Photo story (Clockwise from top left): (1) Adolf Hitler is photographed by his personal photographer Hugo Jaeger in upper Bavaria in the late 1930s (2) German President Paul von Hindenburg (President from 1925-1934), who appointed Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany in 1933 (3) Hitler’s mobile killing units killing Jews at Ivanhorod in Ukrain in 1942; A woman trying to protect a child with her body as the SS soldiers aim their rifles (4) A pile of corpses of Jews & others found in the newly liberated Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp on 16th April 1945. One of Hitler’s numerous death camps (5) Soviet prisoners of wars are being starved to death by Hitler’s Nazi regime, some 2.8 million Soviet prisoners of war were killed in just eight months between 1941 & 1942 by the Nazis.
As the initiator of WWII, the infamous creator of the Holocaust and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is directly responsible for the death of over 60 million people which was 2.5% of the world population back then. Not to mention the abundant amount of devastation he has caused in his own country, as well as the others’. Over 5.9 million Jews or 78% of the total Jewish population in Nazi occupied Europe was mass murdered and Adolf Hitler was the mastermind of this unprecedented genocide in the history of humanity.
Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician & the leader of National Socialist German Workers Party a.k.a. Nazi Party. From 1933 to 1945, he was the chancellor of Germany. From 1934 to 1945, he was the dictator of Nazi Germany and was titled Fuhrer or Fuehrer which means leader.
On 20th April 1889, Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary. He was the 4th among 6 children to anticlerical Alois Hitler and devout Catholic Klara Polzl. As an Austrian child, Hitler was baptized. After childhood, he stopped participating in the sacraments and became disdainful of Christianity in adulthood. He repeatedly said that Nazism was founded on science and it was a secular ideology.
Hitler’s family moved to Passau, Germany when Hitler was three. During his school years, Hitler became interested about warfare after finding a picture book on Franco Prussian War belonging to his father. Adolf refused to follow the strict discipline of his school and it caused a serious father-son conflict. Eight year old Hitler sang in the church choir after taking singing lessons. He even considered becoming a priest. The father-son conflict increased when Adolf refused to follow his father’s footstep of taking a career in the customs bureau.
Adolf wanted to become an artist and attend a classical high school which was turned down by Alois. Adolf rebelled and intentionally did poorly in the high school he was sent. From a young age, he began to develop German nationalist ideas like many Austrian Germans.
Hitler’s father died in 1903 and his mother allowed him to study at his desired school in Steyr, Austria. He passed school in 1905 and lived a bohemian life in Vienna afterwards. His mother supported him and he received orphan’s benefits. Adolf Hitler also worked as a painter, as a laborer and sold watercolor paintings drawn by him.
Fine arts academy in Vienna rejected him twice in painting department but recommended him to study architecture. However, Hitler lacked the academic credentials to do so. His mother died in 1907 and he ran out of money. He lived in a homeless shelter in 1909 and in a shelter for poor working men in 1910.
During that time Vienna became a hotbed for religious racism and prejudice. Hitler used to read a newspaper that provoked the Christian fears of being swamped by the influx of eastern Jewish immigrants. He wrote in Mein Kampf (meaning- my struggle, his autobiography published in 1925-1926) that he became anti-Semitic in Vienna.
Hitler was a resident of Munich during the WWI and as an Austrian citizen, volunteered to serve in the Bavarian army. He later claimed that he did not wish to represent the Austro-Hungarian forces due to presence of mixed races in it. In 1914, he received Iron Cross for his bravery. He was present at the 1st Battle of Ypres, Battle of Arras, ‘Battle of the Somme’ and Battle of Passchendaele. His left thigh was wounded when a shell exploded during the Battle of Somme in 1916. He spent in hospital for 2 months and then again joined his regiment in 1917.
In October 1918, Adolf Hitler was temporarily blinded by a mustard gas attack and was hospitalized. He got the news of Germany’s defeat in WWI there. He said that he suffered a second round of blindness on receiving the news.
As a decorated veteran of WWI, Hitler joined precursor of Nazi Party, the German Worker’s Party in 1919. He attempted a coup in Munich to seize power in November 1923. It failed and he was imprisoned. After his release in 1924, Adolf Hitler gained popularity by criticizing the Treaty of Versailles, the WWI peace treaty that forced Germany to disarm and pay reparations for the WWI losses and damages. He also promoted anti-Semitism, Pan-Germanism and anti communism using his charismatic oratory skills and Nazi propaganda.
He became the Chancellor in 1933 and transformed the German Reich or Weimar Republic into the Nazi Germany or the Third Reich, a one party totalitarian dictatorship based on Nazi ideology. His aim was to establish a ‘New Order’ of Nazi German hegemony in Europe. The New Order included aggressive territorial expansionism of the Nazi empire and physical annihilation, extermination, enslavement and expulsion of the Jews and others the Nazis regarded as ‘racially inferior’.
Adolf Hitler ordered re-armament of Germany and the invasion of Poland in September 1939 resulting in the outbreak of WWII. Under his rule, German forces and their European allies (Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Finland) occupied most part of Europe and North Africa in 1941. Germany was forced on the defensive and suffered a series of defeats in 1943.
Hitler married his long time partner and companion Eva Braun in the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945. Less than 40 hours later, on 30th April 1945, Hitler & Eva Braun committed suicide to avoid getting captured by the approaching Red Army. Hitler shot himself and Eva Braun ingested cyanide. Their corpses were burned. When Red army found them, Hitler and Braun were fully burned and only a lower jaw with dental works could be identified as the remains of Adolf Hitler.
Online edition of eminent London based British broadsheet newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported that honorary citizenship of Adolf Hitler was revoked by small Bavarian town Dietramszell on 18th December 2013 after an outcry in previous week following an initial decision of not stripping the citizenship of the Nazi leader. Dietramszell town council voted unanimously to revoke Hitler’s citizenship bestowed upon him 80 years ago.
After the disclosed documents showed that Adolf Hitler and President Paul von Hindenburg, who appointed Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany in 1933, were granted honorary citizenship, the debate arose. In Germany it became a common practice in thousands of German towns and villages to give their Fuhrer honorary residency to show their alliance during 1933 when Hitler rose to power. They also sent him gifts.
Communities across Germany are still constantly searching for evidences of the Nazi dictator’s connection to them in their archives. In the week before 18th December, the council deadlocked in an 8-8 vote to adopt a resolution denouncing the decision taken in 1933 and the councilors voted against the resolution mentioning that it was not up to them to re-write the history. One council member Traudi Frost said, ‘The whole debate is laughable and it would be a distortion of history’.
Others in Dietramszell were horrified by the council’s failure to come to a conclusion. Head of the local criminal court said that the news was ‘deeply distressing’. He added that there had been a rise in the violence in Germany by the neoNazis which must be quashed and the duty of the council was to send a clear message by condemning Adolf Hitler.
After hearing an emotional & powerful testimony from a woman who lost her family in the Holocaust, Dietramszell town administrator Thomas Gerg called a full council vote. The second vote was unanimous, 21-0 in favor of adopting the resolution to strip honorary citizenship of Hitler and von Hindenburg.
Video story: Story of Adolf Hitler, the center of WWII, Nazi Germany & the Holocaust.