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Leader of Germany
In office
2 August 1934 – 30 April 1945
Paul von Hindenburg
Preceded by
(as President)
Karl Dönitz
Succeeded by
(as President)
Chancellor of Germany
In office
30 January 1933 – 30 April 1945
Preceded by Kurt von Schleicher
Succeeded by Joseph Gobbles
20 April 1889
Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary
April 30, 1945 (aged 56)
Berlin, Germany
Nationality Austrian until 1925;[ after 1932 German
National Socialist German Workers Party
Political party
Eva Braun
(married on April 29, 1945)
Agitator, Activist, Writer, Politician,
Dictator, Artist
Religion see section(s) below

Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian who led the National
Socialist German Workers Party. He became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and Führer
in 1934, combining the offices of President and Chancellor into one using the power
vested in him by the Enabling Act. He ruled until his suicide in 1945.

The Nazi Party gained power during Germany's period of crisis after World War I,
exploiting effective propaganda and Hitler's charismatic oratory to gain popularity. The
Party emphasized nationalism and anti-Semitism and murdered many of its opponents to
ensure success.

After the restructuring of the state economy and the rearmament of the German armed
forces (Wehrmacht), a dictatorship (commonly characterized as either totalitarian or
fascist) was established by Hitler, who then pursued an aggressive foreign policy, with
the goal of seizing Lebensraum. This resulted in the German Invasion of Poland in 1939,
drawing the British and French Empires into World War II.

The Wehrmacht was initially successful and the Axis Powers occupied most of Mainland
Europe and parts of Asia. Eventually the Allies defeated the Wehrmacht. By 1945,
Germany was in ruins. Hitler's bid for territorial conquest and racial subjugation had
caused the deaths of tens of millions of people, including the systematic genocide of an
estimated six million Jews, not including various other "undesirable" populations, in what
is known as the Holocaust.

During the final days of the war in 1945, as Berlin was being invaded and destroyed by
the Red Army, Hitler married Eva Braun. Less than 24 hours later, the two committed
suicide in the Fuehrer’S bunker.

Early years
Childhood and heritage
Early years
Childhood and heritage

Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary, the fourth child of six. His
father, Alois Hitler, (1837–1903), was a customs official. His mother, Klara Pölzl, (1860–
1907), was Alois' third wife. She was also his half-niece, so a papal dispensation had to
be obtained for the marriage. Of Alois and Klara's six children, only Adolf and his sister
Paula reached adulthood. Hitler's father also had a son, Alois Jr, and a daughter, Angela,
by his second wife.

Alois Hitler was born illegitimate. For the first 39 years of his life he bore his mother's
surname, Schicklgruber. In 1876, he took the surname of his stepfather, Johann Georg
Hiedler. The name was spelled Hiedler, Huetler, Huettler and Hitler and probably
changed to "Hitler" by a clerk. The origin of the name is either from the German word
Hittler and similar, "one who lives in a hut", "shepherd", or from the Slavic word Hidlar
and Hidlarcek.

The name "Adolf" comes from Old High German for "noble wolf" (Adel=nobility +
wolf). Hence, one of Hitler's self-given nicknames was Wolf or Herr Wolf—he began
using this nickname in the early 1920s.

By his closest family and relatives, Hitler was known as "Adi".

Hitler's family moved often, from Braunau am Inn to Passau, Lambach, Leonding, and
Linz. The young Hitler was a good student in elementary school. But in the sixth grade,
his first year of high school (Realschule) in Linz he failed and had to repeat the grade.
His teachers said that he had "no desire to work." One of Hitler's fellow pupils in the
Realschule was Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. A
book by Kimberley Cornish suggests that conflict between Hitler and some Jewish
students, including Wittgenstein, was a critical moment in Hitler's formation as an anti-

Hitler claimed his educational slump was a rebellion against his father, who wanted the
boy to follow him in a career as a customs official; Hitler wanted to become a painter
instead. This explanation is further supported by Hitler's later description of himself as a
misunderstood artist. However, after Alois died on 3 January 1903, Hitler's schoolwork
did not improve. At age 16, Hitler dropped out of high school without a degree.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler attributed his conversion to German nationalism to a time during
his early teenage years when he read a book of his father's about the Franco-Prussian
War, which caused him to question why his father and other German Austrians failed to
fight for the Germans during the war.


On 21 December 1907, Hitler's mother died of breast cancer at age 47. Ordered by a
court in Linz, Hitler gave his share of the orphans' benefits to his sister Paula. When he
was 21, he inherited money from an aunt. He struggled as a painter in Vienna, copying
scenes from postcards and selling his paintings to merchants and tourists.

After being rejected a second time by the Academy of Arts, Hitler ran out of money. In
1909, he lived in a homeless shelter. By 1910, he had settled into a house for poor
working men.

Hitler said he first became an anti-Semite in Vienna, which had a large Jewish
community, including Orthodox Jews who had fled from pogroms in Russia. But
according to a childhood friend, August Kubizek, Hitler was a "confirmed anti-Semite"
before he left Linz, Austria. Vienna at that time was a hotbed of traditional religious
prejudice and 19th century racism. Hitler may have been influenced by the writings of the
ideologist and anti-Semite Lanz von Liebenfels and polemics from politicians such as
Karl Lueger, founder of the Christian Social Party and Mayor of Vienna, the composer
Richard Wagner, and Georg Ritter von Schönerer, leader of the pan-Germanic Away from
Rome! movement. Hitler claims in Mein Kampf that his transition from opposing anti-
Semitism on religious grounds to supporting it on racial grounds came from having seen
an Orthodox Jew.
Hitler may also have been influenced by Martin Luther's On the Jews and their Lies.
Kristallnacht took place on 10 November — Luther's birthday. In Mein Kampf, Hitler
refers to Martin Luther as a great warrior, a true statesmen, and a great reformer,
alongside Wagner and Frederick the Great.[15] Wilhelm Röpke, writing after the
Holocaust, concluded that "without any question, Lutheranism influenced the political,
spiritual and social history of Germany in a way that, after careful consideration of
everything, can be described only as fateful."

Hitler claimed that Jews were enemies of the Aryan race. He held them responsible for
Austria's crisis. He also identified certain forms of Socialism and Bolshevism, which had
many Jewish leaders, as Jewish movements, merging his anti-Semitism with anti-
Marxism. Later, blaming Germany's military defeat on the 1918 revolutions, he
considered Jews the culprit of Imperial Germany's downfall and subsequent economic
problems as well.

World War I

Hitler served in France and Belgium in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment (called
Regiment List after its first commander). He was a runner, the most dangerous job on the
Western Front, and was often exposed to enemy fire.

Hitler was twice decorated for bravery. He received the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914
and Iron Cross, First Class, in 1918, an honour rarely given to a Gefreiter.

However, because the regimental staff thought Hitler lacked leadership skills, he was
never promoted to Unteroffizier. Other historians say that the reason he was not promoted
is that he was not a German citizen. His duties at regimental headquarters, while often
dangerous, gave Hitler time to pursue his artwork. He drew cartoons and instructional
drawings for an army newspaper. In 1916, he was wounded in the leg but returned to the
front in March 1917. He received the Wound Badge later that year. Sebastian Heffner,
referring to Hitler's experience at the front, suggests he did have at least some
understanding of the military.

On 15 October 1918, Hitler was admitted to a field hospital, temporarily blinded by a

mustard gas attack. The English psychologist David Lewis and Bernhard Horst Mann
indicate the blindness may have been the result of a conversion disorder (then known as

Hitler said it was during this experience that he became convinced the purpose of his life
was to "save Germany." Some scholars, notably Lucy Dawidowicz, argue that an
intention to exterminate Europe's Jews was fully formed in Hitler's mind at this time,
though he probably had not thought through how it could be done. Most historians think
the decision was made in 1941, and some think it came as late as 1942.

Hitler had long admired Germany, and during the war he had become a passionate
German patriot, although he did not become a German citizen until 1932. He was
shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918 even while the German army still
held enemy territory. Like many other German nationalists, Hitler believed in the
Dolchstoßlegende ("dagger-stab legend") which claimed that the army, "undefeated in
the field", had been "stabbed in the back" by civilian leaders and Marxists back on the
home front. These politicians were later dubbed the November Criminals.

Entr y into polit ics

After World War I, Hitler remained in the army and returned to Munich, where he - in
contrast to his later declarations - participated in the funeral march for the murdered
Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner. After the suppression of the Bavarian Soviet
Republic, he took part in "national thinking" courses organized by the Education and
Propaganda Department (Dept Ib/P) of the Bavarian Reichswehr Group, Headquarters 4
under Captain Karl Mayr. Scapegoats were found in "international Jewry", communists,
and politicians across the party spectrum, especially the parties of the Weimar Coalition.

In July 1919, Hitler was appointed a Verbindungsmann (police spy) of an

Aufklärungskommando (Intelligence Commando) of the Reichswehr, both to influence
other soldiers and to infiltrate a small party, the German Workers' Party (DAP). During
his inspection of the party, Hitler was impressed with founder Anton Drexler's anti-
Semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist ideas, which favored a strong active
government, a "non-Jewish" version of socialism and mutual solidarity of all members of

Here Hitler also met Dietrich Eckart, one of the early founders of the party and member
of the occult Thule Society. Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him,
teaching him how to dress and speak, and introducing him to a wide range of people.
Hitler thanked Eckart by paying tribute to him in the second volume of Mein Kampf.

Hitler was discharged from the army in March 1920 and with his former superiors'
continued encouragement began participating full time in the party's activities. By early
1921, Hitler was becoming highly effective at speaking in front of large crowds. In
February, Hitler spoke before a crowd of nearly six thousand in Munich.

The DAP was centered in Munich, a hotbed of German nationalists who included Army
officers determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar republic. Gradually
they noticed Hitler and his growing movement as a vehicle to hitch themselves to. Hitler
traveled to Berlin to visit nationalist groups during the summer of 1921, and in his
absence there was a revolt among the DAP leadership in Munich.

The party was run by an executive committee whose original members considered Hitler
to be overbearing. They formed an alliance with a group of socialists from Augsburg.
Hitler rushed back to Munich and countered them by tendering his resignation from the
party on 11 July 1921. When they realized the loss of Hitler would effectively mean the
end of the party, he seized the moment and announced he would return on the condition
that he would be given dictatorial powers. Infuriated committee members (including
Drexler) held out at first. Meanwhile an anonymous pamphlet appeared entitled Adolf
Hitler: Is he a traitor?, attacking Hitler's lust for power and criticizing the violent men
around him. Hitler responded to its publication in a Munich newspaper by suing for libel
and later won a small settlement.

The executive committee of the DAP eventually backed down and Hitler's demands were
put to a vote of party members. Hitler received 543 votes for and only one against. At the
next gathering on 29 July 1921, Adolf Hitler was introduced as Führer of the National
Socialist Party, marking the first time this title was publicly used. Hitler changed the
name of the party to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or National
Socialist German Workers Party.

Beer Hall Putsch

Encouraged by this early support, Hitler decided to use Ludendorff as a front in an

attempted coup later known as the Beer Hall Putsch (sometimes as the Hitler Putsch or
Munich Putsch). The Nazi Party had copied Italy's fascists in appearance and also had
adopted some programmatically points, and in 1923, Hitler wanted to emulate
Mussolini's "March on Rome" by staging his own "Campaign in Berlin". Hitler and
Ludendorff obtained the clandestine support of Gustav von Kahr, Bavaria's de facto ruler,
along with leading figures in the Reichswehr and the police. As political posters show,
Ludendorff, Hitler and the heads of the Bavarian police and military planned on forming
a new government.

On 8 November 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting headed by Kahr in the
Bürgerbräukeller, a large beer hall outside of Munich. He declared that he had set up a
new government with Ludendorff and demanded, at gunpoint, the support of Kahr and
the local military establishment for the destruction of the Berlin government. Kahr
withdrew his support and fled to join the opposition to Hitler at the first opportunity. The
next day, when Hitler and his followers marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War
Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government as a start to their "March on Berlin", the
police dispersed them. Sixteen NSDAP members were killed.

Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl and contemplated suicide. He was soon
arrested for high treason. Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the party. During
Hitler's trial, he was given almost unlimited time to speak, and his popularity soared as he
voiced nationalistic sentiments. A Munich personality became a nationally known figure.
On 1 April 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsbergis Prison.
Hitler received favored treatment from the guards and had much fan mail from admirers.
He was pardoned and released from jail in December 1924, as part of a general amnesty
for political prisoners. Including time on remand, he had served little more than one year
of his sentence.

Mein Kampf
While at Landsberg he dictated Mein Kampf (My Struggle, originally entitled "Four Years
of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice") to his deputy Rudolf Hess. The
book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an autobiography and an
exposition of his ideology. It was published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, selling
about 240,000 copies between 1925 and 1934. By the end of the war, about 10 million
copies had been sold or distributed (newly-weds and soldiers received free copies).
Rebuilding of t he p ar ty
At the time of Hitler's release, the political situation in Germany had calmed and the
economy had improved, which hampered Hitler's opportunities for agitation. Though the
Hitler Putsch had given Hitler some national prominence, his party's mainstay was still

Hitler centralized the party even more and asserted the Führerprinzip ("Leader
principle") as the basic principle of party organization. Leaders were not elected by their
group but were rather appointed by their superior and were answerable to them while
demanding unquestioning obedience from their inferiors. Consistent with Hitler's disdain
for democracy, all power and authority devolved from the top down.

A key element of Hitler's appeal was his ability to evoke a sense of offended national
pride caused by the Treaty of Versailles imposed on the defeated German Empire by the
Western Allies. Germany had lost economically important territory in Europe along with
its colonies and in admitting to sole responsibility for the war had agreed to pay a huge
reparations bill totaling 132 billion marks. Most Germans bitterly resented these terms,
but early Nazi attempts to gain support by blaming these humiliations on "international
Jewry" were not particularly successful with the electorate. The party learned quickly,
and soon a more subtle propaganda emerged, combining anti-Semitism with an attack on
the failures of the "Weimar system" and the parties supporting it.

Having failed in overthrowing the Republic by a coup, Hitler pursued the "strategy of
legality": this meant formally adhering to the rules of the Weimar Republic until he had
legally gained power and then transforming liberal democracy into a Nazi dictatorship.
Some party members, especially in the paramilitary SA, opposed this strategy; Rohm
ridiculed Hitler as "Adolphe Legalité".

Brüning Administration
The political turning point for Hitler came when the Great Depression hit Germany in
1930. The Weimar Republic had never been firmly rooted and was openly opposed by
right-wing conservatives (including monarchists), Communists and the Nazis. As the
parties loyal to the democratic, parliamentary republic found themselves unable to agree
on counter-measures, their Grand Coalition broke up and was replaced by a minority
cabinet. The new Chancellor, Heinrich Brüning of the Roman Catholic Centre Party,
lacking a majority in parliament, had to implement his measures through the president's
emergency decrees. Tolerated by the majority of parties, the exception soon became the
rule and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government.

The Reichstag's initial opposition to Brüning's measures led to premature elections in

September 1930. The republican parties lost their majority and their ability to resume the
Grand Coalition, while the Nazis suddenly rose from relative obscurity to win 18.3% of
the vote along with 107 seats in the Reichstag, becoming the second largest party in

Brüning's measure of budget consolidation and financial austerity brought little economic
improvement and was extremely unpopular. Under these circumstances, Hitler appealed
to the bulk of German farmers, war veterans and the middle class, who had been hard-hit
by both the inflation of the 1920s and the unemployment of the Depression. Hitler
received little response from the urban working classes and traditionally Catholic regions.

In 1932, Hitler intended to run against the aging President Paul von Hindenburg in the
scheduled presidential elections. Though Hitler had left Austria in 1913, he still had not
acquired German citizenship and hence could not run for public office. In February,
however, the state government of Brunswick, in which the Nazi Party participated,
appointed Hitler to a minor administrative post and also gave him citizenship on 25
February 1932. The new German citizen ran against Hindenburg, who was supported by a
broad range of reactionary nationalist, monarchist, Catholic, republican and even social
democratic parties, and against the Communist presidential candidate. His campaign was
called "Hitler über Deutschland" (Hitler over Germany). The name had a double
meaning; besides an obvious reference to Hitler's dictatorial intentions, it also referred to
the fact that Hitler was campaigning by aircraft. This was a brand new political tactic that
allowed Hitler to speak in two cities in one day, which was practically unheard of at the
time. Hitler came in second on both rounds, attaining more than 35% of the vote during
the second one in April. Although he lost to Hindenburg, the election established Hitler as
a realistic alternative in German politics.

Cabinets of Papen and Schleicher

The Nazis had become the largest party in the Reichstag without which no stable
government could be formed. Papen tried to persuade Hitler to become vice chancellor
and enter a new government with a parliamentary basis. Hitler, however, rejected this
offer and put further pressure on Papen by entertaining parallel negotiations with the
Centre Party, Papen's former party, which was bent on bringing down the renegade
Papen. In both negotiations, Hitler demanded that he, as leader of the strongest party,
must be chancellor, but Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint the "Bohemian
private" to the chancellorship.

After a vote of no-confidence in the Papen government, supported by 84% of the

deputies, the new Reichstag was dissolved, and new elections were called in November.
This time, the Nazis lost some seats but still remained the largest party in the Reichstag.

Appointment as Chancellor
Meanwhile, Papen tried to get his revenge on Schleicher by working toward the General's
downfall, through forming an intrigue with the camarilla and Alfred Hugenberg, media
mogul and chairman of the DNVP. Also involved were Hjalmar Schacht, Fritz Thyssen
and other leading German businessmen. They financially supported the Nazi Party, which
had been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by the cost of heavy campaigning. The
businessmen also wrote letters to Hindenburg, urging him to appoint Hitler as leader of a
government "independent from parliamentary parties" which could turn into a movement
that would "enrapture millions of people."

Finally, the president reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler Chancellor of a coalition

government formed by the NSDAP and DNVP. Hitler and two other Nazi ministers
(Wilhelm Frick, Goring) were to be contained by a framework of conservative cabinet
ministers, most notably by Papen as Vice-Chancellor and by Hugenberg as Minister of
the Economy. Papen wanted to use Hitler as a figure-head, but the Nazis had gained key
positions, most notably the Ministry of the Interior. On the morning of 30 January 1933,
in Hindenburg's office, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor during what some
observers later described as a brief and simple ceremony. The Nazis' seizure of power
subsequently became known as the Machtergreifung. Hitler established the
Reichssicherheitsdienst as his personal bodyguards.

Reichstag fire and the March elections

Screenshot from Triumph of the Will, 1935.

Having become Chancellor, Hitler foiled all attempts to gain a majority in parliament and
on that basis persuaded President Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag again. Elections
were scheduled for early March, but on 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set
on fire. Since a Dutch independent communist was found in the building, the fire was
blamed on a Communist plot to which the government reacted with the Reichstag Fire
Decree of 28 February which suspended basic rights, including habeas corpus. Under the
provisions of this decree, the German Communist Party (KPD) and other groups were
suppressed, and communist functionaries and deputies were arrested, put to flight, or

Campaigning continued, with the Nazis making use of paramilitary violence, anti-
Communist hysteria, and the government's resources for propaganda. On election day, 6
March, the NSDAP increased its result to 43.9% of the vote, remaining the largest party,
but its victory was marred by its failure to secure an absolute majority, necessitating
maintaining a coalition with the DNVP.

With combination of legislative and executive power, Hitler's government further

suppressed the remaining political opposition. The Communist Party of Germany (KPD)
and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) were banned, while all other political parties
dissolved themselves. Labour unions were merged with employers' federations into an
organisation under Nazi control, and the autonomy of German state governments was

Hitler's cabinet passed a law proclaiming the presidency dormant and transferred the role
and powers of the head of state to Hitler as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and
chancellor). Thereby Hitler also became supreme commander of the military, whose
officers then swore an oath not to the state or the constitution but to Hitler personally. In a
mid-August plebiscite, these acts found the approval of 84.6% of the electorate.
Combining the highest offices in state, military and party in his hand, Hitler had attained
supreme rule that could no longer be legally challenged.

Hitler also oversaw one of the largest infrastructure-improvement campaigns in German

history, with the construction of dozens of dams, autobahns, railroads, and other civil
works. Hitler's policies emphasized the importance of family life: men were the
"breadwinners", while women's priorities were to lie in bringing up children and in
household work. This revitalizing of industry and infrastructure came at the expense of
the overall standard of living, at least for those not affected by the chronic unemployment
of the later Weimar Republic, since wages were slightly reduced in pre–World War II
years, despite a 25% increase in the cost of living. Laborers and farmers, the traditional
voters of the NSDAP, however, saw an increase in their standard of living.
Wor ld W ar II
Early triumphs

Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, 1940

In March 1938 Hitler pressured Austria into unification with Germany (the Anschluss)
and made a triumphal entry into Vienna on 14 March. . Next, he intensified a crisis over
the German-speaking Sudetenland districts of Czechoslovakia. This led to the Munich
Agreement of September 1938, which gave these districts to Germany. As a result of the
summit, Hitler was TIME magazine's Man of the Year for 1938. British Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain hailed this agreement as "peace in our time", but by appeasing
Hitler, Britain and France left Czechoslovakia to Hitler's mercy. Hitler ordered Germany's
army to enter Prague on 15 March 1939, and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia
and Moravia a German protectorate.

After that, Hitler claimed the Free City of Danzig and the Polish Corridor, that Germany
had ceded under the Versailles Treaty. Britain had not been able to reach an agreement
with the Soviet Union for an alliance against Germany, and, on 23 August 1939, Hitler
concluded a secret non-aggression pact (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) with Joseph Stalin
on which it was agreed that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany would partition Poland.
On 1 September Germany invaded western Poland. Having guaranteed assistance to
Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September but did not
immediately act. Not long after this, on 17 September, Soviet forces invaded eastern
Adolf Hitler in Paris, 1940.

After the fall of Poland came a period journalists called the "Phoney War". During this
period, Hitler built up his forces on Germany's western frontier. In April 1940, German
forces marched into Denmark and Norway. In May 1940, Hitler's forces attacked France,
conquering the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium in the process. France
surrendered on 22 June 1940. These victories persuaded Benito Mussolini of Italy to join
the war on Hitler's side in May 1940.

Britain, whose forces evacuated France by sea from Dunkirk, continued to fight alongside
Canadian forces in the Battle of the Atlantic. After having his overtures for peace rejected
by the British, now led by Winston Churchill, Hitler ordered bombing raids on the British
Isles. The Battle of Britain was Hitler's prelude to a planned invasion. The attacks began
by pounding Royal Air Force airbases and radar stations protecting South-East England.
However, the Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force by the end of October 1940.
Air superiority for the invasion, code-named Operation Sealion, could not be assured, and
Hitler ordered bombing raids to be carried out on British cities, including London and
Coventry, mostly at night.

Hitler's declaration of war against the United States on 11 December 1941, four days
after the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and six days after Nazi
Germany's closest approach to Moscow, set him against a coalition that included the
world's largest empire (the British Empire), the world's greatest industrial and financial
power (the United States), and the world's largest army (the Soviet Union).
Hitler, Mannerheim and Ryti in Finland in 1942

In late 1942, German forces were defeated in the second battle of El Alamein, thwarting
Hitler's plans to seize the Suez Canal and the Middle East. In February 1943, the titanic
Battle of Stalingrad ended with the destruction of the German 6th Army. Thereafter came
the gigantic Battle of Kursk (1,300,000 Russians, 3,600 tanks, 20,000 artillery pieces and
2,400 aircraft, versus 900,000 Germans, 2,700 tanks, and 2,000 aircraft). Hitler's military
judgment became increasingly erratic, and Germany's military and economic position
deteriorated. Hitler's health was also deteriorating. His left hand trembled. The biographer
Ian Kershaw and others believe that he may have suffered from Parkinson's disease.
Syphilis has also been suspected as a cause of at least some of his symptoms, although
the evidence is slight.

Following the allied invasion of Italy (Operation Husky) in 1943, Mussolini, was
deposed by Pietro Badoglio who surrendered to the Allies. Throughout 1943 and 1944,
the Soviet Union steadily forced Hitler's armies into retreat along the Eastern Front. On 6
June 1944, the Western Allied armies landed in northern France in what was the largest
amphibious operation in history, Operation Overlord. Realists in the German army knew
defeat was inevitable, and some plotted to remove Hitler from power. In July 1944, Claus
von Stauffenberg, planted a bomb in Hitler's Führer Headquarters, the Wolfsschanze
(Wolf's Lair) at Rustenburg, but Hitler narrowly escaped death. He ordered savage
reprisals, resulting in the executions of more than 4,900 people, sometimes by starvation
in solitary confinement followed by slow strangulation. The main resistance movement
was destroyed, although smaller isolated groups continued to operate.

Def ea t and de ath

By late 1944, the Red Army had driven the Germans back into Central Europe and the
Western Allies were advancing into Germany. Germany had lost the war, but Hitler
allowed no retreats. He hoped to negotiate a separate peace with America and Britain, a
hope buoyed by the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on 12 April 1945. Hitler's
stubbornness and defiance of military realities also allowed the Holocaust to continue. He
also ordered the complete destruction of all German industrial infrastructure before it
could fall into allied hands, saying that Germany's failure to win the war forfeited its right
to survive. Execution of the plan was entrusted to arms minister Albert Speer, who
disobeyed the order.
In April 1945, Soviet forces attacked the outskirts of Berlin. Hitler's followers urged him
to flee to the mountains of Bavaria to make a last stand in the National Redoubt. But
Hitler was determined to either live or die in the capital.

April 20, 1945. On his 56th birthday, Hitler awards the Iron Cross to Hitler Youth outside
his bunker.

On 20 April Hitler celebrated his 56th birthday in the "Führer's shelter" (Führerbunker)
below the Reich Chancellery (Reichskanzlei). The garrison commander of the besieged
"fortress Breslau" (Festung Breslau), General Hermann Niehoff, had chocolates
distributed to his troops, where possible, in honor of Hitler's birthday.

By 21 April, Georgi Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front had broken through the defenses of
German General Gotthard Heinrici's Army Group Vistula during the Battle of the Seelow
Heights. The Soviets were now advancing towards Hitler's bunker with little to stop
them. Ignoring the facts, Hitler saw salvation in the ragtag units commanded by one of
his favorite generals, Felix Steiner. For Hitler's purposes, Steiner's command became
known as "Army Detachment Steiner" (Armeeabteilung Steiner). However, the "Army
Detachment Steiner" existed primarily on paper. It was something more than a corps but
less than an army. Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the huge salient
created by the breakthrough of Zhukov's 1st Byelorussian Front. Meanwhile, the German
Ninth Army, which had just been pushed south of the salient, was ordered to attack north
in a pincer attack.

Late on 21 April, Heinrici called Hans Krebs Chief German General Staff of the Supreme
Army Command (Oberkommando des Heeres or OKH) and told him that Hitler's plan
could not be implemented. Heinrici asked to speak to Hitler but was told by Krebs that
Hitler was too busy to take his call.

On 22 April, during one of his last military conferences, Hitler interrupted the report to
ask what had happened to General Steiner's offensive. There was a long silence. Then
Hitler was told that the attack had never been launched, and that the withdrawal from
Berlin of several units for Steiner's army, on Hitler's orders, had so weakened the front
that the Russians had broken through into Berlin. Hitler asked everyone except Wilhelm
Keitel, Hans Krebs, Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Burgdorf, and Martin Bormann to leave the
room, and launched a tirade against the perceived treachery and incompetence of his
commanders. This culminated in an oath to stay in Berlin, head up the defense of the city,
and shoot himself at the end.
Before the day ended, Hitler again found salvation in a new plan that included General
Walther Wenck's Twelfth Army. This new plan had Wenck turn his army—currently
facing the Americans to the west—and attack towards the east to relieve Berlin. Twelfth
Army was to link up with Ninth Army and break through to the city. Wenck did attack
and, in the confusion, managed to make temporary contact with the Potsdam garrison.
But the link with the Ninth Army, like the plan in general, was ultimately unsuccessful.

Also on 23 April, second in command of the Third Reich and commander of the
Luftwaffe Hermann Goring sent a telegram from Berchtesgaden in Bavaria. Goring
argued that, since Hitler was cut off in Berlin, he should assume leadership of Germany
as Hitler's designated successor. Goring mentioned a time limit after which he would
consider Hitler incapacitated. Hitler responded, in anger, by having Goring arrested, and
when he wrote his will on April 29, Goring was removed from all his positions in the

By the end of the day on 27 April, the commander of the Berlin Defense Area, found the
city to be 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 Allies (through the Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte)
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.

Cover of U.S. military newspaper The Stars and Stripes, May 1945
On 29 April, Hans Krebs, Wilhelm Burgdorf, Joseph Goebbels, and Martin Bormann
witnessed and signed the last will and testament of Adolf Hitler. Hitler dictated the
document to his private secretary, Traudl Junge. Hitler was also that day informed of the
violent death of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on 28 April, which is presumed to have
increased his determination to avoid capture.

On 30 April 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were within a
block or two of the Reich Chancellory, Hitler committed suicide, shooting himself while
simultaneously biting into a cyanide capsule. Hitler's body and that of Eva Braun (his
mistress whom he had married the day before) were put in a bomb crater, doused in
gasoline by Otto Günsche and other Führerbunker aides, and set alight as the Red Army
advanced and shelling continued. Hitler also had his dog Blondi poisoned before his
suicide to test the poison he and Eva Braun were going to take.

On 2 May, Berlin surrendered to the Russians. When Russians reached the Chancellory,
they found Hitler's body and an autopsy was performed using dental records to confirm
the identification. The remains of Hitler and Braun were secretly buried by SMERSH at
their headquarters in Magdeburg. In 1970, when the facility was about to be turned over
to the East German government, the remains were reportedly exhumed and thoroughly
cremated. 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. However, the authenticity of the
skull has been challenged by many historians and researchers.

Further information: Consequences of German Nazism and Neo-Nazism

Outside the building in Braunau am Inn, Austria where Adolf Hitler was born is a
memorial stone warning of the horrors of World War II

Hitler, the Nazi Party and the results of Nazism are typically regarded as immoral.
Historians, philosophers, and politicians have often used the word evil in both a secular
sense of the word and in a religious sense. Historical and cultural portrayals of Hitler in
the west are universally condemnatory. The display of swastikas or other Nazi symbols is
prohibited in Germany and Austria. Holocaust denial is prohibited in both countries.

Outside of Hitler's birthplace in Braunau am Inn, Austria is a stone marker engraved with
the following message:

Loosely translated, it reads: "For Peace, Freedom and Democracy - Never Again Fascism
—Remember the Millions Dead."

However some people have referred to Hitler's legacy in neutral or favourable terms.
Former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat spoke of his 'admiration' of Hitler in 1953, when
he was a young man, though it is possible he was speaking in the context of a rebellion
against the British Empire. Louis Farrakhan has referred to him as a "very great man".
Bal Thackeray, leader of the right-wing Hindu Shiv Sena party in the Indian state of the
Maharashtra, declared in 1995 that he was an admirer of Hitler.

Adolf Hitler's genealogy

• Eva Braun, mistress and then wife

• Alois Hitler, father
• Klara Hitler, mother
• Paula Hitler, sister
• Alois Hitler, Jr., half-brother
• Bridget Dowling, sister-in-law
• William Patrick Hitler, nephew
• Heinz Hitler, nephew
• Angela Hitler Raubal, half-sister
• Maria Schicklgruber, grandmother
• Johann Georg Hiedler, presumed grandfather
• Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, maternal great-grandfather, presumed great uncle and
possibly Hitler's true paternal grandfather
• Geli Raubal, niece
• Hermann Fegelein, brother-in-law through Hitler's marriage to Eva Braun

Or ator y a nd r all ie s
Hitler was a gifted orator who captivated many with his beating of the lectern and
growling, emotional speech. He honed his skills by giving speeches to soldiers during
1919 and 1920. He had an ability to tell people what they wanted to hear (the stab-in-the-
back, the Jewish-Marxists, Versailles). Over time Hitler perfected his delivery by
rehearsing in front of mirrors and carefully choreographing his display of emotions with
the message he was trying to convey. Munitions minister and architect Albert Speer, who
may have known Hitler as well as anyone, said that Hitler was above all else an actor.

Massive Nazi rallies were carefully staged by Albert Speer, which were designed to spark
a process of self-persuasion for the participants. This process can be appreciated by
watching Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, which presents the 1934 Nuremberg

Hitler and Gobbles toned down their racism as Hitler gained electoral strength. In areas
where anti-Semitism was strong, they used code words (railing against "Bolshevists" with
most people understanding that he meant "Jews"), and they ignored anti-Semitism in
areas where it was not already strong. Many Germans were, as they said, "Nazi, but. . ."
meaning that they thought Hitler had abandoned his shrill racism.


leadership is an art of influencing people , motivating people, mobilizing people
and controlling people ,so that they strive willingly and enthusiastically towards
the achievement of organisation goal.

In other words, Leadership is the process of influencing a group of followers,

adding value, and helping the community adapt to change. It is also the quality
exhibited by those who lead.

Hitler is a political leader. His personality trait was Surgency. Surgency

personality dimension includes leadership and extraversion. People strong in
Surgency want to be in charge, getting ahead and leading through competing
and influencing. People weak in Surgency want to be followers, and don’t want
to compete and influence. How strong is your desire to be a leader?

Hitler has very high level of energy, have very high self confidence and

Hitler has these five personality hallmarks:


Hitler has a very genuine personality. He has an authenticity in his personality

and ideology.


Hitler has a character of his own. He strongly believe in his belief about ‘Jewish’.
And he have a very strong character.


Hitler has a very strong vision about his country, his Germany. He want that his
country will lead the world.

4. WILL –

Hitler have always exhibited the commitment, courage and perseverance to get
his vision.


Hitler has always shown wisdom in his decisions.