, the Bavarian
government attempted to have him deported back 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 NSDAP
At the time of Hitler's release from prison, politics in
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 NSDAP and its affiliated organisations were banned in
Bavaria. In a meeting with Prime Minister of Bavaria
Heinrich Held on
4 January 1925,
Hitler agreed to respect the authority of the state
and promised that he would seek political power only through the
democratic process. The meeting paved the way for the ban on the NSDAP
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,
Gregor Strasser ,
Otto Strasser and
Joseph Goebbels to organise and
grow the NSDAP 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 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 NSDAP 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
Main article: Adolf Hitler\'s rise to power
NSDAP election results
Hitler in prison
Hitler released from prison
After the financial crisis
Hitler was candidate for presidency
Only partially free; During Hitler's term as chancellor of Germany
Great Depression 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 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
Heinrich Brüning of the Centre Party , governed
through emergency decrees from President
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg .
Governance by decree became the new norm and paved the way for
authoritarian forms of government. The NSDAP 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 and NSDAP treasurer
Franz Xaver Schwarz at the dedication of
the renovation of the Palais Barlow on Brienner Straße in
the Brown House headquarters, December 1930
Hitler made a prominent appearance at the trial of two Reichswehr
officers, Lieutenants Richard Scheringer and Hans Ludin, in late 1930.
Both were charged with membership in the NSDAP, at that time illegal
Reichswehr personnel. The prosecution argued that the NSDAP 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.
Hitler had terminated his Austrian citizenship in 1925, he
did not acquire German citizenship for almost seven years. This meant
that he was stateless , legally unable to run for public office, and
still faced the risk of deportation. On 25 February 1932, the
interior minister of Brunswick ,
Dietrich Klagges , who was a member
of the NSDAP, appointed
Hitler as administrator for the state's
delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making
Hitler a citizen of
Brunswick, and thus of Germany.
Hitler ran against Hindenburg in the 1932 presidential elections . A
27 January 1932 speech to the Industry Club in
Düsseldorf won him
support from many of Germany's most powerful industrialists.
Hindenburg had support from various nationalist, monarchist, Catholic,
and republican parties, and some Social Democrats .
Hitler used the
campaign slogan "
Hitler über Deutschland" ("
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 utilised 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
Hitler, at the window of the
Reich Chancellery , receives an
ovation on the evening of his inauguration as chancellor , 30 January
The absence of an effective government prompted two influential
Franz von Papen 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.
a short-lived coalition government formed by the NSDAP 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 NSDAP 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
Hitler worked against attempts by the NSDAP'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 building was set on fire . Göring blamed a communist plot,
because Dutch communist
Marinus van der Lubbe
Marinus van der Lubbe was found in
incriminating circumstances inside the burning building. According to
Kershaw, the consensus of nearly all historians is that van der Lubbe
actually set the fire. Others, including
William L. Shirer and Alan
Bullock , are of the opinion that the NSDAP itself was responsible.
At Hitler's urging, Hindenburg responded with the Reichstag Fire
Decree of 28 February, 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 German Communist Party (KPD) were suppressed, and some 4,000 KPD
members were arrested.
In addition to political campaigning, the NSDAP engaged in
paramilitary violence and the spread of anti-communist propaganda in
the days preceding the election. On election day, 6 March 1933, the
NSDAP'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
Enabling Act of 1933
Enabling Act of 1933
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg and
Hitler on the Day of Potsdam, 21 March 1933
On 21 March 1933, the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening
ceremony at the 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
Ermächtigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) to a vote in the newly elected
Reichstag. The Act—officially titled the Gesetz zur Behebung der Not
von Volk und Reich ("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 , the third largest
party in the Reichstag, was decisive. After
Hitler verbally promised
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
At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the
National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't
forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one
day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I
declare that I shall remain in power! — Adolf
Hitler to a British
correspondent in Berlin, June 1934
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
May Day activities, SA stormtroopers demolished 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 concentration camps
German Labour Front was formed as an umbrella organisation to
represent all workers, administrators, and company owners, thus
reflecting the concept of national socialism in the spirit of Hitler's
Volksgemeinschaft ("people's community"). In 1934,
Germany's head of state with the title of
Führer und Reichskanzler
(leader and chancellor of the Reich).
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 NSDAP 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.
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,
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
Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and
chancellor). With this action,
Hitler eliminated the last legal
remedy by which he could be removed from office.
As head of state,
Hitler became supreme commander of the armed
forces. The traditional loyalty oath of servicemen was altered to
affirm loyalty to
Hitler personally, by name , rather than to the
office of supreme commander or the state. On 19 August, the merger of
the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by 90 per cent of
the electorate voting in a plebiscite . Hitler\'s personal
In early 1938,
Hitler used blackmail to consolidate his hold over the
military by instigating the
Blomberg–Fritsch Affair .
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
Schutzstaffel (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
Wehrmacht 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 Oberkommando der
Wehrmacht (Armed Forces High Command: 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 percent of the vote. These
elections were held in far-from-secret conditions; the Nazis
threatened severe reprisals against anyone who didn't vote or dared to
ECONOMY AND CULTURE
Main article: Economy of
Nazi Germany Ceremony honouring the
dead (Totenehrung) on the terrace in front of the Hall of Honour
(Ehrenhalle) at the
Nazi party rally grounds
Nazi party rally grounds ,
Nuremberg , September
In August 1934,
Hitler appointed Reichsbank 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 architecture on an immense scale.
Albert Speer , instrumental in implementing Hitler's classicist
reinterpretation of German culture, was placed in charge of the
proposed architectural renovations of
Berlin . Despite a threatened
multi-nation boycott ,
Germany hosted the 1936
Olympic Games . Hitler
officiated at the opening ceremonies and attended events at both the
Winter Games in
Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Summer Games in Berlin.
REARMAMENT AND NEW ALLIANCES
Axis powers ,
Tripartite Pact , and German re-armament
In a meeting with German military leaders on 3 February 1933, Hitler
spoke of "conquest for
Lebensraum in the East and its ruthless
Germanisation" as his ultimate foreign policy objectives. In March,
Prince Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, secretary at the Auswärtiges Amt
(Foreign Office), issued a statement of major foreign policy aims:
Anschluss 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
Hitler prioritised military spending over unemployment relief.
On 25 October 1936, an axis was declared between Italy and
Germany withdrew from the
League of Nations
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
League of Nations administration,
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
Luftwaffe ) and an increase in the size of the navy
Kriegsmarine ). Britain, France, Italy, and the League of Nations
condemned these violations of the Treaty, but did nothing to stop it.
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 Mein Kampf. France and Italy were not
consulted before the signing, directly undermining the League of
Nations and setting the
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles on the path towards
Germany 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
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
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
national socialism, which in Hitler's view required a committed effort
of rearmament regardless of the economic costs.
Galeazzo Ciano , foreign minister of Mussolini's government,
declared an axis between
Germany and Italy, and on 25 November,
Germany signed the
Anti-Comintern Pact with 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
Lebensraum 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
Hitler urged quick action before Britain and France gained a permanent
lead in the arms race . In early 1938, in the wake of the
Hitler asserted control of the
military-foreign policy apparatus, dismissing Neurath as foreign
minister and appointing himself Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht
(supreme commander of the armed forces). From early 1938 onwards,
Hitler was carrying out a foreign policy ultimately aimed at war.
WORLD WAR II
EARLY DIPLOMATIC SUCCESSES
Alliance With Japan
Hitler and the Japanese
Yōsuke Matsuoka , at a meeting in
Berlin in March
1941. In the background is
Joachim von Ribbentrop .
In February 1938, on the advice of his newly appointed foreign
minister, the strongly pro-Japanese
Joachim von Ribbentrop , Hitler
ended the Sino-German alliance with the Republic of China to instead
enter into an alliance with the more modern and powerful Empire of
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 Chiang
Kai-shek 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 in the
Hitler then turned his attention to
the ethnic German population of the
Sudetenland region of
On 28–29 March 1938,
Hitler held a series of secret meetings in
Konrad Henlein of the Sudeten Heimfront (Home Front), 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 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. October 1938:
Hitler is driven through the crowd in
Cheb (German: Eger), in the
Sudetenland region of
Czechoslovakia , which had been
Nazi Germany as part of the
Hitler ordered the OKW to prepare for Fall Grün (Case
Green), the code name for an invasion of Czechoslovakia. As a result
of intense French and British diplomatic pressure, on 5 September
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 Heimfront 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.
Hitler to call off Fall Grün, originally planned for 1
October 1938. On 29 September Hitler,
Neville Chamberlain , Édouard
Daladier , and Mussolini attended a one-day conference in
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's Man of
the Year for 1938.
In late 1938 and early 1939, the continuing economic crisis caused by
Hitler to make major defence cuts. In his "Export
or die" 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 15 March 1939, 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
Prague , and from
Moravia a 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 Lebensraum. 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 Tirpitz on 1 April, he threatened to denounce
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 Fall Weiss
("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,
Gerhard Weinberg , and
Ian Kershaw 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
Hitler portrayed on a 42 pfennig stamp from 1944. The
term Grossdeutsches Reich (Greater German Reich) was first used in
1943 for the expanded
Germany under his rule.
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
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ) between
Germany and the
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 invaded western Poland under the pretext
of having been denied claims to the
Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig and the right
to extraterritorial roads across the
Polish Corridor , which Germany
had ceded under the Versailles Treaty. In response, Britain and
France declared war on
Germany on 3 September, surprising
prompting him to angrily ask Ribbentrop, "Now what?" France and
Britain did not act on their declarations immediately, and on 17
Soviet forces invaded eastern Poland.
troops on the march during the campaign against Poland . September
The fall of Poland was followed by what contemporary journalists
dubbed the "
Phoney War " or Sitzkrieg ("sitting war"). Hitler
instructed the two newly appointed Gauleiters of north-western Poland,
Albert Forster of Reichsgau Danzig-West
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".
from getting involved. This inaction has been advanced as an example
of the theory of "working towards the Führer", in which
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 (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.
Hitler visits Paris with
Albert Speer (left) and sculptor
Arno Breker (right), 23
On 9 April, German forces invaded Denmark and Norway . On the same
Hitler proclaimed the birth of the
Greater Germanic Reich
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 attacked France
, and conquered Luxembourg , the Netherlands , and Belgium . These
victories prompted Mussolini to have Italy join forces with
10 June. France and
Germany signed an 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
1940 Field Marshal Ceremony . Boundaries of the Nazi
Greater Germanic Reich
Greater Germanic Reich
Britain, whose troops were forced to evacuate France by sea from
Dunkirk , continued to fight alongside other British dominions in the
Battle of the Atlantic .
Hitler made peace overtures to the new
Winston Churchill , and upon their rejection he
ordered a series of aerial attacks on
Royal Air Force
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
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force in what became known as the
Battle of Britain
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 nightly air raids on British
cities intensified and continued for months, including London,
Plymouth , and
On 27 September 1940, the
Tripartite Pact was signed in
Saburō Kurusu of
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
Soviet Union into the anti-British bloc failed after
inconclusive talks between
Hitler and Molotov in
Berlin in November,
and he ordered preparations for the invasion of the
In early 1941, German forces were deployed to North Africa, the
Balkans , and the Middle East. In February, German forces arrived in
Libya to bolster the Italian presence. In April,
Hitler launched the
invasion of Yugoslavia , quickly followed by the invasion of Greece .
In May, German forces were sent to support Iraqi rebel forces fighting
against the British and to invade Crete .
PATH TO DEFEAT
On 22 June 1941, contravening the Hitler–Stalin Non-Aggression Pact
of 1939, 4–5 million Axis troops attacked the
Soviet Union. This
Operation Barbarossa ) was intended to destroy
Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent
aggression against the Western powers. The invasion conquered a huge
area, including the Baltic republics,
Belarus , and West
Ukraine . By
early August, Axis troops had advanced 500 km (310 mi) and won the
Battle of Smolensk .
Army Group Centre to temporarily
halt its advance to Moscow and divert its Panzer groups to aid in the
Kiev . His generals disagreed with this
change, having advanced within 400 km (250 mi) of Moscow, and his
decision caused a crisis among the military leadership. The pause
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 ended disastrously in December . During this crisis,
Hitler appointed himself as head of the
Oberkommando des Heeres , at
the same time limiting its authority to the eastern front.
Hitler, announcing the declaration of war against the United States to
the Reichstag, on 11 December 1941
On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked the American fleet based at Pearl
Harbor , Hawaii. Four days later,
Hitler 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, "als Partisanen auszurotten"
("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 , 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 . 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. The
destroyed map room at the Wolf\'s Lair after the
20 July plot
Following the allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Mussolini was
removed from power by
Victor Emmanuel III
Victor Emmanuel III after a vote of no
confidence of the Grand Council . Marshal
Pietro Badoglio , placed in
charge of the government, soon surrendered to the Allies. Throughout
1943 and 1944, the
Soviet Union steadily forced Hitler's armies into
retreat along the Eastern Front . On 6 June 1944, the Western Allied
armies landed in northern France in one of the largest 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 complete destruction of the
Between 1939 and 1945, there were many plans to assassinate
some of which proceeded to significant degrees. The most well known,
20 July plot , came from within
Germany and was at least partly
driven by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war. In
July 1944, in the
20 July plot , part of
Operation Valkyrie , Claus
von Stauffenberg planted a bomb in one of Hitler\'s headquarters , the
Wolf\'s Lair at
Hitler narrowly survived because staff
Heinz Brandt moved the briefcase containing the bomb behind a
leg of the heavy conference table, which deflected much of the blast.
Hitler ordered savage reprisals resulting in the execution of
more than 4,900 people.
DEFEAT AND DEATH
Death of Adolf Hitler
By late 1944, both the
Red Army and the Western Allies were advancing
into Germany. Recognising the strength and determination of the Red
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. The offensive failed after some temporary successes.
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." Hitler's
hope to negotiate peace with the United States and Britain was
encouraged by the death of
Franklin D. Roosevelt on 12 April 1945, but
contrary to his expectations, this caused no rift among the Allies.
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.
On 20 April, his 56th birthday,
Hitler made his last trip from the
Führerbunker (Führer's shelter) to the surface. In the ruined garden
of the Reich Chancellery, he awarded Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of
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 Armeeabteilung
Army Detachment Steiner ), commanded by Waffen SS General
Felix Steiner .
Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of
the salient , while the German Ninth Army was ordered to attack
northward in a pincer attack .
Hitler on 25 April 1945 in his
last public appearance, in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, five
days before he and
Eva Braun died by suicide. Front page of the US
Armed Forces newspaper, Stars and Stripes , 2 May 1945, announcing
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
Alfred Jodl , 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
Hitler responded by having Göring arrested, and in
his last will and testament , written on 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
After midnight on 29 April,
Eva Braun in a small civil
ceremony in the Führerbunker. After a wedding breakfast with his new
Hitler dictated his will to his secretary
Traudl Junge . The
event was witnessed and documents signed by Krebs, Burgdorf, Goebbels,
and Bormann. Later that afternoon,
Hitler was informed of the
execution of Mussolini , which presumably increased his determination
to avoid capture.
On 30 April 1945, when
Soviet troops were within a block or two of
the Reich Chancellery,
Hitler shot himself and Braun bit into a
cyanide capsule. Their bodies were carried outside to the bombed-out
garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb
crater and doused with petrol. The corpses were 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
Berlin surrendered on 2 May. Records in the
Soviet archives obtained
after the fall of the
Soviet Union state that the remains of Hitler,
Braun, Joseph and
Magda Goebbels , the six
Goebbels children , General
Hans Krebs, and Hitler\'s dogs were repeatedly buried and exhumed. On
4 April 1970, a
KGB team used detailed burial charts to exhume
five wooden boxes at the
SMERSH facility in
Magdeburg . The remains
from the boxes were burned, crushed, and scattered into the Biederitz
river, a tributary of the
Elbe . According to Kershaw, the corpses of
Hitler were fully burned when the
Red Army found them, and
only a lower jaw with dental work could be identified as Hitler's
The Holocaust and
If the international
Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should
succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the
result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the
victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the
Jewish race in Europe!
Hitler addressing the German Reichstag , 30 January 1939
A wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the
Buchenwald concentration camp (April 1945)
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
Lebensraum 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
Generalplan Ost (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. Hitler's order for
Action T4 , dated 1 September 1939
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
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 prophecy of 1939 was being fulfilled,
namely, that a world war would bring about the annihilation of the
Hitler approved the
Einsatzgruppen —killing squads
that followed the German army through Poland, the Baltic, and the
Soviet Union —and was well informed about their activities. By
Auschwitz concentration camp was expanded to accommodate
large numbers of deportees for killing or 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
Schutzstaffel (SS), assisted by
collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied countries, was
responsible for the deaths of at least eleven million people,
including 5.5 to 6 million Jews (representing two-thirds of the Jewish
population of Europe), and between 200,000 and 1,500,000 Romani
people . Deaths took place in concentration and extermination camps,
ghettos , and through mass executions. Many victims of the Holocaust
were 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
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
Generalplan Ost would have led to the starvation of 80
million people in the
Soviet Union. These partially fulfilled plans
resulted in the democidal deaths of an estimated 19.3 million
civilians and prisoners of war.
Hitler's policies resulted in the killing of nearly two million
Jewish Poles , over three million
Soviet prisoners of war ,
communists and other political opponents, homosexuals, the physically
and mentally disabled, Jehovah\'s Witnesses ,
Adventists , and trade
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
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
eugenic policies targeted children with physical and developmental
disabilities in a programme dubbed Action Brandt , and he later
authorised a euthanasia programme for adults with serious mental and
physical disabilities, now referred to as
Action T4 .
Hitler during a meeting at the headquarters of Army Group South
in June 1942
Hitler ruled the NSDAP autocratically by asserting the Führerprinzip
(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 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 the job". In this way,
Hitler fostered distrust,
competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and
maximise his own power. 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
World War II to a
greater extent than any other national leader. He assumed the role of
supreme commander of the armed forces during 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
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 complete
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.
Further information: Consequences of
Nazism and Neo-
Outside the building in
Braunau am Inn , Austria, where
born, is a memorial stone placed as a reminder of the horrors of World
War II. The inscription translates as:
For peace, freedom
never again fascism
millions of dead remind
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 , National Socialism
"burst like a bubble" without its leader.
Hitler's actions and Nazi ideology are almost universally regarded as
gravely immoral; according to Kershaw, "Never in history has such
ruination—physical and moral—been associated with the name of one
man". Hitler's political programme brought about a world war, leaving
behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe.
Germany itself suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as Stunde
Null (Zero Hour). Hitler's policies inflicted human suffering on an
unprecedented scale; according to
R. J. Rummel
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, 29 million soldiers and
civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre
World War II
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 criminalised both the
Holocaust denial .
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 M. Roberts , Hitler's defeat marked the end of a
phase of European history dominated by Germany. In its place emerged
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
avers 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
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.
VIEWS ON RELIGION
Religious views of Adolf Hitler
Hitler was born to a practising Catholic mother and an anticlerical
father; after leaving home
Hitler never again attended Mass or
received the 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 organized religion, people would turn to mysticism,
which he considered regressive. According to Speer,
that Japanese religious beliefs or
Islam would have been a more
suitable religion for Germans than Christianity, with its "meekness
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
According to a U.S.
Office of Strategic Services
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
Hitler was more pragmatic, and his ambitions centred on more
See also: Adolf Hitler\'s health and Psychopathography of Adolf
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 C. Langer of
Harvard University described
Hitler as a "neurotic
psychopath ". In his 1977 book The Psychopathic God: Adolf
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.
Kershaw feels that 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
World War II
World War II based on only one person.
Hitler followed a vegetarian diet . 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
Berchtesgaden ) to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit
and vegetables for Hitler.
Hitler publicly avoided alcohol. He
occasionally drank beer and wine in private, but gave up drinking
because of weight gain in 1943. 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
behavior and inflexible decision making (for example, rarely allowing
Prescribed 90 medications during the war years,
Hitler took many
pills each day for chronic stomach problems and other ailments. He
regularly consumed amphetamine , barbiturates , opiates , and cocaine
. 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
Hitler in the last weeks of his life also formed a diagnosis of
Hitler family and
Sexuality of Adolf Hitler
Hitler in 1942 with his long-time lover,
Eva Braun , whom he married
on 29 April 1945
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 , in 1929, and married her in April 1945.
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 1960.
IN PROPAGANDA FILMS
Adolf Hitler in popular culture and List of speeches given
Hitler Play media Film of
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—such as Der Sieg des Glaubens
Triumph des Willens —made by
Leni Riefenstahl , regarded as a
pioneer of modern filmmaking.
LIST OF PROPAGANDA AND FILM APPEARANCES
Der Sieg des Glaubens (Victory of Faith, 1933)
Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will, 1935)
* Tag der Freiheit: Unsere
Wehrmacht (Day of Freedom: Our Armed
* Olympia (1938)
* Biography portal
Nazi Germany portal
World War II
World War II portal
* List of Adolf Hitler\'s personal staff
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 books by or about Adolf Hitler
Paintings by Adolf Hitler
List of streets named after Adolf Hitler
Toothbrush moustache – also known as a "
Hitler moustache", a
style of facial hair
* ^ The successor institution to the
Linz Fadingerstraße (de).
Hitler also won settlement from a libel suit against the
socialist paper the Münchener Post, which had questioned his
lifestyle and income. Kershaw 2008 , p. 99.
* ^ MI5, Hitler\'s Last Days : "Hitler's will and marriage" on the
MI5 , using the sources available to Trevor-Roper (a World
MI5 agent and historian/author of The Last Days of Hitler),
records the marriage as taking place after
Hitler had dictated his
last will and testament.
* ^ For a summary of recent scholarship on Hitler's central role in
the Holocaust, see McMillan 2012 .
* ^ Bullock 1999 , p. 24.
* ^ Maser 1973 , p. 4.
* ^ Maser 1973 , p. 15.
* ^ A B Kershaw 1999 , p. 5.
* ^ Jetzinger 1976 , p. 32.
* ^ Rosenbaum 1999 , p. 21.
* ^ Hamann 2010 , p. 50.
* ^ Toland 1992 , pp. 246–247.
* ^ Kershaw 1999 , pp. 8–9.
* ^ House of Responsibility .
* ^ Giblin 2002 , p. 4.
* ^ A B Kershaw 2008 , p. 4.
* ^ Toland 1976 , p. 6.
* ^ Rosmus 2004 , p. 33.
* ^ Keller 2010 , p. 15.
* ^ Hamann 2010 , pp. 7–8.
* ^ Kubizek 2006 , p. 37.
* ^ Kubizek 2006 , p. 92.
Hitler 1999 , p. 6.
* ^ Fromm 1977 , pp. 493–498.
* ^ Shirer 1960 , pp. 10–11.
* ^ Payne 1990 , p. 22.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 9.
Hitler 1999 , p. 8.
* ^ Keller 2010 , pp. 33–34.
* ^ Fest 1977 , p. 32.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 8.
Hitler 1999 , p. 10.
* ^ Evans 2003 , pp. 163–164.
* ^ Bendersky 2000 , p. 26.
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* ^ Hamann 2010 , p. 13.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 10.
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* ^ Kershaw 1999 , p. 20.
* ^ A B
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* ^ Bullock 1962 , p. 31.
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* ^ Shirer 1960 , p. 26.
* ^ Hamann 2010 , pp. 243–246.
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* ^ Hamann 2010 , p. 250.
* ^ Hamann 2010 , pp. 341–345.
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* ^ Kershaw 1999 , pp. 60–67.
* ^ Shirer 1960 , p. 25.
* ^ Hamann 2010 , p. 58.
Hitler 1999 , p. 52.
* ^ Toland 1992 , p. 45.
* ^ Kershaw 1999 , p. 55,63.
* ^ Hamann 2010 , p. 174.
* ^ Evans 2011 .
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* ^ Weber 2010 , p. 13.
* ^ Shirer 1960 , p. 27, footnote.
* ^ A B C Kershaw 1999 , p. 90.
* ^ Weber 2010 , pp. 12–13.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 53.
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* ^ A B Shirer 1960 , p. 30.
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* ^ Weber 2010a .
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* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 57.
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* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 61, 62.
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* ^ Mitcham 1996 , p. 67.
* ^ Fest 1970 , p. 21.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 94, 95, 100.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 87.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 88.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 93.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 81.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 89.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 89–92.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 100, 101.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 102.
* ^ A B Kershaw 2008 , p. 103.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 83, 103.
* ^ Bullock 1999 , p. 376.
* ^ Frauenfeld 1937 .
* ^ Goebbels 1936 .
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 105–106.
* ^ Bullock 1999 , p. 377.
* ^ Kressel 2002 , p. 121.
* ^ Heck 2001 , p. 23.
* ^ Larson 2011 , p. 157.
* ^ Kershaw 1999 , p. 367.
* ^ Kellogg 2005 , p. 275.
* ^ Kellogg 2005 , p. 203.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 126.
* ^ A B Kershaw 2008 , p. 128.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 129.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 130–131.
* ^ Shirer 1960 , pp. 73–74.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 132.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 131.
Munich Court, 1924 .
* ^ Fulda 2009 , pp. 68–69.
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* ^ A B Bullock 1962 , p. 121.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 148–149.
* ^ Shirer 1960 , pp. 80–81.
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* ^ A B Kershaw 1999 , p. 238.
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* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 166, 167.
* ^ Shirer 1960 , pp. 136–137.
* ^ Kolb 2005 , pp. 224–225.
* ^ Kolb 1988 , p. 105.
* ^ Halperin 1965 , p. 403 et. seq.
* ^ Halperin 1965 , pp. 434–446 et. seq.
* ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967 , p. 218.
* ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967 , p. 216.
* ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967 , pp. 218–219.
* ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967 , p. 222.
* ^ Halperin 1965 , p. 449 et. seq.
* ^ Halperin 1965 , pp. 434–436, 471.
* ^ A B Shirer 1960 , p. 130.
* ^ Hinrichs 2007 .
* ^ Halperin 1965 , p. 476.
* ^ Halperin 1965 , pp. 468–471.
* ^ Bullock 1962 , p. 201.
* ^ Hoffman 1989 .
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 227.
* ^ Halperin 1965 , pp. 477–479.
* ^ Letter to Hindenburg, 1932 .
* ^ Fox News, 2003 .
* ^ Shirer 1960 , p. 184.
* ^ Evans 2003 , p. 307.
* ^ Bullock 1962 , p. 262.
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* ^ Shirer 1960 , p. 192.
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* ^ Shirer 1960 , pp. 194, 274.
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* ^ City of
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* ^ Time, 1934 .
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* ^ Gellately 1996 .
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* ^ Shirer 1960 , p. 965.
* ^ Naimark 2002 , p. 81.
* ^ Longerich 2005 , p. 116.
* ^ Megargee 2007 , p. 146.
* ^ A B Longerich, Chapter 15 2003 .
* ^ Longerich, Chapter 17 2003 .
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* ^ Kershaw 2008 , p. 687.
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* ^ Downing 2005 , p. 33.
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* ^ Heston -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;">
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