Adolf Hitler in the World War 2

Adolf Hitler and the Story of World War II

Hitler, leader of the German Nazi party and, from 1933 until his death, dictator of Germany. He rose from the bottom of society to conquer first Germany and then most of Europe. Riding on a wave of European fascism after World War I and favored by traditional defects in German society, especially its lack of cohesion, he built a Fascist regime unparalleled for barbarism and terror. His rule resulted in the destruction of the German nation-state and its society, in the ruin of much of Europe's traditional structure, and in the extermination of about 6 million Jews. He was eventually defeated, but his temporary success demonstrated frighteningly, at the brink of the atomic age, the vulnerability of civilization.

Early Years

Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, at Braunau-am-Inn, Austria. Alois, his father, had risen from a poor peasant background to become an Austrian customs official and was able to provide his son with a secondary school education. Adolf, a bright and talented student at his village school, felt out of place in the much larger urban secondary school. He gave himself up to aimless reading, dreamed about becoming an artist, and developed a talent for evading responsibilities. Poor school marks prevented him from obtaining the customary graduation certificate. After the death of his father, he left his home in Linz, Upper Austria, in 1907 to seek his fortune in Vienna.

Hitler's professed aim in Vienna was to study art, especially architecture, but he twice failed, in 1907 and 1908, to get admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts. These failures destroyed what little order he had established in his life. He withdrew completely from family and friends and wandered aimlessly through the city, observing its life. Though he continued to read voraciously, he derived most of his knowledge from secondhand sources, coffeehouse talk, newspapers, and pamphlets. He encountered the writings of an obscure author...