Adolf Hitler was born at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary, the fourth of Alois and Klara Hitler's six children.
Adolf Hitler as an infant.
At the age of three, his family moved to Kapuzinerstrasse 5 in Passau, Germany where the young Hitler would acquire Lower Bavarian rather than Austrian as his lifelong native dialect. In 1894 the family moved to Leonding near Linz, then in June 1895, Alois retired to a small landholding at Hafeld near Lambach, where he tried his hand at farming and beekeeping. During this time, the young Hitler attended school in nearby Fischlham. He was a happy, carefree child who tirelessly played "Cowboys and Indians" and, by his own account, became fixated on war after finding a picture book about the Franco-Prussian War in his father's things. He wrote in Mein Kampf: "It was not long before the great historic struggle had become my greatest spiritual experience. From then on, I became more and more enthusiastic about everything that was in any way connected with war or, for that matter, with soldiering."
His father's efforts at Hafeld ended in failure and the family moved to Lambach in 1897. There, Hitler attended a Catholic school located in an 11th-century Benedictine cloister whose walls were engraved in a number of places with crests containing the symbol of the swastika. In 1898, the family returned permanently to Leonding.
His younger brother Edmund died of measles on February 2, 1900, causing permanent changes in Hitler. He went from a confident, outgoing boy who found school easy, to a morose, detached, sullen boy who constantly battled his father and his teachers.
Hitler was close to his mother, but had a troubled relationship with his tradition-minded authoritarian father, who frequently beat him, especially in the years after Alois's retirement and disappointed farming efforts. Alois wanted his son to follow in his footsteps as an Austrian customs official, and this became a huge source of conflict between them. Despite his son's pleas to go to classical high school and become an artist, his father would not budge, and sent him to the technical high school in the city of Linz in September 1900. Hitler rebelled, and, in Mein Kampf confessed to failing his first year in hopes that once his father saw "what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to the happiness I dreamed of." But Alois never relented and Hitler became even more bitter and rebellious.
For young Hitler, German Nationalism quickly became an obsession, and a way to rebel against his father, who proudly served the Austrian government. Most people that lived along the German-Austrian border considered themselves German-Austrians, but Hitler expressed loyalty only to Germany. In defiance of the Austrian Monarchy, and his father who continually expressed...