Adolf Hitler Essay, Research Paper
ONE MAN LIFE AND THE
IMPACT HE HAD ON
THE GERMAN PEOPLE
On the evening of April 20, 1889, at 6:30 p.m., the screams of one of life?s most precious things was born. A boy, but not just any boy. This fair skinned child with loving parent, would one day become one of the most feared men ever to walk the earth. This man?s name was Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler was born in the small Austrian village of Braunau Amlnn, just across the border from German Bavaria. He was born into a poor family with an embarrassing past. This past would prove to be a lifelong embarrassment and concern to him.
Adolf?s father was named Alois Schicklgruber. Alois was the illegitimate son of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. It is widely spoke that Alois was the son of a local mill worker that was part Jewish.. In 1876, Alois Schicklgruber took the name Alois Hitler. He wanted his name changed to Hiedler but it ended up in the record books and Hitler.
Little Hitler?s mother was born Klara Hiedler. A local girl, that was very poor and had almost no education. She was Alois?s niece by name only. Before Alois and Klara were married they needed to get permission form the Catholic church because Alois changed his name. Alois already had 2 kids from his previous marriages. They came to live with him after the wedding. Klara was already pregnant with a child that had no father. The child died shortly after birth. Klara would have two other kids by Alois before Adolf, but again they also died within hours of birth. After Adolf birth, two other siblings were born, a brother who lived until his sixth birthday and a sister who out lived Adolf.
Adolf started school at age 6. He was an argumentative little ring leader who liked to stay outside and hang around with “husky” boys. He was a good student that had little trouble with school in general. He was not into sports, but did participate in the school choir. Adolf had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. When Adolf started secondary school, his father made him go to a technical school. Adolf was not happy and was held back the first year he attended. The second year he attended he did much better and once again was the ringleader of the other boys. This time he did thing a little different, he would prey on the other boys weakness and get them to do the things he wanted done. At this time Adolf and his friends started using German greetings like “Heil,” and sang the German anthem “Deutschland Uber Alles” instead of the traditional Austrian Imperial Anthem. German Nationalism quickly became an obsession of Adolf Hitlers?.
In 1903 at the age of 13, Hitler?s father died. This was the first time that Adolf had to deal with death first hand. Hitler started going down hill in school and became very uncooperative. Among Hitler?s antics-giving contrary, insulting, argumentative answers to questions which upset the teacher and delighted the other boys who sometimes applauded him. He really believed in what he would say but the other boys took it as a joke. At the age of 16, Hitler lost interest in technical school and drooped out to go to Vienna to study arts.
On January 14, 1907, Adolf Hitler?s mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer by a Jewish doctor. Hitler rushed home to find that his mother needed immediate surgery. In the months that followed Klara?s condition worsened and Hitler decided to return home to help with the family. Klara died on Christmas Eve and was put to rest next to her husband. Klara?s death devastated Hitler. His mother was the one person that he really cared about. He was lost for a very long time and had a hard time concentrating on anything. Even after returning to Vienna, Hitler could not concentrate. He ended up sleeping on park benches and eating at charity soup kitchens. This time frame is when Hitler formulated many of his ideas on politics and race which would have immense consequences in the future.
In 1914 Adulf Hitler joined the German military. There were two main reason for his decision. One, to get off the streets and two, to serve his beloved German people. When he joined he entered the Bavarian Regiment. After their first engagement against the British and Belgians 2500 of the 3000 men lay dead, wounded or missing. Hitler came out of it without a scratch. Hitler?s luck would be short lived. He spent the next six months in some of the most miserable trenches Germany had to offer, from the North Sea to the Saar River. On October 7, 1916, Corporal Adolf Hitler was wounded in the leg by a shell fragment during the battle of the Somme. He was hospitalized in Germany. This was the first time he had been away from the front line in over two years. After his recovery, he was assigned to light duty in Munich. While missioned in Munich, Adolf was introduce to the anti-war sentiment among the German civilians. He had a hard time understanding why they would fight against a country that was fighting for them. He blamed the Jews for much of this and saw them as conspiring to spread unrest and undermine the German war effort. The idea of an anti-war conspiracy involving Jews would become an obsession to add to other anti-Semitic notions he acquired in Vienna, leading to an ever growing hatred of Jews. In March of 1917, Hitler was sent back to the front line and in 1918 he received the iron cross first class, a rarity for foot solders. The general who recommended him for the medal was a Jew, a fact Hitler would later obscure. As the war started to turn for the worst, he started to lose his mind a little. He would spend hours in a corner rocking back and forth, then suddenly jump up and shout about the “invisible foes of the German People,” namely Jews and Marxists. In October of 1918, he was temporarily blinded after a British chlorine gas attack near Ypres. He was sent home to a starving country full of unrest. On November 10, 1918 the war was over and Hitler started fighting his own war, the one in his own mind.
In September 1919, Hitler was sent to investigate a small group in Munich known as the German Workers? Party. The term “workers” attracted the attention of the German Army which was now involved in crushing Marxist uprisings. On September 12, dressed in civilians cloths, Hitler went to a meeting of the German Workers? Party. He listened to a speech on economics by Gottfried Feder entitled, “How and by what means is capitalism to be eliminated?” After the speech, Hitler started to leave when a man rose up and spoke in favor of the German state of Bavaria breaking away from Germany and forming a new South German nation with Austria. This upset Hitler who spoke forcefully against the man for fifteen minutes. One of the founders, Anton Drexler, whispered, “he?s got the gift of the gab. We could use him.” After Hitler?s outburst, Drexler approached him and gave him a forty page pamphlet entitled, “My Political Awakening.” Drexler urged him to read it and invited him back. The next day, Hitler read the pamphlet and became interest in the simplicity of the organization. A week later he received a postcard stating that he was accepted as a member. Hitler never even applied.
After joining the German Workers? Party in 1919 at the age of thirty, Hitler felt that he had found his calling in life. For the first time since his time in the military he felt needed and that he could make a difference for not only himself, but his countrymen, too. Hitler was welcome into the committee which had seven members, and on October 16, 1919 he blew away his audience of a little over 100 people with his speech over “Self-sacrifice and how we can bring dignity back to the German people.” Despite doubt from the other members, his speech was a success. In the following months he gained popularity with the locals and in early 1920 he was put in charge of the parties propaganda and the recruiting of new members. In February of 1920, Hitler urged the German Workers? Party to hold its first mass meeting. The other leaders thought that it was premature and feared that it might be disrupted by Marxists. Hitler had no fear of disruption. In fact he welcomed it, knowing it would bring his party anti-Marxist notoriety. He even dressed in red to aggravate the Marxists. A few minutes into the speech, he was drowned out by shouting followed by open brawling between Party members and disruptive Communists. Eventually, Hitler resumed speaking and the shouting was gradually drowned out by applause. He proceeded to outline the Twenty Five Points of the German Workers? Party, its political platform, which included; the union of all Germans in a greater German Reich, rejection of the Treaty of Versailles, the demand for additional territories for the German people, citizenship determined by race – no Jews to be considered a German, all income not earned by work to be confiscated, reconstruction of the national education system, religious freedom except for religions which endanger the German race, and a strong central government for the execution of effective legislation. His speech lasted for nearly four hours. After which Hitler knew that a fire was started within the German people that would one day be great. Shortly after the rally he realized that he lacked one thing, a symbol or flag. He came up with the Swastika. He described the symbolism involved “In red we see the social idea of the movement, in the white the national idea, in the swastika the mission to struggle for the victory of Aryan man and the same time the victory of the idea of creative work, which is eternally anti-Semitic and will always be anti-Semitic.” The German Workers? Party name was changed by Hitler to include the term National Socialist. Thus the full name was the National Socialist German Workers? Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) called for short, Nazi.
In 1921, Adolf Hitler was becoming a highly effective speaker in front of an ever growing crowd. He was also publicly speaking louder against the Treaty of Versailles. He was upsetting the Nazi Party with his outrageous slander against the German Government. That summer while Hitler was in a rally in Berlin, the Nazi Party formed an alliance with a group of socialists from Augsburg and wanted to put Adolf on the back burner. When Adolf received the news of what was happening he rushed back to Munich and countered them by announcing his resignation from the Party, July 11, 1921. The Party knew that without Hitler, their supporters would dwindle and that was priceless. Hitler saw this as an opportunity and said he would only stay if he became the Leader of the Nazi Party. A vote was taken and he was elected leader by a count of 543 to 1. At the next gathering, July 29, 1921 Adolf Hitler was introduced as Fuhrer of the Nazi Party making the first time that title was publicly used to address him.
In April of 1921, the victorious European Allies of World War One, notably France and England, presented a bill to Germany demanding payment for damages caused in the war which Germany had started. This bill (33 billion dollars) for war reparations had the immediate effect of causing ruinous inflation in Germany. By November, it took 4,000,000,000 marks to buy a dollar. Germans lost their life savings, Salaries were paid in worthless money. Groceries cost Billions. Hunger riots broke out. For the most part, the German government made a fateful decision to resume making payments. But the German people were growing restless.
The Nazis and other similar groups now felt the time was right to strike. That November, the Nazi Party with 55,000 followers were ready for action. They had planned to kidnap the leaders of the Bavarian government and force them at gunpoint to accept Hitler as their leader. Then, according their plan, with the aid of Erich Ludendorff, they would win over the German army, proclaim a nationwide revolt and bring down the German democratic government in Berlin. On November 8, 1923, Hitler?s plan was put into action. They stormed city hall and Hitler shot a bullet into the ceiling. He yelled “Silence!” and started shouting “The National Revolution has begun!” He and a few of his followers pulled three big shots into the back room and tried to get them to start the paperwork making him the president or dictator. At first none of them would even look at Adolf let alone talk to him. At this point he started waving his pistol around and said “I have four shots in my pistol! Three for you, gentlemen. The last bullet for myself!” They still did not cooperate with him. Hitler ran from the room and to the podium and shouted “The government of the November criminals and the Reich President are declared to be removed. A new national government will be named this very day in Munich. A new German National Army will be formed immediately. The task of the provisional German National Government is to organize the march on that sinful Babel, Berlin, and save the German people! Tomorrow will find either a national government in Germany or us dead!” Doing this, Hitler knew that the men in the back room would listen. The men came out and faced the crowd and supported Hitler and the words he spoke. This led to everyone in the hall to cheer for Hitler and the crowd started to join the Nazi Party. Hitler gave another quick speech and again the crowd roared. Hitler was suddenly called to a problem developing outside the hall. Once he was gone things started going wrong. The crowd started leaving and the officials escaped. All bets were off at this time. Hitler was up all night looking for the answer to a terrible day. He and his generals came up with the idea to march on middle of Munich and take it over. He was desperate. The next morning Hitler and three thousand Nazis march on the city, but were soon stopped by a police blockade. Shots rang out. Both sides fired. It lasted less than a minute, but killed sixteen Nazis and three police. Hitler suffered a dislocated shoulder when a man he had locked arms with was shot and drug Hitler down to the pavement. Hitler?s bodyguard, Ulrich Graf, jumped onto Hitler to shield him and took several bullets, saving Hitler?s life. Hitler crawled away to a near by car and was captured three days later. It is said that the night before his capture he was talked out of committing suicide.
On February 26, 1924, Hitler was put on trial for treason. His only advantage was his ability to manipulate people by making them see things the way they wanted. He spoke for a total of three days in court. Also the public had a big influence on the verdict. The judge ended up feeling sorry for him and gave him a five year prison term. Normally the penalty is death. Hitler got very lucky.
Hitler was released from Landsberg prison in December 1924 after serving only six months of a five year prison sentence. At that time, the Nazi Party and its associated newspapers were banned by the government and Hitler himself was forbidden from making public speeches. To make things worse, the number of members in the party dwindled to 40% of their original numbers. Between 1924 and 1928 Hitler made rebuilding the Nazi Party his number one goal. This was not as hard as one would think. The numbers grew slowly but in 1929 when the stock market crashed and all loans to Germany from foreign countries dried up, Hitler found his time to strike. He started speaking publicly again, his propaganda lead the way for an ever growing number of members.
In February 1932 Hitler decided to stand against Hindenburg in the forthcoming Presidential election. Although he lost the election, he did receive 30.1% of the people?s vote. Hitler, after numerous attempts was given the title of Chancellor in January 1933. This was the first step in a long line of events Hitler took before becoming Dictator in March 1933.
Once Hitler became Dictator, the power was all his. Nothing stood in his way. He had the people?s trust. They needed something anything to believe in, even if it was Adolf Hitler. He started to rebuild the Army in secrecy and in 1934 broke the Versailles Treaty. Within the next few years he would divide the country by race, color, and creed with the use of propaganda. This lead to WWII and everyone knows what happened from that point on.
I think that if the other governments would have only paid a little more attention to Germany that none of this would have happened. They could have helped with anything, food, jobs, anything. This was not just the problem of the German people, but it was everyone?s problem.
If only in the beginning of this man?s life just one person would have paid attention, if in WWI someone had aimed just a little more to the left or to the right, if in jail he had a little fall, if the assassin had planted his bomb just a little closer, or if just once his battered girlfriend would have pulled a trigger, where would we all be right now? There are limitless possibilities of what would have happened to the German people and everyone else in the world had any change of event in that time occurred. However, the end result is that a simple driven man with a gift of powerful persuasion through public speaking altered the mind set of an entire nation during a time of weakness and uncertainty. This mind set ignited a time of bloodshed and suffering. We can only look back and remember what can happen when a mass of people are under an influence, good or bad, and take action upon it. Maybe then we, humanity, will have a better understanding of people, the society they live in, how that society affects the individual, and then how to use that knowledge to create a harmonious life together.