Hitler And WWII

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler’s Early Years

Adolf Hitler was born in the small Austrian town of Branau on the 20th of April 1889. He came from a middle-class family that lived comfortably, although he suggested in his book Mein Kampf that his family was poor and his childhood was filled with hardship. His father Alois Hitler was a customs official with the Austrian Civil Service. His mother, Klara was a former servant girl and became Alois’ third wife. The young Hitler had ability but performed poorly at school. He reacted against discipline. One of his teachers described Hitler as “wilful, arrogant and bad tempered. He had obvious difficulty in fitting in at school. Moreover he was lazy…. He demanded of his fellow pupils their unqualified subservience, fancying himself in the role of leader.”
Hitler’s School Report-1905
Adolf Hitler
Steyr Realschule 16 September 1905
Moral Conduct 3 Satisfactory
Diligence 4 Erratic
Religion 4 Adequate
Geography and History 4 Adequate
Mathematics 5 Inadequate
Chemistry 4 Adequate
Physics 3 Satisfactory
Geometry 4 Adequate
Freehand Drawing 2 Praiseworthy
Gymnastics 1 Excellent
Handwriting 5 Unpleasing

Hitler had a poor relationship with his father, who could not accept his son’s lack of self-discipline and his interests in art, architecture and music. When his father died in 1903, his mother Klara had very little control over her son, and in 1905 he left school. In 1907 Hitler applied to enter the Vienna Academy of Art but his application was rejected. In that year his mother died from cancer. Hitler had been devoted to his mother and her death affected him deeply. He carried her portrait everywhere he went for the rest of his life.
In 1908 Hitler moved to Vienna. Once again he sought admission to the Academy Of Art but was rejected for a second time. For a while he had enough money to live on from his inheritance and from an orphan’s pension but by the time he was twenty-one, Hitler was almost penniless, and was forced to live in a shelter with homeless men. On the odd occasion he made money from drawing sketches or painting scenes of Vienna, but he refused to look for a settled job. But by 1910 he began to show an interest in politics and often spent hours in Vienna’s public libraries learning more on the subject and engaging in political conversations in the local coffee houses that he visited. Hitler’s views of the world were shaped by his experiences on the streets of Vienna, and this is where his violent anti-Semitism derived from.
In 1913 Hitler left Vienna and moved across the border to Munich, the capital of the German State of Bavaria. He was in Munich at the break out of the First World War and although not a German citizen, he served in the German Army throughout the war. For most of the war he served as a runner, and served at the front line in Flanders (Belgium) and in France. He displayed courage under fire and was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. He was sent home in 1916 when he was wounded but returned to fighting in 1917. He was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and took part in the Lundendorff offensive of March 1918. In the last months of the war Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross First Class “For bravery and general merit”, an honour for a corporal. Hitler’s campaign ended when he was partly blinded in a gas attack. He was taken to recuperate in a hospital in Germany and it was here that he heard the news that Germany had surrendered. He describes the shock in his book, Mein Kampf- “Everything went black before my eyes as I staggered back to my ward and buried my aching head between the blankets and pillow…. during these nights my hatred increased, hatred for the originators of this dastardly crime”.

Hitler’s rise to power

After the end of World War One Hitler was made a political officer for the army. One of his jobs was to report to the army command on the small political parties that had flourished in Bavaria. It was at this time that he attended a meeting of a small group called the German Worker’s Party in September 1919. Hitler had found what he wanted- a small political party that he could shape with his own ideas. Hitler quickly became the leader of the party where his brilliant power as a public speaker