Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April 1889 in “Braunau am Inn”, Austria. After leaving school prematurely he tried to become an artist, but was rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna twice.
At the beginning of World War I he volunteered for service in the Bavarian army. There he proved to be a brave soldier, but was never promoted beyond the rank of a “Gefreiter”, because his superior officers didn’t believe he would have any qualities in leadership. Short before the end of the war in 1918, he was injured by an English gas attack. Thereby he lost his eyes sight temporally and spent several months in hospital.
Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany
At the end of war he returned to Munich. He joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) in 1919 and from April of the following year he worked for them on a full time basis. In 1921 he was elected as party chairman, “Führer”.
He soon became a key figure in Bavarian politics and he spread his ideas about racial hate and objections to democracy. In November 1923 he led a coup de etat in Munich (Marsch zur Feldherrnhalle) against the postwar Weimar Republic, proclaiming himself chancellor of a new authoritarian regime. However this putsch failed. He was captured and sentenced to five years imprisonment in Landsberg. During this time he dictated his autobiography “Mein Kampf”. Due to a general political amnesty he already was released nine months later and he immediately began rebuilding the Nazi party. In 1930 the Nazi party was represented with 107 seats in the German parliament (Reichstag). Three years later on 30th January 1933 he became German chancellor.
Once in power he quickly established himself as a dictator. He began rearming Germany which met little protest from other European countries. In 1936 he sent troops into the demilitarized Rhineland, but France and the rest of the world did not react. During the Spanish Civil War in 1936 he supported the Nationalist leader Francisco Franco by supplying airplanes and weapons and sending German troops (Legion Condor).
In 1938 Hitler occupied Austria and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Britain and France feared the outbreak of a war so they agreed in the Munich Pact to this annexations on the basis that Hitler would not take over any additional Czech territory. However in March 1939 Hitler occupied the reminder of Czechoslovakia.
In August 1939 Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and in the pact, the two countries secretly divided up Poland. This pact laid the foundations for World War II and in September 1939 Germany defeated Poland. One year later Germany overran most of Europe and in 1941 Hitler gave the order to attack the Soviet union.
Throughout World War II he continued the campaign to destroy the Jews. In 1942 Hitler met with high ranking Reich officials to create the final solution to the Jewish problem. The Germans began building large extermination camps to accompany the concentration camps where about six million Jews were killed. Endless trains took millions of Jews to the camps. This had a serious effect on the war and subsequent events.
After the German defeat at Stalingrad during the Winter of 1942/43, the war turned against Germany. When the final defeat became more and more likely, Hitler refused to surrender. On 20th July 1944, a group of German officers under the leadership of Colonel Graf von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Hitler, but their attempt failed.
Finally, when Soviet troops surrounded his bunker in Berlin on 30th April 1945, Hitler committed suicide together with his long-time companion, Eva Braun, whom he had married the day before.
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