Adolf Hitler is well known for being one of the most ruthless and sick minded dictator’s in human history. However, not many people know about Hitler’s life before he became Germany’s dictator and the mastermind of the infamous Third Reich. To help gain a better understanding of Hitler’s life before causing the deadliest war in human history, it is necessary to analyze his childhood all the way up to the years before he made the decision to become a politician. This will help one see the events that led up to World War II by analyzing personal hand written documentation by Adolf Hitler. Through the analysis of Hitler’s hand written accounts one will see how the German people allowed such a cruel and evil man rise to power. Unfortunately his rise to power resulted in the deaths of millions people and the destruction of many European nations leaving most of Europe millions of dollars in debt. This would lead to the most tragic event in World War II, The Holocaust.
On April 20, 1889 Adolf Hitler was born to Alois and Klara becoming their fourth child out of six children. Hitler was born in a very unobtrusive manner. He was born in Austria in a little city positioned near the border of Bavaria, Germany. The name of this small city is Braunau am Inn. During infancy three of Adolf’s older siblings Gustav, Ida, and Otto all died. When Hitler was three years old, his family decided that they will move to Passau, Germany. From this decision to move, Hitler would obtain the Bavarian language, which will subsequently effect how he spoke later on in his life. However, from this decision, young Hitler developed a profound obsession with German nationalism. Hitler will learn the German Nationalist ideas and develop a uniquely substantial devotion to Germany. In his younger years, Adolf Hitler had an inherited desire for learning. He also was amused by music taking singing classes and was even in the choir for his church. Hitler developed another passion, from viewing photos from a picture book possessed by his father; he developed a passion for warfare at a young age. At one point in his life he actually happened to have a desire to become a priest. But never the less that dream was broken because of inconsistent family turbulence.
Conceivably the most immense family disputes Hitler was confronted with while growing up was between himself and his father Alois. The first dispute occurred when Hitler rejected to obey his schools rigorous regulations at Hafeld. An additional commencement to the heated disputes was Alois’s covet for Hitler to have an occupation in the customs bureau. A career in which Alois had established prosperity and therefore thought his son should do the same. Instead he had a calling to be an artist, as a result of rejecting his father’s wishes; Alois admitted Hitler to Realschule in Linz. This decision provoked staggering conflict amidst both of them, leading to Hitler sorely underachieving in school. In Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, Hitler writes about his father’s desire for him to become a civil servant. Hitler states “No matter how hard and determined my father might be about putting his own plans and opinions into effect, his son was no less obstinate in refusing to accept ideas on which he set little or no value” (Hitler 242).
However, Hitler had additional family problems that had an impact on Adolf Hitler’s personality that remained with him his entire life. The number of deaths in his family had a significant influence on his life. As stated before, Hitler did not meet his older siblings since they died during early childhood. He witnessed his younger brother Edmund’s death when he was just ten years old. Then three years later his father died from a stroke and four years after his father’s death his mother passed away due to illness. Every death sustained had a strong impression on Hitler’s personality. After the deaths of his parents he was poor and now an orphan. In the book, Mein Kampf, Hitler states the situation he was dealing with at that time, he states “Somehow or another, I would have to earn my own bread. With my cloths and linen packed in a valise and with an indomitable resolution in my heart, I left for Vienna. I hoped to forestall fate, as my father had done 50 years before, I was determined to become somebody but not a civil servant” (Hitler 460).
After receiving assistance to resolve his mother’s property, Hitler had arranged to go back to the city of Vienna. Hitler calculated the pension that he received and came to the conclusion that the pension would entitle him to settle in Vienna without having to have a job for at least a year. He offered his close friend August to come live with him and examine music, regardless of his family’s protest. They both got living space at a boarding house, and just in a couple of couple of days August registered to attend Vienna’s Conservatory of Music and was accepted in by passing the schools strict entrance exam. August was unaware that Hitler did not pass the entrance examination to get into the Academy of Fine Arts, because Hitler was too ashamed to tell August. Again, without informing August, Hitler requested again to be allowed to attend the Academy and was turned down again. Being rejected this time was more of a tragic blow than the first rejection. But Hitler didn’t have time for sorrow; he had a bigger problem that needed to be solved, as he was slowly running out of money.
With money getting short, Hitler had to leave his living space at the boarding house and with no other option; he was forced to live in a smaller but cheaper low end house that looked over the railroad yards. Hitler lived the next five years as a reclusive nomad in Vienna. With all the money from his mom’s pension used up, and his only source of income being a small monthly orphan pension. Hitler had no other option but to live in smaller rooms. In the end, he still continued to struggle and things became worse for Hitler as now could not even afford to live in the smallest cubbyhole and his only option was to live in the streets of Vienna.
To help Hitler get back on his feet, Hitler’s Aunt Johanna sent him some money, allowing him to stop living in the streets which allowed him to move into a more adequate men’s hostel. Persisting to live by himself, Hitler continued to paint. Interestingly he painted fewer portraits yet sold nearly ever portrait to different art dealers. In addition he was involved in vigorous political debates with diverse neighbors which took place in the hostel’s common room. Hitler had vehemence in the tone of his voice when exposing the corruption he personally witnessed while living in Vienna. He also was exceptionally contemptuous towards the Social Democratic Party.
Throughout this time frame, Hitler studied a lot of newspapers and magazines which connected the Social Democrats and its ties with the Jews. In Hitler’s autobiography Hitler stated that “the roots of his life long hatred of the Jews were planted during the years in Vienna” (Hitler). Hitler progressively became cognizant of the Jews evil impact on Vienna’s political, economic, and cultural life.
On Hitler’s 24th birthday he finally got his dad’s pension from his estate. By receiving this money, Hitler made the decision to move to Germany, where he always wanted to settle and make a living. He signed a lease for an apartment in Munich, which is the capital of Bavaria a southern German state located near the border of Austria. Hitler states in his autobiography that this period was “the happiest and by far the most contented of my life” (Hitler).
Unfortunately the days of joyfulness did not last very long. In January 1914, Hitler was called to return to Linz to serve in the Austrian army. This was ultimately the very last thing Hitler wanted to do, he loved his life in the city of Munich. In order to stay close to Munich, Hitler organized to switch the city he was called to serve to Salzburg, an Austrian city near Munich. When he finally arrived at Salzburg on February 5, his poor health condition made the army recruiters assert that he was “unfit for combat and auxiliary duties, too weak, and unable to bear arms” (Giblin).
When the news came at a later time that same year about the heir of Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, being murdered by a Serbian terrorist, Hitler would react about the army’s rejection in a totally changed manner upon hearing this tragic news. This event made Germany and Austria declare war on Serbia. A large mob of people formed in Munich’s main square and cheerfulness filled the streets when the news was announced. Hitler was standing near the front of the large mob of people expressing the same cheerfulness. To was happy to have his indigenous country Austria joining sides with Germany to engage in war against opposing Russia and Serbia. This made Hitler content on being a citizen of Germany. Hitler stated in Mein Kampf “I am not ashamed to say that, overcome with rapturous enthusiasm I fell to my knees and thanked heaven for granting me the good fortune of being allowed to live at this time” (Hitler). Two days after the event, Hitler applied for authorization to join the Bavarian army.
The request to join had to been eloquent, because he got a reply to his request the next day. In Mein Kampf, Hitler talks about receiving the letter from the army, he states “With trembling hands I opened the document. My request had been approved, and I was summoned to report to a Bavarian regiment. My joy and gratitude knew no bounds. A few days later I was wearing the tunic uniform. I was not to doff until nearly six years later” (Hitler). Other than giving Hitler vast excitement, joining the army solved various problems Hitler was facing. The dangers in war are scary, but he was ensured food and a roof over his head and had no concerns about trying to make a living selling his paintings. But the most important thing Hitler got from joining the army was, for the first time in his life, he had a determined reason to serve for Germany, the country he had heart felt devotion to ever since he was a young boy.
As a result of completing Basic Training at a military base outside of Munich, Hitler and his comrades got on board a train that will take them to the frontlines. When Hitler’s company arrived in Belgium, they were ordered to provide support for a worn out unit on the frontline. As the German assault carried on, Hitler was ordered to be a dispatch carrier for his company. Hitler earned an Iron Cross, Second class for his service as a dispatch carrier. He also was promoted to from the rank private to corporal. However, during this time of moving up the ranks, the war would take a turn for Germany. While Hitler was being treated for temporary blindness, the Kaiser and his generals were making plans to stop the war because Germany was defeated and was becoming disorganized.
After the war Germany was in a state of confusion. Revolutionaries had gained control of the cities of Munich, Hanover, and Cologne. Worker and solider unions overturned regional governments continuously. Finally, on November 9 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm had been constrained to resign ending the German empire. The new Social Democratic government agreed to an armistice treaty with the triumphant allied powers, putting an end to World War I.
Hitler responded fiercely to the news of the war being over. In James Giblin’s book, The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, Giblin uses a quote from Adolf Hitler talking about the war ending, where Hitler stated the following: “It became impossible for me to sit still for one minute. Again everything went black before my eyes; I tottered and groped my way back to the dormitory, threw myself on my bunk, and dug my burning head onto my blanket and pillow” (Giblin).
The imperial German government Hitler approved of so strongly had rapidly ceased to exist. He was also perceived with feelings of treachery and anger. In his diaries Hitler later wrote “I, for my part, decided to go into politics” (Hitler). This one decision will later affect hundreds of millions of lives and change Hitler’s life forever. But it would not only change Hitler’s life forever it will affect the course of Human History forever.
Giblin, James. The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Massachusetts: Boston, 2002. Print
Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Eher Verlag. Germany, 1926. Print.
Kershaw, Ian. Hitler: A Biography. W.W Norton Company. New York City, 2008. Print.
Maser, Werner. Hitler’s Letters and Notes. HaperCollins. New York City, 1976. Print.
Smith, Bradely F. Adolf Hitler: His Family, Childhood and Youth. Hover Institution
Press. California: Stanford University, 1967. Print.