Adolf Hitler Research Essay, Research Paper
Hitler, Adolf (1889-1945), German dictator, who launched World War II in 1939. Making anti-Semitism a keystone of his propaganda and policies, he built the Nazi Party (see National Socialism) into a mass movement. For a time he dominated most of Europe and North Africa. He caused the slaughter of millions of Jews and others whom he considered inferior.
Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria. In 1919 he joined the nationalist German Workers’ Party, which was renamed the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party. In 1921 he was elected party chairman (F?hrer) with dictatorial powers, and he proceeded to spread his gospel of racial hatred and contempt for democracy. In 1923 he led an uprising in Munich against the Weimar Republic, the German government. When the uprising failed, Hitler was imprisoned for nine months, which he spent dictating his autobiography Mein Kampf (My Struggle).
When the Great Depression struck in 1929, Hitler explained it as a Jewish-Communist plot. Promising a strong Germany, jobs, and national glory, he attracted millions of voters. Nazi representation in the Reichstag (parliament) rose sharply. In 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor. Once in power, Hitler quickly established himself as a dictator and banned all political parties except his own. All aspects of society were brought under Nazi authority, and thousands of anti-Nazis were taken to concentration camps.
Hitler’s secret police, the Gestapo, intimidated his opponents, but many Germans supported him enthusiastically. His armament drive wiped out unemployment, an ambitious recreational program attracted workers and employees, and his foreign policy successes impressed the nation. Hitler claimed racial superiority for the Aryans, of which he said the Germans were the highest form. As the master race, they were told, they had the right to dominate all nations they subjected. Hitler successfully appealed to a Germany that was humiliated by defeat in World War I (1914-1918) and the Treaty of Versailles of 1919.
Hitler supported the territorial expansion of Germany. In 1936 he sent troops into the demilitarized Rhineland. When the Spanish Civil War began in July 1936, Hitler supported Nationalist leader Francisco Franco, and also that year he signed pacts with Italy’s Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, and with Japan. In 1940 Germany joined Italy and Japan in an alliance. In 1938 Hitler occupied Austria, and by March 1939 Germany had taken control of Czechoslovakia.
In 1939 Germany signed a nonaggression pact with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and attacked Poland, beginning World War II. In 1940 Hitler’s forces overran Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. German troops invaded the USSR in 1941 and almost reached Moscow and Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) before Soviet armies counterattacked in December, helping to turn the momentum of the war against Germany. Throughout this period Hitler continued the campaign to destroy world Jewry. The Germans built extermination camps, in which six million Jews were murdered. (see Holocaust). As the war continued, the defeat of Germany became more likely, but Hitler refused to surrender. In April 1945, with all of Germany overrun by Allied invaders, Hitler committed suicide.