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Adolf Hitler
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"Hitler" redirects here. For other uses, see Hitler (disambiguation).
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Adolf Hitler
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S33882, Adolf Hitler retouched.jpg
Adolf Hitler in 1937
Führer of Germany
In office
2 August 1934 30 April 1945
Rudolf Hess (1933–1941)
Position vacant
Preceded by    Paul von Hindenburg
(as President)
Succeeded by    Karl Dönitz
(as President)
Reich Chancellor of Germany
In office
30 January 1933 30 April 1945
President    Paul von Hindenburg (until 1934)
Franz von Papen (1933–1934)
Position vacant
Preceded by    Kurt von Schleicher
Succeeded by    Joseph Goebbels
Leader of the Nazi Party
In office
29 June 1921 30 April 1945
Deputy    Rudolf Hess
Preceded by    Anton Drexler
Succeeded by    Martin Bormann
Personal details
Born    20 April 1889
Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary
Died    30 April 1945 (aged 56)
Berlin, Germany
Austrian citizen until 7 April 1925[1]
German citizen after 25 February 1932
Political party    National Socialist German Workers' Party (1921–1945)
Other political
affiliations    German Workers' Party (1920–1921)
Spouse(s)    Eva Braun
(29–30 April 1945)
Occupation    Politician
Religion    See: Religious views of Adolf Hitler
Military service
Allegiance     German Empire
Service/branch     Reichsheer
Years of service    1914–1920
16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment
Reichswehr intelligence
Battles/wars    World War I
Iron Cross First Class
Iron Cross Second Class
Wound Badge
Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ]; 20 April 1889 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the centre of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust.
Hitler was a decorated veteran of World War I. He joined the German Workers' Party (precursor of the NSDAP) in 1919, and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted a coup in Munich to seize power. The failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, antisemitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. Hitler frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy.
Hitler's Nazi Party became the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, leading to his appointment as chancellor in 1933. Following fresh elections won by his coalition, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism. Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France. His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the denunciation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories that were home to millions of ethnic Germans, actions which gave him significant popular support.
Hitler actively sought Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people. His aggressive foreign policy is considered to be the primary cause of the outbreak of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and on 1 September 1939 invaded Poland, resulting in British and French declarations of war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941 German forces and their European allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa. Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time lover, Eva Braun. On 30 April 1945, less than two days later, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned. Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews, and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior.
Contents  [hide]  
1 Early years
1.1 Ancestry
1.2 Childhood and education
1.3 Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich
1.4 World War I
2 Entry into politics
2.1 Beer Hall Putsch
2.2 Rebuilding the NSDAP
3 Rise to power
3.1 Brüning administration
3.2 Appointment as chancellor
3.3 Reichstag fire and March elections
3.4 Day of Potsdam and the Enabling Act
3.5 Removal of remaining limits
4 Third Reich
4.1 Economy and culture
4.2 Rearmament and new alliances
5 World War II
5.1 Early diplomatic successes
5.1.1 Alliance with Japan
5.1.2 Austria and Czechoslovakia
5.2 Start of World War II
5.3 Path to defeat
5.4 Defeat and death
5.5 The Holocaust
6 Leadership style
7 Legacy
8 Religious views
9 Health
10 Family
11 Hitler in media
12 See also
13 Footnotes
14 References
14.1 Sources
15 External links
Early years
Hitler's father, Alois Hitler, Sr. (1837–1903), was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber.[2] Because the baptismal register did not show the name of his father, Alois initially bore his mother's surname, Schicklgruber. In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Alois's mother, Maria Anna. After she died in 1847 and Johann Georg Hiedler in 1856, Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedler's brother, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler.[3] In 1876, Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Alois's father (recorded as Georg Hitler).[4][5] Alois then assumed the surname Hitler,[5] also spelled as Hiedler, Hüttler, or Huettler. The Hitler surname is probably based on "one who lives in a hut" (Standard German Hütte for hut) or on "shepherd" (Standard German hüten for to guard); alternatively, it might be derived from the Slavic words Hidlar or Hidlarcek (small cottager or small holder).[6]
Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Alois's mother had been employed as a housekeeper for a Jewish family in Graz and that the family's nineteen-year-old son, Leopold Frankenberger, had fathered Alois.[7] Because no Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, and no record of Leopold Frankenberger's existence has been produced,[8] historians dismiss the claim that Alois's father was Jewish.[9][10]
Childhood and education
Adolf Hitler as an infant (c. 1889–1890).
Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary (in present day Austria), close to the border with the German Empire.[11] He was the fourth of six children to Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl (1860–1907). Hitler's older siblings—Gustav, Ida, and Otto—died in infancy.[12] When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau, Germany.[13] There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian German, which marked his speech throughout his life.[14][15][16] In 1894 the family relocated to Leonding (near Linz), and in June 1895, Alois retired to a small landholding at Hafeld, near Lambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended Volksschule (a state-owned school) in nearby Fischlham.[17][18]
The move to Hafeld coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts caused by Hitler's refusal to conform to the strict discipline of his school.[19] Alois Hitler's farming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure, and in 1897 the family moved to Lambach. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered becoming a priest.[20] In 1898 the family returned permanently to Leonding. The death of his younger brother Edmund, who died from measles in 1900, deeply affected Hitler. He changed from a confident, outgoing, conscientious student to a morose, detached, sullen boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers.[21]
Hitler's mother, Klara
Alois had made a successful career in the customs bureau and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps.[22] Hitler later dramatised an episode from this period when his father took him to visit a customs office, depicting it as an event that gave rise to an unforgiving antagonism between father and son, who were both strong-willed.[23][24][25] Ignoring his son's desire to attend a classical high school and become an artist, Alois sent Hitler to the Realschule in Linz in September 1900.[26] Hitler rebelled against this decision, and in Mein Kampf revealed that he intentionally did poorly in school, hoping that once his father saw "what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to my dream".[27]
Like many Austrian Germans, Hitler began to develop German nationalist ideas from a young age.[28] He expressed loyalty only to Germany, despising the declining Habsburg Monarchy and its rule over an ethnically variegated empire.[29][30] Hitler and his friends used the German greeting "Heil", and sang the "Deutschlandlied" instead of the Austrian Imperial anthem.[31]

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