Sei sulla pagina 1di 3

Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in Ranshofen, a village annexed in 1938

to the municipality of Braunau am Inn, Upper Austria. He was the fourth of six children to Alois Hitler and Klara Plzl (18601907). Adolf's older siblings Gustav, Ida, and Otto died in [10] [11] infancy. When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau, Germany. There he would acquire the distinctivelower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian German, which marked his speech all of his [12][13][14] 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 tried his hand at farming and beekeeping. Adolf attended school in nearbyFischlham. Hitler became fixated on warfare after finding a picture book about [15][16] the Franco-Prussian Waramong his father's belongings. The move to Hafeld appears to have coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts, caused by [17] 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. Hitler attended a Catholic school in an 11thcentury Benedictine cloister, the walls of which bore engravings and crests that contained [18] the swastikasymbol. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even [19] entertained thoughts of 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 [20] boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers. 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 a unforgiving antagonism between father and son who were both [21][22][23] strong-willed. 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 Linz, a technical high school of about 300 students. [24] (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 [25] dream." Hitler became obsessed with German nationalism from a young age as a way of rebelling against his father, who was proudly serving the Austrian government. Although many Austrians considered themselves Germans, they were loyal to Austria. Hitler expressed loyalty only to Germany, despising the [26][27] 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 [28] the Austrian Imperial anthem. After Alois' sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler's behaviour at the technical school became even more disruptive, and he was asked to leave in 1904. He enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in September [29] 1904 where his behaviour and performance showed some slight and gradual improvement. In the autumn of 1905, after passing a repeat and the final exam, Hitler left the school without showing any [30] ambitions for further schooling or clear plans for his future career.


Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich

From 1905, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna financed by orphan's benefits and support from his mother. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna rejected him twice, in 1907 and 1908, because of his

"unfitness for painting", and the director recommended that he study architecture. the academic credentials required for architecture school. He would later write:


However, he lacked

In a few days I myself knew that I should some day become an architect. To be sure, it was an incredibly hard road; for the studies I had neglected out of spite at the Realschule were sorely needed. One could not attend the Academy's architectural school without having attended the building school at the Technik, and the latter required a high-school degree. I had none of all this. The fulfillment of my artistic dream seemed physically impossible. On 21 December 1907, Hitler's mother died at age 47. He worked as a casual labourer and eventually as a painter, selling watercolours. After being rejected a second time by the Academy of Arts, Hitler ran out of money. In 1909, he lived in a homeless shelter, and by 1910, he had settled into a house for poor [33] working men on Meldemannstrae. Hitler stated that he first became an antisemite in Vienna, which had a large Jewish community, including Orthodox Jews who had fled the pogroms in Russia. There were few Jews in Linz. In the course of centuries their outward appearance had become Europeanised and had taken on a human look; in fact, I even took them for Germans. The absurdity of this idea did not dawn on me because I saw no distinguishing feature but the strange religion. The fact that they had, as I believed, been persecuted on this account sometimes almost turned my distaste at unfavorable remarks about them into horror. Thus far I did not so much as suspect the existence of an organized opposition to the Jews. Then I came to Vienna.
[34] [34]

Once, as I was strolling through the Inner City, I suddenly encountered an apparition in a black caftan and black hair locks. Is this a Jew? was my first thought. For, to be sure, they had not looked like that in Linz. I observed the man furtively and cautiously, but the longer I stared at this foreign face, scrutinizing feature for feature, the more my first question assumed a new form: Is this a German?

Hitler's account has been questioned by his childhood friend, August Kubizek, who suggested that Hitler was already a "confirmed antisemite" before he left Linz for Vienna. Brigitte Hamann has challenged Kubizek's account, writing that "of all those early witnesses who can be taken seriously Kubizek is the [36] only one to portray young Hitler as an anti-Semite and precisely in this respect he is not trustworthy." If Hitler was an antisemite even before settling in Vienna, apparently he did not act on his views. He was a frequent dinner guest in a wealthy Jewish home; he interacted well with Jewish merchants and sold his [37][38] paintings almost exclusively to Jewish dealers. At the time Hitler lived there, Vienna was a hotbed of traditional religious prejudice and 19th-century racism. Fears of being overrun by immigrants from the East were widespread, and the populist mayor, Karl Lueger, was adept at exploiting the rhetoric of virulent antisemitism for political effect. Georg Schnerer's pangermanic ethnic antisemitism had a strong following and base in the Mariahilf district, [39] where Hitler lived. Local newspapers such as the Deutsches Volksblatt, which Hitler read, fanned prejudices, as did Rudolf Vrba's writings, which played on Christian fears of being swamped by an influx [40] of eastern Jews. He probably read occult writings, such as the antisemitic magazine Ostara, published [41] by Lanz von Liebenfels. Hostile to what he saw as Catholic "Germanophobia", he developed an

admiration forMartin Luther. [43] propaganda.


Luther's antisemitic writings were to play a role in later Nazi

Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich. He wrote in Mein Kampf that he had always longed to live in a "real" German city. In Munich, he further pursued his interest in architecture and studied the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who, a decade later, was to become the first person of nationaland even internationalrepute to align himself with Hitler and the [44] Nazi movement. Hitler also may have left Vienna to avoid conscription into the Austrian army; he was disinclined to serve theHabsburg state and was repulsed by what he perceived as a mixture of "races" in [45] the Austrian army. After a physical exam on 5 February 1914, he was deemed unfit for service and [46] returned to Munich. When Germany entered World