Adolf Hitler

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Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau-am-Inn, Austria, on August 20th, 1889. His father, Alois Hitler, was a customs officer on the Austro-German border. He had four siblings, Gustav, Ida, Edmund, and Paula, although only Paula was the only one who survived past childhood. Hitler struggled in school, and left before graduation to pursue a career as an artist. By this time he was being brought up by a single mother, since his father had died when Adolf was thirteen. For the next three years Adolf received no schooling, and did not work, but studied history and politics, both of which were his academic passions. He applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, but was rejected. When he was nineteen, he left for Vienna to hopefully earn a living and support himself, because his mother had succumbed to cancer and he had no relatives willing to support him. Unfortunately, he was on the streets less than a year after arriving in Vienna. After several years of penury in Vienna, Hitler moved to Munich, Germany, and enlisted in the army when World War I broke out. He was a good soldier, and was eventually promoted to the corporal position as well as receiving stars and bars for his valiance. He remained affiliated with the German military after the war was over, and was given the opportunity to work at a prisoner-of-war camp and hone his oratory skills as he persuaded soldiers not to revert to communist or pacifist ways. His work also required that he spy on several local political groups, where he distinguished himself as a capable speaker. Anion Drexler, the founder of one of these committees, was impressed and invited Hitler to join. After some consideration, Hitler agreed.
Hitler's position in the committee required that he be responsible for publicity and propaganda, both of which would be skills that he would utilize in his work later on. The committee became a great success, and was renamed the National Socialist German Workers Party, or the Nazis. By 1921 Hitler had virtually secured total control of the Nazi Party, and continued to build up its strength for the next couple of years. Then he unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the German Weimar Republic by force. This resulted in his imprisonment and a stagnant period for the Nazi party. However, he only served his sentence for six months and duly returned to rebuild the Nazi force. Hitler decided to run against Hindenburg for Germany's 1932 presidential election. He won the election, but Hindenburg's agents organized a second election that resulted in Hindenburg's victory, and so Hitler was unable to gain power as a president. Instead, after withstanding much opposition, Hitler secured a place as Chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg had initially refused to appoint Hitler as Chancellor because he feared that the government would quickly shift to a dictatorship, but the Nazis used their influence to prevent the other candidates from gaining enough support. Finally, Hindenburg gave up and appointed Hitler Chancellor.
After a series of events that resulted in political turmoil in Germany, Hitler emerged victorious and a Nazification period occurred. Propaganda and censorship were extreme, and he used his public speaking skills to convince the German population that territorial dominance in Europe would redeem their humiliation form World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. The Nazis had become a powerful, intimidating military force, and were prepared for any type of military action. Hitler announced that "Whoever lights the torch of war in Europe can wish for nothing but chaos." With the coming of World War II, this was most certainly true.

Picture Citations:
"Adolf Hitler." Libra Rising. Web. 10 May 2011.

Information Citations:
Stokes, Phil. "A Biography of Adolf Hitler." Phil's World War II pages. N.p., 2011.
Web. 9 May 2011.

Video Citation:
"Adolf Hitler." Web. 11 May 2011.