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Adolf Hitler

(1889-1945)

His Early Years


Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in 1889.
Left school at age sixteen in 1905 with
the intention of becoming an artist.
In 1907 Hitler moved to Vienna and tried
to enter the Academy of Fine Arts.
Hitler was not accepted into the academy
returning home to nurse his dying mother
through a fatal illness.

Hitlers time in Austria


Hitler anti-semitism (hatred of Jews)
developed during his time in Austria.
Living rough he became aware of the
conflicts between German speaking
Austrians and the Slav nations within
Europe.
His contact with Jews in pre-war Vienna
led him to believe they controlled the
Press, the arts, literature an drama.

Hitlers involvement in WWI


Having left Vienna for Germany in
1913, Hitler at the age of 25 joined the
German Army fighting on the Western
Front.
He was awarded the Iron Cross in 1916
and wounded at the Somme.
Following the end of the war he was
employed as a political agent by the
German army.

German Workers Party


Hitler attended a meeting of the German
Workers Party as a part of his job and
Anton Drexler the partys leader was so
impressed by Hitlers speech that he
elected Hitler onto the party committee.
Hitler quickly became its leader and
renamed it the National Socialist
German Workers Party (Nazi for short).
The swastika, previously worn by the
Freikorps, was adopted as its symbol.

NAZI Party - AIMS

Abolition of the Versailles Treaty.


Union of Germany and Austria
Aryans to live exclusively in Germany
Nationalisation of business and
industry
Central Government

Stormtroopers
Hitler established the SA which was
given the task of enforcing the
partys aims on the German people.

Hitlers personal characteristics

Hitler had a magnetic, forceful character, which assisted him


in his organisation of the Nazi Party.
Hitler had no capacity to appraise moral values.
Hitler recognised the importance of using scapegoats for the
ills of the German people blaming communism and
Judaism!
He rarely referred to other authors or literary work, claiming
all ideas as his own.
Hitler had a fantastic memory, often bluffing others into
believing he also had highly developed strategic thinking.
Hitler believed in his own fallibility, a myth that he helped
perpetuate.
He did not believe in a conscience.
He believed in the code of the survival of the fittest
Darwinian

Hitlers speaking technique


Use of simple terms to attract common
people.
Basis of his speech was philosophical rather
than political.
Used emotive language, usually of a violent
character, with rapid mood swings.
He would build his voice up to a point of near
hysteria.
Used repetition as to leave an imprint on
people.

The Munich Putsch 1923


On the 8th November 1923, the Bavarian government held a
meeting of about 3000 officials.
Gustav von Kahr, Prime Minister of Bavaria was speaking as
Hitler and his Stormtroopers entered the building. Hitler
immediately jumped on a table, fired two shots in the air and
informed the audience that the Munich Putsch was taking
place.
Hermann Goering and the SA guarded the officials while
Hitler took Gustav von Kahr, Otto von Lossow (commander of
the Bavarian Army) and Hans von Seisser ( Head of the
Police) into a adjoining room. After threatening to kill them
and himself the three men agreed to follow Hitlers orders.
Eric Ludendorff arrived and was appointed head of the
German Army in Hitlers government.

Hitler now planned to march on Berlin,


however he did not take control of the
radio stations and the national government
soon heard about Hitlers putsch.
The following day they marched through
Munich and the police blocked there
passage and opened fire killing 21 people
and wounding many others, including
Goering.
Hitler was arrested and imprisoned for 9
months in Landsberg Castle in Munich.
Whilst in prison Hitler write Mein Kamph.

Nazi Beliefs
1. Rearm Germany an retake what
was lost at Versailles.
2. The German Race (Aryans) were
the superior race, all others were
racially impure.
3. The master race needed more
living space Lebensraum.

The Rise of Nazis


Economic conditions in Europe made a
significant contribution to the Rise of
Nazism.
The Great Depression of 1929 and the
collapse of the New York Stock
Exchange gave the Nazi party it
opportunity to rise to power.
High unemployment caused social
unrest and political instability.

The Rise of Nazism


(continued)
Germanys welfare system could not cope
with the demands placed upon it.
Germanys voting system consisted of
proportional representation within the
Reichstag, meaning that the number of
votes equated to the number of seats in
parliament.
A huge number of political parties in
Germany resulted in the forming of
coalitions of different parties.

The Rise of Nazism


(continued)
The Great Depression put a huge strain on the
government in 1930, resulting in the
resignation of Chancellor Muller and the
appointment of Chancellor Bruning.
Bruning led by decree, without the parliament.
1932 President Hindenburg dismissed Bruning
appointing von Papen.
The election of 1932 witnessed a huge shift in
the number of seats held by the Nazis party,
representing 37% of the vote.

Hitler is appointed
Chancellor
After further manoeuvring and fresh
election in January 1933, Hitler was
appointed chancellor.
27th Feb, the Reichstag building is burnt to
the ground and the communists are
accused.
In 1933 the Nazis party gained 44% of the
vote. Hitler gained the support of the
Nationalist Party and Centre Party, getting
a 2/3 majority in the parliament.

Hitlers appointment as
chancellor

Reichstag Fire

Hitlers political actions


Hitler introduced an Enabling Act
which removed the discretion of the
Reichstag and finally removed all
political parties except the Nazi
party.

Night of the Long Knives


By 1934 Hitler had wiped out most of his
opponents, his only rivals left were in the Nazi
Party itself and in the SA the Storm troopers.
SA
Contained street-fighters, social outcasts,
thugs.
Wanted positions of power.
Ernst Rohm, their leader, wanted to merge the
SA with the regular army, under his control.
Actions were extremely violent, embarrassed
Hitler.

Night of the Long Knives


On Hitlers orders, Rohm and other
SA leaders were arrested on the
night of 30 June 1934. They were
taken to prison and shot.
Over the next few weeks hundreds of
other SA leaders were shot, along
with other rivals to Hitlers
leadership.

Why target the SA?


The SA was particularly violent and this
provided bad publicity for Hitler and the Nazi
party.
Rohms ambition to merge the SA with the
army.
Hitler hoped to succeed Hindenburg as
President and therefore needed the support of
the army. Given the conflict between the army
and the SA, Hitler needed to remove the threat
of the SA to the army. ( Alan Bullock p. 27 )

Hitler replaces Hindenburg


Following Hindenburgs death Hitler
with the support of the army took the
presidency.
Hitler then proceeded to reduce the
power of the armies leadership,
reorganising the Reichswehr into a
new army the Wehrmacht.

Hitlers actions from 1934 to


1941
1. Rearmament
1934: secret orders given for the expansion of
the army from 100,000 to 300,000 and the
building of battleships and submarines.
-1935: introduction of compulsory military service,
expansion of the army to 550,000
2. The Rhineland
- Hitler ordered 30,000 troops to occupy the
Rhineland and establish a West Wall of forts on
this border region.

Hitlers actions 1934-1941


3. Alliances Hitler formed an alliance
with General Franco, the Spanish military
leader; Mussolini, Italys president; and
Japan.
4. Anschluss with Austria - Hitler wished
to unite all German speaking people in
one country. He achieved this aim by
threatening Austrias leader Kurt
Schuschnigg with invasion. Schuschnigg
was replaced by a Nazi, Seyss Inquart

Hitlers actions
Invasion
1939: Germany invades Poland
1940: Germany invades Denmark,
Norway, Holland, Belgium,
Luxembourg and France.
1941: Germany invades Greece,
Yugoslavia, western Russia and the
Ukraine.

Nazi Leaders
The Third Reich was the creation of Adolf
Hitler, however, a number of men
contributed in various ways to
maintaining the successes of the party.
1.Hermann Goering
2.Joseph Goebbels
3.Reynard Heydrich
4.Heinrich Himmler
5.Rudolf Hess

Hermann Goering

A very influential person in the early years of the


Nazi party. Appointed Speaker and President of
the Reichstag in 1932.
Established the Gestapo in Prussia and the first
concentration camps in Bavaria, including
Dachau.
As Air Minister, he established the Luftwaffe in
1933. Achieved the position of Reichsmarshal in
1940.
Following the failure to defeat Britain and the
Soviet Union, Hitler withdrew his support for
Goering and his influence waned.
Captured in 1945 by the allies and tried at
Nuremberg, he committing suicide in 1946.

Hermann Goering

Joseph Goebbels
Responsible for organising propaganda
in the Third Reich.
A brilliant speaker, equal to Hitler.
Joined the Nazi party in 1922,
appointed to the head of propaganda in
1929.
Between 1933 and 1945 held position
of Minister for Enlightenment and
Propaganda.

Joseph Goebbels

Reinhard Heydrich
Appointed as Himmlers subordinate.
In 1936, Heydrich was made head of
the Gestapo, under Himmlers
authority.
Responsible for the coordination of the
deportation of European Jews to the
death camps.
Assassinated in Prague by Czech
freedom fighters, in 1942.

Reinhard Heydrich

Heinrich Himmler
Himmler was placed in command of the
SS and Gestapo in 1929.
Coordinated and supervised the
building of the concentration camps.
Himmler can be held directly
responsible for the death of 6 million
Jews.
Captured by the allies in 1945,
committing suicide shortly after.

Heinrich Himmler

Rudolf Hess
Hitlers earliest and most loyal supporters.
Imprisoned with Hitler following the Munich
Putsch, he wrote large sections of Mein Kampf,
from Hitlers dictation.
He was appointed deputy leader of the Nazi
party in 1933.
In 1941, Hess flew to Britain to arrange a peace
treaty, he was imprisoned for the remainder of
the war and put on trial at Nuremberg.
Remained in prison till 1987, when he
committed suicide.

Hess