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Monday, 13 July 2015

Adolf Hitler

EARLY YEARS 

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary (in present day Austria), close to the border with the German Empire.  A stone monument erected near the birthplace of Hitler in 1989 bears the lines "For Peace, Freedom & Democracy-Never Again Fascism-millions of dead are a warning."

Adolf Hitler as an infant (c. 1889–90)

He was the fourth of six children of Alois Hitler (1837–1903), a petty clerk in the Austrian Customs Service, and Klara Pölzl, Alois' niece and third wife. Klara was a simple uneducated Bavarian girl. Their marriage was not a happy one.

If Adolf Hitler's father hadn’t changed his name in 1877, his name would have been "Adolf Schicklgruber."

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler described his father as an irascible tyrant; however, there is little indication that Alois Hitler treated his son more strictly than was usual for that time and place. "My father I respected, my mother I loved." he wrote.

Of Alois and Klara Hitler's six children, only Adolf and his sister Paula reached adulthood. Alois Hitler also had a son (Alois Junior) and a daughter (Angela) with his second wife.

Klara Hitler lost three children in infancy before Adolf was born. She was seriously considering an abortion but was talked out of it by her doctor. Klara was constantly fearful of Adolf's death and constantly pinned all her hopes on him.

Alois Hitler (see below) died on January 3, 1903 when Adolf was 13 and Klara painfully passed away five years later of breast cancer.



Adolf almost drowned in a river when he was 4 years old but was saved by a local priest.

There was a Jewish-Austrian doctor who didn't charge Hitler's family due to their economic hardship. Later, Hitler had him protected and called him "Noble Jew".

The doctor was so concerned about young Adolf's disturbed state and frequent nightmares that he recommended he was sent to a children's mental home in Vienna.

Between 1897-99 Adolf attended classes at a 17th century monastery where he dreamed of being a priest.

Young Adolf was reportedly a good pupil at the various elementary schools he attended, however in sixth grade (1900/01) his first year of high school (Realschule) in Linz, he failed completely and had to repeat. His teachers remarked he had "no desire to work."

Hitler later explained this as a kind of rebellion against his father Alois, who wanted the boy to follow him in a career as a customs official, although Adolf wanted to become an artist..

After Hitler's father died on January 3, 1903 at age 65, his schoolwork didn't improve and at the age of sixteen Hitler left school without graduating.

The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and Adolf Hitler were both pupils at the Linz Realschule, a state school of about 300 students, and were there at the same time from 1903 to 1904..

While Hitler was just six days older than Wittgenstein, they were two grades apart at the school—Hitler was repeating a year and Wittgenstein had been advanced a year.

EARLY WORKING LIFE AND WORLD WAR I

After leaving school, Hitler was able to live the life of a bohemian on a fatherless child's pension and support from his mother.

After Hitler was rejected twice by the Academy of Arts in Vienna (1907 and 1908) for "lack of talent", which he resented deeply, he didn't try to find a different job or learn a profession.

Hitler was told he should become an architect, since he had some flair for painting buildings.

On December 21, 1907 his mother Klara (see below) died of breast cancer. The 18-year-old Adolf was overcome with grief at the loss of his mother. Owing to their mother's pension and money from her modest estate, Hitler and his sister Paula were left with some financial support.


After the second refusal by the Academy of Arts in Vienna, Hitler gradually ran out of money. By 1909 he sought refuge in a homeless shelter and by the beginning of 1910 had settled permanently into a house for poor working men.

For the next few years Hitler worked as a struggling artist in Vienna, copying scenes from postcards and selling his paintings to merchants and tourists.

Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich to escape conscription in the Austrian army, but was arrested by the Austrians. After a physical exam (during which his height was measured at 5 ft 8 in or 1.73 m) and a contrite plea,  Hitler was found unfit for service and allowed to return to Munich.

He was not opposed to military service per se, however, and when the war broke out in 1914, Hitler immediately volunteered for service in the Bavarian army.

Hitler was a corporal during World War 1, rising to lance corporal.

He saw active service in France and Belgium as a messenger for the 16th Bavarian reserve infantry regiment, which exposed him to enemy fire. Hitler also drew some cartoons and instructional drawings for the army newspaper.

In his first battle, the Ypres offensive of 1914 Hitler shouted the song “Deutschland, Deutschland uber Allies”.

During the Battle of the Somme in October 1916, Hitler was wounded in the left thigh when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners' dugout.  He returned to the front at the beginning of March 1917.

Hitler was twice cited for bravery in action, receiving the Iron Cross, Second Class, in December 1915 and the Iron Cross, First Class (an honor rarely given to corporals) in August 1918.

Adolf Hitler as a soldier during the First World War (1914 - 1918).

Private Henry Tandey, a British soldier serving near the French village of Marcoing, reportedly encountered a wounded German soldier on September 28, 1918, and declined to shoot him. In doing so, he spared the life of 29-year-old Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler.

Later in his life, Hitler allegedly kept a picture of Henry Tandey on his wall at his Berchtesgaden mountain retreat. In 1938, Hitler told British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain that this was the man who spared his life in World War I.

On October 15, 1918, Hitler was temporarily blinded in a mustard gas attack and hospitalized in Pasewalk. While there, he learned of Germany's defeat, and upon receiving this news, he suffered a second bout of blindness.

RISE TO POWER

On September 12, 1919 Adolf Hitler became the seventh member of a little band called "The German Workers Party". He was soon taking the lead. By now, Hitler had completely abandoned whatever Christian principles he ever held for his new faith in German regeneration through National Socialism.

In 1921 Adolf Hitler became leader of the renamed National German Socialist Party and reorganized it along military lines. By now, he had become a serious devotee of black magic and was fascinated by Tibetan occultism. Hitler adopted the running cross as the Nazi emblem, renaming it the Swastika.

Hitler led an unsuccessful rising, the Beer Hall Putsch, in Munich on November 8-9, 1923. After tits failure, Hitler hid in the attic bedroom at Uffing of a follower and tried to commit suicide by shooting himself, when the police came to rescue him. However, a police agent managed to disarm him.

On April 1, 1924 Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in jail for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch. However, he spent only nine months as a prisoner, during which he wrote the first part of his political testament Mein Kampf.

Defendants in the Beer Hall Putsch trial including Hitler. By Bundesarchiv, 

In the early 1920’s Hitler's zealous oratory persuaded rich industrialists to finance his drive to redeem Germany’s humiliation at Versailles. His speeches would start slowly and gather pace, Hitler would build up hysteria until every sentence he screamed was interrupted by cheering and screaming.

Hitler habitually entered auditoriums from the rear to give the impression he was a man of the people.

THIRD REICH

In the April 1932 election, the Nazi party achieved 162 seats in the 422-member diet, the single biggest party vote in Germany since the revolution.

Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. Upon taking office Hitler immediately began accumulating power and changing the nature of the Chancellorship. He created a dictatorship by playing party and state institutions against each other and continually creating new offices and appointments.


Between 1933-39 Hitler brought about rapid economic recovery for Germany.

Hitler, at the window of the Reich Chancellery, receives an ovation on the evening of his inauguration as chancellor,

One of Hitler's first acts as chancellor was excepting himself from paying tax. He took no salary, held no shares and claimed to be “the only statesman in the world who has no bank account.”

However Hitler made a huge money from sales of Mein Kampf and also millions from stamps sold by the German post office with his portrait on them.

In 2004, it was discovered that Hitler had spent years evading taxes on income from sales of Mein Kampf and owed the German government 405,000 Reichmarks (equivalent to $8 million at 2004 exchange rates) by the time he took power and the tax debt was forgiven.

The only time Hitler backed down in his use of tyranny was when Christians protested against his systematic killing of the mentally sick and aged. The Catholic Church had supported the Nazis in the 1920s as they emphasized national pride and the role of Church in the state. In 1933 the Fuhrer signed a 1933 concordat with the Pope guaranteeing the freedom to practice the religion, a promise he failed to fulfill. However those Protestants who were critical of the Anti Jewish totalitarian Government were oppressed. In 1935, 700 Church Pastors were arrested, 700 Pastors who placed their Christian faith before Hitler.

On March 29, 1936, Hitler received 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany's illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland, receiving 44.5 million votes out of 45.5 million registered voters.

Hitler was anything but happy about hosting the 1936 XI. Olympic Games in Berlin and only agreed because it could have been a great publicity event for his "superior German race". Even though the German team indeed won most of the medals, the biggest disaster for the Nazis was the black so-called "subhuman" Jesse Owens not only winning four gold medals, but becoming the audience's hero of the games, too.

Portrait of Adolf Hitler. 1938
In 1938 Hitler and his Nazi Party annexed Austria and occupied Sudetenland under the Munich agreement with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. "Well" said Hitler of the British PM, " he seemed such a nice old gentleman I thought I would give him my autograph." Chamberlain had thought that nice Mr Hitler would stick to their agreement and stop at Sudetenland.

Hitler was voted Time magazine's 'Man of the Year' in 1938. He was nominated after negotiating the 1938 Munich Agreement.

WORLD WAR II

After annexing Czechoslovakia and signing the Hitler-Stalin pact with Russia. Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 thus precipitating World War II.

During the summer of 1940, Hitler attempted to destroy Britain's air force before launching a September sea force called Operation Sea Lion. However the allies defeated him in the Battle of Britain.

He had proposed to make Oxford his English H.Q.

Hitler indefinitely postponed Operation Sea Lion on September 17th and abandoned it all together on October 10th, choosing instead to invade the USSR.

On December 8, 1941, Hitler ran out of his bunker into the icy night to tell his generals that Japan had attacked America at Pearl Harbor and thus bought USA into the war.

In 1942 a Finnish sound engineer secretly recorded 11 minutes of a conversation between Adolf Hitler and Finnish Defence Chief Gustaf Mannerheim. It is the only known recording of Adolf Hitler's normal unaltered speaking voice.


On July 20, 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, perpetrated by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia.

Hitler's position was not seriously challenged until the unsuccessful July 20, 1944 bomb plot, which singed the Fuehrer's trousers and left him with a perforated eardrum. Hitler ordered savage reprisals resulting in the execution of more than 4,900 people.

The conference room at the Wolf's Lair soon after the assassination attempt. By Bundesarchiv, Wikipedia Commons

Hitler was responsible for the deaths of over 11 million people during World War II. The majority were Jews, but others included communists, homosexuals, Roma and Sinti (gypsies) as well as anyone he saw as a threat or inferior.

APPEARANCE

Hitler was short sighted - no photos of him wearing spectacles were published during his lifetime.

  The German Federal Archive Wikipedia Commons
                             
The British Intelligence tried to feed Hitler with doses of oestrogen in order to make his mustache fall off.

He typically wore an ankle length leather coat and shining jack boots. Hitler was partial to Bavarian leather shorts (Lederbosen) for leisure wear.

Hitler had a problem with sweating and when he was speaking at a rally, he frequently had to make a quick change. He became fascinated by quick changes and often practiced with a valet.

Hitler was left handed, but if you look closely at the movie Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, he signs his autograph with his right hand.

FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIPS

Hitler believed he was attractive to women, so he remained single for political gain—no one knew about his girlfriends until after the war.

He had a close relationship with his niece, Geli Raubal. She was 19 years younger than him and lived with Hitler in his Munich apartment.

In 1931, Adolf Hitler was involved in a scandal following the death of Geli Rabaul. She had committed suicide with Hitler's gun in their Munich apartment. Originally deemed a suicide by Munich police, present day theories indicate that Hitler had a love affair with Geli and might have murdered her. Hitler's niece had become a gossip subject within the ranks of the Nazi Party, thus giving Hitler a very bad image.

Eva Braun was born in Munich on February 6, 1912. She was the second daughter of school teacher Friedrich "Fritz" Braun and Franziska "Fanny" Kronberger, who had worked as a seamstress before her marriage

Eva Braun first met Hitler, 23 years her senior, at Hoffmann's studio in Munich in October 1929. By the end of 1932 they had become lovers.

Eva Braun became Hitler's mistress after the death of Geli Raubal, despite her father's opposition (a 1944 letter from Hitler to Eva indicates her parents eventually did accept him and the relationship.)

In 1935, Hitler bought Eva Braun a villa, and provided her with a Mercedes and a chauffeur. In his first will, he bequeathed her the equivalent of $1000 a year for the rest of her life.

Braun with Hitler, walking their dogs, By Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F051673-0059 / CC-BY-SA, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5457502

Hitler befriended the Wagner family, and even twice proposed to Richard Wagner's daughter in-law, Winifred, after her first husband died (she turned him down because he didn't have "an important position").

He was known to Winifred's children as "Uncle Wolf", and members of the Wagner family affectionately referred to Hitler as "Wolf", even after he became Germany's dictator.

Hitler admired Henry Ford so much that he mentioned him in speeches, kept his pictures and gave him regular birthday presents.

FOOD AND DRINK

During his impoverished years before World War I, Hitler lived on bread, milk and butter, For a treat, he would cook up an enormous plate of rice and milk and cover it in sugar and grated chocolate.

A vegetarian, in a book on diet, Hitler penciled a marginal note: "Cows were meant to give milk, oxen for drawing loads."

Hitler lost his taste buds during a gas attack in the 1914-18 World War and as a result he adored spicy food. He also had a passion for cream cakes and chocolate.

Hitler was a teetotaler  as a result of an experience in his youth when he got extremely drunk and vomited vigorously. He did drink on rare, special occasion such as having light champagne when celebrating his victories.

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS

Hitler watched a lot of movies in his spare time, his favorite film was said to be King Kong.

Charlie Chaplin's satire on Nazi Germany, The Great Dictator was banned in Germany, but Hitler smuggled in a copy for himself, through Portugal and watched it in privacy twice.

Adolf Hitler esteemed Clark Gable above all other actors, and during the war offered a sizable reward to anyone who could capture and return Gable unscathed to him.

After Hitler committed suicide, the two movies found in his bunker were both Sherlock Holmes adventures, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes.

Hitler  made miles of home-movies featuring himself and Eva Braun. He promised in the greatest Hollywood tradition that he would make her into a star.

In 1937, Hitler arranged an exhibition of what he called "decadent art", the cream of German expressionism plus some Picasso. He then subjected the whole German nation to a steamy denunciation of it. Many other 20th century works were removed from German art galleries.

Adolf was a failed, untrained artist but a century later, there is a great deal of interest in his work. A watercolor of Munich's old city hall believed to have been painted by Hitler around 1913 was sold for 130,000 euros ($162,000) at an auction in Germany in July 2015.

Despite his talents as a painter, Hitler was rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts because he was unable to paint the human form.

Wagner's operas were a life-long passion. Hitler claimed that in his penniless bohemian youth he saw Tristian Und Isolde dozens of times.

He liked to relax by listening to 78 records with Bruckner's brooding symphonies being a second favourite to his beloved Wagner.

Hitler was a keen whistler; he would regularly whistle Disney's "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" - probably because of his “Wolf" nickname.

Hitler banned music by Mendelssohn as the composer was Jewish.

He dotted the books that he read with furious exclamation marks when he saw fit.

Hitler couldn't swim.

His personal yacht, the Aviso Grille, which Hitler hoped to sail to London to take the surrender of Britain in 1940, was crewed by 230 men

Hitler was interested in cars and in 1934 he instigated Beetlemania when Dr Porsche designed the Volkswagen as the peoples car.

He had a special Mercedes touring car with a special seat which could be raised up so that he could be more easily seen when he rode through the streets. This touring car is at the Lars Anderson Auto Museum in Boston.

His Mercedes-Benz cars did only 3 miles to the gallon because they were so heavily armored.

When on holiday in the Bavarian mountains with Eva Braun , they would go for walks, attend tea parties and chat with Nazi cronies.

His favourite spot, was at Ubersalzberg on the north slope of the Hoher Goll. In 1935 Hitler had a house built there.

ANIMALS 

While serving in World War I, Hitler found a terrier he named "Little Fox." He taught the dog many tricks to entertain his fellow comrades.

Blondi was Adolf Hitler's German Shepherd dog, given to him as a gift in 1941 by Martin Bormann.
Hitler trained Blondi several tricks such as climbing ladders.

When Hitler committed Blondi was used to make sure his cyanide capsules were lethal. Hitler used the cyanide himself after he saw it work on Blondi.

During the Second World War it was against the law in Germany to name a horse Adolf.

VIEWS ON RELIGION

Hitler believed that Christianity was a religion fit only for the lowest of the low and detested its ethics.

An avid believer in Astrology, Hitler would consult his special astrologist before making any special decisions.

An observer described Hitler thus:" His appeal to German manhood was like a call to arms: the gospel he preached, a sacred truth. I forgot everything, but the man: glancing around, I saw his magnetism was holding those thousands as one. I experienced a joy that could only be linked to religious conversion."

HEALTH 

During the early part of the Second World War, Hitler was injected five times a day with a solution in his backside by Dr Theodore Morrell to keep him fresh and active and enable him to stay awake.

Another doctor, Dr Geising, treated Hitler's cold with a cocaine-based mixture and gave him cocaine drops for an eye complaint. His quack doctors' treatments may have contributed to his paranoia.

Hitler suffered from root canal problems, and rotten, infected teeth plus extremely bad breath due in pain to all the cakes and chocolates he ate. The pain from constant toothache made Hitler even more bad tempered but he claimed to be too busy to allow his dentist to treat him properly.

Hitler suffered badly from flatulence, and Dr Morrell used to give him "anti gas" medication to allay the Furhrer's embarrassment.

Hitler contracted Parkinson's Disease in the later years of his life. Recently discovered newsreel footage shows Hitler addressing members of the Hitler Youth (the last footage taken of him alive), with his left hand visibly trembling.

Recently discovered medical records show that Hitler was receiving daily doses of Methamphetamine as often as six times a day. He was taking 92 different drugs towards the end of his life.

DEATH AND LEGACY

On April 30, 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery. Hitler shot himself dead in a sitting room of a bunker moments after Eva Braun bit into a cyanide capsule. Their bodies were carried up the stairs and through the bunker's emergency exit to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery. Hitler's corpse was imperfectly cremated, and some remains were not burned away.

Front page of the US Armed Forces newspaper, Stars and Stripes, 2 May 1945, announcing Hitler's death

The Russians found pieces of Hitler's skull (including one with a bullet hole) and leg bones outside his Berlin bunker. His teeth were used to positively identify his charred remains.

Adolf Hitler's death was announced on German radio the next day. The newsreader said the Fuhrer had fallen "fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany."

The Berlin bunker where Hitler committed suicide is now a car park.

The sons of Hitler's nephew all agreed that they would never marry or have children in order to kill Hitler's bloodline.

Sources The Frank Muir Book, Book of Lists 3 by Amy Wallace, David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace , Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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