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Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Hitler in 1937
Fhrer of Germany
In office
2 August 1934 30 April 1945
Preceded by Paul von Hindenburg
(as President)
Succeeded by Karl Dnitz
(as President)
Chancellor of Germany
In office
30 January 1933 30 April 1945
President Paul von Hindenburg
Deputy Franz von Papen
Position vacant
Preceded by Kurt von Schleicher
Succeeded by Joseph Goebbels
Reichsstatthalter of Prussia
In office
30 January 1933 30 January 1935
Prime Minister Franz von Papen
Hermann Gring
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born 20 April 1889
Braunau am Inn, AustriaHungary
Died 30 April 1945 (aged56)
Berlin, Germany
Austrian citizen until 7 April 1925
German citizen after 25 February 1932
Political party National Socialist German Workers' Party (19211945)
Adolf Hitler
Other political
German Workers' Party (19201921)
Spouse(s) Eva Braun
(2930 April 1945)
Occupation Politician, soldier, artist, writer
Religion See Adolf Hitler's religious views
Military service
German Empire
Service/branch Reichsheer
Years of service 19141918
Rank Gefreiter
Unit 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Iron Cross First Class
Iron Cross Second Class
Wound Badge
Adolf Hitler (German: [adlf htl]( listen); 20 April 1889 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German
politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP);
National Socialist German Workers Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi
Germany (as Fhrer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. He was at the centre of the founding of Nazism, World
War II, and the Holocaust.
A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the German Workers' Party (precursor of the NSDAP) in 1919,
and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted a coup d'tat, known as the Beer Hall Putsch, in
Munich. The failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My
Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and
promoting Pan-Germanism, antisemitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. After
his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party
dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism. His aim was to establish a New Order of
absolute Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe.
Hitler's foreign and domestic policies had the goal of seizing Lebensraum ("living space") for the Germanic people.
He directed the rearmament of Germany and the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in September 1939, resulting
in the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Under Hitler's rule, in 1941 German forces and their European allies
occupied most of Europe and North Africa. By 1943, Hitler's military decisions led to escalating defeats. In 1945 the
Allied armies successfully invaded Germany. Hitler's supremacist and racially motivated policies resulted in the
systematic murder of eleven million people, including an estimated six million Jews, and in the deaths of between 50
and 70 million people in World War II.
In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time mistress, Eva Braun. On
30 April 1945, less than two days later, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their
corpses were burned.
Adolf Hitler
Early years
Hitler's father, Alois Hitler (18371903), was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. The baptismal
register did not show the name of Alois's father, so Alois bore his mother's surname. In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler
married Anna. After she died in 1847 and he in 1856, Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedler's brother, Johann
Nepomuk Hiedler.
In 1876 Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest before three
While awaiting trial at Nuremberg in 1945, Nazi official Hans Frank suggested the existence of letters
claiming that Alois' mother was employed as a housekeeper for a Jewish family in Graz and that the family's
19-year-old son, Leopold Frankenberger, had fathered Alois.
However, no Frankenberger was registered in Graz
during that period, and no record of Leopold Frankenberger's existence has been produced.
Historians doubt the
claim that Alois' father was Jewish.
At age 39, Alois assumed the surname "Hitler", also spelled as "Hiedler", "Httler", or "Huettler". The origin of the
name is either "one who lives in a hut" (Standard German Htte), "shepherd" (Standard German hten "to guard",
English "heed"), or is from the Slavic words Hidlar and Hidlarcek.
Childhood and education
Adolf Hitler as an infant
Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in
a village annexed in 1938 to the municipality of Braunau am Inn,
Austria-Hungary. He was the fourth of six children to Alois Hitler and Klara
Plzl (18601907). Adolf's older siblings Gustav, Ida, and Otto died in
When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau, Germany.
There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian
German, which marked his speech all of his life.
In 1894 the family
relocated to Leonding (near Linz), and in June 1895, Alois retired to a small
landholding at Hafeld, near Lambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Adolf
attended school in nearby Fischlham. Hitler became fixated on warfare after
finding a picture book about the Franco-Prussian War among his father's
The move to Hafeld coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts
caused by Adolf's refusal to conform to the strict discipline of his school.
Alois Hitler's farming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure, and in 1897 the family
moved to Lambach. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered
becoming a priest.
In 1898 the family returned permanently to Leonding. The death of his younger brother,
Edmund, from measles on 2 February 1900 deeply affected Hitler. He changed from being confident and outgoing
and an excellent student, to a morose, detached, and sullen boy who constantly fought with his father and
Adolf Hitler
Hitler's mother, Klara
Alois had made a successful career in the customs bureau and wanted his son to
follow in his footsteps.
Hitler later dramatised an episode from this period
when his father took him to visit a customs office, depicting it as an event that
gave rise to an unforgiving antagonism between father and son, who were both
Ignoring his son's desire to attend a classical high school
and become an artist, in September 1900 Alois sent Adolf to the Realschule in
(This was the same high school that Adolf Eichmann would attend
some 17 years later.)
Hitler rebelled against this decision, and in Mein Kampf
revealed that he did poorly in school, hoping that once his father saw "what little
progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to
my dream."
Hitler became obsessed with German nationalism from a young age.
expressed loyalty only to Germany, despising the declining Habsburg Monarchy
and its rule over an ethnically variegated empire.
Hitler and his friends used the German greeting "Heil", and
sang the German anthem "Deutschland ber Alles" instead of the Austrian Imperial anthem.
After Alois' sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler's performance at school deteriorated. His mother allowed him to
quit in autumn 1905.
He enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in September 1904; his behaviour and performance
showed some improvement.
In the autumn of 1905, after passing a repeat and the final exam, Hitler left the
school without any ambitions for further schooling or clear plans for a career.
Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich
The house in Leonding where Hitler spent his
early adolescence (c.1984)
From 1905, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna, financed by
orphan's benefits and support from his mother. He worked as a casual
labourer and eventually as a painter, selling watercolours. The
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna rejected him twice, in 1907 and 1908,
because of his "unfitness for painting". The director recommended that
Hitler study architecture,
but he lacked the academic credentials.
On 21 December 1907, his mother died aged 47. After the Academy's
second rejection, Hitler ran out of money. In 1909 he lived in a
homeless shelter, and by 1910, he had settled into a house for poor
working men on Meldemannstrae.
At the time Hitler lived there,
Vienna was a hotbed of religious prejudice and racism.
Fears of being overrun by immigrants from the East were
widespread, and the populist mayor, Karl Lueger, exploited the rhetoric of virulent antisemitism for political effect.
Georg Schnerer's pan-Germanic antisemitism had a strong following in the Mariahilf district, where Hitler lived.
Hitler read local newspapers, such as the Deutsches Volksblatt, that fanned prejudice and played on Christian fears of
being swamped by an influx of eastern Jews.
Hostile to what he saw as Catholic "Germanophobia", he developed
an admiration for Martin Luther.
Adolf Hitler
The Alter Hof in Munich. Watercolour by Adolf
Hitler, 1914
The origin and first expression of Hitler's antisemitism have been
difficult to locate.
Hitler states in Mein Kampf that he first became
an antisemite in Vienna.
His close friend, August Kubizek, claimed
that Hitler was a "confirmed antisemite" before he left Linz.
Kubizek's account has been challenged by historian Brigitte Hamann,
who writes that Kubizek is the only person to have said that the young
Hitler was an antisemite.
Hamann also notes that no antisemitic
remark has been documented from Hitler during this period.
Historian Ian Kershaw suggests that if Hitler had made such remarks,
they may have gone unnoticed because of the prevailing antisemitism
in Vienna at that time.
Several sources provide strong evidence that
Hitler had Jewish friends in his hostel and in other places in
Historian Richard J. Evans states that "historians now generally agree that his notorious, murderous
anti-Semitism emerged well after Germanys defeat [in World War I], as a product of the paranoid 'stab-in-the-back'
explanation for the catastrophe".
Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich.
Historians believe he left
Vienna to evade conscription into the Austrian army.
Hitler later claimed that he did not wish to serve the
Habsburg Empire because of the mixture of "races" in its army.
After he was deemed unfit for servicehe failed
his physical exam in Salzburg on 5 February 1914he returned to Munich.
World War I
At the outbreak of World War I, Hitler was a resident of Munich and volunteered to serve in the Bavarian Army as
an Austrian citizen.
Posted to the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st Company of the List
he served as a dispatch runner on the Western Front in France and Belgium,
spending nearly
half his time well behind the front lines.
He was present at the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme,
the Battle of Arras, and the Battle of Passchendaele, and was wounded at the Somme.
Hitler with his army comrades of the Bavarian
Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (c.19141918)
He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross, Second Class,
in 1914.
Recommended by Hugo Gutmann, he received the Iron
Cross, First Class, on 4 August 1918,
a decoration rarely awarded to
one of Hitler's rank (Gefreiter). Hitler's post at regimental
headquarters, providing frequent interactions with senior officers, may
have helped him receive this decoration.
Though his rewarded
actions may have been courageous, they were probably not highly
He also received the Black Wound Badge on 18 May
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler as a soldier during the
First World War (19141918)
During his service at the headquarters, Hitler pursued his artwork, drawing
cartoons and instructions for an army newspaper. During the Battle of the
Somme in October 1916, he was wounded either in the groin area
or the left
thigh by a shell that had exploded in the dispatch runners' dugout.
Hitler spent
almost two months in the Red Cross hospital at Beelitz, returning to his regiment
on 5 March 1917.
On 15 October 1918, he was temporarily blinded by a
mustard gas attack and was hospitalised in Pasewalk.
While there, Hitler
learnt of Germany's defeat,
andby his own accounton receiving this
news, he suffered a second bout of blindness.
Hitler became embittered over the collapse of the war effort, and his ideological
development began to firmly take shape.
He described the war as "the greatest
of all experiences", and was praised by his commanding officers for his
The experience reinforced his passionate German patriotism and he
was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918.
Like other
German nationalists, he believed in the Dolchstolegende (stab-in-the-back legend), which claimed that the German
army, "undefeated in the field", had been "stabbed in the back" on the home front by civilian leaders and Marxists,
later dubbed the "November criminals".
The Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany must relinquish several of its territories and demilitarise the
Rhineland. The treaty imposed economic sanctions and levied heavy reparations on the country. Many Germans
perceived the treatyespecially Article 231, which declared Germany responsible for the waras a humiliation.
The Versailles Treaty and the economic, social, and political conditions in Germany after the war were later
exploited by Hitler for political gains.
Entry into politics
After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich.
Having no formal education and career prospects, he tried to
remain in the army for as long as possible.
In July 1919 he was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent)
of an Aufklrungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, to influence other soldiers and to
infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP). While monitoring the activities of the DAP, Hitler became attracted to
the founder Anton Drexler's antisemitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist ideas.
Drexler favoured a
strong active government, a "non-Jewish" version of socialism, and solidarity among all members of society.
Impressed with Hitler's oratory skills, Drexler invited him to join the DAP. Hitler accepted on 12 September
becoming the party's 55th member.
A copy of Adolf Hitler's German Workers' Party
(DAP) membership card
At the DAP, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of the party's founders and
a member of the occult Thule Society.
Eckart became Hitler's
mentor, exchanging ideas with him and introducing him to a wide
range of people in Munich society.
To increase its appeal, the DAP
changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
(National Socialist German Workers Party NSDAP).
designed the party's banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red
Hitler was discharged from the army in March 1920 and began
working full-time for the NSDAP. In February 1921already highly
effective at speaking to large audienceshe spoke to a crowd of over 6,000 in Munich.
To publicise the meeting,
two truckloads of party supporters drove around town waving swastika flags and throwing leaflets. Hitler soon
gained notoriety for his rowdy polemic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and especially
Adolf Hitler
against Marxists and Jews.
At the time, the NSDAP was centred in Munich, a major hotbed of anti-government
German nationalists determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar Republic.
In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in
Munich. Members of the its executive committee, some of whom considered Hitler to be too overbearing, wanted to
merge with the rival German Socialist Party (DSP).
Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his
resignation. The committee members realised his resignation would mean the end of the party.
Hitler announced
he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman, and that the party headquarters
would remain in Munich.
The committee agreed; he rejoined the party as member 3,680. He still faced some
opposition within the NSDAP: Hermann Esser and his allies printed 3,000 copies of a pamphlet attacking Hitler as a
traitor to the party.
In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself, to
thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful: at a general membership meeting, he was granted absolute
powers as party chairman, with only one nay vote cast.
Hitler's vitriolic beer hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. He became adept at using populist themes
targeted at his audience, including the use of scapegoats who could be blamed for the economic hardships of his
Historians have noted the hypnotic effect of his rhetoric on large audiences, and of his eyes in
small groups. Kessel writes, "Overwhelmingly ... Germans speak with mystification of Hitler's 'hypnotic' appeal. The
word shows up again and again; Hitler is said to have mesmerized the nation, captured them in a trance from which
they could not break loose."
Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper described "the fascination of those eyes, which had
bewitched so many seemingly sober men."
He used his personal magnetism and an understanding of crowd
psychology to his advantage while engaged in public speaking.
Alfons Heck, a former member of the Hitler
Youth, describes the reaction to a speech by Hitler: "We erupted into a frenzy of nationalistic pride that bordered on
hysteria. For minutes on end, we shouted at the top of our lungs, with tears streaming down our faces: Sieg Heil, Sieg
Heil, Sieg Heil! From that moment on, I belonged to Adolf Hitler body and soul".
Although his oratory skills and
personal traits were generally received well by large crowds and at official events, some who had met Hitler
privately noted that his appearance and demeanour failed to make a lasting impression.
Early followers included Rudolf Hess, former air force pilot Hermann Gring, and army captain Ernst Rhm. Rhm
became head of the Nazis' paramilitary organisation, the Sturmabteilung (SA, "Stormtroopers"), which protected
meetings and frequently attacked political opponents. A critical influence on his thinking during this period was the
Aufbau Vereinigung,
a conspiratorial group of White Russian exiles and early National Socialists. The group,
financed with funds channelled from wealthy industrialists like Henry Ford, introduced Hitler to the idea of a Jewish
conspiracy, linking international finance with Bolshevism.
Adolf Hitler
Beer Hall Putsch
Drawing of Hitler (30 October 1923)
Hitler enlisted the help of World War I General Erich Ludendorff for an
attempted coup known as the "Beer Hall Putsch". The Nazi Party used Italian
Fascism as a model for their appearance and policies. Hitler wanted to emulate
Benito Mussolini's "March on Rome" (1922) by staging his own coup in Bavaria,
to be followed by challenging the government in Berlin. Hitler and Ludendorff
sought the support of Staatskommissar (state commissioner) Gustav von Kahr,
Bavaria's de facto ruler. However, Kahr, along with Police Chief Hans Ritter von
Seisser (Seier) and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, wanted to install a
nationalist dictatorship without Hitler.
Hitler wanted to seize a critical moment for successful popular agitation and
On 8 November 1923 he and the SA stormed a public meeting of
3,000 people that had been organised by Kahr in the Brgerbrukeller, a large
beer hall in Munich. Hitler interrupted Kahr's speech and announced that the
national revolution had begun, declaring the formation of a new government with
Retiring to a backroom, Hitler, with handgun drawn, demanded
and got the support of Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow.
Hitler's forces initially
succeeded in occupying the local Reichswehr and police headquarters; however, Kahr and his consorts quickly
withdrew their support and neither the army nor the state police joined forces with him.
The next day, Hitler and
his followers marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government, but
police dispersed them.
Sixteen NSDAP members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup.
Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl, and by some accounts contemplated suicide.
He was depressed but
calm when arrested on 11 November 1923 for high treason.
His trial began in February 1924 before the special
People's Court in Munich,
and Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the NSDAP. On 1 April Hitler was
sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison.
He received friendly treatment from the guards; he
was allowed mail from supporters and regular visits by party comrades. The Bavarian Supreme Court issued a
pardon and he was released from jail on 20 December 1924, against the state prosecutor's objections.
time on remand, Hitler had served just over one year in prison.
Dust jacket of Mein Kampf (19261927)
While at Landsberg, Hitler dictated most of the first volume of Mein
Kampf (My Struggle; originally entitled Four and a Half Years of
Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice) to his deputy, Rudolf
The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich
Eckart, was an autobiography and an exposition of his ideology. Mein
Kampf was influenced by The Passing of the Great Race by Madison
Grant, which Hitler called "my Bible".
The book laid out Hitler's
plans for transforming German society into one based on race. Some
passages implied genocide.
Published in two volumes in 1925 and
1926, it sold 228,000 copies between 1925 and 1932. One million
copies were sold in 1933, Hitler's first year in office.
Adolf Hitler
Rebuilding the NSDAP
Hitler (left), standing behind
Hermann Gring at a Nazi rally in
Nuremberg (c. 1928)
At the time of Hitler's release from prison, politics in Germany had become less
combative and the economy had improved, limiting Hitler's opportunities for
political agitation. As a result of the failed Beer Hall Putsch, the NSDAP and its
affiliated organisations were banned in Bavaria. In a meeting with Prime
Minister of Bavaria Heinrich Held on 4 January 1925, Hitler agreed to respect
the authority of the state: he would only seek political power through the
democratic process. The meeting paved the way for the ban on the NSDAP to be
However, Hitler was barred from public speaking,
a ban that
remained in place until 1927.
To advance his political ambitions in spite of
the ban, Hitler appointed Gregor Strasser, Otto Strasser, and Joseph Goebbels to
organise and grow the NSDAP in northern Germany. A superb organiser, Gregor
Strasser steered a more independent political course, emphasising the socialist
element of the party's programme.
The stock market in the United States crashed on 24 October 1929. The impact in
Germany was dire: millions were thrown out of work and several major banks
collapsed. Hitler and the NSDAP prepared to take advantage of the emergency to
gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty,
strengthen the economy, and provide jobs.
Rise to power
Election Total votes % votes Reichstag seats Notes
May 1924 1,918,300 6.5 32 Hitler in prison
December 1924 907,300 3 14 Hitler released from prison
1928 810,100 2.6 12
1930 6,409,600 18.3 107 After the financial crisis
1932 13,745,000 37.3 230 After Hitler was candidate for presidency
1932 11,737,000 33.1 196
1933 17,277,180 43.9 288 During Hitler's term as chancellor of Germany
|+ Nazi Party election results
Adolf Hitler
Brning administration
Hitler and NSDAP treasurer Franz Xaver
Schwarz at the dedication of the renovation of the
Palais Barlow on Brienner Strae in Munich into
the Brown House headquarters, December 1930
The Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for
Hitler. Germans were ambivalent to the parliamentary republic, which
faced strong challenges from right- and left-wing extremists. The
moderate political parties were increasingly unable to stem the tide of
extremism, and the German referendum of 1929 had helped to elevate
Nazi ideology.
The elections of September 1930 resulted in the
break-up of a grand coalition and its replacement with a minority
cabinet. Its leader, chancellor Heinrich Brning of the Centre Party,
governed through emergency decrees from the president, Paul von
Hindenburg. Governance by decree would become the new norm and
paved the way for authoritarian forms of government.
rose from obscurity to win 18.3% of the vote and 107 parliamentary
seats in the 1930 election, becoming the second-largest party in
Hitler made a prominent appearance at the trial of two Reichswehr officers, Lieutenants Richard Scheringer and
Hans Ludin, in the autumn of 1930. Both were charged with membership in the NSDAP, at that time illegal for
Reichswehr personnel.
The prosecution argued that the NSDAP was an extremist party, prompting defence
lawyer Hans Frank to call on Hitler to testify in court.
On 25 September 1930 Hitler testified that his party would
pursue political power solely through democratic elections,
a testimony that won him many supporters in the
officer corps.
Brning's austerity measures brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular.
exploited this by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been affected by the inflation of the
1920s and the Depression, such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class.
Hitler had formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925, but at the time did not acquire German
citizenship. For almost seven years he was stateless, unable to run for public office, and faced the risk of
On 25 February 1932 the interior minister of Brunswick, who was a member of the NSDAP,
appointed Hitler as administrator for the state's delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of
and thus of Germany.
In 1932 Hitler ran against von Hindenburg in the presidential elections. The viability of his candidacy was
underscored by a 27 January 1932 speech to the Industry Club in Dsseldorf, which won him support from many of
Germany's most powerful industrialists.
However, Hindenburg had support from various nationalist, monarchist,
Catholic, and republican parties, and some social democrats. Hitler used the campaign slogan "Hitler ber
Deutschland" ("Hitler over Germany"), a reference to both his political ambitions and to his campaigning by
Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 35% of the vote in the final
election. Although he lost to Hindenburg, this election established Hitler as a strong force in German politics.
Adolf Hitler
Appointment as chancellor
The absence of an effective government prompted two influential politicians, Franz von Papen and Alfred
Hugenberg, along with several other industrialists and businessmen, to write a letter to von Hindenburg. The signers
urged Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as leader of a government "independent from parliamentary parties", which
could turn into a movement that would "enrapture millions of people".
Hitler, at the window of the Reich Chancellery,
receives an ovation on the evening of his
inauguration as chancellor, 30 January 1933
Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after two
further parliamentary electionsin July and November 1932had not
resulted in the formation of a majority government. Hitler was to head
a short-lived coalition government formed by the NSDAP and
Hugenberg's party, the German National People's Party (DNVP). On
30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief
ceremony in Hindenburg's office. The NSDAP gained three important
posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the
Interior, and Hermann Gring Minister of the Interior for Prussia.
Hitler had insisted on the ministerial positions as a way to gain control
over the police in much of Germany.
Reichstag fire and March elections
As chancellor, Hitler worked against attempts by the NSDAP's opponents to build a majority government. Because
of the political stalemate, he asked President Hindenburg to again dissolve the Reichstag, and elections were
scheduled for early March. On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire. Gring blamed a
communist plot, because Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe was found in incriminating circumstances inside
the burning building.
At Hitler's urging, Hindenburg responded with the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February,
which suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial. Activities of the German Communist Party were
suppressed, and some 4,000 communist party members were arrested.
Researchers, including William L. Shirer
and Alan Bullock, are of the opinion that the NSDAP itself was responsible for starting the fire.
In addition to political campaigning, the NSDAP engaged in paramilitary violence and the spread of anti-communist
propaganda in the days preceding the election. On election day, 6 March 1933, the NSDAP's share of the vote
increased to 43.9%, and the party acquired the largest number of seats in parliament. However, Hitler's party failed
to secure an absolute majority, necessitating another coalition with the DNVP.
Adolf Hitler
Day of Potsdam and the Enabling Act
On 21 March 1933 the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening ceremony at the Garrison Church in Potsdam.
This "Day of Potsdam" was held to demonstrate unity between the Nazi movement and the old Prussian elite and
military. Hitler appeared in a morning coat and humbly greeted President von Hindenburg.
Paul von Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler on the Day
of Potsdam, 21 March 1933
To achieve full political control despite not having an absolute
majority in parliament, Hitler's government brought the
Ermchtigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) to a vote in the newly elected
Reichstag. The act gave Hitler's cabinet full legislative powers for a
period of four years and (with certain exceptions) allowed deviations
from the constitution.
The bill required a two-thirds majority to
pass. Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis used the provisions of the
Reichstag Fire Decree to keep several Social Democratic deputies from
attending; the Communists had already been banned.
On 23 March, the Reichstag assembled at the Kroll Opera House under
turbulent circumstances. Ranks of SA men served as guards inside the
building, while large groups outside opposing the proposed legislation shouted slogans and threats toward the
arriving members of parliament.
The position of the Centre Party, the third largest party in the Reichstag, turned
out to be decisive. After Hitler verbally promised party leader Ludwig Kaas that President von Hindenburg would
retain his power of veto, Kaas announced the Centre Party would support the Enabling Act. Ultimately, the Enabling
Act passed by a vote of 44184, with all parties except the Social Democrats voting in favour. The Enabling Act,
along with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler's government into a de facto legal dictatorship.
Removal of remaining limits
At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000
years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern
Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!
Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934
Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies
embarked on a systematic suppression of the remaining political opposition. The Social Democratic Party was
banned and all its assets seized.
While many trade union delegates were in Berlin for May Day activities, SA
stormtroopers demolished trade union offices around the country. On 2 May 1933 all trade unions were forced to
dissolve and their leaders were arrested; some were sent to concentration camps.
The German Labour Front was
formed to represent all workers, administrators, and company owners together as one group. This new labour
organisation reflected the concept of national socialism in the spirit of Hitler's Volksgemeinschaft (German racial
community; literally, "people's community").
Adolf Hitler
In 1934, Hitler became Germany's
head of state with the title of Fhrer
und Reichskanzler (leader and
chancellor of the Reich).
By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. With
the help of the SA, Hitler pressured his nominal coalition partner, Hugenberg,
into resigning. On 14 July 1933, the NSDAP was declared the only legal political
party in Germany.
The demands of the SA for more political and
military power caused much anxiety among military, industrial, and political
leaders. Hitler responded by purging the entire SA leadership in the Night of the
Long Knives, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934.
Hitler targeted
Ernst Rhm and other political adversaries (such as Gregor Strasser and former
chancellor Kurt von Schleicher). Rhm and other SA leaders, along with a
number of Hitler's political enemies, were rounded up, arrested, and shot.
While the international community and some Germans were shocked by the
murders, many in Germany saw Hitler as restoring order.
On 2 August 1934 President von Hindenburg died. The previous day, the cabinet
had enacted the "Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich".
This law stated that upon Hindenburg's death, the office of president would be
abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became
head of state as well as head of government, and was formally named as Fhrer und Reichskanzler (leader and
This law actually violated the Enabling Act. While it allowed Hitler to deviate from the constitution,
the Act explicitly barred him from passing any law tampering with the presidency. In 1932, the constitution had been
amended to make the president of the High Court of Justice, not the chancellor, acting president pending new
With this law, Hitler removed the last legal remedy by which he could be removed from office.
Hitler's personal standard
As head of state, Hitler became Supreme Commander of the armed forces. The
traditional loyalty oath of servicemen was altered to affirm loyalty to Hitler
personally, rather than to the office of supreme commander or to the state.
On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was
approved by a plebiscite with support of 90% of the electorate.
In early 1938 Hitler used political blackmail to force his War Minister, Field
Marshal Werner von Blomberg, to resign when a police dossier was discovered
showing that Blomberg's new wife had a record for prostitution.
similarly ridded himself of army commander Colonel-General Werner von
Fritsch after the Schutzstaffel (SS) produced allegations that he had taken part in
a homosexual relationship.
Both men had already fallen into disfavour after they had objected to Hitler's
demand that they have the Wehrmacht ready to go to war as early as 1938.
Hitler used these incidents, known as
the BlombergFritsch Affair, to consolidate his hold over the military. He assumed Blomberg's title of
Commander-in-Chief, thus taking personal command of the armed forces. He replaced the Ministry of War with the
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces, or OKW), headed by General Wilhelm
Keitel. On the same day, sixteen generals were stripped of their commands and 44 more were transferred; all were
suspected of not having been sufficiently pro-Nazi.
By early February 1938, twelve more generals had been
Having consolidated his political powers, Hitler suppressed or eliminated his opposition by a process termed
Gleichschaltung ("bringing into line"). He attempted to gain additional public support by vowing to reverse the
effects of the Depression and the Versailles Treaty.
Many of Hitler's decrees were based on the Reichstag Fire Decree, based on Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution.
It gave the president the power to take emergency measures to protect public safety and order. Thus, Hitler could
now rule under a form of legal martial law. The Reichstag renewed the Enabling Act twice, a mere formality since
Adolf Hitler
all other parties had been banned.
Third Reich
Economy and culture
Ceremony honouring the dead
(Totenehrung) on the terrace in front
of the Hall of Honour (Ehrenhalle) at
the Nazi party rally grounds,
Nuremberg, September 1934
In August 1934 Hitler appointed Reichsbank president Hjalmar Schacht as his
Minister of Economics. The following year Hitler appointed Schacht as
Plenipotentiary for War Economy, in charge of preparing the economy for
Reconstruction and rearmament were financed through Mefo bills,
printing money, and seizing the assets of people arrested as enemies of the State,
including Jews.
Unemployment fell substantially, from six million in 1932 to
one million in 1936.
Hitler oversaw one of the largest infrastructure
improvement campaigns in German history, leading to the construction of dams,
autobahns, railroads, and other civil works. Wages were slightly reduced in the
preWorld War II years over those of the Weimar Republic, while the cost of
living increased by 25%.
The average working week steadily increased
during the shift to a war economy; by 1939, the average German was working
between 47 to 50 hours per week.
Hitler's government sponsored architecture on an immense scale. Albert Speer,
instrumental in implementing Hitler's classicist reinterpretation of German
culture, was placed in charge of the proposed architectural renovations of
In 1936 Hitler opened the summer Olympic games in Berlin.
Rearmament and new alliances
In a meeting with German military leaders on 3 February 1933, Hitler spoke of "conquest for Lebensraum in the East
and its ruthless Germanisation" as his ultimate foreign policy objectives.
In March, Prince Bernhard Wilhelm
von Blow, secretary at the Auswrtiges Amt (Foreign Office), issued a major statement of German foreign policy
aims: Anschluss with Austria, the restoration of Germany's national borders of 1914, rejection of military restrictions
under the Treaty of Versailles, the return of the former German colonies in Africa, and a German zone of influence
in Eastern Europe. Hitler found Blow's goals to be too modest.
In his speeches of this period, he stressed the
peaceful goals of his policies and willingness to work within international agreements.
At the first meeting of his
Cabinet in 1933, Hitler prioritised military spending over unemployment relief.
Adolf Hitler
On 25 October 1936 an Axis was
declared between Italy and Germany.
Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament
Conference in October 1933.
In March 1935 Hitler announced an expansion
of the Wehrmacht to 600,000 memberssix times the number permitted by the
Versailles Treatyincluding development of an Air Force (Luftwaffe) and
increasing the size of the Navy (Kriegsmarine). Britain, France, Italy, and the
League of Nations condemned these violations of the Treaty.
Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) of 18 June 1935 allowed German
tonnage to increase to 35% of that of the British navy. Hitler called the signing of
the AGNA "the happiest day of his life", as he believed the agreement marked
the beginning of the Anglo-German alliance he had predicted in Mein
France and Italy were not consulted before the signing, directly
undermining the League of Nations and putting the Treaty of Versailles on the
path towards irrelevance.
Hitler with Arthur Seyss-Inquart,
Martin Bormann, Heinrich Himmler,
and Reinhard Heydrich in Vienna,
Germany reoccupied the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland in March 1936, in
violation the Versailles Treaty. Hitler sent troops to Spain to support General
Franco after receiving an appeal for help in July 1936. At the same time, Hitler
continued his efforts to create an Anglo-German alliance.
In response to a
growing economic crisis caused by his rearmament efforts, Hitler issued a
memorandum ordering Gring to carry out a Four Year Plan to prepare Germany
for war within the next four years.
The "Four-Year Plan Memorandum" of
August 1936 envisaged an all-out struggle between "Judeo-Bolshevism" and
German national socialism, which in Hitler's view required a committed effort of
rearmament regardless of the economic costs.
Count Galeazzo Ciano, foreign minister of Benito Mussolini's government,
declared an axis between Germany and Italy, and on 25 November, Germany
signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. Britain, China, Italy, and Poland
were also invited to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, but only Italy signed in 1937.
Hitler abandoned his dream of an Anglo-German alliance, blaming "inadequate"
British leadership.
At a secret meeting in the Reich Chancellery with his
foreign ministers and military chiefs that November, Hitler stated his intention of acquiring Lebensraum for the
German people. He ordered preparations for war in the east, to begin as early as 1938 and no later than 1943. He
stated that the conference minutes, recorded as the Hossbach Memorandum, were to be regarded as his "political
testament" in the event of his death.
He felt the German economic crisis had reached a point that a severe decline
in living standards in Germany could only be stopped by a policy of military aggressionseizing Austria and
Hitler urged quick action, before Britain and France obtained a permanent lead in the arms
In early 1938, in the wake of the BlombergFritsch Affair, Hitler asserted control of the military-foreign
policy apparatus, dismissing Neurath as Foreign Minister and appointing himself Oberster Befehlshaber der
Wehrmacht (supreme commander of the armed forces).
From early 1938 onwards, Hitler was carrying out a
foreign policy ultimately aimed at war.
Adolf Hitler
World War II
Early diplomatic successes
Alliance with Japan
Hitler and the Japanese Foreign Minister, Ysuke
Matsuoka, at a meeting in Berlin in March 1941.
In the background is Joachim von Ribbentrop.
In February 1938, on the advice of his newly appointed Foreign
Minister, the strongly pro-Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler
ended the Sino-German alliance with the Republic of China to instead
enter into an alliance with the more modern and powerful Japan. Hitler
announced German recognition of Manchukuo, the Japanese-occupied
state in Manchuria, and renounced German claims to their former
colonies in the Pacific held by Japan.
Hitler ordered an end to arms
shipments to China and recalled all German officers working with the
Chinese Army.
In retaliation, Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek
cancelled all Sino-German economic agreements, depriving the
Germans of many Chinese raw materials.
Austria and Czechoslovakia
On 12 March 1938 Hitler declared unification of Austria with Nazi
Germany in the Anschluss.
Hitler then turned his attention to the ethnic German population of the
Sudetenland district of Czechoslovakia.
On 2829 March 1938 Hitler held a series of secret meetings in Berlin with Konrad Henlein of the Sudeten
Heimfront (Home Front), the largest of the ethnic German parties of the Sudetenland. The men agreed that Henlein
would demand increased autonomy for Sudeten Germans from the Czechoslovakian government, thus providing a
pretext for German military action against Czechoslovakia. In April 1938 Henlein told the foreign minister of
Hungary that "whatever the Czech government might offer, he would always raise still higher demands... he wanted
to sabotage an understanding by all means because this was the only method to blow up Czechoslovakia
In private, Hitler considered the Sudeten issue unimportant; his real intention was a war of conquest
against Czechoslovakia.
Adolf Hitler
October 1938: Hitler (standing in the
Mercedes) drives through the crowd
in Cheb (German: Eger), part of the
German-populated Sudetenland
region of Czechoslovakia, which was
annexed to Nazi Germany due to the
Munich Agreement
In April Hitler ordered the OKW to prepare for Fall Grn ("Case Green"), the
code name for an invasion of Czechoslovakia.
As a result of intense French
and British diplomatic pressure, on 5 September Czechoslovakian President
Edvard Bene unveiled the "Fourth Plan" for constitutional reorganisation of his
country, which agreed to most of Henlein's demands for Sudeten autonomy.
Henlein's Heimfront responded to Bene' offer with a series of violent clashes
with the Czechoslovakian police that led to the declaration of martial law in
certain Sudeten districts.
Germany was dependent on imported oil; a confrontation with Britain over the
Czechoslovakian dispute could curtail Germany's oil supplies. Hitler called off
Fall Grn, originally planned for 1 October 1938.
On 29 September Hitler,
Neville Chamberlain, douard Daladier, and Benito Mussolini attended a
one-day conference in Munich that led to the Munich Agreement, which handed
over the Sudetenland districts to Germany.
Jewish shops destroyed in Magdeburg, following
Kristallnacht (November 1938)
Chamberlain was satisfied with the Munich conference, calling the
outcome "peace for our time", while Hitler was angered about the
missed opportunity for war in 1938;
he expressed his
disappointment in a speech on 9 October in Saarbrcken.
Hitler's view, the British-brokered peace, although favourable to the
ostensible German demands, was a diplomatic defeat which spurred his
intent of limiting British power to pave the way for the eastern
expansion of Germany.
As a result of the summit, Hitler was
selected Time magazine's Man of the Year for 1938.
In late 1938 and early 1939, the continuing economic crisis caused by
rearmament forced Hitler to make major defence cuts.
In his "Export or die" speech of 30 January 1939, he
called for an economic offensive to increase German foreign exchange holdings to pay for raw materials such as
high-grade iron needed for military weapons.
On 15 March 1939, in violation of the Munich accord and possibly as a result of the deepening economic crisis
requiring additional assets,
Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to invade Prague, and from Prague Castle proclaimed
Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.
Start of World War II
In private discussions in 1939, Hitler described Britain as the main enemy to be defeated. In his view, Poland's
obliteration as a sovereign nation was a necessary prelude to that goal. The eastern flank would therefore be secured
and land would be added to Germany's Lebensraum.
Offended by the British "guarantee" of Polish independence
issued on 31 March 1939, he told his associates, "I shall brew them a devil's drink".
In a speech in
Wilhelmshaven for the launch of the battleship Tirpitz on 1 April, he threatened to denounce the Anglo-German
Naval Agreement if the British persisted with their guarantee of Polish independence, which he perceived as an
"encirclement" policy.
He wanted Poland to become either a German satellite state or be otherwise neutralised to
secure the Reich's eastern flank, and to prevent a possible British blockade.
He initially favoured the idea of a
Adolf Hitler
satellite state; when this was rejected by the Polish government, he decided to invade. He made this the main
German foreign policy goal of 1939.
On 3 April Hitler ordered the military to prepare for Fall Weiss ("Case
White"), the plan for an invasion of Poland on 25 August.
In a speech before the Reichstag on 28 April, he
renounced both the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the GermanPolish Non-Aggression Pact. In August Hitler
told his generals that his original plan for 1939 was to "... establish an acceptable relationship with Poland in order to
fight against the West".
Historians such as William Carr, Gerhard Weinberg, and Ian Kershaw have argued that
one reason for Hitler's rush to war was his morbid and obsessive fear of an early death, and hence his feeling that he
did not have long to accomplish his work.
Hitler portrayed on a 42pfennig
stamp from 1944. The term
Grossdeutsches Reich (Greater
German Reich) was first used in
1943 for the expanded Germany
under his rule.
Hitler was concerned that a military attack against Poland could result in a
premature war with Britain.
However, Hitler's foreign ministerand
former Ambassador to LondonJoachim von Ribbentrop assured him that
neither Britain nor France would honour their commitments to Poland, and that a
GermanPolish war would only be a limited regional war.
claimed that in December 1938 the French foreign minister, Georges Bonnet, had
stated that France considered Eastern Europe as Germany's exclusive sphere of
Ribbentrop showed Hitler diplomatic cables that supported his
The German Ambassador in London, Herbert von Dirksen,
supported Ribbentrop's analysis.
Accordingly, on 22 August 1939 Hitler
ordered a military mobilisation against Poland.
Hitler's plans for a military campaign in Poland required tacit Soviet support.
The non-aggression pact (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) between Germany and
the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, included a secret agreement to partition
Poland between the two countries.
In response to the Molotov-Ribbentrop
Pactand contrary to the prediction of Ribbentrop that the newly formed pact
would sever Anglo-Polish tiesBritain and Poland signed the Anglo-Polish alliance on 25 August 1939. This, along
with news from Italy that Mussolini would not honour the Pact of Steel, caused Hitler to postpone the attack on
Poland from 25 August to 1 September.
In the days before the start of the war, Hitler tried to manoeuvre the
British into neutrality by offering a non-aggression guarantee to the British Empire on 25 August and by having
Ribbentrop present a last-minute peace plan with an impossibly short time limit in an effort to then blame the war on
British and Polish inaction.
As a pretext for a military aggression against Poland, Hitler claimed the Free City of Danzig and the right to
extraterritorial roads across the Polish Corridor, which Germany had ceded under the Versailles Treaty.
his concerns over a possible British intervention, Hitler was not deterred from his aim of invading Poland,
on 1 September 1939 Germany invaded western Poland. In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany
on 3 September. This surprised Hitler, prompting him to turn to Ribbentrop and angrily ask "Now what?"
and Britain did not act on their declarations immediately, and on 17 September, Soviet forces invaded eastern
Poland never will rise again in the form of the Versailles treaty. That is guaranteed not only by Germany, but
also... Russia.
Adolf Hitler, public speech in Danzig at the end of September 1939
Adolf Hitler
Members of the Reichstag salute
Hitler at the Kroll Opera House on
6October 1939, at the end of the
campaign against Poland
The fall of Poland was followed by what contemporary journalists dubbed the
"Phoney War" or Sitzkrieg ("sitting war"). Hitler instructed the two newly
appointed Gauleiters of north-western Poland, Albert Forster of Reichsgau
Danzig-West Prussia and Arthur Greiser of Reichsgau Wartheland, to
"Germanise" their areas, and promised them "There would be no questions
asked" about how this was accomplished.
To Himmler's chagrin, Forster had
local Poles sign forms stating that they had German blood, and required no
further documentation.
On the other hand, Greiser carried out a brutal ethnic
cleansing campaign on the Polish population in his purview.
complained to Hitler that Forster was allowing thousands of Poles to be accepted
as "racial" Germans and thus, in Greiser's view, endangering German "racial
purity". Hitler told Himmler and Greiser to take up their difficulties with Forster,
and not to involve him.
Hitler's handling of the ForsterGreiser dispute has
been advanced as an example of Kershaw's theory of "working towards the
Fhrer": Hitler issued vague instructions and expected his subordinates to work
out policies on their own.
Another dispute broke out between different factions. One side, represented by Himmler and Greiser, championed
carrying out ethnic cleansing in Poland, and another side, represented by Gring and Hans Frank, Governor-General
of the General Government territory of occupied Poland, called for turning Poland into the "granary" of the
At a conference held at Gring's Karinhall estate on 12 February 1940, the dispute was initially settled in
favour of the GringFrank view of economic exploitation, which ended the economically disruptive mass
On 15 May 1940, however, Himmler presented Hitler with a memo entitled "Some Thoughts on the
Treatment of Alien Population in the East", which called for expulsion of the entire Jewish population of Europe into
Africa and reducing the remainder of the Polish population to a "leaderless class of labourers".
Hitler called
Himmler's memo "good and correct";
and, ignoring Gring and Frank, implemented the HimmlerGreiser policy
in Poland.
Hitler visits Paris with architect
Albert Speer (left) and sculptor Arno
Breker (right), 23June 1940
Hitler began a military build-up on Germany's western border, and in April 1940,
German forces invaded Denmark and Norway. On 9 April Hitler proclaimed the
birth of the "Greater Germanic Reich" to his associates; this was his vision of a
united empire of the Germanic nations of Europe, where the Dutch, Flemish,
Scandinavians, and other peoples would join into a single, racially pure polity
under German leadership.
In May 1940, Hitler's forces attacked France, and
conquered Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. These victories
prompted Mussolini to have Italy join forces with Hitler on 10 June. France
surrendered on 22 June.
Britain, whose forces were forced to leave France by sea from Dunkirk,
continued to fight alongside other British dominions in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Hitler made peace overtures to the British, now led by Winston Churchill, and
when these were rejected he ordered bombing raids on the United Kingdom.
Hitler's prelude to a planned invasion of the UK was a series of aerial attacks in
the Battle of Britain on Royal Air Force airbases and radar stations in South-East
England. However, the German Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force.
On 27 September 1940 the Tripartite Pact was signed in Berlin by Sabur Kurusu of Imperial Japan, Hitler, and
Italian foreign minister Ciano.
The agreement was later expanded to include Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.
They were collectively known as the Axis powers. The purpose of the pact was to deter the United States from
Adolf Hitler
supporting the British. By the end of October 1940, air superiority for the invasion of BritainOperation Sea
Lioncould not be achieved, and Hitler ordered nightly air raids of British cities, including London, Plymouth, and
In the Spring of 1941, Hitler was distracted from his plans for the East by military activities in North Africa, the
Balkans, and the Middle East. In February, German forces arrived in Libya to bolster the Italian presence. In April,
Hitler launched the invasion of Yugoslavia, quickly followed by the invasion of Greece.
In May, German forces
were sent to support Iraqi rebel forces fighting against the British and to invade Crete. On 23 May, Hitler released
Fhrer Directive No. 30.
Path to defeat
On 22 June 1941, contravening the HitlerStalin non-aggression pact of 1939, three million German troops attacked
the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.
The invasion seized a huge area, including the Baltic states, Belarus,
and Ukraine. However, the German advance was stopped outside Moscow in December 1941 by the Russian Winter
and fierce Soviet resistance.
With generals Keitel, Paulus, and von
Brauchitsch, discussing the situation on the
Eastern Front in October 1941
Soviet troop concentrations on Germany's eastern border in the spring
of 1941 may have prompted Hitler to engage in a Flucht nach vorn
("flight forward") to get in front of an inevitable conflict.
Suvorov, Ernst Topitsch, Joachim Hoffmann, Ernst Nolte, and David
Irving have argued that the official reason for Barbarossa given by the
German military was the real reasona preventive war to avert an
impending Soviet attack scheduled for July 1941. This theory,
however, has been faulted; American historian Gerhard Weinberg once
compared the advocates of the preventive war theory to believers in
"fairy tales".
The Wehrmacht invasion of the Soviet Union reached its peak on 2
December 1941, when the 258th Infantry Division advanced to within 15 miles (24km) of Moscow, close enough to
see the spires of the Kremlin.
However, they were not prepared for the harsh conditions of the Russian winter,
and Soviet forces drove back the German troops over 320 kilometres (200mi).
On 7 December 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four days later, Hitler formally declared war against the
United States.
Hitler during his speech to the Reichstag
attacking American President Franklin D.
Roosevelt, 11December 1941
When Himmler met Hitler on 18 December 1941 and posed the
question "What to do with the Jews of Russia?", Hitler replied "als
Partisanen auszurotten" ("exterminate them as partisans").
historian Yehuda Bauer has commented that the remark is probably as
close as historians will ever get to a definitive order from Hitler for the
genocide carried out during the Holocaust.
In late 1942 German forces were defeated in the second battle of El
thwarting Hitler's plans to seize the Suez Canal and the
Middle East. In February 1943 the Battle of Stalingrad ended with the
destruction of the German Sixth Army. Thereafter came a decisive
defeat at the Battle of Kursk.
Hitler's military judgment became
increasingly erratic, and Germany's military and economic position
deteriorated along with Hitler's health. Kershaw and others believe that Hitler may have suffered from Parkinson's
Adolf Hitler
Following the allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Mussolini was deposed by Pietro Badoglio,
who surrendered to
the Allies. Throughout 1943 and 1944, the Soviet Union steadily forced Hitler's armies into retreat along the Eastern
Front. On 6 June 1944 the Western Allied armies landed in northern France in what was one of the largest
amphibious operations in history, Operation Overlord.
As a result of these significant setbacks for the German
army, many of its officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that Hitler's misjudgement or denial would drag
out the war and result in the complete destruction of the country.
The destroyed map room at the 'Wolf's Lair' after
the 20 July plot
Between 1939 and 1945 there were many plans to assassinate Hitler,
some of which proceeded to significant degrees.
The most
well-known came from within Germany and was at least partly driven
by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war.
In July
1944, in the 20 July plot, part of Operation Valkyrie, Claus von
Stauffenberg planted a bomb in one of Hitler's headquarters, the Wolf's
Lair at Rastenburg. Hitler narrowly survived because someone had
unknowingly pushed the briefcase that contained the bomb behind a
leg of the heavy conference table. When the bomb exploded, the table
deflected much of the blast away from Hitler. Later, Hitler ordered
savage reprisals resulting in the execution of more than
Defeat and death
Front page of the U.S. Armed Forces
newspaper, Stars and Stripes, 2May
By late 1944, the Red Army had driven the German army back into Western
Europe, and the Western Allies were advancing into Germany. After being
informed of the failure of his Ardennes Offensive, Hitler realised that Germany
was going to lose the war. His hope, buoyed by the death of Franklin D.
Roosevelt on 12 April 1945, was to negotiate peace with America and
Acting on his view that Germany's military failures had forfeited its
right to survive as a nation, Hitler ordered the destruction of all German
industrial infrastructure before it could fall into Allied hands.
Execution of
this scorched earth plan was entrusted to arms minister Albert Speer, who quietly
disobeyed the order.
On 20 April, his 56th birthday, Hitler made his last trip from the Fhrerbunker
("Fhrer's shelter") to the surface. In the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery,
he awarded Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.
By 21 April,
Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front had broken through the last defences of
German General Gotthard Heinrici's Army Group Vistula during the Battle of the
Seelow Heights and advanced into the outskirts of Berlin.
In denial about the
increasingly dire situation, Hitler placed his hopes on the units commanded by Waffen SS General Felix Steiner, the
Armeeabteilung Steiner ("Army Detachment Steiner"). Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the
salient and the German Ninth Army was ordered to attack northward in a pincer attack.
During a military conference on 22 April, Hitler asked about Steiner's offensive. After a long silence, he was told
that the attack had never been launched and that the Russians had broken through into Berlin. This news prompted
Hitler to ask everyone except Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Hans Krebs, and Wilhelm Burgdorf to leave the
Hitler then launched a tirade against the treachery and incompetence of his commanders, culminating in
his declarationfor the first timethat the war was lost. Hitler announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end
and then shoot himself.
Adolf Hitler
Goebbels made a proclamation on 23 April urging the citizens of Berlin to courageously defend the city.
same day, Gring sent a telegram from Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, arguing that since Hitler was cut off in Berlin, he,
Gring, should assume leadership of Germany. Gring set a time limit, after which he would consider Hitler
Hitler responded angrily by having Gring arrested, and when writing his will on 29 April, he
removed Gring from all his positions in the government.
Berlin became completely cut off from the rest of Germany.
On 28 April, Hitler discovered that Himmler was
trying to discuss surrender terms with the Western Allies.
He ordered Himmler's arrest and had Hermann
Fegelein (Himmler's SS representative at Hitler's HQ in Berlin) shot.
After midnight on 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in a map room within the
Fhrerbunker. After a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife, he then took secretary Traudl Junge to another
room and dictated his last will and testament.
The event was witnessed and documents signed by Hans
Krebs, Wilhelm Burgdorf, Joseph Goebbels, and Martin Bormann.
Later that afternoon, Hitler was informed of
the assassination of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, which presumably increased his determination to avoid
On 30 April 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich
Chancellery, Hitler and Braun committed suicide; Braun bit into a cyanide capsule
and Hitler shot himself.
The bodies of Hitler and Braun were carried up the stairs and through the bunker's emergency exit to the bombed-out
garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater
and doused with petrol. The
corpses were set on fire
as the Red Army shelling continued.
Berlin surrendered on 2 May. Records in the Soviet archivesobtained after the fall of the Soviet Unionshowed
that the remains of Hitler, Braun, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, the six Goebbels children, General Hans Krebs, and
Hitler's dogs, were repeatedly buried and exhumed.
On 4 April 1970 a Soviet KGB team with detailed burial
charts secretly exhumed five wooden boxes which had been buried at the SMERSH facility in Magdeburg. The
remains from the boxes were thoroughly burned and crushed, after which the ashes were thrown into the Biederitz
river, a tributary of the nearby Elbe.
The Holocaust
If the international Jewish financiers outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a
world war, then the result will not be the bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the
annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!
Adolf Hitler addressing the German Reichstag, 30 January 1939
The Holocaust and Germany's war in the East was based on Hitler's long-standing view that the Jews were the great
enemy of the German people and that Lebensraum was needed for the expansion of Germany. He believed Eastern
Europe would be an ideal location for expansion, once Poland and the Soviet Union were defeated and the Jews and
Slavs were removed or killed.
The Generalplan Ost ("General Plan for the East") called for the population of
occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to be deported to West Siberia, used as slave labour, or
the conquered territories were to be colonised by German or "Germanised" settlers.
The original
plan called for this process to begin after the conquest of the Soviet Union, but when that failed to happen, Hitler
moved the plans forward.
By January 1942 the decision had been taken to kill the Jews, Slavs, and other
deportees considered undesirable.
Adolf Hitler
A wagon piled high with corpses outside the
crematorium in the newly liberated Buchenwald
concentration camp (April 1945)
The Holocaust (the "Endlsung der Judenfrage" or "Final Solution of
the Jewish Question") was organised and executed by Heinrich
Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, on Hitler's orders. The records of the
Wannsee Conferenceheld on 20 January 1942 and led by Heydrich,
with fifteen senior Nazi officials participatingprovide the clearest
evidence of systematic planning for the Holocaust. On 22 February
Hitler was recorded saying to his associates, "we shall regain our
health only by eliminating the Jews".
Approximately thirty
concentration camps and extermination camps were used for this
By summer 1942 Auschwitz concentration camp was
rapidly expanded to accept large numbers of deportees for killing or
Although no specific order from Hitler authorising the mass killings has surfaced,
he approved the
Einsatzgruppenkilling squads that followed the German army through Poland, the Baltic, and the Soviet
and he was well informed about their activities.
During interrogations by Soviet intelligence
officers, the records of which were declassified over fifty years later, Hitler's valet, Heinz Linge, and his adjutant,
Otto Gnsche, stated that Hitler had a direct interest in the development of gas chambers.
Between 1939 and 1945, the Schutzstaffel (SS), assisted by collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied
countries, were responsible for the deaths of eleven to fourteen million people, including about six million Jews,
representing two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe,
and between 500,000 and 1,500,000 Romani
Deaths took place in concentration and extermination camps, ghettos, and through mass executions.
Many victims of the Holocaust were gassed to death, whereas others died of starvation or disease while working as
slave labourers.
Hitler's policies also resulted in the killings of Poles
and Soviet prisoners of war, communists and other political
opponents, homosexuals, the physically and mentally disabled,
Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, and trade
unionists. Hitler never appeared to have visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the
Another Nazi concept was the notion of racial hygiene. On 15 September 1935, Hitler presented two lawsknown
as the Nuremberg Lawsto the Reichstag. The laws banned marriage between non-Jewish and Jewish Germans, and
forbade the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households. The laws deprived
so-called "non-Aryans" of the benefits of German citizenship.
Hitler's early eugenic policies targeted children
with physical and developmental disabilities in a programme dubbed Action Brandt, and later authorized a
euthanasia programme for adults with serious mental and physical handicaps, now referred to as Action T4.
Leadership style
Hitler ruled the NSDAP autocratically by asserting the Fhrerprinzip ("Leader principle"). The principle relied on
absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors; thus he viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with
himselfthe infallible leaderat the apex. Rank in the party was not determined by electionspositions were filled
through appointment by those of higher rank, who demanded unquestioning obedience to the will of the leader.
Hitler's leadership style was to give contradictory orders to his subordinates and to place them into positions where
their duties and responsibilities overlapped with those of others, in order to have "the stronger one [do] the job".
In this way, Hitler fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates in order to consolidate and
maximise his own power. His cabinet never met after 1938, and he discouraged his ministers from meeting
Hitler typically did not give written orders; instead he communicated them verbally, or had
them conveyed through his close associate, Martin Bormann.
He entrusted Bormann with his paperwork,
Adolf Hitler
appointments, and personal finances; Bormann used his position to control the flow of information and access to
Hitler personally made all major military decisions. Historians who have assessed his performance agree that after a
strong start, he became so inflexible after 1941 that he squandered the military strengths Germany possessed.
Historian Antony Beevor argues that at the start of the war, "Hitler was a fairly inspired leader, because his genius
lay in assessing the weaknesses of others and exploiting those weaknesses." However, from 1941 onward, "he
became completely sclerotic. He would not allow any form of retreat or flexibility among his field commanders, and
that of course was catastrophic."
Further information: Consequences of Nazism,World War II casualties,andNeo-Nazism
Outside the building in Braunau am Inn, Austria,
where Hitler was born, is a memorial stone
placed as a reminder of the horrors of World War
II. The inscription translates as: For peace,
freedom and democracy never again fascism
millions of dead remind [us]"
Hitler's suicide was likened by contemporaries to a "spell" being
According to historian John Toland, without its leader,
National Socialism "burst like a bubble".
Hitler's actions and Nazi ideology are almost universally regarded as
gravely immoral.
His political programme had brought about a
world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and
Central Europe. Germany itself suffered wholesale destruction,
characterised as "Zero Hour".
Hitler's policies inflicted human
suffering on an unprecedented scale;
the Nazi regime was
responsible for the deaths of an estimated 21 million civilians and
prisoners of war.
In addition, 29 million soldiers were killed in the
European theater of World War II.
Historians, philosophers, and
politicians often use the word "evil" to describe the Nazi regime.
In Germany and Austria, Holocaust denial and the display of Nazi
symbols such as the swastika are prohibited by law.
Historian Friedrich Meinecke described Hitler as "one of the great examples of the singular and incalculable power
of personality in historical life".
English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper saw him as "among the 'terrible
simplifiers' of history, the most systematic, the most historical, the most philosophical, and yet the coarsest, cruellest,
least magnanimous conqueror the world has ever known."
For the historian John M. Roberts, Hitler's defeat
marked the end of a phase of European history dominated by Germany.
In its place emerged the Cold War, a
global confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Religious views
Hitler saw the church as important politically, as a conservative influence on society. He felt that if the church were
eliminated the faithful would turn to mysticism, which he thought would be a step backwards politically and
culturally. Though he never officially left the Catholic Church, he had no real attachment to it.
After leaving
home he never again attended Mass or received the sacraments.
He favoured aspects of Protestantism that suited
his own views, and adopted some elements of the Catholic Church's hierarchical organisation, liturgy, and
phraseology in his politics.
In public, Hitler often praised Christian heritage and German Christian culture, and professed a belief in an "Aryan"
Jesus Christa Jesus who fought against the Jews.
He spoke of his interpretation of Christianity as a central
motivation for his antisemitism, stating that "As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have
the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice."
In private, he was more critical of traditional Christianity,
considering it a religion fit only for slaves; he admired the power of Rome but was hostile towards its teaching.
Adolf Hitler
Historian John S. Conway states that Hitler held a "fundamental antagonism" towards the Christian churches.
In political relations with the church, Hitler adopted a strategy "that suited his immediate political purposes".
According to a US Office of Strategic Services report, Hitler had a general plan, even before his rise to power, to
destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Reich.
The report titled "The Nazi Master Plan" stated
that the destruction of the church was a goal of the movement right from the start, but that it was inexpedient to
express this extreme position publicly.
His intention, according to Bullock, was to wait until the war was over to
destroy the influence of Christianity.
Hitler admired the Muslim military tradition, but considered Arabs as "racially inferior".
He believed that the
Germans, in conjunction with Islam, could have conquered much of the world during the Middle Ages.
During a
meeting with a Japanese professor in 1931, Hitler praised the Shinto religion and Japanese culture.
Himmler was interested in the occult, the interpretation of runes, and tracing the prehistoric roots of the Germanic
people, Hitler was more pragmatic, and his ideology centred on more practical concerns.
Researchers have variously suggested that Hitler suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, irregular
heartbeat, Parkinson's disease,
and tinnitus.
In a report prepared for the Office of Strategic
Services in 1943, Walter C. Langer of Harvard University described Hitler as a "neurotic psychopath."
about Hitler's medical condition are difficult to prove, and according them too much weight may have the effect of
attributing many of the events and consequences of the Third Reich to the possibly impaired physical health of one
Kershaw feels that it is better to take a broader view of German history by examining what social
forces led to the Third Reich and its policies rather than to pursue narrow explanations for the Holocaust and World
War II based on only one person.
Hitler followed a vegetarian diet.
At social events he sometimes gave graphic accounts of the slaughter of
animals in an effort to make his dinner guests shun meat.
A fear of cancer (from which his mother died)
the most widely cited reason for Hitler's dietary habits. An antivivisectionist, Hitler may have followed his selective
diet out of a profound concern for animals.
Bormann had a greenhouse constructed near the Berghof (near
Berchtesgaden) to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for Hitler throughout the war. Hitler despised
and was a non-smoker. He promoted aggressive anti-smoking campaigns throughout Germany.
Hitler began using amphetamine occasionally after 1937 and became addicted to the drug in the fall of 1942.
Albert Speer linked this use of amphetamines to Hitler's increasingly inflexible decision making (for example, never
to allow military retreats).
Prescribed ninety different medications during the war years, Hitler took many pills each day for chronic stomach
problems and other ailments.
He suffered ruptured eardrums as a result of the 20 July plot bomb blast in 1944,
and two hundred wood splinters had to be removed from his legs.
Newsreel footage of Hitler shows tremors of
his hand and a shuffling walk, which began before the war and worsened towards the end of his life. Hitler's personal
physician, Theodor Morell, treated Hitler with a drug that was commonly prescribed in 1945 for Parkinson's disease.
Ernst-Gnther Schenck and several other doctors who met Hitler in the last weeks of his life also formed a diagnosis
of Parkinson's disease.
Adolf Hitler
Hitler with his long-time mistress, Eva Braun,
whom he married 29 April 1945
Hitler created a public image as a celibate man without a domestic life,
dedicated entirely to his political mission and the nation.
met his mistress, Eva Braun, in 1929,
and married her in April
In September 1931, his half-niece, Geli Raubal, committed
suicide with Hitler's gun in his Munich apartment. It was rumoured
among contemporaries that Geli was in a romantic relationship with
him, and her death was a source of deep, lasting pain.
Paula Hitler,
the last living member of the immediate family, died in 1960.
Hitler in media
Hitler used documentary films as a propaganda tool. He was involved
and appeared in a series of films by the pioneering filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl via Universum Film AG (UFA):
Der Sieg des Glaubens (Victory of Faith, 1933)
Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will, 1934), co-produced by Hitler
Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht (Day of Freedom: Our Armed Forces, 1935)
Olympia (1938)
[1] [1] NS-Archiv, 7 April 1925
[2] [2] Maser 1973, p.4
[3] [3] Maser 1973, p.15
[4] [4] Rosenbaum 1999
[5] [5] Hamann 2010, p.50
[6] Toland 1992, pp.24647
[7] Kershaw 1999, pp.89
[8] [8] Jetzinger 1976, p.32
[9] [9] BBC News, 2011
[10] [10] Shirer 1960, p.9
[11] [11] Rosmus 2004, p.33
[12] [12] Keller 2010, p.15
[13] Hamann 2010, pp.78
[14] [14] Kubizek 2006, p.37
[15] [15] Kubizek 2006, p.92
[16] [16] Hitler 1999, p.6
[17] Fromm 1977, pp.493498
[18] Shirer 1960, pp.1011
[19] [19] Payne 1990, p.22
[20] [20] Kershaw 2008, p.9
[21] [21] Hitler 1999, p.8
[22] Keller 2010, pp.3334
[23] [23] Fest 1977, p.32
[24] [24] Kershaw 2008, p.8
[25] [25] Lipstadt 2011, p.272
[26] [26] Hitler 1999, p.10
[27] Evans 2003, p.163164
[28] [28] Bendersky 2000, p.26
[29] [29] Ryschka 2008, p.35
[30] [30] Hamann 2010, p.13
[31] [31] Kershaw 2008, p.10
[32] [32] Kershaw 1999, p.19
Adolf Hitler
[33] [33] Kershaw 1999, p.20
[34] Bullock 1962, pp.3031
[35] [35] Hitler 1999, p.20
[36] Bullock 1999, pp.3033
[37] [37] Shirer 1960, p.26
[38] Hamann 2010, pp.243246
[39] Hamann 2010, pp.341345
[40] [40] Hamann 2010, p.350
[41] Kershaw 1999, p.6067
[42] [42] Hitler 1999, p.52
[43] [43] Shirer 1960, p.25
[44] [44] Hamann 1999, p.176
[45] [45] Hamann 2010, pp.348
[46] [46] Kershaw 1999, p.66
[47] Hamann 2010, pp.347359
[48] [48] Kershaw 1999, p.64
[49] [49] Evans 2011
[50] [50] Shirer 1960, p.27
[51] [51] Weber 2010, p.13
[52] [52] Shirer 1960, p.27, footnote
[53] [53] Kershaw 1999, p.90
[54] Weber 2010, pp.1213
[55] [55] Kershaw 2008, p.53
[56] [56] Kershaw 2008, p.54
[57] [57] Weber 2010, p.100
[58] [58] Shirer 1960, p.30
[59] [59] Kershaw 2008, p.59
[60] [60] Bullock 1962, p.52
[61] [61] Kershaw 1999, p.96
[62] [62] Steiner 1976, p.392
[63] [63] Jamieson 2008
[64] [64] Kershaw 2008, p.57
[65] [65] Kershaw 2008, p.58
[66] [66] Kershaw 2008, pp.59, 60
[67] [67] Kershaw 1999, p.97
[68] [68] Kershaw 1999, p.102
[69] [69] Kershaw 2008, pp.61, 62
[70] Keegan 1987, pp.238240
[71] [71] Bullock 1962, p.60
[72] Kershaw 2008, pp.6163
[73] [73] Kershaw 2008, p.96
[74] [74] Kershaw 2008, pp.80, 90, 92
[75] [75] Bullock 1999, p.61
[76] [76] Kershaw 1999, p.109
[77] [77] Kershaw 2008, p.82
[78] [78] Stackelberg 2007, p.9
[79] [79] Mitcham 1996, p.67
[80] [80] Fest 1970, p.21
[81] [81] Kershaw 2008, pp.94, 95, 100
[82] [82] Kershaw 2008, p.87
[83] [83] Kershaw 2008, p.88
[84] [84] Kershaw 2008, p.89
[85] Kershaw 2008, pp.8992
[86] [86] Kershaw 2008, p.81
[87] [87] Kershaw 2008, pp.100, 101
[88] [88] Kershaw 2008, p.102
[89] [89] Kershaw 2008, p.103
[90] Hitler also won settlement from a libel suit against the socialist paper the Mnchener Post, which had questioned his lifestyle and income.
Kershaw 2008, p.99.
Adolf Hitler
[91] [91] Kershaw 2008, pp.83, 103
[92] [92] Bullock 1999, p.376
[93] [93] Frauenfeld 1937
[94] [94] Goebbels 1936
[95] [95] Kressel 2002, p.121
[96] [96] Trevor-Roper 1987, p.116
[97] Kershaw 2008, p.105106
[98] [98] Bullock 1999, p.377
[99] [99] Heck 2001, p.23
[100] [100] Larson 2011, p.157
[101] [101] Kershaw 1999, p.367
[102] [102] Kellogg 2005, p.275
[103] [103] Kellogg 2005, p.203
[104] [104] Kershaw 2008, p.126
[105] [105] Kershaw 2008, p.125
[106] [106] Kershaw 2008, p.128
[107] [107] Kershaw 2008, p.129
[108] Kershaw 2008, pp.130131
[109] Shirer 1960, pp.7374
[110] [110] Kershaw 2008, p.132
[111] [111] Kershaw 2008, p.131
[112] [112] Munich Court, 1924
[113] Fulda 2009, pp.6869
[114] [114] Kershaw 1999, p.239
[115] [115] Bullock 1962, p.121
[116] [116] Spiro 2008
[117] Kershaw 2008, pp.148149
[118] Shirer 1960, pp.8081
[119] [119] Kershaw 2008, pp.158, 161, 162
[120] [120] Kershaw 2008, pp.162, 166
[121] [121] Shirer 1960, p.129
[122] [122] Kershaw 2008, pp.166, 167
[123] Shirer 1960, pp.136137
[124] Kolb 2005, pp.224225
[125] [125] Kolb 1988, p.105
[126] Halperin 1965, p.403 et. seq
[127] Halperin 1965, pp.434446 et. seq
[128] [128] Wheeler-Bennett 1967, p.218
[129] [129] Wheeler-Bennett 1967, p.216
[130] Wheeler-Bennett 1967, pp.218219
[131] [131] Wheeler-Bennett 1967, p.222
[132] Halperin 1965, p.449 et. seq
[133] Halperin 1965, pp.434436, 471
[134] [134] Shirer 1960, p.130
[135] [135] Hinrichs 2007
[136] [136] Halperin 1965, p.476
[137] Halperin 1965, pp.468471
[138] [138] Bullock 1962, p.201
[139] Halperin 1965, pp.477479
[140] [140] Letter to Hindenburg, 1932
[141] [141] Fox News, 2003
[142] [142] Shirer 1960, p.184
[143] [143] Evans 2003, p.307
[144] [144] Bullock 1962, p.262
[145] [145] Shirer 1960, p.194
[146] [146] Shirer 1960, p.192
[147] [147] Bullock 1999, p.262
[148] [148] Bullock 1962, p.265
[149] [149] City of Potsdam
Adolf Hitler
[150] Shirer 1960, p.196197
[151] [151] Shirer 1960, p.198
[152] [152] Shirer 1960, p.196
[153] [153] Bullock 1999, p.269
[154] [154] Shirer 1960, p.199
[155] Time, 1934
[156] [156] Shirer 1960, p.201
[157] [157] Shirer 1960, p.202
[158] Evans 2003, pp.350374
[159] Kershaw 2008, pp.309314
[160] Tames 2008, pp.45
[161] Kershaw 2008, pp.313315
[162] [162] Overy 2005, p.63
[163] Shirer 1960, p.226227
[164] [164] Shirer 1960, p.229
[165] [165] Bullock 1962, p.309
[166] [166] Shirer 1960, p.230
[167] [167] Kershaw 2008, pp.392, 393
[168] [168] Shirer 1960, p.312
[169] Kershaw 2008, pp.393397
[170] [170] Shirer 1960, p.308
[171] Shirer 1960, p.318319
[172] Kershaw 2008, pp.397398
[173] [173] Shirer 1960, p.274
[174] [174] McNab 2009, p.54
[175] Shirer 1960, p.259260
[176] [176] Shirer 1960, p.258
[177] [177] Shirer 1960, p.262
[178] McNab 2009, pp.5457
[179] Speer 1971, pp.118119
[180] Weinberg 1970, pp.2627
[181] Kershaw 1999, pp.490491
[182] Kershaw 1999, pp.492, 555556, 586587
[183] [183] Carr 1972, p.23
[184] [184] Kershaw 2008, p.297
[185] Messerschmidt 1990, pp.601602
[186] [186] Hildebrand 1973, p.39
[187] [187] Roberts 1975
[188] Messerschmidt 1990, pp.630631
[189] Overy, Origins of WWII Reconsidered 1999
[190] Carr 1972, pp.5657
[191] [191] Messerschmidt 1990, p.642
[192] [192] Aigner 1985, p.264
[193] Messerschmidt 1990, pp.636637
[194] Carr 1972, pp.7378
[195] [195] Messerschmidt 1990, p.638
[196] Bloch 1992, pp.178179
[197] [197] Plating 2011, p.21
[198] Butler & Young 1989, p.159
[199] [199] Bullock 1962, p.434
[200] [200] Overy 2005, p.425
[201] Weinberg 1980, pp.334335
[202] Weinberg 1980, pp.338340
[203] [203] Weinberg 1980, p.366
[204] Weinberg 1980, pp.418419
[205] Kee 1988, pp.149150
[206] [206] Weinberg 1980, p.419
[207] Murray 1984, pp.256260
[208] [208] Bullock 1962, p.469
Adolf Hitler
[209] Overy, The Munich Crisis 1999, p.207
[210] Kee 1988, pp.202203
[211] Weinberg 1980, pp.462463
[212] [212] Messerschmidt 1990, p.672
[213] Messerschmidt 1990, pp.671, 682683
[214] Rothwell 2001, pp.9091
[215] Time, January 1939
[216] [216] Murray 1984, p.268
[217] Murray 1984, pp.268269
[218] [218] Shirer 1960, p.448
[219] Weinberg 1980, pp.579581
[220] [220] Maiolo 1998, p.178
[221] Messerschmidt 1990, pp.688690
[222] Weinberg 1980, pp.537539, 557560
[223] [223] Weinberg 1980, p.558
[224] Carr 1972, pp.7677
[225] Kershaw 2000b, pp.3637, 92
[226] [226] Weinberg 1955
[227] [227] Robertson 1985, p.212
[228] [228] Bloch 1992, p.228
[229] Overy & Wheatcroft 1989, p.56
[230] [230] Bloch 1992, pp.210, 228
[231] [231] Craig 1983
[232] [232] Kershaw 2008, p.497
[233] Robertson 1963, pp.181187
[234] [234] Evans 2005, p.693
[235] Bloch 1992, pp.252253
[236] Weinberg 1995, pp.8594
[237] Bloch 1992, pp.255257
[238] Weinberg 1980, pp.561562, 583584
[239] [239] Messerschmidt 1990, p.714
[240] [240] Bloch 1992, p.260
[241] [241] Hakim 1995
[242] Time, October 1939
[243] Rees 1997, pp.141145
[244] [244] Kershaw 2008, p.527
[245] Rees 1997, pp.148149
[246] [246] Winkler 2007, p.74
[247] Shirer 1960, pp.696730
[248] Shirer 1960, pp.731737
[249] Shirer 1960, pp.774782
[250] [250] Kershaw 2008, p.580
[251] [251] Kershaw 2008, p.570
[252] Kershaw 2008, p.604605
[253] Kurowski 2005, pp.141142
[254] [254] Shirer 1960, p.830
[255] [255] Shirer 1960, p.863
[256] [256] Evans 1989, p.43
[257] [257] Weinberg et al. 1989
[258] Shirer 1960, p.900901
[259] [259] Bauer 2000, p.5
[260] [260] Shirer 1960, p.921
[261] [261] Shirer 1960, p.1006
[262] [262] BBC News, 1999
[263] [263] Shirer 1960, p.997
[264] [264] Shirer 1960, p.1036
[265] Speer 1971, p.513514
[266] Kershaw 2008, pp.544547, 821822, 827828
[267] Kershaw 2008, p.816818
Adolf Hitler
[268] [268] Shirer 1960, 29
[269] Bullock 1962, pp.753, 763, 778, 780781
[270] Bullock 1962, pp.774775
[271] [271] Beevor 2002, p.251
[272] Beevor 2002, pp.255256
[273] [273] Le Tissier 2010, p.45
[274] [274] Dollinger 1995, p.231
[275] [275] Beevor 2002, p.275
[276] [276] Bullock 1962, p.787
[277] [277] Bullock 1962, pp.787, 795
[278] Butler & Young 1989, pp.227228
[279] [279] Beevor 2002, p.323
[280] [280] Bullock 1962, p.791
[281] [281] Bullock 1962, pp.792, 795
[282] [282] Beevor 2002, p.343
[283] MI5, Hitler's Last Days: "Hitler's will and marriage" on the website of MI5, using the sources available to Trevor Roper (a WWII MI5
agent and historian/author of The Last Days of Hitler), records the marriage as taking place after Hitler had dictated his last will and testament.
[284] [284] Bullock 1962, p.795
[285] [285] Bullock 1962, p.798
[286] [286] Linge 2009, p.199
[287] Joachimsthaler 1999, pp.160180
[288] Joachimsthaler 1999, pp.217220
[289] [289] Linge 2009, p.200
[290] Bullock 1962, pp.799800
[291] [291] Vinogradov 2005, pp.111, 333
[292] Vinogradov 2005, pp.333336
[293] [293] Marrus 2000, p.37
[294] [294] Gellately 1996
[295] [295] Snyder 2010, p.416
[296] [296] Steinberg 1995
[297] [297] Kershaw 2008, p.683
[298] [298] Shirer 1960, p.965
[299] [299] For a summary of recent scholarship on Hitler's central role in the Holocaust, see McMillan 2012.
[300] [300] Naimark 2002, p.81
[301] [301] Shirer 1960, p.967
[302] [302] Kershaw 2008, p.687
[303] [303] Megargee 2007, p.146
[304] Kershaw 2008, pp.670675
[305] [305] Megargee 2007, p.144
[306] [306] Yad Vashem, 2006
[307] [307] Yad Vashem, 2008
[308] [308] Holocaust Memorial Museum
[309] Hancock 2004, pp.383396
[310] [310] Shirer 1960, p.946
[311] [311] US Holocaust Memorial Museum
[312] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p.45
[313] [313] Goldhagen 1996, p.290
[314] [314] Downing 2005, p.33
[315] Kershaw 1999, pp.567568
[316] [316] Overy 2005, p.252
[317] [317] Kershaw 2008, p.170, 172, 181
[318] [318] Speer 1971, p.210
[319] Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p.29
[320] [320] Kershaw 2008, p.323
[321] [321] Kershaw 2008, p.377
[322] [322] Speer 1971, p.333
[323] Beevor & Attar 2012
[324] [324] Fest 1974, p.753
[325] [325] Speer 1971, p.617
Adolf Hitler
[326] [326] Toland 1977, p.892
[327] Kershaw 2000a, pp.16
[328] [328] Fischer 1995, p.569
[329] Del Testa, Lemoine & Strickland 2003, p.83
[330] [330] Rummel 1994, p.112
[331] [331] Welch 2001, p.2
[332] [332] Shirer 1960, p.6
[333] Hitler & Trevor-Roper 1988, p.xxxv
[334] [334] Roberts 1996, p.501
[335] [335] Lichtheim 1974, p.366
[336] Speer 1971, pp.141142
[337] Rimann 2001, pp.9496
[338] [338] Rimann 2001, p.96
[339] [339] Bullock 1962, p.219
[340] [340] Steigmann-Gall 2003, pp.27, 108
[341] [341] Hitler 1942, p.20
[342] [342] Hitler 1973, p.23
[343] [343] Bullock 1962, pp.219, 389
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External links
Works by or about Adolf Hitler (http:/ / worldcat. org/ identities/ lccn-n79-46200) in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
Adolf Hitler (http:/ / www. imdb. com/ name/ nm0386944/ ) at the Internet Movie Database real life footage in
Adolf Hitler (Character) (http:/ / www. imdb. com/ character/ ch0027857/ ) at the Internet Movie Database as
portrayed in film and TV
"Adolf Hitler" (http:/ / vault. fbi. gov/ adolf-hitler). The Vault. FBI Records.
"Hitler and his officers" (http:/ / www. ww2incolor. com/ gallery/ movies/ hitler_color). World War II Movies in
Color. WW2inColor.
Article Sources and Contributors
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