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Adolf Hitler By: Tan Ly Essay

1204 words - 5 pages

The son of Alois Hitler (1837-1903), an Austrian customs official, Adolf Hitler dropped out of high school, and after his mother's death in 1907 moved to Vienna. He twice failed the admission examination for the academy of arts. His vicious anti-Semitism (perhaps influenced by that of Karl Lueger ) and political harangues drove many acquaintances away. In 1913 he settled in Munich, and on the outbreak of World War I he joined the Bavarian army. During the war he was gassed and wounded; a corporal, he received the Iron Cross for bravery. The war hardened his extreme nationalism, and he blamed the German defeat on betrayal by Jews and Marxists. Upon his return to Munich he joined a handful of other nationalistic veterans in the German Workers' party.In 1920 the German Workers' party was renamed the National Socialist German Workers, or Nazi, party; in 1921 it was reorganized with Hitler as chairman. He made it a paramilitary organization and won the support of such prominent nationalists as Field Marshal Ludendorff . On Nov. 8, 1923, Hitler attempted the "beer-hall putsch," intended to overthrow the republican government. Leading Bavarian officials (themselves discontented nationalists) were surrounded at a meeting in a Munich beer hall by the Nazi militia, or storm troopers, and made to swear loyalty to this "revolution." On regaining their freedom they used the Reichswehr [army] to defeat the coup. Hitler fled, but was soon arrested and sentenced to five years in the Landsberg fortress. He served nine months.The putsch made Hitler known throughout Germany. In prison he dictated to Rudolf Hess the turgid Mein Kampf [my struggle], filled with anti-Semitic outpourings, worship of power, disdain for civil morality, and strategy for world domination. It became the bible of National Socialism. Under the tutelage of Hitler and Gregor Strasser , aided by Josef Goebbels and from 1928 by Hermann Goering , the party grew slowly until the economic depression, beginning in 1929, brought it mass support.To Germans burdened by reparations payments to the victors of World War I, and threatened by hyperinflation, political chaos, and a possible Communist takeover, Hitler, frenzied yet magnetic, offered scapegoats and solutions. To the economically depressed he promised to despoil "Jew financiers," to workers he promised security. He gained the financial support of bankers and industrialists with his virulent anti-Communism and promises to control trade unionism.Hitler had a keen and sinister insight into mass psychology, and he was a master of intrigue and maneuver. After acquiring German citizenship through the state of Brunswick, he ran in the presidential elections of 1932, losing to the popular war hero Paul von Hindenburg but strengthening his position by falsely promising to support Chancellor Franz von Papen , who lifted the ban on the storm troops (June, 1932).When the Nazis were elected the largest party in the Reichstag (July, 1932), Hindenburg offered...

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