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Hitler, Adolf (1889-1945)

German Nazi dictator, born in Austria. He as !"#rer (leader) of t#e Nazi $art% from 19&1 and rote 'ein (am)f*'% +tru,,le 19&5-&-. As c#ancellor of German% from 19.. and #ead of state from 19.4, #e created a dictators#i) b% )la%in, )art% and state institutions a,ainst eac# ot#er and continuall% creatin, ne offices and a))ointments. His )osition as not seriousl% c#allen,ed until t#e failed /ul% $lot 1944 to assassinate #im. 0n forei,n affairs, #e reoccu)ied t#e 1#ineland and formed an alliance it# t#e 0talian !ascist 2enito 'ussolini 19.3, anne4ed Austria 19.8, and occu)ied +udeten under t#e 'unic# A,reement. 5#e rest of 6zec#oslo7a8ia as anne4ed 'arc# 19.9. 5#e 1ibbentro)-'oloto7 )act as follo ed in +e)t b% t#e in7asion of $oland and t#e declaration of ar b% 2ritain and !rance (see 9orld 9ar 00). He committed suicide as 2erlin fell. Hitler as born in 2raunau-am-0nn, and s)ent #is earl% %ears in )o7ert% in :ienna and 'unic#. After ser7in, as a 7olunteer in t#e German arm% durin, 9orld 9ar 0, #e as em)lo%ed as a s)% b% t#e militar% aut#orities in 'unic# and in 1919 ;oined, in t#is ca)acit%, t#e German 9or8ers< $art%. 2% 19&1 #e #ad assumed its leaders#i), renamed it t#e National

+ocialist German 9or8ers< $art% (Nazi $art% for s#ort), and )ro7ided it it# a )ro,ramme t#at mi4ed nationalism it# anti-+emitism. Ha7in, led an unsuccessful u)risin, in 'unic# 19&., #e ser7ed nine mont#s in )rison, durin, #ic# #e rote #is )olitical testament, 'ein (am)f. 5#e )art% did not ac#ie7e national im)ortance until t#e elections of 19.=> b% 19.&, alt#ou,# !ield 'ars#al Hindenbur, defeated Hitler in t#e )residential elections, it formed t#e lar,est ,rou) in t#e 1eic#sta, ()arliament). As t#e result of an intri,ue directed b% 6#ancellor !ranz 7on $a)en, Hitler became c#ancellor in a Nazi-Nationalist coalition .= /an 19... 5#e o))osition as ra)idl% su))ressed, t#e Nationalists remo7ed from t#e ,o7ernment, and t#e Nazis declared t#e onl% le,al )art%. 0n 19.4 Hitler succeeded Hindenbur, as #ead of state. 'ean #ile, t#e dri7e to ar be,an> German% left t#e ?ea,ue of Nations, conscri)tion as reintroduced, and in 19.3 t#e 1#ineland as reoccu)ied. Hitler and 'ussolini, #o ere alread% bot# in7ol7ed in +)ain, formed an alliance (t#e A4is) 19.3, ;oined b% /a)an 194=. Hitler conducted t#e ar in a rut#less but idios%ncratic a%, too8 and ruled most of t#e nei,#bourin, countries it# re)ressi7e occu)ation forces, and #ad millions of

+la7s, /e s, 1omanies, #omose4uals, and )olitical enemies 8illed in concentration cam)s and massacres. He narro l% esca)ed deat# &= /ul% 1944 from a bomb e4)losion at a staff meetin,, )re)ared b% #i,#-ran8in, officers. @n &9 A)ril 1945, #en 2erlin as lar,el% in +o7iet #ands, #e married #is mistress A7a 2raun in #is bun8er under t#e c#anceller% buildin, and on t#e follo in, da% committed suicide it# #er. earl% %ears Hitler<s fat#er, ori,inall% called +c#ic8l,ruber until #e c#an,ed #is name late in life, as a minor customs officer in t#e Austrian ser7ice. Hitler as t#e onl% son of #is t#ird ife. Hitler<s fat#er died #en #e as 14, lea7in, no resources for #is continued education. 9it# #is mot#er #e ent to :ienna #o)in, to become an arc#itect, but #ad to earn #is li7in, as assistant to a #ouse-)ainter and b% sellin, indifferent s8etc#es. After s)endin, a fe %ears in :ienna #e left to settle in 'unic# 191&. 5#ese %ears of )enur% ere formati7e bot# of #is )#iloso)#% of life and of #is c#aracter and it as )robabl% t#en t#at #e first absorbed t#e anti-+emitic and )an-Germanic 7ie s current amon, e4treme nationalists at t#e time. 9orld 9ar 0 Hitler ;oined a 2a7arian reser7e re,iment

at t#e start of 9orld 9ar 0, ser7in, in t#e trenc#es as a dis)atc# rider. He reac#ed t#e ran8 of Gefreiter (lance cor)oral), as ounded in t#e 2attle of t#e +omme 1913 and ,assed 1918. He became con7inced t#at German% #ad been betra%ed b% /e is# and 'ar4ist influences and returned from t#e ar bitter at German%<s defeat. 2ac8 in 2a7aria, #e attended, and later conducted, courses desi,ned to 8ee) e4-soldiers a a% from 2ols#e7ism, #ere #e came under t#e influence of Gottfried !eder, t#e intellectual founder of t#e Nazi mo7ement. ta8es o7er t#e Nazis He t#en became t#e se7ent# member of an insi,nificant )olitical ,rou) in 'unic#, t#e German 9or8ers< $art%, and soon distin,uis#ed #imself it# #is almost #%)notic )o)ular orator%. 5#rou,# #is friends Aric# 1B#m, a staff officer at 'unic#, and 7on A)), #e maintained close contacts it# t#e German arm%, t#e 1eic#s e#r. He ousted Anton Cre4ler, t#e founder of t#e )art%, as leader 19&1. 5#e )art% as no called t#e National +ocialist German 9or8ers< $art% and ado)ted Hitler<s nationalist and anti-'ar4ist creed. After an ar,ument it# 1B#m o7er t#e role of t#e ne l% created +A (+turmabteilun,) troo)s (t#e 2ro ns#irts), Hitler or,anized a s)ecial detac#ment to be #is o n disci)lined )olitical soldiers rat#er t#an t#e bra lin,

street-fi,#ters of 1B#m<s 2ro ns#irts. 5#is as formall% establis#ed 19&3 as t#e ++ (+c#utzstaffel) in imitation of 'ussolini<s fasces. 2eer#all $utsc# 5#in8in, t#at t#e 9eimar 1e)ublic as on t#e 7er,e of colla)se, Hitler launc#ed an aborti7e cou) in 'unic# No7 19&., in alliance it# 1B#m, t#e ar #ero Aric# 7on ?udendorff, and Hermann Goerin,, in an attem)t to ma8e ?udendorff dictator. 5#e cou) failed and Hitler as arrested and tried for treason. He as sentenced to fi7e %ears< im)risonment and durin, #is incarceration in t#e fortress of ?andsber, or8ed on t#e final draft of 'ein (am)f it# t#e aid of 1udolf Hess. buildin, t#e )art% Curin, #is time in )rison, t#e Nazi )art% all but disinte,rated and #en #e as released under an amnest% 19&4, #e set to or8 immediatel% to rebuild t#e )art% or,anization. Alt#ou,# for some time t#e +trasser brot#ers, creators of t#e Nazi )art% in nort#ern German%, ere more influential t#an Hitler in t#e )art% ran8s, #e ,raduall% reco7ered t#e ,round #e #ad lost and ousted t#e +trassers. 2% 19.= #e as t#e undis)uted #ead of a considerable )art%. !unds ere increasin,l% flo in, in from t#e bi, industrialists, #o sa National +ocialism as a safe,uard a,ainst

communism. DNationalismE ,raduall% su)erseded D+ocialismE in t#e )art% )ro,ramme, alt#ou,# its lan,ua,e still )la%ed li) ser7ice to its more re7olutionar% roots. 9#en t#e orld economic crisis came in 19.=, Hitler abl% e4)loited t#e discontent of bot# t#e or8in, class and t#e more solid middle-class elements, #o sa t#eir standard of li7in, t#reatened b% t#e crisis. His r#etoric on o7er man% con7erts and in t#e ne4t election +e)t 19.= t#e Nazis increased t#eir re)resentation in t#e 1eic#sta, from 1& to 1=- seats. He stood a,ainst Hindenbur, in t#e )residential election 19.& and alt#ou,# #e as beaten in t#e second ballot, #e #ad mana,ed to )oll some 1. million 7otes and as no a )olitical )o er to be rec8oned it#. 0n a ra)idl% deterioratin, )olitical situation, 6#ancellor Heinric# 2r"nin, felt com)elled to ,o7ern b% decree and, t#ou,# liberal in outloo8, #is re,ime )a7ed t#e a% to dictators#i). He resi,ned as c#ancellor /une 19.& and as succeeded b% 7on $a)en. Hitler #ad re,arded #imself as #eir to t#e c#ancellors#i) but as bloc8ed b% t#e co7ert resistance of t#e old ri,#t- in, re,ime, it# its bac8in, of industrialists and /un8ers. :on $a)en dissol7ed t#e 1eic#sta, and #eld fres# elections but t#e Nazi )art% doubled its stren,t# to &.= seats and Hitler as no #ead of t#e

bi,,est sin,le )art%. A7entuall% Hitler and 7on $a)en reac#ed an a,reementF Hitler renounced t#e socialist section of #is )ro,ramme, and 7on $a)en released t#e subsidies from t#e industrialists to Hitler<s coffers, and induced Hindenbur, to acce)t Hitler as c#ancellor /an 19... t#e 5#ird 1eic# Curin, 19.., t#e 9eimar 1e)ublic ,a7e a% to t#e 5#ird 1eic# and b% t#e end of t#e %ear t#e one-man )art% #ad become t#e one-)art% state. $olitical o))onents Ddisa))earedE, eit#er assassinated or sent to concentration cam)s. Ha7in, crus#ed o))osition in German% at lar,e, Hitler turned #is attention to stiflin, t#e last 7esti,es of dissent in #is o n )art%. 0n t#e DNi,#t of t#e ?on, (ni7esE .= /une 19.4, o7er 1== leadin, Nazis ere murdered, includin, Gre,or +trasser, 1B#m, and (urt 7on +c#leic#er and #is ife. All )o er no )assed to t#e National +ocialist e4ecuti7e, #ic#, for all )ractical )ur)oses, meant Hitler #imself. 9#en Hindenbur, died Au, 19.4, Hitler as declared #is successor but ab;ured t#e title of 1eic#s)rGsident in fa7our of !"#rer and (anzler (c#ancellor). t#e Holocaust !rom t#e moment Hitler came to )o er #e instituted a rei,n of terror a,ainst /e s, #omose4uals, 1omanies, and )olitical o))onents. Anti-+emitic

measures ere introduced in sta,es, startin, it# bo%cotts of /e is# businesses A)ril 19.. and culminatin, in t#e full #orror of t#e e4termination cam)s and t#e Dfinal solutionE 1941. @fficial )ro)a,anda as directed a,ainst /e s, sto8in, u) )o)ular #atred as in t#e or,anized terror of t#e (ristallnac#t #en /e is# businesses and )ro)ert% ere attac8ed b% ,o7ernment-s)onsored mobs 9 No7 19.8. /e s ere increasin,l% mar,inalized b% a combination of 7icious )ro)a,anda and anti-/e is# la s, suc# as forcin, all /e s to ear %ello stars, ma8in, t#em 7isible tar,ets for bot# official re)ression and )ri7ate #ostilit%. @nce 9orld 9ar 00 started, t#ese )olicies ere carried into t#e countries German% occu)ied and b% 1941, t#ere as a net or8 of e4termination cam)s, mainl% in $oland. 5#e Holocaust reac#ed its #ei,#t after t#e 9annsee 6onference &= /an 194&, a meetin, of to) Nazi officials #o de7elo)ed a s%stematic )olic% of efficient e4termination. 5#ere are no definiti7el% accurate fi,ures for t#e number of )eo)le e4terminated b% t#e Nazis but it is rec8oned t#at b% t#e end of t#e ar some 3 million /e s #ad been 8illed and o7er a million )eo)le belon,in, to ot#er ,rou)s, suc# as +la7s and 1omanies, desi,nated as Hntermensc#en (Dsub#umansE). rebuildin, German )o er

Ha7in, establis#ed #is )osition in German%, Hitler no be,an #is lon, cam)ai,n to restore German )o er in Auro)e, #eraldin, #is ad7ent to )o er b% a series of increasin,l% ,ra7e breac#es of treat% obli,ations and floutin, Auro)ean o)inion. He be,an a massi7e )ro,ramme of rearmament, secretl% at first and t#en e7er more fla,rantl%. !or e4am)le, German% as not su))osed to #a7e an air force but Goerin, built t#e ?uft affe from scratc# under t#e ,uise of a ci7ilian airline, announcin, its e4istence officiall% A)ril 19.5. Hitler t#en turned to t#e territorial clauses of t#e 7arious treaties bindin, German%, startin, it# t#e )lebiscite in t#e +aar re,ion /an 19.5. 5#e result, )artl% influenced b% terrorism, as an o7er #elmin, ma;orit% for retrocession to German% and Hitler used t#is as a bolster to denounce t#e militar% clauses of t#e 5reat% of :ersailles 'arc# 19.5 and introduce conscri)tion for t#e 1eic#s e#r. A %ear later #e boldl% ris8ed marc#in, #is forces into t#e demilitarized 1#ineland zone, in defiance of t#e $act of ?ocarno of 19&5, #ic#, #e claimed, #ad been abro,ated b% a !ranco-+o7iet alliance. 5#e remilitarization of t#e 1#ineland as follo ed b% t o %ears of t#e most acti7e German militar% )re)arations combined it# a com)lete o7er#aul of t#e econom% to ma8e German% self-sufficient.

9#en t#e 6i7il 9ar bro8e out in +)ain /ul% 19.3, Hitler seized t#e o))ortunit% to test #is ne l% built arm% and air force on t#e side of t#e ri,#t- in, ,eneral !ranco. @t#er e7ents abroad durin, 19.3-.-, suc# as t#e ?ea,ue of Nations< failure to c#ec8 'ussolini<s Ab%ssinian ad7enture, increased t#e ner7ous tension in Auro)e, and ent far to stren,t#en Hitler<s )osition. 'ussolini as a natural all% and t#e t o countries allied in t#e 1ome-2erlin A4is @ct 19.3. e4)ansionism abroad !rom t#e end of 19.-, Hitler )ursued an a,,ressi7el% e4)ansionist forei,n )olic% #ic# for t o %ears on s)ectacular successes. He anne4ed Austria 'arc# 19.8 b% mani)ulatin, an abru)t crisis in Austro-German relations, t#en sendin, t#e German arm% across t#e frontier and declarin, Ansc#luss, t#e incor)oration of Austria it#in t#e 1eic#. He t#en mo7ed on to t#e cam)ai,n to DliberateE +udeten, an et#nic German area it#in 6zec#oslo7a8ia - t#is as an attac8 on a so7erei,n state bound b% treat% it# t#e 9estern )o ers and b% et#nic ties it# 1ussia. Ho e7er, Hitler ell understood t#e underl%in, realities of t#e immediate )olitical situation and realised t#at t#e 9est as not )re)ared to fi,#t. 5#e 'unic# A,reement Au, 19.8 #anded #im +udeten in return for assurances t#at #e

#ad no more territorial claims to ma8e, t#e same claim #e #ad made after t#e anne4ation of Austria. He t#en too8 t#e rest of 6zec#oslo7a8ia )iece b% )iece durin, earl% 19.9 and at t#e same time announced #is anne4ation of 'emel in 7iolation of t#e :ersailles 5reat%. Hitler no seemed, in t#e e%es of t#e a7era,e German, not onl% to be t#e )reser7er of )eace but a consummate statesman, sur)assin, all #is )redecessors in e4tendin, t#e 1eic# frontiers. 9it#in less t#an a %ear #e #ad added 1= million Germans to t#e 5#ird 1eic#, bro8en t#e one formidable bastion to German e4)ansion to t#e sout#east, and made #imself t#e most )o erful dictator in Auro)e since Na)oleon. t#e outbrea8 of ar 0n 'arc# 19.9, Hitler renounced t#e nona,,ression treat% it# $oland of 19.4 and demanded t#e return of Canzi, and t#e D$olis# 6orridorE. 2ritain and !rance ,uaranteed $olis# inde)endence and arned Hitler t#e% ould stand b% $oland. Hitler as s#a8en b% t#is de7elo)ment, )articularl% #en t#e t o 9estern )o ers be,an ne,otiations it# 'osco . 1at#er t#an abandon #is desi,ns on $oland #e for,ot #is #atred of communism and )ro)osed a nona,,ression )act it# t#e H++1. +talin a,reed and t#e 1ibbentro)-'oloto7 )act as si,ned &. Au, 19.9. 9it#out

an% dan,er of +o7iet interference, Hitler launc#ed #is 2litz8rie, on $oland 1 +e)t 19.9, and t o da%s later 2ritain and !rance declared ar. 2litz8rie, After t#e in7asion of $oland, German% s e)t t#rou,# t#e Net#erlands, 2el,ium and !rance in eIuall% ra)id succession and simultaneousl% launc#ed in7asions of Nor a% and Cenmar8. 5#e s)ectacular e7ents of s)rin, and summer 194=, culminatin, in t#e armistice it# !rance, onl% confirmed Hitler<s ,enius in t#e e%es of t#e a7era,e German. 0n t#e s)rin, of 1941 German forces in7aded Ju,osla7ia and Greece, #ile t#e air force belaboured 2ritain it# bomber raids and t#e na7% struc8 at its seaborne su))lies. 2attle of 2ritain and 2arbarossa Hitler decided to ea8en t#e 2ritis# b% attac8in, t#e em)ire in t#e east. Ho e7er, t#is )lan de)ended on t#e neutralit% of t#e H++1 and, not bein, sure of t#is, Hitler and #is ad7isers decided to combine t#e attac8 on A,%)t it# an in7asion of t#e H++1 itself, @)eration 2arbarossa, in /une 1941. 5#is as a fatal decision #ic# brou,#t a )o erful enem% into )la% a,ainst #im and o)ened u) an enormous second front. 0t re7ealed t#e essential ea8ness underl%in, all Hitler<s forei,n )olic% and it is )ossible t#at #e too8 t#e decision

a,ainst t#e ad7ice of ot#er Nazi leaders and t#e German ,eneral staff. !rom t#en on #e stro7e to di7ide t#e H++1 from t#e 9estern Allies b% stressin, German%<s anti-2ols#e7i8 crusade. 5#e German cam)ai,ns in t#e 2al8ans and t#e 'editerranean ere brilliant in conce)tion and e4ecution, but 2ritis# inter7ention in Greece and 2ritis# resistance in 6rete and ?ib%a dela%ed Hitler<s timetable, and, as t#e summer of 1941 ore on it as becomin, ob7ious t#at German o)timism #ad outrun itself. 5#e re7erses in t#e 2attle of 2ritain /ul% 1941 ere a ,reat blo to German morale and for some time Hitler as silent, but at a meetin, of t#e 9inter Hel) 6am)ai,n 4 @ct, #e announced a D,i,antic o)erationE #ic# ould brin, about t#e defeat of t#e H++1. !ollo in, t#e failure of t#e German arm% before 'osco , Hitler sac8ed t#e commander in c#ief, 9alt#er 7on 2rauc#itsc#, Cec 1941, and assumed direct control of all militar% o)erations. 9#en t#e H+A entered t#e ar after t#e attac8 on $earl Harbor Cec 1941, four-fift#s of t#e orld as no ran,ed a,ainst German%. decline 194&-4. Hitler<s Ne Jear messa,e for 194& s#o ed a mar8ed decline in buo%anc%, alt#ou,# t#e German armies ere still a )o erful force, and in t#e earl% #alf of

194&, t#e German armies in t#e H++1 reac#ed t#e :ol,a at +talin,rad #ile Ar in 1ommel as t#reatenin, 6airo and Ale4andria in Nort# Africa. Jet before t#e autumn as )ast 1ommel #ad been routed at Al Alamein and t#e +o7iets #ad destro%ed 7on $aulus<s 3t# Arm% before +talin,rad. Hitler be,an to s)ea8 less of German 7ictor% t#an of t#e inabilit% of t#e Allies to defeat German%, and #e soon faced ne crises. 'ussolini as de)osed /ul% 194. and 0tal% ca)itulated to t#e Allies. 1944 After t#e German armies #ad been dri7en out of t#e H++1 t#e C-Ca% landin,s in Normand% /une 1944, it soon became clear t#at t#e Allies ould not, as Hitler #ad )romised, be Ddri7en into t#e seaE. 5#e German Do))ositionE, led b% arm% ,enerals and su))orted b% industrialists, liberals, and e7en elements of t#e left, attem)ted a cou) d<Ktat, t#e /ul% 2omb $lot. 5#e si,nal as to be t#e assassination of Hitler, but t#e bomb #ic# as )laced in #is #eadIuarters b% a staff officer named 7on +tauffenber, did not 8ill #im and t#e cou) failed. 0t succeeded onl% in brin,in, about Hitler<s most sa7a,e )ur,eF t#ousands of men and omen ere e4ecuted #o ere not e7en necessaril% im)licated in t#e )lot, but #o mi,#t concei7abl% #a7e led anot#er risin,. Himmler too8 command of

t#e arm% inside German% so as to ti,#ten t#e Nazi ,ri) on it. Ho e7er, as t#e %ear ore on, t#e Allies steadil% closed in from all sides. 1945F defeat As t#e Allies )ressed into German% A)ril 1945, Hitler married #is mistress, A7a 2raun, &9 A)ril 1945 and bot# t#en committed suicide in t#e air-raid s#elter under t#e ruined c#anceller% in 2erlin t#e follo in, da%. 0t is ,enerall% considered t#at t#eir bodies ere subseIuentl% burned in t#e court%ard.