Hitler Essay, Research Paper
Hitler: The Early Years Ado lf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau-am-Inn, Austria, of Germandescent. His father, Alois Hitler, was a poor peasant farmer that became a customsofficer so he could send his children to school. As Adolf was growing up, he becamevery intelligent and talented and received good grades in the elementary school in hisvillage. Although Adolf was very intelligent, his grades started slipping when he enteredhigh school because he felt uncomfortable. Adolf started reading pointlessly,daydreaming about becoming a famous artist and developed a talent of evadingresponsibilities. (Encyclopedia Americana H p.246) Adolf s low grades angered hisfather because he wanted Adolf to become a government official, specifically a civilservant, and Hitler wanted to become an artist. Adolf s low marks came back to haunthim as they prevented him from acquiring the customary graduationcertificate. (Encyclopedia Americana H p.246) Adolf left school at the age of 16. Unlikemost people, Adolf didn t have to work since his mother was collecting a widow spension since his father past away. So Adolf spent his days daydreaming, drawingpictures, and reading books. In 1907, Adolf went to Vienna to accomplish his aim of studying art andespecially architecture. (Encyclopedia Americana h p.246) When he took the entranceexamination to get admitted into the Academy of Fine Arts, he failed on both of hisattempts. His non-admission to the Academy destroyed what he had and what he couldhave become as an artist. Adolf did not go back to his village, but instead wandered thestreets of Vienna aimlessly. Adolf cut off all ties to his family and friends and stumbledthrough life with no more goals. Hitler stayed alive by using money given to him by hismother, money left to him in a will, and although he lacked business training, he eked out a living as a laborer in the building trades and by painting pictures on cheappostcards. Adolf slept in parks or wherever he found space and often ate in soup kitchensfor the poor and homeless. (Internet) Even though he was lucky enough to find a job itdidn t seem like he really wanted it. Adolf did the bare minimum; he never learned towork regularly, and remained essentially a loner. But he did learn an important lesson:how to evaluate and exploit the mentality of the people he worked with. (EncyclopediaAmericana H p.246) Military Experience and Political Rise In about 1913, Hitler got sick of Austria and decided to leave. Before Hitler leftAustria, he developed a hatred for Jews, Slavs and the patchwork nation of Austria. Hitler became a fierce nationalist who believed that no form of government could last if ittreated people of different nationalities the same. (World Book h p.265) Hitler s ownwords about Austria are: I was sure that the state of Austria was sure to obstruct everyreally great German and to support … everything un-German …. I hated the motleycollection in Austria of Czechs, Ruthenians, Poles, Hungarians, Serbs, Croats, and aboveall that ever-present fungoid growth-Jews … I became a fanatical anti-Semite. (Internet) In the same year of 1913, Hitler decided to give up his Austrian citizenship andenlist in the 16th Bavarian infantry regimen. He said he wouldn t fight for Austria, but Iwas ready to die at any time for my people (the Germans). (Internet) In his first taste ofaction during the Ypres offensive, Hitler sang out songs of war to motivate the Germanarmies. During his second taste of action, Hitler was a fighter against British tanks. After the war, Hitler rose to lance corporal and received the Iron Cross for his actions asdispatch runner at the cost of getting shot in the leg. While in the hospital, the armisticewas signed. When news of Germany s defeat and the armistice reached Hitler, he madeHitler agonize. He believed that Germany s defeat was caused by internal enemies,meaning the Jews and the Communists. Germany may have lost the war, but they gainedthe birth of a genius strategist and politician in Hitler. Hitler s involvement in the wargave his life meaning and purpose that filled the space left by the rejection of theAcademy. In war, Hitler found an interesting subject to know and learn more about. Hitler was fascinated by violence and its uses on people and countries. From the momentHitler stepped onto the battlefield, Hitler the artist was dead and Hitler the politician andlunatic was forthcoming. The end of the war once again left Hitler with an empty feeling. However, Hitleronce again found something to temporarily fill that space in his life: public speaking. Public speaking soon brought him to the attention of the German Workers party. TheGerman Workers changed their name to the Nazis and Hitler joined their cause when hethought that the party offered him a better chance for his new goal: political power. Hitler kept moving up while in the Nazis. He went from chief propagandist to partychairman with dictorial powers in just one year. In 1923 Germany was in deep trouble asstrikes broke out and the German economy suffered more each day. To make mattersworse two political parties fought setting up a perfect opportunity to try to take over theruling government. He brought 2,000 men to march against the government but that wasnot enough because the government brought the state police. The police opened fireputting a stop to the march. Since Hitler was the leader they arrested him and sentencedhim in jail for 5 years. While in jail Hitler started writing his book about world conquestand his plans for him to conquer the world. He wrote about how he believed the Jewswere the evil in the world and how there was a superior race in Germany that had to bepure, meaning they should only mate with each other and not Jews and Slavs. Hitler was freed from jail nine months after he was sentenced. (Fest, p.65) Assoon as he came out he tried to rebuild the Nazis. By the time he had gotten out,however, people had jobs, homes, food and, hope for the future. He went to thegovernment and assured them that the Nazi party would conduct itself legally. TheBavarian government agreed to lift the ban on the Nazis and Hitler continued to rebuild. Most of the original members of the Nazi party had left to join other parties, so Hitler hadto start all over. Hitler went to villages and towns all over and gathered friends andcreated the new Nazi party. He started his speeches immediately against the Young Plan,which was a repayment for all the damages for WW1. The campaign against the planmade Hitler a major political force throughout the country. .When elections were held,the Nazis won the election for parliament, but Hitler wanted to be Chancellor. In 1933,Hitler s wish came true and he was named Chancellor by Hindenburg. Hindenburg gave
the government almost unlimited power to do anything they wanted. The Naziparliament prohibited assemblies and the press and arrested anyone suspected committingtreason. When the Reichstag elections came the Nazis got the dominant part of the voteand the most seats. The Nazis passed all sorts of laws and were almost all powerful inGermany. All they needed was Hitler to become dictator. In August 1934 Hindenburgdied, and his death gave Hitler complete rule over Germany. As soon as Hitler took over everything changed. You had to ask the governmentor Hitler for permission to accept jobs, children had to go to camps to learn militarydiscipline and to be brainwashed with the Nazi way of government. The worst part of it,though, was that the Jews were forced out of their jobs, sent to concentration camps, sentaway to other countries, and were given lesser rights than others. Hitler s power evenwent past the law, because he could reverse any decision he disagreed with, and theconstitution, because he destroyed it legally. From 1933 and on, Hitler prepared Germany for war. He rearmed his soldiers andsent them into the Rhineland. Both of his actions were direct violations of the Treaty ofVersailles. In 1938, Hitler ordered the invasion of Austria and within months they had it. At the Munich Conference, Hitler asked for the German speaking portion of Czechoslovakia and said that was all he wanted. However, after Germany got what itwanted, it took the rest of Czechoslovakia. After all of that, no nation in Europe did athing to stop him. As Germany was planning the invasion of Poland, Britain and Franceissued a warning that if Germany invaded Poland they would declare war on them. Inreaction to the warning, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Inthe pact Germany got 1/2 of Poland if it didn t attack the Soviet Union, and the Sovietgot 1/2 of Poland and a non-attack assurance if they didn t interfere with the war. OnSeptember 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. On September 3, 1939, Britain and Francedeclared war on Germany. Hitler s armies took over Poland in a couple of weeks and moved on to othercountries. In the spring of 1940, Germany easily conquered Denmark, Norway, theNetherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. On June 22, 1940, France signed anarmistice with Germany. Britain now stood alone. However, Hitler decided to send histroops to the Soviet Union instead. Hitler s reasoning was that Britain wouldn tsurrender if they still had a potential ally left. Germany s troops were making rapidprogress and looked like they would take the Soviet Union without much of afight. (New Standard Encyclopedia, p.H-239) One problem with the plan was theweather! That year there was a bitter winter and that slowed the Germans down almostcompletely. The Soviet Union s army, along with supplies sent by the United States,held back every attempt by the Germans. At the end of the stand off between the twonations over 300,000 Germans died at the hands of the Soviets at Stalingrad. While Hitler still had an army left, he decided to make them commit massslaughters. That decision cost the lives of over 6,000,000 Jews, 3,000,000 Sovietprisoners, and different numbers of Gypsies, Poles, Slavs, Jehovah Witnesses, priests andministers, mental patients, Communists, and other political opponents. (Toland, p.320) Hitler almost succeeded in his goal of exterminating the Jews in Europe, but not only didhe kill 2/3 of the Jews in Europe he also helped to lead to the separate state for Jews. Death of a Political Genius When Adolf Hitler found out that his troops were defeated, he decided to killhimself. His generals and cabinet officials begged him not to and said to, instead, take aplane to Spain or South America to get to safety. However, in the end Hitler decided notto, instead he chose to die just like his troops. Like the saying goes, The captain must godown with his ship. Hitler was a true man that decided to die with his men or was he? Some people say he couldn t face his persecution like a man, but anyway you put it Hitlerwas a genius and lunatic rolled up into one. Adolf Hitler died on April 30, 1945 with hiswife beside him. His wife committed suicide by consuming poison. Adolf Hitlercommitted suicide by shooting himself in the temple. The couple s bodies were drenchedwith gasoline and burnt to ashes. Their remains were wrapped in fabric and put into ahole in the ground. (Toland, p.418) Is He a Genius or Is He Just a Lunatic There is no one in history quite like Adolf Hitler. Should he be remembered as agenius strategist as well as an insane lunatic? No one ever envoked so muck rejoicing,hysteria and expectation of salvation as he; no one so much hate. (Fest p.3) Hitler wasthe first person in centuries to plan world conquest and almost succeed. It was Hitler whocaused grief and misery to his enemies. It took nearly all the world s forces and nearlysix years to stop him. In many speeches, he recalled, with a distinctively rapturous note,the period of his beginnings, when he had nothing at all to back him, nothing, no name,no fortune, no press, nothing at all, nothing whatsoever, and how, entirely by his ownefforts, he had risen from poor devil to rule over Germany and soon over part of theworld as well. That was almost miraculous! In fact, to a virtually unprecedented degree,he created everything out of himself and was himself everything at once: his own teacher,organizer of a party and author of its ideology, tactician and demagogic savior, leader,statesman, and for a decade the axis of the world. (Fest p.3-4) Even as a young man Hitler had his plans of world conquest. I guess leaders andpsychopaths start at an early age. Hitler didn t care how crazy he looked, he was set onworld domination and he wouldn t stop until he conquered the world himself. Theyalways said I was crazy . But only a few years later everything he had wanted wasreality, or was a reachable goal, and those institutions that had recently seemed to bepermanent and unchallenged were on their way out: democracy and political partygovernment, unions, international workers solidarity, the European system of alliancesand the League of Nations. Who was right? Hitler triumphantly demanded. Thevisionary or the others?-I was right. (Fest p.4) After all that Hitler has accomplished we still hesitate to call him a genius andgreat. He went from ridiculed artist to the dictator of a major country. When he hadplans to rule the world they made fun of him and mocked him, only to sit back and watchhim get too close to actually achieving it. Should we as a people forget about the horrifickillings and mass destruction that he has caused, and call him a genius or great? On onehand you can say yes, because he did it for his country, his people, and of what he hasaccomplished. On the other hand, we must say no because of the destruction and the nearsuccessful extermination of a race or religion.