Professor Rapheal Lieto
8 October 2014
The Rise of Hitler to Power in Germany Following World War I, Germany was a country desperate for change as it attempted to recover from a disheartening defeat. Harsh consequences were faced after signing The Treaty of Versailles, a contract including giant reparations to pay to victors, the forfeit of some of the most profitable territory, and loss of a majority of military and political power. Germans were filled with a sense of betrayal, failure, and lack of confidence towards their frail government, allowing room for the presence of an obscure young man. A young man who delivered impassioned speeches and spread ideas of extreme nationalism and racial purification, in which he would burst on to the political scene in Germany and change the course of history forever. The downtrodden state of Germany and its’ society, at the time, made it possible for this unbalanced individual, named Adolf Hitler, to gain control. Hitler’s accumulation of enormous popularity and power was influenced by several events such as his childhood, The Treaty of Versailles, The Beer Hall Putsch, his autobiography Mein Kampf, and The Great Depression.
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20th, 1889 in the town of Braunau, Austria, close to the German border. His father, Alois Hitler, was a customs officer who worked on the border, and his mother, Klara, worked at home. Adolf’s father was a very strict man who wanted him to succeed and beat him brutally if he misbehaved. As a young boy, Hitler did not fail to make his father proud, excelling in school and containing much popularity amongst his classmates. Surprisingly at an early age, Hitler was very interested in religion and at one point had contemplated becoming a monk. However, popularity and high achievement in the classroom did not last long for Adolf. Entering secondary school, his good marks quickly faded. In response to poor grades, he chose to no longer put forth an effort in academics, which was very discouraging to his parents who held high expectations for him. As Hitler’s popularity faded among his classmates and they no longer viewed him as a leader, he became more isolated and peculiar. He began to seek out younger students that he could give orders to and have popularity amongst. While he hated the majority of his schoolwork, Hitler happened to enjoy history and had a strong passion for art. This passion angered Hitler’s father and was a difference never resolved between the two of them. Differences were no longer necessary to resolve after the passing away of Hitler’s father in 1903, when Adolf was thirteen. However, it was the death of his mother in 1907 that had a strong impact on Hitler. Sadly his mother’s death impacted him mentally and emotionally, but financially he became secure. Hitler received his father’s full pension, a wage higher than many working people made at the time, allowing him to live without being employed. Two years following the death of his mother, Hitler approached the age where he was required to register for the Austrian military, which he had no desire to serve in. He ignored call papers from the Austrian military, taking almost five years for authorities to find him. He began to develop hatred for the Jews and socialists. Hitler wrote in his book, Mein Kampf, “In this period my eyes were opened to two menaces of which I had previously scarcely known the names, and whose terrible importance for the existence of the German people I certainly did not understand: Marxism and Jewry” (1). It was during this time of dodging the Austrian authorities that his great desire for a unified German society became his main focus. Hitler decided he wanted to show that Germany was the superior European country. Overcome with joy at the beginning of World War I, Hitler was given a chance to demonstrate his love for Germany by volunteering for the German Army. When he was finally caught by the