Adolph Hitler was an ethnic German, born on the 20th of April 1889 in Austria to Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl. He was referred to as The Fuhrer (The Leader). He was a politician and the leader of the Nazi party. Adolf Hitler is well known to students of Modern European History as the demagogic orator and military dictator who instigated the Second World War by invading Poland and carried out what is today known as the Holocaust, that is, the mass extermination of Jews in Continental Europe.
The young Adolph had a checkered childhood. He had mixed academic performances and never managed to obtain more than a secondary education. Hitler had a fractious relationship with his father, being strong willed as his father. He refused to follow his father’s footsteps in carving out a career in the Customs Bureau preferring instead to pursue a career in the Arts. Adolph was also noted for his refusal to subject himself to the strict school discipline choosing to display the characteristics of a Bohemian lifestyle in Hafield where the family had relocated to in June 1895. He was the fourth child out of six children but his three older siblings died in their infancy. Like many ethnic Germans that were in the Austrio-Hungarian Empire, young Hitler was already developing strong nationalist ideas and chose to sing the “Deutshlandlied,’’ that is, The German National Anthem, rather than the Austrian Anthem which he considered as being imperial. After his father died in January 1903, his mother allowed him to drop out of school. He joined the Realschule in Steyr in September the following year and managed to pass the final exam after a repeat in 1905. He then left school without clear cut ambitions for further education.
After leaving school, the young Hitler wandered from one place to other in the city of Vienna, doing odd jobs. His life at this time was characterized by failure and rejection. Twice he tried to join the Austrian army but was rejected on both occasions for not having the physical rigor for military service. He also twice tried to enroll in the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts but was not admitted because they felt he was “unfit for painting.’’
Hitler volunteered for the Bavarian Army at the onset of the First World War and rose through the ranks on an account of bravery. History has it that Adolf Hitler was a confirmed Anti-Semitic from his early years in the Austrian capital that had a variegated population. Hitler had resentment for Jews because it was generally believed that they played a part in undermining Germany and made her to lose the First World War. He also felt that Germany had been unfairly treated and lost their legitimate lands by the treaty of Versailles. He later actively advocated for “Lebensraum” (living space) for Germany. In 1923 Hitler attempted to overthrow The Bavarian government but failed and was imprisoned. While in the prison, he wrote “Mein Kampf” (my struggle) in which he expounded the principle of effective propaganda especially as it relates to war, believing that Germany lost the war not by being defeated on the battle field but by the superiority of British propaganda. In reality, the reverse was the case. He later, with the help of Joseph Goebbels, his propaganda minister, developed the doctrines of the Nazi Party which included Anti-Semitism, unification of all Germans from all territories, acquisition of living space for Germans, institution of the superiority of the Aryan race, ensuring ethnic purity of the Aryan race, among others.
Hitler believed that these aims could not be achieved except by the repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles and war with the Western powers (Britain and France), war with the Eastern power (The Soviet Union) on the short run, and war with the United States on the longer term. He, therefore, pursued aggressive foreign policies that were designed to inevitably engender war. The Second World War broke out when Hitler invaded Poland. Initial successes in the first one and half years were later cancelled out by reverses, especially with the failure to defeat both Britain and The Soviet Union and the entrance of The United States into the war. In 1945 when his defeat and capture by the forces of The Soviet Red Army appeared inevitable , Hitler and his longtime lover, Eva Braun, whom he had married less than a day earlier, committed suicide, with The Red Army only a few blocks away. Their bodies were burned marking the end of one of the most brutal and powerful dictators of the twentieth century.