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Adolf Hitler (German pronunciation: [ ad lf h tl ], 20 April 1889 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader

of the National Socialist German Workers Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP), popularly known as the Nazi Party. He was the authoritarian leader of Germany from 1933 to 1945, serving as chancellor from 1933 to 1945 and as head of state (Fhrer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945.

A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the Nazi Party (DAP) in 1919 and became leader of NSDAP in 1921. Following his imprisonment after a failed coup in Bavaria in 1923, he gained support by promoting German nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and propaganda. He was appointed chancellor in 1933, and quickly transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideals of national socialism.

Hitler ultimately wanted to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in Europe. To achieve this, he pursued a foreign policy with the declared goal of seizing Lebensraum "living space" for the Aryan people; directing the resources of the state towards this goal. This included the rearmament of Germany, which culminated in 1939 when the Wehrmacht invaded Poland. In response, the United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany, leading to the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe.[2]

Within three years, Germany and the Axis powers had occupied most of Europe, and most of Northern Africa, East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. However, with the reversal of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the Allies gained the upper hand from 1942 onwards. By 1945 Allied armies had invaded German-held Europe from all sides. Nazi forces committed numerous atrocities during the war, including the systematic killing of as many as 17 million civilians [3], an estimated six million of whom were Jews targeted in a genocide known as the Holocaust.

In the final days of the war, at the fall of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time mistress Eva Braun and, to avoid capture by Soviet forces less than two days later, the two committed suicide.[4]

World War II In February 1938, Hitler finally ended the dilemma that had plagued German Far Eastern policy, namely whether to continue the informal Sino-German alliance that existed with Republic of China since the 1910s or to create a new alliance with Japan. The military at the time strongly favored continuing Germany's alliance with China. China had the support of Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath and War Minister Werner von Blomberg, the so called "China Lobby" who tried to steer German foreign policy away from war in Europe.[144] Both men, however, were sacked by Hitler in early 1938. Upon the advice of Hitler's newly appointed Foreign Minister, the strongly pro-Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler chose to end the alliance with China as the price of gaining an alignment with the more modern and powerful Japan. In an address to the Reichstag, Hitler announced German recognition of Manchukuo, the Japanese-occupied puppet state in Manchuria, and renounced the German claims to the former colonies in the Pacific held by Japan.[145] Hitler ordered an end to arm shipments to China, and ordered the recall of all the German officers attached to the Chinese Army.[145] In retaliation for ending German support to China in the war against Japan, Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek canceled all of the Sino-German economic agreements, which deprived the Germans of raw materials such as tungsten that the Chinese had previously provided. The ending of the Sino-German alignment increased the problems of German rearmament as the Germans were now forced to use their limited supply of foreign exchange to buy raw materials on the open market.

Defeat and Death By the end of the day on 27 April, Berlin was completely cut off from the rest of Germany. On 28 April, Hitler discovered that SS leader Heinrich Himmler was trying to discuss surrender terms with the Western Allies (through the Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte).[278] Hitler ordered Himmler's arrest and had Himmler's representative in Berlin Hermann Fegelein shot. During the night of 28 April, General Wenck reported that his Twelfth Army had been forced back along the entire front. Wenck noted that no further attacks towards Berlin were possible. General Alfred Jodl (Supreme Army Command) did not provide this information to Hans Krebs in Berlin until early in the morning of 30 April.

On 29 April, Hitler dictated his will and political statement to his private secretary, Traudl Junge.[280] Hans Krebs, Wilhelm Burgdorf, Joseph Goebbels, and Martin Bormann witnessed and signed this last will and testament of Adolf Hitler.[276] On the same day, Hitler was informed of the violent death of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on 28 April, which is presumed to have increased his determination to avoid capture.[281]

On 30 April 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler committed suicide, shooting himself in the temple while simultaneously biting into a cyanide capsule.[282][283][284] Hitler's body and that of Eva Braun were put in a bomb crater,[285][286] doused in gasoline by SS Sturmbannfhrer Otto Gnsche and other Fhrerbunker aides, and set alight as the Red Army advanced and shelling continued.[282]

On 2 May, Berlin surrendered. In the postwar years there were conflicting reports about what happened to Hitler's remains. After the fall of the Soviet Union it was revealed from records in the Soviet archives that the bodies of Hitler, Eva Braun, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, the six Goebbels children, General Hans Krebs and Hitler's dogs, were secretly buried in graves near Rathenow in Brandenburg.[287] In 1970, the remains were disinterred, cremated and scattered in the Elbe River by the Soviets.[288] According to the Russian Federal Security Service, a fragment of human skull stored in its archives and displayed to the public in a 2000 exhibition came from the remains of Hitler's body and is all that remains of Hitler. The authenticity of the skull has been challenged by historians and researchers.[289] DNA analysis conducted in 2009 showed the skull fragment to be that of a woman under the age of 40.