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An overview of the life and rule of adolf hitler in germany

  • His activities involve making speeches to the troops advocating German nationalism and anti-Socialism, where he developed further his oratory skills;
  • Now, in very different circumstances and reinforced by the arguments of right-wing intellectuals in Munich which Hitler now encountered, these theories began to make sense, indeed to provide the total explanation which he was seeking;
  • The major goal of Hitler's conquest lay in the East;
  • His orders became increasingly erratic different from what is normal or expected , and he refused to listen to advice from his military counselors.

Print this page The drifter Before embarking on a political career in September 1919 at the age of thirty, Adolf Hitler had been a nonentity. With no formal qualifications, he had become an aimless drifter and failed artist before joining the army on the outbreak of war in August 1914.

There he was not considered worthy of promotion because of 'a lack of leadership qualities', although his award of the Iron Cross First Class showed that he did not lack courage.

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Yet during the next 26 years he succeeded in gaining and exercising supreme power in Germany and, in the process, arguably had more impact on an overview of the life and rule of adolf hitler in germany history of the world in the 20th century than any other political figure. The explanation for this remarkable transformation lies partly in Hitler himself, in his particular personal qualities and gifts, and partly in the situation in which he found himself, with a nation in deep crisis.

Before embarking on a political career. Adolf Hitler had been a nonentity. Hitler's political career began in Munich when he joined the German Workers' Party DAPa tiny group of extreme nationalists and anti-Semites who saw their role as trying to win over German workers from the internationalist Social Democratic Party and, in the aftermath of defeat and revolution, to persuade people that Jews were primarily responsible for Germany's plight.

Why then did Hitler choose to join the NSDAP and effectively adopt politics as a career, and what personal qualities, abilities and political opinions did he bring with him from his previous life, which may help to explain his choice and his subsequent career? His family background has given rise to much psychological speculation. His father, a customs official who died when Hitler was 13, was cold and strict, while his mother was gentle and loving and pampered her son, who adored her.

Hitler was clearly intelligent but bored by much of his formal education, except for history, which was taught with a strong German nationalist bias. He was growing up at a time when the German-speaking parts of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg empire were saturated with Pan German ethnic nationalism.

Although extreme ethnic nationalism was a general feature of early 20th century Europe, it was particularly virulent in Austria because of the growing threat to German dominance posed by the rise of other nationalities within the empire, in particular the Czechs. Hitler's school career ended in failure, but the death of his father had removed the pressure on him to get a job. By now he had developed the self-image of an artist, a superior being above mundane employment, who would one day create great works of art or architecture.

He spent his time in his home town, Linz, reading, drawing, attending the theatre or opera; he had developed a particular passion for Wagner. Invariably polite and well turned out, his behaviour was marked by a combination of arrogance and insecurity not unusual in adolescence, but in his case extreme.

He was particularly gauche in his relations with girls; indeed, his only relationship during this period was a fantasy one. But there is no suggestion from anyone who knew him then that he was homosexual. Top Drifting in Vienna Having moved to Vienna in 1907, his failure to get into Art school came as a major blow. His money from an orphan's pension and borrowed from relatives eventually ran out, and he was forced to take refuge in men's hostels where he lived from 1909 to 1913.

Not sufficiently strong for manual labour - contrary to his claim in his book, Mein Kampf 'My Struggle'to having been a building worker - he eked out a precarious existence selling his reproductions of famous sights which were hawked by hostel acquaintances.

Despite his poverty, Hitler engaged actively with his political and intellectual environment. Pre-1914 Vienna - the capital of a multi-ethnic empire with a highly sophisticated, mainly Jewish, upper middle class, a deeply conservative and Catholic petty bourgeoisie, and a growing and increasingly radicalised working class - was like a magnifying glass focusing and concentrating the ideas, artistic trends and political forces that were to shape the century into a purer and more extreme form than anywhere else in Europe: Despite his poverty, Hitler engaged actively with his political and intellectual environment, devouring newspapers and pamphlets, attending the Imperial parliament and witnessing the violent confrontations between the rival ethnic and political groups which paralysed it, rendering it an object of contempt to much of the population, including Hitler himself.

His experiences in Vienna sharpened the Pan German nationalism that he had absorbed in his school days, increasing his contempt for the Habsburg Empire. He also developed a strong hostility towards the Socialist movement, fuelled partly by its internationalism, but also by his unwillingness to identify with the working class and his determination to retain his self-image as a superior being despite his actual inferior social position.

Here he continued a life similar to that in Vienna until, with the outbreak of war in 1914, he enthusiastically volunteered to serve in a Bavarian regiment.

Hitler's rise and fall: Timeline

Service in the Army at last provided Hitler with a purpose in life, a major project with which he could wholly identify. All the greater, therefore, was the shock of defeat and the victory of the hated Socialists in the revolution of November 1918. For it was at this point that anti-Semitism emerged as the core of Hitler's 'world view'.

Yet Hitler was desperate to remain in the Army rather than to have to face a return to his pre-war existence, and the evidence suggests that he was willing to come to terms with the new order to achieve this end. Employed to preach German nationalism and anti-Socialism to the troops, he proved a great success. He was also sent to report on the DAP, where he drew attention to himself at a meeting by his effective performance in the discussion and was invited to join.

He was probably prompted to accept partly by sympathy for the party's ideas and partly by pressure from his superiors, but also because he had concluded that participation in the DAP offered him, as a nonentity, the only available opportunity to win support for the beliefs that he was now burning to express.

Defeat, revolution, and the humiliating Treaty of Versailles 1919 had challenged Hitler's whole sense of worth and personal identity. Like many Germans, but even more so since he had effectively chosen German identity, Hitler needed to find an explanation for this catastrophe. And the explanation being vigorously canvassed by the extreme Right in Munich, and one that was generating a strongly positive popular response, was that the Jews were to blame.

This explanation chimed with the anti-Semitic theories which Hitler had absorbed in Vienna but which, in the light of his day-to-day positive experiences with actual Jews had not made much impact.

Now, in very different circumstances and reinforced by the arguments of right-wing intellectuals in Munich which Hitler now encountered, these theories began to make sense, indeed to provide the total explanation which he was seeking.

He was conscious of his demagogic gifts but also of the limits imposed by his lack of formal qualifications and social status. He assumed that some established figure of the extreme Right, such as the war hero, General Ludendorff, would take over power. Between 1919 and 1921, he rejected the offer of the leadership of the NSDAP and only took over when he was forced to do so by the fact that the leaders were pursuing a course which threatened his position.

Initially, Hitler saw himself as a political evangelist. It was also the result of his growing contempt for the Bavarian right wing establishment. This culminated in his experience of their pusillanimous behaviour during his Munich beer hall 'putsch' of 8-9 November 1923, when, as he saw it, they stabbed him in the back.

It was only at this point that Hitler became convinced of his destiny to lead Germany, a conviction from which he then never wavered.

  • With Soviet forces closing in, Hitler made plans for a last-ditch resistance before finally abandoning that plan;
  • By March of 1945 the Allies had defeated much of the German army;
  • On June 22, 1941, the German army advanced on Russia in the so-called Operation Barbarossa, which Hitler regarded as Germany's final struggle for existence and "living space" Lebensraum and for the creation of the "new order" of German racial domination;
  • Only one of Hitler's 5 siblings survived childhood, his sister Paula;
  • Later, he used the small allowance he continued to draw to maintain himself in Vienna.