Adolf Hitler was a German politician who was born in Austria. He fought for the German army during the First World War, becoming one of the most decorated veterans. After the war, he joined a political movement that was later to become the infamous Nazi Party (Kershaw 5). That was in the year 1919; and by the year 1921, he had become the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, abbreviated as NASDAP or simply the DAP from its German name (Giblin 52). Adolf Hitler was later to become a very instrumental figure during the build-up to the Second World War, and during the war itself.
He is remembered in bad faith as one of the main architects of the holocaust. In this paper, I aim to discuss his life in detail and how his rise to power influenced world affairs. Early Life Adolf Hitler was born in a town known as Braunau-am-inn in Austria near the German border to Alois, a customs officer and Klara on the 20th of April, 1889 (Kershaw 5). At the age of six, he was already attending school around the town of Linz, which is located to the east of his birthplace.
Hitler’s performance in school was however pathetic, and this forced him to abandon school without completing his courses with the ambition of becoming an artist (Kershaw 6). Between the ages 16 and 18, Hitler did not have any employment. He solely depended on his mother for his upkeep since his father Alois had died when Adolf was merely thirteen; but at eighteen years, he had acquired a keen interest in politics and managed to successfully apply for admission at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts (Kershaw 7). Adolf Hitler the Orphan When Adolf Hitler was 19 years old, his mother died of cancer (Kershaw 9).
He had no relatives either able or willing to support him; and his predicament prompted him to move to Vienna hoping that he would somehow manage to make ends meet. That was in the year 1909; and in Vienna, things did not go so well for the young vagrant. Within a year, he was sleeping in shelters for the homeless (Kershaw 9). He had vehemently refused to accept any form of regular employment but readily took up any menial jobs that would come his way and also sold some of his paintings so that he could provide himself with subsistence.
Adolf Hitler in the First World War By the year 1913, Adolf Hitler was still homeless and broke. In the hope of bettering his life, he moved to Munich, Southern Germany (Welch 5). This relocation coincided with the outbreak of the First World War that broke out in 1914. Adolf Hitler volunteered to serve in the German military and was accepted into the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regimen (Welch 31). His tenure into service of the state had officially begun, and no one could imagine that he would once rise to lead his nation into war against the world.
During the course of the war, Adolf Hitler fought so bravely that he became widely recognized. He was duly promoted into Corporal, getting decorated with the military honors of the Iron Cross Second Class and the Iron Cross First Class (Giblin 54). He wore the latter up o until the day he died; but the irony was that the officer who recommended him for the second award was a Jewish regimental, a race he was going to persecute severely after his rise to power. In 1981, he was temporarily blinded by a gas attack orchestrated by the British.
He however made a quick recovery and returned to his regiment, based in Munich, in December 1918. Adolf Hitler Ventures into Politics (Welch 24) Adolf had his first stint in politics between December 1918 and March 1919 while he was working at a camp for prisoners of war before returning back to his regiment in Munich (Housden 66). After his return, he witnessed an incident in which local communists attempted to take over political authority before the army effectively quashed their attempt.
During the proceedings of an investigation, which was established to inquire into the incident, Adolf Hitler was called in as a witness. Afterwards, he was appointed into a local organization within the army whose function was to persuade soldiers who were returning from the war not to convert into either communism or pacifism (Housden 67). While serving in the organization, Hitler greatly developed his oratory skills. His job description also involved him conducting espionage activities on some political groups, which were mushrooming in the background of the Munich political scene (Welch 41).
One day, he attended a meeting organized by the German Workers’ Party and when one of the members stood to deliver a keynote address, Adolf Hitler was so infuriated that he burst out, delivering a charged harangue to the speaker. The founder of the German Workers’ Party, Mr. Anion Drexler, was so impressed with Hitler’s outburst that he spontaneously asked him to join their party. Hitler, though hesitant at first, agreed to join the organization and became its seventh official in the September of 1919 (Welch 41).
Hitler became a vocal official of the German Workers’ party and addressed a crowd of over two thousand people in Hofbrauhaus, Munich in February 1920 where he managed to get the attention of the people (Welch 41) . Leader of the Nazi Party Involvement with the DAP meant that Adolf was discharged from the army. He then engaged into an extensive campaign increasing his influence inside the party, raising funds for its mechanisms and winning in supporters and sympathizers (Hauner 32). He increased the strength of the Nazi party and even attempted to overthrow the government.
In the melee, he and other leaders of the National Socialist German Workers Party, which was now the name of the Germany Workers’ Party, were arrested and detained. Upon his release after six months in Jail, the mechanism of the Nazi party had been crippled. Hitler himself found out that he had been banned from delivering any public speeches. However, the great depression in the mid-1920s brought a new opportunity for Hitler and his party to convince the people of Germany. He participated in the 1932 election but lost, even though the winner of the election did not last long owing to external pressure (Housden 71).
Adolf Hitler’s party formed a coalition after securing a parliamentary majority and used their bargaining power to prevent the formation of any other government until Adolf Hitler was named chancellor in 1933 (Kershaw 17). Having secured the highest political seat in the nation, Adolf proceeded to consolidate his grip by convincing the German people that he was their savior from the economic woes external aggression and other undesirable minorities. He and the Nazi party eliminated opposition to their rule.
Hitler and the Build-up to the Second World War The Nazi regime immediately embraced aggression as a foreign policy to stamp its authority in the world. It formed alliances that were later to group nations during the war. Adolf denounced the treaty of Versailles and made an alliance with Austria. In international peace forums, Hitler would preach peace and claim that the destruction of the First World War made Germany need a lot of time before she could be in a position to re-arm for war; but back home, he placed priority in military armament (Victor 59).
He could not even allow funds to be diverted to creating employment if his military budget was not satisfied. It is this arms race that was later to lead to the greatest war mankind had ever known, the Second World War. Hitler and the Holocaust Hitler embraced a philosophy known as racial hygiene that was based on the concept of racial purity under which all “life unworthy of life” was to be exterminated from the face of the earth (Victor 63). Through a program named Action T4, he ordered for the killing of all children with developmental and physical disabilities. These were his first victims.
Because of public outcry, Hitler created an impression that the killings had been stopped, but in a period spanning six years from 1939, between 11 and 14 million people were killed (Hauner 71). Among these were six million Jews. Many victims died from diseases and starvation while enslaved in national and private German ventures while others were either gassed or burned. Among the Jews, other population groups targeted in the holocaust were political opponents, gays and lesbians, the physically disabled and mentally retarded, trade unionists and psychiatric patients.