Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in 1889. As a child he got on very well with his mother but he didn’t get on well with his father. He left school at the age of sixteen and went to Vienna where he hoped to enter the Academy and become a painter.
Things went wrong for him in Vienna and in 1909 at the age of 20 he was living ‘rough’ on the streets of Vienna. He began to hate Jews and foreigners who were doing well in HIS country.
In 1914, Hitler joined the German army and was awarded the Iron Cross for his service.
Hitler hated the Versailles Treaty and the Weimar government for signing the treaty and dreamed of a return to the days of the Kaiser.
After the war he stayed in the army, but in intelligence. His activities led him to the German Worker’s Party led by Anton Drexler. He liked the ideas of the party and joined in 1919.
Drexler realised that Hitler was something special and put him in charge of the political ideas and propaganda of the party.
In 1920, the party announced its 25-point programme that included:
· Abolition of the Versailles Treaty
· Union of Germany and Austria
· A stipulation that only ‘true’ Germans (Aryans) shall live in Germany – the Jews especially had to go.
· All large businesses and industries should be nationalised
· Old age pensions should be introduced
· A strong central government
The party was renamed the National Socialist German Worker’s Party – NAZIs.
In 1921, Hitler became leader of the party and soon began attracting attention, especially for his powerful speeches.
Hitler stirred up Nationalist passion giving the people something to blame for Germany’s problems.
Hitler’s opponents tried to disrupt the meetings so for protection Hitler set up the SA – Stormtroopers.
Although the actual membership of the NAZI party remained quite low in this period, Hitler, through his meetings and speeches had given them a very high profile.