Adolf Hitler

Who was Hitler?
Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party. In 1933 he became the chancellor of Germany. He was called the Führer from 1934 onwards. During his dictatorship - which ran between 1933 and 1945 - he started the Second World War.
When was Hitler born?
Hitler was born in Austria, in April 1889.
What was Hitler's early life like?
There were 5 main events in Hitler's early life:
  • Hitler had a turbulent upbringing and was beaten by his father. He was very close to his mother and was heavily traumatised when she died when he was just 18 years old.
  • Hitler's early life saw him attempt a career as an artist - however he was rejected from art school in Vienna and became homeless for several years.
  • During the First World War, he won the Iron Cross for bravery while delivering an important message on the front line.
  • Hitler hated that Germany lost the war and later came to despise the Treaty of Versailles and the politicians who signed it.
  • He hated the new Weimar government and joined the little known German Workers' Party in 1919.
When was Hitler in power?
Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg on 30th January, 1933. He became the Führer - a German word meaning leader - in 1934.
What happened to Hitler at the Munich Putsch?
The Munich Putsch, also known as the Beer Hall Putsch was a failed armed rebellion by the Nazi Party between the 8th and 9th November, 1923. Hitler wanted to overthrow the Weimar Republic and become Germany's president.
What did Hitler do in prison?
In prison Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf', his autobiography, which outlined his political beliefs.
What did Hitler's book, 'Mein Kampf', state?
'Mein Kampf' contained 4 key ideas:
  • Democracy should be destroyed.
  • The cancellation of the Treaty of the Versailles, which he hated.
  • German territories should be expanded.
  • His perceived inferiority of the Jews.
What was Hitler's personality like?
Hitler's public persona included the following:
  • Presenting himself as a strong, organised leader.
  • He was a mesmerising public speaker.
  • Presenting himself as someone who understood Germany's troubles and offered the solutions, including dealing with the betrayal many Germans felt when the First World War ended.
Why was Hitler prejudiced?
Hitler held prejudiced views against several groups of people. The following reasons likely explain why:
  • At the time Hitler was growing up, it was very common to encounter anti-Semitic beliefs. He certainly would have been aware of these ideas from a young age.
  • The family doctor who revealed to Hitler that his mother was dying of cancer had been Jewish.
  • When living homeless in Vienna he would have encountered many groups of people, who were at the time more successful than himself.
  • Following Germany's defeat in the war, the Armistice and Treaty of Versailles were signed by some Jewish politicians.
  • Hitler certainly had very strong anti-Semitic beliefs by the time he wrote 'Mein Kampf' in 1924, and it was clear he was using Jews as a scapegoat for Germany's problems.
How did Hitler became Führer ?
There were several key steps in Hitler's path to Führer. The final step was the death of President Hindenburg on 2nd August, 1934. Hitler merged his role of chancellor with that of president, making himself the new Führer.
How did Hitler expect to be shown loyalty?
There were 3 main ways people showed loyalty to Hitler.
  • People demonstrated their loyalty through the 'Heil Hitler' salute.
  • From 20th August, 1934, the army was forced to swear an oath of allegiance to him personally, rather than to Germany,
  • School children in Germany recited the morning pledge in school, promising 'to fight, obey and die' for their Führer.
How did Hitler run Germany?
Under Hitler, Germany became a police state. This meant every aspect of daily life for German citizens was controlled by the police. It was a ruthless regime.
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