The name of Adolf Hitler remains famous across the political and social spectrum more than half a century since his death. Adolf Hitler was the reason behind evil of such magnitude that millions of Jewish among other people suffered torture, terror, and death (Coolidge, Davis, and Segal 30). He was the mastermind behind the launch of World War Two. Hitler was a renowned military and political leader despite his popularity as a dictator.
Hitler was born on 20th April 1889 to Alois and Klara Hitler in Austria. Adolf was the fourth of the six children born to his parents, and was three years old when the family relocated to Germany. He had a normal childhood and was an aptitude student (Hyland, Boduszek, and Kielkiewicz 59). However, his desire to pursue fine art made him clash with his father during his early teenagehood. Hitler was close to his mother, and her death in 1903 was a big blow to his already unbalanced life.
Hitler held that Germany was destined to lead, and he was the one single person to ensure the Germans achieve their full potential. “Germany will either be a world power or will not be at all” are the infamous words of Hitler. His tyrannical ways were rooted in his desire to create a “New Order” in Germany. Hitler was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and non-Aryans who were an inferior race and did not deserve the future he envisioned for Germany. Hitler’s anti-Semitic views developed over decades (Hyland, Boduszek, and Kielkiewicz 60). Initially, after spending time in Linz, a Jewish colony, he relocated to Vienna with the hopes of pursuing a career in arts. Unlike Linz, Vienna was especially prevalent in racial and religious discrimination which fostered his hatred for Jews. During his years in Vienna, Hitler established that Jews were the cause of problems in the political spectrum, economy, and social life.
He was involved in the First World War as a dispatch runner in the 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment. Serving as a soldier, Hitler illustrated courage and was awarded his first Iron Cross for bravery. He was injured during the war suffering temporary blindness and was hospitalized in Pomerania hospital.
Having watched small rebellious groups, Hitler joined one uprising known as the German Workers’ Party. He eventually changed the name to Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party and had imposed himself as the leader of the party by 1921 (Stout 23). His eloquence skills enabled him to be the speaker of the party. His personal views of Treaty of Versailles fostered the socialistic concept of “Aryan” race which he considered superior, hence furthering his extreme-nationalist policies. Hitler’s over-confidence made him seek to overthrow the Bavarian government in Munich in 1923. However, he failed in his attempt and was arrested, and sentenced to five years imprisonment. Hitler was released in nine months.
When the ban on the party was lifted, Hitler began his talks as the ultimate German arbitrator. In the 1928 elections, the Nazi Party won a mere 12 seats owing to the Great Depression of that particular year. Hitler’s intelligence skills enabled him to start winning over a majority of the Germans by applying modern techniques of mass communication. As a result, in the 1930 election, the Nazi Party won more than 105 seats. His aspirations and popularity increased, and he vied for the presidency in 1931 but lost to Von Hindenburg.
When the Nazis emerged as the largest political party in German, Hitler was appointed as the Chancellor of Germany. Upon his appointment, Hitler started executing his aspirations by wiping out potential enemies and removing the Jews from any significant political and social positions. In 1933, he won the majority with the use of not only intimidation and terror, but also extreme persuasion. Four years after his election, Hitler enjoyed extreme local and international success owing to his eloquence and exceptional strategies (Stout 56). In the initial years of his leadership, while Hitler used intimidation to achieve national interests he deemed necessary, he was diplomatic rather than violent.
The expansion in military production fostered Hitler’s foreign policy success such as the Rome-Berlin Axis of 1936, the ‘Anschluss’ with Austria among others. His success in securing several contracts on behalf of Germany increased not only his popularity, but also his self-confidence. Hitler thought himself a military genius and the liberator of Germany.
Hitler’s antagonistic foreign policies are considered one of the main reasons for the outbreak of World War 2 (Bullock 190). His diplomatic and military schemes forced both the British and French to abandon the Munich Agreement in 1938 (Braunbeck 10). His next conquest was Poland which was an ally of both France and Britain. To achieve his aspiration, he struck an agreement with Russia, but later breached it. Germany invaded Poland in 1939 which prompted the beginning of the Second World War. The initial phase of the war was controlled by Germans “Blitzkrieg” strategies that involved sudden attacks on other military installations and distracting other armies enabled Germany to defeat Poland, Holland, Belgium, and France in less than three months (Braunbeck 13). The fall of France was a big blown to Britain, but the state refused to bow down to Hitler. Although Hitler had signed a non-aggression pact with Russia, he still attacked the country in June 1941 with the hope that defeat of Russia will leave Britain stranded.
Britain remained steady in the stand against Hitler’s plan to control Continental Europe. This prompted Hitler to implement “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” which involved complete extermination of the Jewish race (Stout 61). Hitler had warned that defiance in any of his military conquest would result to doom for the Jewish community across the globe. Millions of Jews in Poland and Germany were exterminated in masses.
The defeat of Germany began when the Soviet Union did not collapse as Hitler expected. Moreover, their Italian allies failed in the Middle East. The entry of the USA changed the tide of the war indicating Germans’ defeat sooner rather than later.
However, while it would have been brave for Hitler to accept defeat, he believed his military leaders were incompetent. The impending loss deteriorated his mental status activating his hysterical fury and killing spheres. At the dawn of 1943 Germans lacked the resources to maintain the war, and the Nazis concentrated on eradicating evidence of their offensive actions through the burning of bodies. At the end of the war, Hitler committed suicide in 1945 at the age of 50.
Historical psychologists suggest Hitler suffered from some mental instabilities that contributed to his skewed view of the world (Coolidge, Davis, and Segal 32). Despite his misgivings, Hitler showcased exceptional leadership and military skills which enabled him to rise in ranks quickly from a mere soldier to one of the most feared individuals of the first half of the 20th century.
Braunbeck, Paul A. “A Military Leadership Analysis of Adolf Hitler.”Air University (AU), March 1997, pp. 1-32, http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/acsc/97-0609h.pdf. Accessed 25 Sep. 2017.
Bullock, Alan. “Hitler and the Origins of the Second World War .” In The Origins of the Second World War. Springer, 1971, pp. 189-224.
Coolidge, Fredrick , Felicia Davis, and Daniel Segal. “Understanding Madmen: A DSM-IV Assessment of Adolf Hitler.” Individual Differences Research, vol. 5, no. 1, 2007, pp. 30-43.
Hyland, Philip, Daniel Boduszek, and Krzysztof Kielkiewicz. “A Psycho- Historical Analysis of Adolf Hitler: The Role of Personality, Psychopathology and Development.” Psychology and Society, vol. 4(2), 2011, pp. 58-63.
Stout, Michael J. “The Effectiveness of Nazi Propaganda During World War Two.” Master’s Theses and Doctorial Dissertations Papers, 2011, pp. 1-89.