Adolf Hitler's Early Life

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What book did Hitler write while in prison?

Mein Kampf

What economic event created an opportunity for Hitler's message to gain popularity?

The Great Depression

What event allowed Hitler to consolidate power and suspend civil liberties?

The Reichstag Fire

What was the result of Hitler's aggressive foreign policy in 1939?

The invasion of Poland

How did Hitler die?

He committed suicide in his bunker

What was Hitler's occupation when he was living in Vienna?


What event in 1914 had a profound impact on Hitler's political ambitions?

The outbreak of World War I

What was the name of the party that Hitler transformed into the National Socialist German Workers' Party?

German Workers' Party

What was Hitler's aspiration when he left school at 16?

To become a painter

What was Hitler awarded for his bravery during World War I?

The Iron Cross

Study Notes

Early Life

  • Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary (now Austria)
  • He was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler, a customs official, and Klara Pölzl
  • His early childhood was marked by frequent moves and the deaths of several siblings
  • He showed little academic promise and left school at 16, aspiring to become an artist

Early Political Development

  • Hitler's applications to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna were repeatedly rejected
  • In 1907, after the death of his mother, Hitler moved to Vienna, where he struggled to make a living as a painter
  • During this period, he developed many of his ideas about politics and race, influenced by the prevalent anti-Semitism and nationalist movements in Austria

World War I and Rise to Power

  • In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich, Germany
  • When World War I broke out in 1914, he enlisted in the German army, serving as a dispatch runner
  • He was wounded twice and awarded the Iron Cross for bravery
  • Germany's defeat and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles, which he perceived as a national humiliation, fueled his political ambitions

Nazi Party and Political Career

  • After the war, Hitler joined the German Workers' Party (DAP), which he soon transformed into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), or Nazi Party
  • He was a charismatic orator and used his skills to attract followers
  • In 1923, he attempted a coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch, which failed, leading to his arrest and imprisonment
  • During his nine months in prison, he wrote "Mein Kampf" ("My Struggle"), outlining his ideology and political plans for Germany

Rise to Power and World War II

  • The economic instability of the Great Depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s created fertile ground for his message of national revival, anti-Semitism, and anti-communism
  • By 1932, the Nazi Party had become the largest in the Reichstag
  • On January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany
  • He quickly consolidated power, using the Reichstag Fire in February 1933 to push through the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended civil liberties and allowed for the arrest of political opponents
  • The Enabling Act, passed in March 1933, gave Hitler dictatorial powers
  • Once in control, Hitler implemented policies aimed at rearming Germany and expanding its territory, leading to the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland
  • His aggressive foreign policy culminated in the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, triggering World War II

The Holocaust and Defeat

  • During the war, Hitler's regime pursued the genocide of six million Jews, along with millions of others, in what became known as the Holocaust
  • His military strategies, particularly the invasion of the Soviet Union and the declaration of war on the United States, ultimately led to Germany's defeat
  • As Allied forces closed in on Berlin, Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, in his bunker

Get to know the early life of Adolf Hitler, from his birth in Austria to his failed attempts to become an artist. Learn about his family, childhood, and early ambitions.

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