OCCUPATION: Military Leader, Dictator
BIRTH DATE: April 20, 1889
DEATH DATE: April 30, 1945
PLACE OF BIRTH: Braunau am Inn, Austria
Baptized a Catholic, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was born on April 20, 1889, in the Upper Austrian border town Braunau am Inn, located approximately 65 miles east of Munich and nearly 30 miles north of Salzburg.
His father, Alois Hitler (1837-1903), was a mid-level customs official. Born out of wedlock to Maria Anna Schickelgruber in 1837, Alois Schickelgruber changed his name in 1876 to Hitler, the Christian name of the man who married his mother five years after his birth. Alois Hitler's illegitimacy would cause speculation as early as the 1920s -- and still present in popular culture today -- that Hitler's grandfather was Jewish. Credible evidence to support the notion of Hitler's Jewish descent has never turned up. The two most likely candidates to have been Hitler's grandfather are the man who married his grandmother and that man's brother.
Hitler did extremely well at primary school and it appeared he had a bright academic future in front of him. He was also popular with other pupils and was much admired for his leadership qualities. He was also a deeply religious child and for a while considered the possibility of becoming a monk.
Competition was much tougher in the larger secondary school and his reaction to not being top of the class was to stop trying. His father was furious as he had high hopes that Hitler would follow his example and join the Austrian civil service when he left school. However, Hitler was a stubborn child and attempts by his parents and teachers to change his attitude towards his studies were unsuccessful.
Hitler also lost his popularity with his fellow pupils. They were no longer willing to accept him as one of their leaders. As Hitler liked giving orders he spent his time with younger pupils. He enjoyed games that involved fighting and he loved re-enacting battles from the Boer War. His favourite game was playing the role of a commando rescuing Boers from English concentration camps
The Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent to the parliamentary republic and increasingly open to extremist options. In 1932, Hitler ran against Paul von Hindenburg for the presidency. Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 35 percent of the vote in the final election. The election established Hitler as a strong force in German politics. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor in order to promote political balance.
Hitler used his position as chancellor to form a de facto legal dictatorship. The Reichtag Fire Decree, announced after a suspicious fire at the Reichtag, suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial. Hitler also engineered the passage of the Enabling Act, which gave his cabinet full legislative powers for a period of four years and allowed deviations from the constitution.
Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies embarked on a systematic suppression of the remaining political opposition. By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. On July 14, 1933, Hitler's Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany.
Military opposition was also punished. The demands of the SA for more…