Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945) was the leader of Germany from January 30, 1933 until his death on April 30, 1945. Hitler's political party was the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). He was the son of Alois and Klara Hitler.
Table of Contents
Born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Adolf Hitler was the son of Alois and Klara Hitler. His childhood and later personality were marked by the experience of family violence. The abused child grew into an profoundly frustrated, deeply angry adult anxious to please the powerful and impose order on an inherently disorderly world.
Although Hitler was raised as a Roman Catholic in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Austria, and even thought of becoming a priest at one point, but later came to despise the Roman Catholic Church. Despite that he never described himself as anything other than a Christian.
Hitler claimed he had a Christian duty to protect the Aryan Germans. Once in power, Hitler bowed to practical politics and made his peace with the Roman Catholic Church. The Church hierarchy reciprocated. The primary appeal of the Nazis was too conservative middle and lower-middle class Germans and Austrians, who also tended to be observant Christians. For example, over half of the Waffen-SS were Roman Catholics. It should be noted that the only member of the Nazi leadership to be formally excommunicated from the church was Joseph Goebbels -- on the basis that he had married a Protestant: Magda Goebbels.
What Hitler and his followers did with respect to the other large segment of German Christians was propagate a heterodox Protestantism called Positive Christianity. In this strangely de-Judaized Christianity, and Jesus is reconceived as a militant who drives the Jews out of the temple. Hitler appears to have believed further that Jews were involved only with “this world”, and thus were without a spirit. Hitler felt the political parties of his time were humiliating themselves by "begging for Jewish votes", while Jesus let Himself be nailed to a cross, rather than compromise with Jews.
Nazism as Ideology
Nazism was German fascism. The economic crisis of the Great Depression made available an enormous population of dispossessed and disaffected Germans available for political recruitment and mobilization, including small business owners, independent craftsmen, farmers and even some of the professionals. Rejecting free trade and promising cheap credit plus protection from economic competition from Jews, Nazism promised a non-Marxist "organic socialism" of blood and soil. The sense of exclusion and inferiority this hailed was then directed toward nationalism and anti-Semitism. Contemporary rightwing nationalist movements that have erupted since the Great Recession are strikingly similar, though they direct anger toward immigrants.
Hitler took power as the leader of a fascist political party, the NSDAP, after being named Chancellor by the conservative Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg in January 1933. The ailing 84 year old Hindenburg had defeated Hitler in the 1932 presidential election, but Hitler was dynamic and seen as the best chance of defeating the left. What Hitler promised was the political defeat of the Left, including organized labour and the socialist and communist parties. Although the Nazi state expropriated the wealth of Jews, it made Christian capitalists richer.
World War I
Hitler fought with the Germans in Belgium and France. He made it to the rank of corporal. In the war he was wounded in his head. As a pan-German nationalist Hitler was very embittered about the loss of the war. He shared the post-war anomie of other veterans of the war, which was often expressed as insistence on decisive authority, violent action, and intolerance of parliamentary deliberation or the protection of civil rights.
World War II
Adolf Hitler was the dictator (Führer) of Germany from January 30, 1933 until April 30, 1945. On March 12, 1938 in the Anschluss, Hitler annexed Austria as part of Nazi Germany.
Adolf Hitler committed suicide by gunshot on April 30, 1945, after a street-to-street combat with Soviet troops. His wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide with him by cyanide poisoning. So did Adolf's dog, Blondi by testing the cyanide pill on her first and so did some of Joseph Goebbels' children.