Was Adolf Hitler A Madman Or Genius?

4124 words - 16 pages

A genius is defined as someone possessing an "extraordinary power of intellect, imagination or invention." Few people in history can complete this definition and be given the title of 'genius'. Among this cadre of intellectuals, visionaries and innovators, we discover a figure most unexpectedly. A small man, wearing an awkward moustache, by no means imposing an air of intelligence upon observers as many would expect a genius to do. 'Genius' is not the first title which comes to mind when the name 'Adolf Hitler' is mentioned, in truth, it is probably one of the last. Fuhrer of Germany's Third Reich, he is undoubtedly the world's most hated man, and yet elements of genius are ingrained in his persona.Hitler, in the final dozen years of his life, was irrefutably evil. However he was not born with this attitude, nor the racial prejudices he is hardheartedly remembered for. Born in 1889 Braunau, Austria, to Klara Hitler and the customs official Alois Schickelgruber, Adolf was the first child of the union. Klara was Schickelgruber's third wife, and of Schickelgruber's children from previous marriages two of the three died in childhood, while the third died still an infant.Adolf's mother 'showered' him with love. This was in contrast to his father, who, in keeping with the manners of the time, beat his son regularly . The family moved to Passau, then Hafeld, Adolf lived, for a short six month period, across from a Benedictine Monastery. Among the symbols in its coat of arms, a swastika, also of note is Hitler's childhood ambition to become a priest. Looking back, it is true that childhood experiences manifest themselves in someone's character, though not absolutely.At the turn of the century, Adolf was a budding artist, and attended Realschule, where his talents, instead of blossoming, promptly decayed. By age 16, he had dropped out of Realshule entirely, his poor grades not offering enough encouragement to justify staying. This disturbance in his life was compounded upon the death of his father two years earlier, and would be further upset when his mother died in 1907.After quitting school, Adolf lived the life of a vagrant. He wandered Vienna for the better part of five years. With virtually nothing to his name, Hitler began painting postcards and living off the meager profits. Soon after, he would abandon art entirely, his dream was never realized, and never would be, he was sucked into the thrall of politics. He gained most of his knowledge of politics and debate during this period in his life, as well as the foundation of his racist views. Penniless and depressed, with a future that was hardly promising, Hitler, like countless others, blamed the Jews for his misfortunes. His misfortune was amplified by his surroundings, Vienna was prosperous, and the working class was smaller than in most European cities. Propaganda supporting this view was easily obtainable; Vienna was a pulsing centre of anti-Semitism at the time.Though at first he avoided the...

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