Hierarchy of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler In this paper I will discuss Adolf Hitler beginnings, his rise to power, and how his decisions affected the rest of the world. Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1089 near the German Border in the small Austrian town of Braunau. Both of Hitler’s parents were from the backwoods of lower Austria. Hitler’s father, Alois Schickelgruber Hitler, was an Austrian customs official. Hitler’s mother, Klara Poelzl, was Hitler’s father’s third wife. Alois was a strict father and savagely beat his son if he did not do as he was told. His mother was very loving and affectionate.
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As a young child Hitler did very well in school. In secondary school Hitler’s grades began to fall which made his father very angry. One of the few subjects that Hitler did enjoy in school was art. When Hitler told his father that instead of joining the civil service he wanted to become an artist his father was incensed. The relationship with his father deteriorated and the conflict only ended with the death of Alois Hitler in 1903. At fifteen Hitler persuaded his mother to let him drop out of school. At eighteen Hitler received and inheritance from his father will and moved to Vienna where he planned to become an art student. Hitler was rejected from the two schools that he applied to but could not bring himself to tell his mother. Instead he continued to live in Vienna pretending he was an art student.
In 1907 Klara Hitler died from breast cancer. Her death affected Hitler far greater than the death of his father. He had fond memories of his mother and carried her picture wherever he went. It is said that he had her picture in his hand at the time of his death in 1945. The outbreak of the First World War provided Hitler with a fresh start. It was a chance for him to become involved in proving that Germany was superior to other European countries. Hitler claimed that when he heard the news of war: was overcome with impetuous enthusiasm, and falling on my knees, wholeheartedly thanked Heaven that I had been granted the happiness to live at this time. Hitler rejected the idea of fighting for Austria, he volunteered for the German Army. Hitler had the job of being a dispatch runner. It was a dangerous job of running messages from regimental headquarters to the front-line. Hitler was a success for the first time since primary school. Hitler won five medals including the prestigious Iron Cross during the First World War. His commanding officer wrote: As a dispatch-runner, he has shown cold-blooded courage and exemplary boldness. Under conditions of great peril, when all the communication lines were cut, the untiring and fearless activity of Hitler made it possible for important messages to go through. (www.historyplace.com) Hitler redefined socialism. He was only in favor of equality to those who had German blood. Hitler thought that Jews and other aliens should lose their rights of citizenship, and immigration of non-Germans should be brought to an end. In February 1920, the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) published its first program which became known as the 25 Point.
On November 8, 1923, the Bavarian government held a meeting of about 3000 officials. While Gustav von Kahr, the leader of the Bavarian government was making a speech, Hitler and armed storm troopers entered the building. Hitler jumped onto a table, fired two shots in the air and told the audience that the Munich Putsch was taking place and the National Revolution had begun. The next day Hitler burst into a beer hall in Munich and firing his pistol into the ceiling, he shouted that he was heading a new provisional government, which would carry through a revolution against Red Berlin. Hitler then marched through Munich at the head of 3000 men, only to be met by police fire that left sixteen dead and brought the attempted putsch to an end. Hitler was arrested and tried. Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison. While in prison Hitler dictated Mein Kampf (My Struggle). Subsequently the Bible of the Nazi Party had sold over five million copies by 1939 and had been translated into eleven languages.
Hitler was released from prison after serving only nine months. Hitler went to live in Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. Later he was to say this was the happiest time of his life. It was during this time that he met his lifelong mistress Eva Braun. The Nazi party always attempted to keep Hitler’s love life a secret. Hitler was considered a fool in 1928 when he predicted economic disaster but with the Wall Street Crash in October 1929 people began to see Hitler in a different light. In the General Election that took place in September 1930, the Nazi Party increased its number of representatives in parliament from 14 to 107. Hitler was now the leader of the second largest party in Germany. A group of prominent industrialists who feared a Bolshevik Revolution sent a petition to Paul von Hindenburg asking for Hitler to become Chancellor. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to the request and at age forty-three, Hitler became the new Chancellor of Germany. Hitler gave orders that all leaders of the German Communist Party should be hanged. Paul von Hindenburg vetoed the decision but did agree that Hitler should take dictatorial powers. KPD candidates in the election were arrested and Hermann Goering announced that the Nazi Party planned to exterminate German communists.
After the 1933 General Election Hitler proposed an Enabling Bill that would give him dictatorial powers. Such an act needed three-quarters of the members of the Reichstag to vote in its favor. All the active members of the Communist Party were in concentration camps, in hiding, or had left the country. However, Hitler still needed the support of the Catholic Centre Party (BVP) to pass this legislation. Hitler was now dictator of Germany. He first wanted to take over trade unions. Its leaders were sent to concentration camps and the organization was put under the control of the Nazi Party. The trade union movement now became known as the Labour Front. Soon the Communist Party and the Social Democrat Party were banned. Activists still in the country were arrested. A month later Hitler announced that the Catholic Centre Party, the Nationalist Party, and all other political parties other than the NSDAP were illegal. By the end of 1933 over 150,000 political prisoners were in concentration camps. The Gestapo also began arresting beggars, prostitutes, homosexuals, alcoholics, and anyone incapable of working. During this time some inmates were tortured, the only people killed were prisoners that tried to escape and those that were incurably insane.
Hitler’s Germany became known as a fascist state. Fascist was originally used to describe the government of Benito Mussolini in Italy. Mussolini’s fascist one-party state emphasized patriotism, national unity, hatred of communism, admiration of military values and unquestioning obedience. Hitler was deeply influenced by Mussolini’s Italy and his Germany shared many of the same characteristics. Hitler was no longer a practicing Christian; though he didn’t have the confidence to abolish Christianity in Germany. In 1934 Hitler signed an agreement with Pope Pius XI in which he promised not to interfere in religion if the Catholic Church agreed not to become involved in politics in Germany. The individual had no freedom to protest Hitler’s Germany. All political organizations were either banned or
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under the control of the Nazis. Even textbooks were withdrawn and rewritten by Nazis. By 1934 Hitler appeared to have complete control over Germany. Hitler was constantly being fed information leading him to believe there was a conspiracy against him. Hitler was told that Gregor Strasser, whom Hitler hated, was part of a planned conspiracy against him. With this news Hitler ordered that all SA leaders attend a meeting in the Hanselbauer Hotel in Wiesse. On June 29, 1934, Hitler, accompanied by the Schutz Staffeinal (SS), arrived at Weisse, where he arrested Ernst Roehm. Over the next 24 hours 200 other senior SA officers were arrested, many were shot as soon as they were captured. The purge of the SA was kept secret until July 13th when Hitler announced it during a speech. It was during his speech that Hitler gave the purge its name: Night of the Long Knives. Hitler claimed that 61 had been executed but it is said that as many as 400 people were killed during the purge. In his speech Hitler explained why he didn’t rely on the courts to deal with the conspirators: In this hour, I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I become the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the ringleaders in this treason. (www.answers.com) The Night of the Long Knives was a turning point in the history of Hitler’s Germany. Hitler had made it clear that he was the supreme ruler of Germany who had the right to be judge and jury, and had the power to decide whether people lived or died. Once in power Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews that they would emigrate. Jews were banned from public parks, swimming pools, and public transportation. Germans were encouraged not to use Jewish doctors or lawyers. Many Jewish people left the country because they could no longer earn a living. The Crystal Night took place on November 9th-10th, 1938 over 7500 Jewish shops were destroyed and 400 synagogs were burned down. Ninety-one Jews were killed and an estimated 20,000 were sent to concentration camps. Prior to this time the only people sent to concentration camps were political prisoners. After Crystal Night the number of Jews wishing to leave Germany increased. More Jews would have left but because of the anti-Semitism act not being restricted to Germany, many countries were reluctant to take them. (www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org) Hitler was determined to gain more power by gaining more territory. The Austrian Chancellor, Kurt von Schusshnigg was replaced by Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the leader of the Austrian Nazi party and on March 13th, 1938, Seyss-Inquart invited the German Army to occupy Austria and proclaimed union with Germany. A four-power conference with Germany, Britain, France, and Italy took place on September 29, 1938. Desperate to avoid war, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland. In return, Hitler promised not to make anymore territorial demands in Europe. On September 29th, 1938, Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier, and Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement, which transferred the Sudetenland to Germany. Hitler began to make plans for his next step, Poland. In August 1939 a group of concentration camp prisoners were dressed in Polish uniforms, shot, and then placed just inside the German border.
Hitler claimed that Poland was trying to invade Germany. On September 1st, 1939, the German Army was ordered into Poland. Hitler was surprised when Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany. The majority of the war Hitler lived underground in a concrete shelter at his headquarters in East Prussia. It was from here that he controlled the German war effort and at first Hitler was very successful. Germany defeated Poland in four weeks and was followed with the occupation of Norway. The Netherlands was defeated in five days, Belgium in three weeks, and France in six weeks. The German army became convinced that Hitler was a military genius. Hitler prepared to invade the Soviet Union starting on May 15th, 1941. Hitler believed this would give the German army enough time to take control before the harsh Soviet winter set in. Hitler was so confident of early success that the German army was sent with only enough equipment to get them through the summer. At first German forces made good progress but with the heavy rain in October followed by heavy snow in November and December Germany’s advance was brought to a halt.
By this time Hitler had millions of Jews under his control. In January 1942 a meeting was held to try and decide what to do with all the Jews in concentration camps.
At the start of the Second World War, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it clear that the United States planned to stay neutral though he did arrange for Britain to receive supplies so she could continue to fight in the war. Hitler wanted to control Europe before he began fighting the United States even going as far trying to persuade his Japanese allies to leave the United States alone. They ignored Hitler and the Japanese Air Force attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and declared war on the United States. It was still possible for Hitler to postpone the war with the United States but he decided to honor his treaty obligations with Japan and on December 11 announced that Germany was at war with the United States. During the winter of 1941-42 the Soviets reorganized and were able to defeat the German army. On February 2, 1943 the Sixth army was forced to surrender. Out of 265,000 men 100,000 had been killed, 34,000 injured, and 90,000 had been taken prisoner. The German defeat at Stalingrad was a turning point in the war. For the rest of the war Germany was on the retreat. (www.groiler.com) Hitler’s health began to deteriorate and in September 1944 he suffered a heart attack. Hitler rejected the idea of surrender though he did little to contribute or raise the morale of his people. Some senior officers decided the only solution was to assassinate Hitler though nobody was successful. In January 1945, the Soviet troops entered Nazi Germany. Hitler was forced to leave his headquarters in East Prussia and move to Berlin where his mistress, Eva Braun, soon joined him. When the Soviet troops entered Germany Hitler decided to commit suicide rather than trying to escape. Two days before his death Hitler married Eva Braun. After testing out a cyanide pill on his dog Blondi, Eva agreed to commit suicide with Hitler. On April 30, 1945 Hitler and Eva committed suicide with cyanide tablets (Hitler also shot himself). His Third Reich surrendered a week later. Along with failing the people of Germany; Hitler was responsible for decimating two thirds of the Jewish population as well as hundreds of thousands of other innocent men, women, and children. Hitler left Europe devastated. Communism, which Hitler had attempted to destroy, now covered the whole of Eastern Europe as well as half of Germany. The man who had tried to increase the size of Germany had in the end been the one responsible for dividing it in two.
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