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Adolf Hitler was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, serving as dictator and leader of the Nazi Party, or National Socialist German Workers Party, for most of his time in power. Hitler’s policies started World War II and led to the genocide known as the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of some six million Jews and five million civilians. With defeat coming his way, Hitler committed suicide with wife Eva Braun on April 30, 1945, in his Berlin bunker.
Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria, on April 20, 1889. Family The fourth of six children, Adolf Hitler was born to Alois Hitler and Klara Polz (his mother was a jew). As a child, Hitler clashed frequently with his verbally abusive father, who didn’t approve of his son’s later interest in painting as a career. Following the death of his younger brother, Edmund, in 1900, Hitler became detached from his family. He doesn’t kill his family they all die from sickness or old age.
Early Life and Painting Hitler showed an early interest in German nationalism, rejecting the government and laws of Austria-Hungary. This nationalism would become the motivating force of Hitler’s life. In 1903, Hitler’s father died suddenly. Two years later, with his mother’s approval, Hitler dropped out of school. After her death in December 1907, Hitler moved to Vienna and worked at a regular job and a watercolor painter. Hitler applied to the Academy of Fine Arts twice and was rejected both times. Lacking money outside of an orphan’s pension and funds from selling postcards, he stayed in homeless shelters. Hitler later says that these years were when he first cultivated his anti-Semitism, though there is some debate about this statement.
In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich. At the outbreak of World War I, he signed up to the German army and made it. He was graduated in August 1914. But to his displeasure, he was still an Austrian citizen. Although Hitler spent much of his time away from the front lines (with some reports stating that his time on the field was generally exaggerated), he was present at a number of significant battles and was wounded at Somme. He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross First Class and the Black Wound Badge. Hitler became bitter over the collapse of the war effort. The experience reinforced his passionate German patriotism. He was shocked by Germany’s surrender in 1918. Like other German nationalists, he strongly believed that the German army had been betrayed by civilian leaders and Marxists. He found the Treaty of Versailles degrading. Specifically the demilitarization of the stipulations that Germany accept; responsibility for starting the war.
Hitler and the Nazis After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich and continued to work for the German military. As an intelligence officer, he monitored the activities of the German Workers Party (DAP) and adopted many of the anti-Semitism from nationalist and anti-Marxist founder Anton Drexler. In September 1919, Hitler joined the DAP, which changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) also known as Nazi. Hitler personally designed the Nazi party banner, taking the swastika symbol and placing it in a white circle on a red background. He soon became notorious for his inspiring speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, Marxists, and Jews.
In 1921, Hitler replaced Drexler as the Nazi party chairman. Hitler’s fervid beer hall speeches began getting more followers. An early follower was army captain Ernst Rohm the head of the Nazi paramilitary organization the Sturmabteilung (SA), who protected meetings and frequently attacked political opponents. Beer Hall Putsch On November 8, 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting featuring Bavarian prime minister Gustav Kahr at a large beer hall in Munich. Hitler announced that the national revolution had begun and declared there would be a new government. After a short struggle that led to a lot of deaths, the coup was known as the “Beer Hall Putsch” failed. Hitler was arrested and trialed for high treason and sentenced to nine months in prison. Hitler’s Book, ‘Mein Kampf’ During Hitler’s nine months in prison in 1924, he controlled most of the first volume of his autobiographical book and political autobiography, Mein Kampf ( which means My Struggle), to his deputy Rudolf Hess. The first volume was published in 1925, and a second volume came out in 1927. It was translated into 11 languages, selling more than five million copies by 1939. A work of nonsense and malarkey, the book laid out Hitler’s plans for transforming German society into one based on race. This was his stepping stone for domination. His plans were just a harsher version of America. In the first volume, Hitler shared his Anti-Semitic, pro-Aryan worldview along with his sense of “betrayal” at the outcome of World War I, calling for revenge against France and them taking over the east side of Russia. The second volume outlined his plan to gain and maintain power. While often illogical and full of grammatical errors, Mein Kampf was very persuasive and relatable making it appealing to the many Germans who felt displaced at the end of World War I.Rise to Power With millions unemployed, the Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were uncertain about the Democratic government and were becoming more and more open to extremist ideas. In 1932, Hitler ran against eighty-four-year-old Paul von Hindenburg for the presidency. Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, having more than thirty-six percent of the vote in the final count. Hindenburg doubtedly allowed Hitler to be chancellor in order to promote political balance. Hitler used his position as chancellor to form a de facto legal dictatorship.
The “Reichstag Fire Decree”, announced after a suspicious fire at parliament, suspended basic rights and allowed imprisonment without trial. Hitler also made the passage of the “Enabling Act”, which gave his cabinet full legislative powers for four years and allowed a not so strict constitution. Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies set out to silence the remaining political opposition. By the end of June, the other parties were threatened to disperse their parties. Hitler had come in and stool over there street corner without a sweat or delay.
On July 14, 1933, Hitler’s Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany. In October of that year, Germany withdrew from the League of Nations. The military opposition was also dealt with. The demands of the SA for more political and military power led to the “Night of the Long Knives”, which took place from June 30 to July 2, 1934. Rohm, a so-called “rival”, and other SA leaders, along with a number of Hitler’s political enemies, were rounded up and shot. The day before Hindenburg’s death in August 1934, the cabinet had made a law getting rid of the office of president, by combining its powers with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government and was formally named leader and chancellor. As head of state, Hitler became supreme commander of the armed forces. He had finally taken over Germany. Hitler is a vegan Hitler made his own dietary restrictions which were no alcohol and meat (or a vegan).
Fueled by fanaticism over what he believed was a superior Aryan race, he encouraged Germans to keep their bodies pure of any drugs or nonkosher foods and promoted anti-smoking campaigns across the country. Hitler and his Nazi regime instituted hundreds of laws and regulations to restrict and exclude Jews from society. These Anti-Semitic laws were issued throughout all levels of government, making good on the Nazis’ pledge to persecute Jews. On April 1, 1933, Hitler started a national boycott of Jewish businesses. This was followed by the “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” issued on April 7, 1933, which excluded Jews from the state service. The law was a Nazi implementation of the Aryan Paragraph, which called for the exclusion of Jews and non-Aryans formed organizations, employment, and eventually all aspects of public life. Additional legislation restricted the number of Jewish students at schools and universities, limited Jews working in medical and legal professions, and revoked the licenses of Jewish tax consultants. The Main Office for the newspaper of the German Student Union called for “Action Against the Un-German Spirit,” prompting students to burn more than 25,000 “Un-German” books, ushering in an era of censorship and Nazi propaganda. By 1934, Jewish actors were forbidden from performing in film or in the theater. On September 15, 1935, the Reichstag introduced the Nuremberg Laws, which said a “Jew” is anyone with grandparents on both sides of their family who were/are Jewish, regardless of whether the person considered themselves Jewish or observed the religion. The Nuremberg Laws also set forth the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor,” which banned marriage between the non-Jewish and Jewish Germans; and the Reich Citizenship Law, which deprived “non-Aryans” of the benefits of German citizenship. In 1936, Hitler and his regime muted their Anti-Semitic opposed and actions were taken when Germany hosted the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, in an effort to avoid criticism on the world stage and a negative impact on tourism. After the Olympics, the Nazi persecution of Jews intensified with the continued “Aryanization” of Jewish businesses, which involved the firing of Jewish workers and takeover by non-Jewish owners.
The Nazis continued to segregate Jews from German society, banning them from public school, universities, theaters, sports events, and “Aryan” zones. Jewish doctors were also barred from treating “Aryan” patients. Jews were required to carry identity cards and, in the fall of 1938, Jewish people had to have their passports stamped with a “J.” On November 9 and 10, 1938, a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms swept Germany, Austria, and parts of the Sudetenland. Nazis destroyed synagogues and vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses. Close to 100 Jews were murdered. Called Kristallnacht, the “Night of Crystal” or the “Night of Broken Glass,” referring to the broken glass left in the wake of the destruction, it escalated the Nazi persecution of Jews to another level of brutality and violence. Almost 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, signaling more horrors to come. Persecution of Homosexuals and People with Disabilities Hitler’s harsh laws targeted children with physical and mental disabilities. His regime also arrested homosexuals, arresting an estimated 100,000 men from 1933 to 1945. Some were imprisoned other were sent to concentration camps.
At the camps, gay prisoners were forced to wear pink triangles on their clothes so they were known to be homosexuals. Nazis considered Homosexuality a disease and crime. The Holocaust and Concentration Camps between the start of World War II, in 1939 and its end in 1945, Nazis and their allies were responsible for the deaths of at least one million civilians, including about six million Jews, which was two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe. Deaths and slavery took place in concentration and extermination camps in Auschwitz Birkenau, Bergen Belsen, Dachau, and Treblinka, among many others. Other groups of people in the camps were Poles, communists, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and trade unionists. Prisoners were used as forced laborers for SS construction projects, and in some instances, they were forced to build and expand concentration camps. They were starved, torture, and had gruesome and painful medical experiments done to them. Hitler probably never visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the mass killings. However, Germans documented the crimes committed at the camps on film and paper. World War II In 1938, Hitler, along with several other European leaders, signed the Munich Agreement. The treaty ceded the Sudetenland districts to Germany, reversing part of the Versailles Treaty.
As a result of the summit, Hitler was named Time magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938. This diplomatic win only increased his appetite for a renewed German dominance. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, sparking the beginning of World War II. In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. In 1940 Hitler escalated his military activities, invading Norway, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. By July, Hitler ordered bombing raids on the United Kingdom, with the goal of invasion. Germany’s formal alliance with Japan and Italy, known collectively as the Axis powers, was agreed upon toward the end of September to deter the United States from supporting and protecting the British. On June 22, 1941, Hitler violated the 1939 nonaggression pact with Joseph Stalin, sending a massive army of German troops into the Soviet Union. The invading force seized a huge area of Russia before Hitler temporarily halted the invasion and diverted forces to encircle Leningrad and Kiev. The pause allowed the Red Army to regroup and conduct a counter-offensive attack, and the German advance was stopped outside Moscow in December 1941. On December 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Honoring the alliance with Japan, Hitler was now at war against the Allied powers, a coalition that included Britain, the world’s largest empire, led by Prime Minister Winston Churchill; the United States, the world’s greatest financial power, led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt; and the Soviet Union, which had the world’s largest army, commanded by Stalin. Though initially hoping that he could play the Allies off of one another, Hitler’s military judgment became increasingly erratic, and the Axis powers could not sustain his aggressive and expansive war. In late 1942, German forces failed to seize the Suez Canal, leading to the loss of German control over North Africa. The German army also suffered defeats at the Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43), seen as a turning point in the war, and the Battle of Kursk (1943).
On June 6, 1944, on what would come to be known as D-Day, the Western Allied armies landed in northern France. As a result of these significant setbacks, many German officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that Hitler’s continued rule would result in the destruction of the country. Organized efforts to assassinate the dictator gained traction, and opponents came close in 1944 with the notorious July Plot, though it ultimately proved unsuccessful. How and When Did Hitler Die? By early 1945, Hitler realized that Germany was going to lose the war. The Soviets had driven the German army back into Western Europe and the Allies were advancing into Germany from the west. At midnight, going into April 29, 1945, Hitler married his girlfriend, Eva Braun, in a small civil ceremony in his Berlin bunker. Around this time, Hitler was informed of the execution of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Afraid of falling into the hands of enemy troops, Hitler and Braun committed suicide the day after their wedding, on April 30, 1945. Their bodies were carried to a bombed-out area outside of the Reich Chancellery, where they were burned. Berlin fell on May 2, 1945. Five days later, on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.
After Hitler’s Death Hitler’s political programs brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe, including Germany. His policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale and resulted in the death of tens of millions of people, including more than twenty million in the Soviet Union and six million Jews in Europe. Hitler’s defeat marked the end of Germany’s dominance in European history and the defeat of fascism. A new ideological global conflict, the Cold War, emerged in the aftermath of the devastating violence of World War II. Even after death he still reeked have on the world.
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