Adolf Hitler
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30 January 1933 – 30 April 1945
Preceded by Kurt von Schleicher
Succeeded by Joseph Goebbels
Born 20 April 1889
Braunau am...
Early elements
Racial policy
Haavara Agreement
Nuremberg Laws
Nazi eugenics
Action T4
Jews
German Jews
Pogroms
Kristallnac...
Resistance
Jewish partisans
Ghetto uprisings
(Warsaw · Białystok
Łachwa)
End of World War II
Death marches · Berihah
"Surv...
Salaspils · Sobibór
Stutthof · Theresienstadt
Treblinka · Uckermark
Warsaw
List of Nazi concentration
camps
Parties respon...
West Germany
Lists
Survivors · Victims
Rescuers
Resources
The Destruction of
the European Jews
Functionalism versus
intent...
directing the resources of the state towards this goal. This included the
rearmament of Germany, which culminated in 1939 ...
o 3.5 Removal of remaining limits
4 Third Reich
o 4.1 Economy and culture
o 4.2 Rearmament and new alliances
o 4.3 The Hol...
13 Footnotes
14 References
15 Further reading
o 15.1 Medical books
16 External links
Early years
Ancestry
Hitler's father,...
Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 at half-past six in the evening at the
Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn inBraunau am Inn,...
His younger brother Edmund died of measles on 2 February 1900, causing
permanent changes in Hitler. He went from a confide...
At age 15, Hitler took part in his First Holy Communion on Whitsunday, 22 May
1904, at the Linz Cathedral.[20]
His sponsor...
painter in Vienna, copying scenes from postcards and selling his paintings to
merchants and tourists. After being rejected...
Hitler may also have been influenced by Martin Luther's On the Jews and their
Lies. In Mein Kampf, Hitler refers to Martin...
A young Hitler (left) posing with other German soldiers
World War I
Hitler served in France and Belgium in the 16th Bavari...
German historian and author, Sebastian Haffner, referring to Hitler's experience
at the front, suggests he did have at lea...
damaging sanctions. The treaty re-created Poland, which even moderate
Germans regarded as an outrage. The treaty also blam...
the Bavarian Soviet Republic, he took part in "national thinking" courses
organized by the Education and Propaganda Depart...
to drive around withswastikas, cause a commotion and throw out leaflets, their
first use of this tactic. Hitler gained not...
Werkgemeinschaft, led byJulius Streicher, who became Gauleiter of Franconia.
Hitler attracted the attention of local busin...
marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the
Bavarian government as a start to their "March on...
Race by Madison Grant which Hitler called "my Bible."[57]
It was published in two
volumes in 1925 and 1926, selling about ...
At the time of Hitler's release, the political situation in Germany had calmed and
the economy had improved, which hampere...
Having failed in overthrowing the Republic by a coup, Hitler pursued a "strategy
of legality": this meant formally adherin...
Brüning Administration
An NSDAP meeting in December 1930, with Hitler in the centre
The political turning point for Hitler...
insisted that his party was determined to come to power legally, that the phrase
"National Revolution" was only to be inte...
Appointment as Chancellor
This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by ad...
On the morning of 30 January 1933, in Hindenburg's office, Adolf Hitler was
sworn in as Chancellor during what some observ...
This section does not cite any references or sources.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sou...
Centre Party, the third largest party in the Reichstag, turned out to be decisive:
under the leadership of Ludwig Kaas, th...
unconnected with the SA were murdered, notably Gregor Strasser and former
Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher.[81]
In 1934, Hit...
soldiers and sailors swear loyalty to the holder of the office of supreme
commander/commander-in-chief, not a specific per...
propaganda from the era. Much of the financing for Hitler's reconstruction and
rearmament came from currency manipulation ...
Although Hitler made plans for a Breitspurbahn ("broad gauge railroad network"),
they were preempted by World War II. Had ...
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Parade of the SA troops
In a meeting with his leading generals and admirals on 3 ...
In June 1933, Hitler was forced to disavow Alfred Hugenberg of the German
National People's Party, who while attending the...
occurred with relations with Poland. In spite of intense opposition from the
military and the Auswärtiges Amt who preferre...
expressing their frustrations against a group that the authorities would not
generally protect.[110]
The rank and file of ...
German public did not approve of the wave of anti-Semitic violence, and that
continuing police toleration of the violence ...
60 million Reichmarks of foreign exchange to be used to buy seed oil for German
farmers, a decision that led to bitter com...
of August.[129]
Historians such as Richard Overy have argued that the importance
of the memo, which was written personally...
"However well balanced the general pattern of a nation's life ought to be, there
must at particular times be certain distu...
On 25 October 1936, an Axis was declared between Italy and Germany
An Axis was declared between Germany and Italy by Count...
By the latter half of 1937, Hitler had abandoned his dream of an Anglo-German
alliance, blaming "inadequate" British leade...
Marshal Werner von Blomberg, and the Army Commander General Werner von
Fritsch, that any German aggression in Eastern Euro...
assuming the rank, role and tile of theOberster Befehlshaber der
Wehrmacht (supreme commander of the armed forces).[150]
T...
private German companies). Along with Jews, non-Jewish Poles, Communists
and political opponents, members of resistance gr...
Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka with Hitler in Berlin
In February 1938, Hitler finally ended the dilemma that ha...
This section may be too long to read and navigate
comfortably. Please consider moving more of the content into
sub-article...
along the Czechoslovak border, relentless propaganda attacks about the
supposed ill treatment of the Sudetenlanders, and f...
drawn at Hitler's orders, envisaged the Royal Navy for the first time as the
principal opponent of the Kriegsmarine.[174]
...
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
Adolf hitler ebook
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Adolf hitler ebook
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  1. 1. Adolf Hitler From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles and using this article for a summary of the key points of the subject.(June 2010) "Hitler" redirects here. For other uses, see Hitler (disambiguation). Adolf Hitler Führer und Reichskanzler In office 2 August 1934 – 30 April 1945 Preceded by Paul von Hindenburg (as President) Succeeded by Karl Dönitz (as President) Reichskanzler (Chancellor) of Germany In office
  2. 2. 30 January 1933 – 30 April 1945 Preceded by Kurt von Schleicher Succeeded by Joseph Goebbels Born 20 April 1889 Braunau am Inn, Austria–Hungary Died 30 April 1945 (aged 56) Berlin, Germany Citizenship Austrian (1889–1932) German (1932–1945) Nationality Austrian citizen until 1925[1] German citizen after 1932 Political party German Workers' Party(1920–1921) National Socialist German Workers' Party (1921–1945) Spouse(s) Eva Braun (married on 29 April 1945) Occupation Politician, soldier, artist, writer Religion See Adolf Hitler's religious views Signature Military service Allegiance German Empire Service/branch Reichsheer Years of service 1914–1918 Rank Gefreiter Unit 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment Battles/wars World War I Awards Iron Cross First and Second Class Wound Badge The Holocaust
  3. 3. Early elements Racial policy Haavara Agreement Nuremberg Laws Nazi eugenics Action T4 Jews German Jews Pogroms Kristallnacht · Bucharest Dorohoi · Iaşi · Jedwabne Kaunas · Lviv (Lvov) · Vel' d'Hiv Ghettos List of ghettos Budapest · Lublin Lviv (Lvov) · Łódź Kraków · Kovno · Minsk Warsaw · Vilnius Einsatzgruppen Babi Yar · Rumbula Ponary · Odessa Erntefest · Ninth Fort "Final Solution" Wannsee Conference Operation Reinhard Holocaust trains Extermination camps Madagascar Plan
  4. 4. Resistance Jewish partisans Ghetto uprisings (Warsaw · Białystok Łachwa) End of World War II Death marches · Berihah "Surviving Remnant" (Sh'erit ha-Pletah) Other victims Romani people (Gypsies) Homosexuals People with disabilities Slavs in Eastern Europe Poles · Soviet POWs Jehovah's Witnesses Concentration and extermination camps Nazi concentration camps Nazi extermination camps Auschwitz-Birkenau · Bełżec Bergen-Belsen · Bogdanovka Buchenwald · Chełmno Dachau · Gross-Rosen Herzogenbusch Janowska · Jasenovac Kaiserwald · Majdanek Maly Trostenets Mauthausen-Gusen Neuengamme · Ravensbrück Sachsenhausen · Sajmište
  5. 5. Salaspils · Sobibór Stutthof · Theresienstadt Treblinka · Uckermark Warsaw List of Nazi concentration camps Parties responsible Nazi Germany People Adolf Hitler Heinrich Himmler Ernst Kaltenbrunner Theodor Eicke Reinhard Heydrich Adolf Eichmann Rudolf Höss Organizations Nazi Party Schutzstaffel (SS) Gestapo Sturmabteilung (SA) Collaborators during World War II Nazi ideologues Aftermath Nuremberg Trials Denazification Reparations Agreement between Israel and
  6. 6. West Germany Lists Survivors · Victims Rescuers Resources The Destruction of the European Jews Functionalism versus intentionalism v • d • e Adolf Hitler (German pronunciation: [ adˈ ɔlf hˈ ɪtlɐ]; 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party(German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP), commonly known as the Nazi Party. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and, after 1934, also head of state as Führer und Reichskanzler, ruling the country as an absolute dictator ofGermany. A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the precursor of the Nazi Party (DAP) in 1919 and became leader of NSDAP in 1921. He attempted a failed coup called the Beer Hall Putschin Munich in 1923, for which he was imprisoned. Following his imprisonment, in which he wrote his book, Mein Kampf, he gained support by promoting German nationalism, anti-semitism,anti-capitalism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and propaganda. He was appointed chancellor in 1933, and quickly transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideals of national socialism. Hitler ultimately wanted to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in Europe. To achieve this, he pursued a foreign policy with the declared goal of seizingLebensraum ("living space") for the Aryan people;
  7. 7. directing the resources of the state towards this goal. This included the rearmament of Germany, which culminated in 1939 when theWehrmacht invaded Poland. In response, the United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany, leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe.[2] Within three years, Germany and the Axis powers had occupied most of Europe, and most ofNorthern Africa, East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. However, with the reversal of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the Allies gained the upper hand from 1942 onwards. By 1945, Allied armies had invaded German-held Europe from all sides. Nazi forces engaged in numerous violent acts during the war, including the systematic murder of as many as 17 million civilians,[3] an estimated six million of whom were Jews targeted in the Holocaust and between 500,000 and 1,500,000 were Romanis.[4] Others targeted included ethnic Poles, Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, people with disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other political and religious opponents. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time mistress Eva Braun and, to avoid capture by Soviet forces less than two days later, the twocommitted suicide[5] on 30 April 1945. Contents 1 Early years o 1.1 Ancestry o 1.2 Childhood o 1.3 Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich o 1.4 World War I 2 Entry into politics o 2.1 Beer Hall Putsch o 2.2 Mein Kampf o 2.3 Rebuilding of the party 3 Rise to power o 3.1 Brüning Administration o 3.2 Appointment as Chancellor o 3.3 Reichstag fire and the March elections o 3.4 "Day of Potsdam" and the Enabling Act
  8. 8. o 3.5 Removal of remaining limits 4 Third Reich o 4.1 Economy and culture o 4.2 Rearmament and new alliances o 4.3 The Holocaust 5 World War II o 5.1 Early diplomatic triumphs  5.1.1 Alliance with Japan  5.1.2 Austria and Czechoslovakia o 5.2 Start of World War II o 5.3 Path to defeat o 5.4 Attempted assassination o 5.5 Defeat and death 6 Legacy 7 Religious views o 7.1 Attitude to occultism 8 Health o 8.1 Syphilis o 8.2 Monorchism o 8.3 Parkinson's disease o 8.4 Other complaints o 8.5 Mental health o 8.6 Addiction to amphetamine o 8.7 Criticism 9 Sexuality 10 Family 11 Hitler in media o 11.1 Oratory and rallies o 11.2 Recorded in private conversation o 11.3 Patria picture disc o 11.4 Documentaries during the Third Reich o 11.5 Television o 11.6 Documentaries post Third Reich o 11.7 Films 12 See also
  9. 9. 13 Footnotes 14 References 15 Further reading o 15.1 Medical books 16 External links Early years Ancestry Hitler's father, Alois Hitler, was an illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber so his paternity was not listed on his birth certificate and he bore his mother's surname.[6][7] In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Maria and in 1876 Alois testified before a notary and three witnesses that Johann was his father. [8] At age 39, Alois took the surname Hitler. This surname was variously spelled Hiedler, Hüttler, Huettler and Hitler, and was probably regularized to Hitler by a clerk. The origin of the name is either "one who lives in a hut" (Standard German Hütte), "shepherd" (Standard German hüten "to guard", English heed), or is from theSlavic word Hidlar and Hidlarcek. (Regarding the first two theories: some German dialects make little or no distinction between the ü- sound and the i-sound.)[7] Despite this testimony, Alois' paternity has been the subject of controversy. After receiving a "blackmailletter" from Hitler's nephew William Patrick Hitler threatening to reveal embarrassing information about Hitler's family tree, Nazi Party lawyer Hans Frank investigated, and, in his memoirs, claimed to have uncovered letters revealing that Alois' mother, Maria Schicklgruber, was employed as a housekeeper for a Jewish family in Graz and that the family's 19- year-old son, Leopold Frankenberger, fathered Alois.[7] No evidence has ever been produced to support Frank's claim, and Frank himself said Hitler's full Aryan blood was obvious.[9] Frank's claims were widely believed in the 1950s, but by the 1990s, were generally doubted by historians.[10][11] Ian Kershaw dismisses the Frankenberger story as a "smear" by Hitler's enemies, noting that all Jews had been expelled from Graz in the 15th century and were not allowed to return until well after Alois was born.[11] Childhood
  10. 10. Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 at half-past six in the evening at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn inBraunau am Inn, Austria–Hungary, the fourth of Alois and Klara Hitler's six children. Adolf Hitler as an infant At the age of three, his family moved to Kapuzinerstrasse 5[12] in Passau, Germany where the young Hitler would acquire Lower Bavarian rather than Austrian as his lifelong native dialect.[13] In 1894, the family moved toLeonding near Linz, then in June 1895, Alois retired to a small landholding at Hafeld near Lambach, where he tried his hand at farming and beekeeping. During this time, the young Hitler attended school in nearby Fischlham. As a child, he tirelessly played "Cowboys and Indians" and, by his own account, became fixated on war after finding a picture book about the Franco-Prussian War in his father's things.[14] He wrote in Mein Kampf: "It was not long before the great historic struggle had become my greatest spiritual experience. From then on, I became more and more enthusiastic about everything that was in any way connected with war or, for that matter, with soldiering." His father's efforts at Hafeld ended in failure and the family moved to Lambach in 1897. There, Hitler attended a Catholic school located in an 11th- century Benedictine cloister whose walls were engraved in a number of places with crests containing the symbol of the swastika.[15] It was in Lambach that the eight year-old Hitler sang in the church choir, took singing lessons, and even entertained the fantasy of one day becoming a priest.[16] In 1898, the family returned permanently to Leonding.
  11. 11. His younger brother Edmund died of measles on 2 February 1900, causing permanent changes in Hitler. He went from a confident, outgoing boy who found school easy, to a morose, detached, sullen boy who constantly battled his father and his teachers.[17] Hitler was close to his mother, but had a troubled relationship with his authoritarian father, who frequently beat him, especially in the years after Alois' retirement and disappointing farming efforts.[18] Alois wanted his son to follow in his footsteps as an Austrian customs official, and this became a huge source of conflict between them.[14] Despite his son's pleas to go to classical high school and become an artist, his father sent him to the Realschule in Linz, a technical high school of about 300 students, in September 1900. Hitler rebelled, and in Mein Kampf confessed to failing his first year in hopes that once his father saw "what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to the happiness I dreamed of." But Alois never relented and Hitler became even more bitter and rebellious. For young Hitler, German Nationalism quickly became an obsession, and a way to rebel against his father, who proudly served the Austrian government. Most people who lived along the German-Austrian border considered themselves German-Austrians, but Hitler expressed loyalty only to Germany. In defiance of the Austrian monarchy, and his father who continually expressed loyalty to it, Hitler and his young friends liked to use the German greeting "Heil", and sing the German anthem "Deutschland Über Alles" instead of theAustrian Imperial anthem.[14] After Alois' sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler's behaviour at the technical school became even more disruptive, and he was asked to leave. He enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in 1904, but upon completing his second year, he and his friends went out for a night of celebration and drinking, and an intoxicated Hitler tore his school certificate into four pieces and used it as toilet paper. When someone turned the stained certificate in to the school's director, he "... gave him such a dressing-down that the boy was reduced to shivering jelly. It was probably the most painful and humiliating experience of his life."[19] Hitler was expelled, never to return to school again.
  12. 12. At age 15, Hitler took part in his First Holy Communion on Whitsunday, 22 May 1904, at the Linz Cathedral.[20] His sponsor was Emanuel Lugert, a friend of his late father.[21] Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich From 1905 on, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna on an orphan's pension and support from his mother. He was rejected twice by theAcademy of Fine Arts Vienna (1907–1908), citing "unfitness for painting", and was told his abilities lay instead in the field of architecture.[22] His memoirs reflect a fascination with the subject: The purpose of my trip was to study the picture gallery in the Court Museum, but I had eyes for scarcely anything but the Museum itself. From morning until late at night, I ran from one object of interest to another, but it was always the buildings which held my primary interest.[23] Following the school rector's recommendation, he too became convinced this was his path to pursue, yet he lacked the proper academic preparation for architecture school: In a few days I myself knew that I should some day become an architect. To be sure, it was an incredibly hard road; for the studies I had neglected out of spite at the Realschule were sorely needed. One could not attend the Academy's architectural school without having attended the building school at the Technic, and the latter required a high-school degree. I had none of all this. The fulfilment of my artistic dream seemed physically impossible.[23] The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich, by Adolf Hitler, 1914 On 21 December 1907, Hitler's mother died of breast cancer at age 47. Ordered by a court in Linz, Hitler gave his share of the orphans' benefits to his sister Paula. When he was 21, he inherited money from an aunt. He struggled as a
  13. 13. painter in Vienna, copying scenes from postcards and selling his paintings to merchants and tourists. After being rejected a second time by the Academy of Arts, Hitler ran out of money. In 1909, he lived in a shelter for the homeless. By 1910, he had settled into a house for poor working men on Meldemannstraße. Another resident of the house, Reinhold Hanisch, sold Hitler's paintings until the two men had a bitter falling-out.[24] Hitler said he first became an anti-Semite in Vienna,[23] which had a large Jewish community, including Orthodox Jews who had fled the pogroms in Russia. According to childhood friendAugust Kubizek, however, Hitler was a "confirmed anti-Semite" before he left Linz.[23] Vienna at that time was a hotbed of traditional religious prejudice and 19th century racism. Hitler may have been influenced by the writings of the ideologist and anti-Semite Lanz von Liebenfels and polemicsfrom politicians such as Karl Lueger, founder of the Christian Social Party and Mayor of Vienna, the composer Richard Wagner, and Georg Ritter von Schönerer, leader of the pan-Germanic Away from Rome! movement. Hitler claims in Mein Kampf that his transition from opposing antisemitism on religious grounds to supporting it on racial grounds came from having seen an Orthodox Jew. There were very few Jews in Linz. In the course of centuries the Jews who lived there had become Europeanised in external appearance and were so much like other human beings that I even looked upon them as Germans. The reason why I did not then perceive the absurdity of such an illusion was that the only external mark which I recognized as distinguishing them from us was the practice of their strange religion. As I thought that they were persecuted on account of their faith my aversion to hearing remarks against them grew almost into a feeling of abhorrence. I did not in the least suspect that there could be such a thing as a systematic antisemitism. Once, when passing through the inner City, I suddenly encountered a phenomenon in a long caftan and wearing black side-locks. My first thought was: Is this a Jew? They certainly did not have this appearance in Linz. I carefully watched the man stealthily and cautiously but the longer I gazed at the strange countenance and examined it feature by feature, the more the question shaped itself in my brain: Is this a German?[23] If this account is true, Hitler apparently did not act on his new belief. He often was a guest for dinner in a noble Jewish house, and he interacted well with Jewish merchants who tried to sell his paintings.[25]
  14. 14. Hitler may also have been influenced by Martin Luther's On the Jews and their Lies. In Mein Kampf, Hitler refers to Martin Luther as a great warrior, a true statesman, and a great reformer, alongside Richard Wagner and Frederick the Great.[26] Wilhelm Röpke, writing after the Holocaust, concluded that "without any question, Lutheranism influenced the political, spiritual and social history of Germany in a way that, after careful consideration of everything, can be described only as fateful."[27][28] Hitler claimed that Jews were enemies of the Aryan race. He held them responsible for Austria's crisis. He also identified certain forms of socialism and Bolshevism, which had many Jewish leaders, as Jewish movements, merging his antisemitism with anti-Marxism. Later, blaming Germany's military defeat in World War I on the 1918 revolutions, he considered Jews the culprits of Imperial Germany's downfall and subsequent economic problems as well. Generalising from tumultuous scenes in the parliament of the multi-national Austrian monarchy, he decided that the democratic parliamentary system was unworkable. However, according to August Kubizek, his one-time roommate, he was more interested in Wagner's operas than in his politics. Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich. He wrote in Mein Kampf that he had always longed to live in a "real" German city. In Munich, he became more interested in architecture and, he says, the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Moving to Munich also helped him escape military service in Austria for a time, but the Munich police (acting in cooperation with the Austrian authorities) eventually arrested him. After a physical exam and a contrite plea, he was deemed unfit for service and allowed to return to Munich. However, when Germany entered World War I in August 1914, he petitioned King Ludwig III of Bavaria for permission to serve in a Bavarian regiment. This request was granted, and Adolf Hitler enlisted in the Bavarian army.[29]
  15. 15. A young Hitler (left) posing with other German soldiers World War I Hitler served in France and Belgium in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment (called Regiment Listafter its first commander), ending the war as a Gefreiter (equivalent at the time to a lance corporalin the British and private first class in the American armies). He was a runner, "a dangerous enough job"[30] on the Western Front, and was often exposed to enemy fire. He participated in a number of major battles on the Western Front, including the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras and the Battle of Passchendaele. [31] The Battle of Ypres (October 1914), which became known in Germany as the Kindermord bei Ypern (Massacre of the Innocents) saw approximately 40,000 men (between a third and a half) of the nine infantry divisions present killed in 20 days, and Hitler's own company of 250 reduced to 42 by December. Biographer John Keegan has said that this experience drove Hitler to become aloof and withdrawn for the remaining years of war.[32] Hitler in the German Army, 1914, sitting at right Hitler was twice decorated for bravery. He received the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914 and Iron Cross, First Class, in 1918, an honour rarely given to a Gefreiter.[33] However, because the regimental staff thought Hitler lacked leadership skills, he was never promoted to Unteroffizier(equivalent to a British corporal). Other historians[citation needed] say that the reason he was not promoted is that he was not a German citizen. His duties at regimental headquarters, while often dangerous, gave Hitler time to pursue his artwork. He drew cartoons and instructional drawings for an army newspaper. In 1916, he was wounded in either the groin area[34] or the left thigh[35] during the Battle of the Somme, but returned to the front in March 1917. He received the Wound Badgelater that year. A noted
  16. 16. German historian and author, Sebastian Haffner, referring to Hitler's experience at the front, suggests he did have at least some understanding of the military. On 15 October 1918, Hitler was admitted to a field hospital, temporarily blinded by a mustard gasattack. The English psychologist David Lewis and Bernhard Horstmann suggest the blindness may have been the result of a conversion disorder (then known as "hysteria").[36] Citing contemporary witnesses, Claus Hant concludes that the psychotic episode led Hitler to believe that he had received a divine mission.[37] In fact, Hitler said it was during this experience that he became convinced the purpose of his life was to "save Germany." Some scholars, notably Lucy Dawidowicz,[38] argue that an intention to exterminate Europe's Jews was fully formed in Hitler's mind at this time, though he probably had not thought through how it could be done. Most historians think the decision was made in 1941, and some think it came as late as 1942. Two passages in Mein Kampf mention the use of poison gas: At the beginning of the Great War, or even during the War, if twelve or fifteen thousand of these Jews who were corrupting the nation had been forced to submit to poison-gas . . . then the millions of sacrifices made at the front would not have been in vain.[39] These tactics are based on an accurate estimation of human weakness and must lead to success, with almost mathematical certainty, unless the other side also learns how to fight poison gas with poison gas. The weaker natures must be told that here it is a case of to be or not to be.[23] Hitler had long admired Germany, and during the war he had become a passionate German patriot, although he did not become a German citizen until 1932. Hitler found the war to be 'the greatest of all experiences' and afterwards he was praised by a number of his commanding officers for his bravery.[40] He was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918 even while the German army still held enemy territory.[41] Like many other German nationalists, Hitler believed in the Dolchstoßlegende ("dagger-stab legend") which claimed that the army, "undefeated in the field," had been "stabbed in the back" by civilian leaders and Marxists back on the home front. These politicians were later dubbed the November Criminals. The Treaty of Versailles deprived Germany of various territories, demilitarised the Rhineland and imposed other economically
  17. 17. damaging sanctions. The treaty re-created Poland, which even moderate Germans regarded as an outrage. The treaty also blamed Germany for all the horrors of the war, something which major historians such as John Keegan now consider at least in part to be victor's justice: most European nations in the run- up to World War I had become increasingly militarised and were eager to fight. The culpability of Germany was used as a basis to impose reparations on Germany (the amount was repeatedly revised under the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, and the Hoover Moratorium). Germany in turn perceived the treaty and especially, Article 231 the paragraph on the German responsibility for the war as a humiliation. For example, there was a nearly total demilitarisation of the armed forces, allowing Germany only six battleships, no submarines, no air force, an army of 100,000 without conscription and no armoured vehicles. The treaty was an important factor in both the social and political conditions encountered by Hitler and his Nazis as they sought power. Hitler and his party used the signing of the treaty by the "November Criminals" as a reason to build up Germany so that it could never happen again. He also used the "November Criminals" as scapegoats, although at the Paris peace conference, these politicians had had very little choice in the matter. Entry into politics Main article: Adolf Hitler's political views A copy of Adolf Hitler's forged German Workers' Party (DAP) membership card. His actual membership number was 555 (the 55th member of the party – the 500 was added to make the group appear larger) but later the number was reduced to create the impression that Hitler was one of the founding members.[42] Hitler had wanted to create his own party, but was ordered by his superiors in the Reichswehr to infiltrate an existing one instead. After World War I, Hitler remained in the army and returned to Munich, where he – in contrast to his later declarations – attended the funeral march for the murdered Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner.[43] After the suppression of
  18. 18. the Bavarian Soviet Republic, he took part in "national thinking" courses organized by the Education and Propaganda Department (Dept Ib/P) of the BavarianReichswehr Group, Headquarters 4 under Captain Karl Mayr. Scapegoats were found in "international Jewry", communists, and politicians across the party spectrum, especially the parties of the Weimar Coalition. In July 1919, Hitler was appointed a Verbindungsmann (police spy) of an Aufklärungskommando(Intelligence Commando) of the Reichswehr, both to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate a small party, the German Workers' Party (DAP). During his inspection of the party, Hitler was impressed with founder Anton Drexler's anti-semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist and anti- Marxistideas, which favoured a strong active government, a "non-Jewish" version of socialism and mutual solidarity of all members of society. Drexler was impressed with Hitler's oratory skills and invited him to join the party. Hitler joined DAP on 12 September 1919[44] and became the party's 55th member.[45] He was also made the seventh member of the executive committee.[46] Years later, he claimed to be the party's seventh overall member, but it has been established that this claim is false.[47] Here Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of the early founders of the party and member of the occultThule Society.[48] The Thule members believed in the coming of a “German Messiah” who would redeem Germany after its defeat in World War I. Dietrich Eckart expressed his anticipation in a poem he published months before he met Hitler for the first time. In the poem, Eckart refers to ‘the Great One’, ‘the Nameless One’, ‘Whom all can sense but no one saw’.When Eckart met Hitler in 1919 he believed to have found the prophesied redeemer.[49] Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him, teaching him how to dress and speak, and introducing him to a wide range of people. Hitler thanked Eckart by paying tribute to him in the second volume of Mein Kampf. To increase the party's appeal, the party changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or National Socialist German Workers Party (abbreviated NSDAP). Hitler was discharged from the army in March 1920 and with his former superiors' continued encouragement began participating full time in the party's activities. By early 1921, Hitler was becoming highly effective at speaking in front of large crowds. In February, Hitler spoke before a crowd of nearly six thousand in Munich. To publicize the meeting, he sent out two truckloads of party supporters
  19. 19. to drive around withswastikas, cause a commotion and throw out leaflets, their first use of this tactic. Hitler gained notoriety outside of the party for his rowdy,polemic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians (including monarchists, nationalists and other non-internationalistsocialists) and especially against Marxists and Jews. The NSDAP[50] was centred in Munich, a hotbed of German nationalists who included Army officers determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar republic. Gradually they noticed Hitler and his growing movement as a suitable vehicle for their goals. Hitler traveled to Berlin to visit nationalist groups during the summer of 1921, and in his absence there was a revolt among the DAP leadership in Munich. The party was run by an executive committee whose original members considered Hitler to be overbearing. They formed an alliance with a group of socialists from Augsburg. Hitler rushed back to Munich and countered them by tendering his resignation from the party on 11 July 1921. When they realized the loss of Hitler would effectively mean the end of the party, he seized the moment and announced he would return on the condition that he replace Drexler as party chairman, with unlimited powers. Infuriated committee members (including Drexler) held out at first. Meanwhile an anonymous pamphlet appeared entitled Adolf Hitler: Is he a traitor?, attacking Hitler's lust for power and criticizing the violent men around him. Hitler responded to its publication in a Munich newspaper by suing for libel and later won a small settlement. The executive committee of the NSDAP eventually backed down and Hitler's demands were put to a vote of party members. Hitler received 543 votes for and only one against. At the next gathering on 29 July 1921, Adolf Hitler was introduced as Führer of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, marking the first time this title was publicly used. Hitler's beer hall oratory, attacking Jews, social democrats, liberals, reactionary monarchists, capitalists and communists, began attracting adherents. Early followers included Rudolf Hess, the former air force pilot Hermann Göring, and the army captain Ernst Röhm, who eventually became head of the Nazis' paramilitary organization, the SA (Sturmabteilung, or "Storm Division"), which protected meetings and attacked political opponents. As well, Hitler assimilated independent groups, such as the Nuremberg-based Deutsche
  20. 20. Werkgemeinschaft, led byJulius Streicher, who became Gauleiter of Franconia. Hitler attracted the attention of local business interests, was accepted into influential circles of Munich society, and became associated with wartime General Erich Ludendorff during this time. Drawing of Hitler, 1923 Beer Hall Putsch Main article: Beer Hall Putsch Encouraged by this early support, Hitler decided to use Ludendorff as a front in an attempted coup later known as the "Beer Hall Putsch" (sometimes as the "Hitler Putsch" or "Munich Putsch"). The Nazi Party had copied Italy's fascists in appearance and had adopted some of their policies, and in 1923, Hitler wanted to emulate Benito Mussolini's "March on Rome" by staging his own "Campaign in Berlin". Hitler and Ludendorff obtained the clandestine support of Gustav von Kahr, Bavaria's de facto ruler, along with leading figures in the Reichswehr and the police. As political posters show, Ludendorff, Hitler and the heads of the Bavarian police and military planned on forming a new government. On 8 November 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting headed by Kahr in the Bürgerbräukeller, a large beer hall in Munich. He declared that he had set up a new government with Ludendorff and demanded, at gunpoint, the support of Kahr and the local military establishment for the destruction of the Berlin government.[51] Kahr withdrew his support and fled to join the opposition to Hitler at the first opportunity.[52] The next day, when Hitler and his followers
  21. 21. marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government as a start to their "March on Berlin", the police dispersed them. Sixteen NSDAP members were killed.[53] Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl and contemplated suicide. He was soon arrested for high treason. Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the party. During Hitler's trial, he was given almost unlimited time to speak, and his popularity soared as he voiced nationalistic sentiments in his defence speech. A Munich personality became a nationally known figure. On 1 April 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison. Hitler received favoured treatment from the guards and had much fan mail from admirers. He was pardoned and released from jail on 20 December 1924, by order of the Bavarian Supreme Court on 19 December, which issued its final rejection of the state prosecutor's objections to Hitler's early release.[54] Including time on remand, he had served little more than one year of his sentence.[55] On 28 June 1925, Hitler wrote a letter from Uffing to the editor of The Nation in New York City stating how long he had been in prison at "Sandberg a. S." [sic] and how much his privileges had been revoked.[56] Mein Kampf Main article: Mein Kampf Dust jacket of Mein Kampf While at Landsberg he dictated most of the first volume of Mein Kampf (My Struggle, originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice) to his deputyRudolf Hess.[55] The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an autobiography and an exposition of his ideology. Mein Kampf was influenced by The Passing of the Great
  22. 22. Race by Madison Grant which Hitler called "my Bible."[57] It was published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, selling about 240,000 copies between 1925 and 1934. By the end of the war, about 10 million copies had been sold or distributed (newlyweds and soldiers received free copies). Hitler spent years dodging taxes on the royalties of his book and had accumulated a tax debt of about 405,500 Reichsmarks (€6 million in today's money) by the time he became chancellor (at which time his debt was waived).[58] [59] The copyright of Mein Kampf in Europe is claimed by the Free State of Bavaria and scheduled to end on 31 December 2015. Reproductions in Germany are authorized only for scholarly purposes and in heavily commented form. The situation is, however, unclear. Historian Werner Maser, in an interview with Bild am Sonntag has stated that Peter Raubal, son of Hitler's nephew, Leo Raubal, would have a strong legal case for winning the copyright from Bavaria if he pursued it. Raubal has stated he wants no part of the rights to the book, which could be worth millions of euros.[60] The uncertain status has led to contested trials in Poland and Sweden. Mein Kampf, however, is published in the U.S., as well as in other countries such as Turkey andIsrael, by publishers with various political positions. Rebuilding of the party Adolf Hitler (left), standing up behind Hermann Göring at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, 1928
  23. 23. At the time of Hitler's release, the political situation in Germany had calmed and the economy had improved, which hampered Hitler's opportunities for agitation. Though the "Hitler Putsch" had given Hitler some national prominence, his party's mainstay was still Munich. The NSDAP and its organs were banned in Bavaria after the collapse of the putsch. Hitler convincedHeinrich Held, Prime Minister of Bavaria, to lift the ban, based on representations that the party would now only seek political power through legal means. Even though the ban on the NSDAP was removed effective 16 February 1925,[61] Hitler incurred a new ban on public speaking as a result of an inflammatory speech. Since Hitler was banned from public speeches, he appointed Gregor Strasser, who in 1924 had been elected to the Reichstag, as Reichsorganisationsleiter, authorizing him to organize the party in northern Germany. Strasser, joined by his younger brother Otto and Joseph Goebbels, steered an increasingly independent course, emphasizing the socialist element in the party's programme. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Gauleiter Nord- West became an internal opposition, threatening Hitler's authority, but this faction was defeated at the Bamberg Conference in 1926, during which Goebbels joined Hitler. After this encounter, Hitler centralized the party even more and asserted the Führerprinzip ("Leader principle") as the basic principle of party organization. Leaders were not elected by their group but were rather appointed by their superior and were answerable to them while demanding unquestioning obedience from their inferiors. Consistent with Hitler's disdain for democracy, all power and authority devolved from the top down. A key element of Hitler's appeal was his ability to evoke a sense of offended national pride caused by the Treaty of Versailles imposed on the defeated German Empire by the Western Allies. Germany had lost economically important territory in Europe along with its colonies and in admitting to sole responsibility for the war had agreed to pay a huge reparations bill totaling 132 billion marks. Most Germans bitterly resented these terms, but early Nazi attempts to gain support by blaming these humiliations on "international Jewry" were not particularly successful with the electorate. The party learned quickly, and soon a more subtle propaganda emerged, combining antisemitism with an attack on the failures of the "Weimar system" and the parties supporting it.
  24. 24. Having failed in overthrowing the Republic by a coup, Hitler pursued a "strategy of legality": this meant formally adhering to the rules of the Weimar Republic until he had legally gained power. He would then use the institutions of the Weimar Republic to destroy it and establish himself as dictator. Some party members, especially in the paramilitary SA, opposed this strategy; Röhm and others ridiculed Hitler as "Adolphe Legalité". Rise to power Main article: Adolf Hitler's rise to power Nazi Party Election Results Date Votes Percentage Seats in Reichstag Background May 1924 1,918,300 6.5 32Hitler in prison December 1924 907,300 3.0 14Hitler is released from prison May 1928 810,100 2.6 12 September 1930 6,409,600 18.3 107After the financial crisis July 1932 13,745,800 37.4 230 After Hitler was candidate for presidency November 1932 11,737,000 33.1 196 March 1933 17,277,000 43.9 288 During Hitler's term as Chancellor of Germany
  25. 25. Brüning Administration An NSDAP meeting in December 1930, with Hitler in the centre The political turning point for Hitler came when the Great Depression hit Germany in 1930. The Weimar Republic had never been firmly rooted and was openly opposed by right-wing conservatives (including monarchists), communists and the Nazis. As the parties loyal to the democratic, parliamentary republic found themselves unable to agree on counter-measures, theirgrand coalition broke up and was replaced by a minority cabinet. The new Chancellor, Heinrich Brüning of the Roman Catholic Centre Party, lacking a majority in parliament, had to implement his measures through the president's emergency decrees. Tolerated by the majority of parties, this rule by decree would become the norm over a series of unworkable parliaments and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government.[62] The Reichstag's initial opposition to Brüning's measures led to premature elections in September 1930. The republican parties lost their majority and their ability to resume the grand coalition, while the Nazis suddenly rose from relative obscurity to win 18.3% of the vote along with 107 seats. In the process, they jumped from the ninth-smallest party in the chamber to the second largest.[63] In September–October 1930, Hitler appeared as a major defence witness at the trial in Leipzig of two junior Reichswehr officers charged with membership of the Nazi Party, which at that time was forbidden to Reichswehr personnel.[64] The two officers, Leutnants Richard Scheringer and Hans Ludin, admitted quite openly to Nazi Party membership, and used as their defence that the Nazi Party membership should not be forbidden to those serving in the Reichswehr.[65] When the Prosecution argued that the Nazi Party was a dangerous revolutionary force, one of the defence lawyers, Hans Frank had Hitler brought to the stand to prove that the Nazi Party was a law-abiding party.[65] During his testimony, Hitler
  26. 26. insisted that his party was determined to come to power legally, that the phrase "National Revolution" was only to be interpreted "politically", and that his Party was a friend, not an enemy of the Reichswehr.[66] Hitler's testimony of 25 September 1930 won him many admirers within the ranks of the officer corps.[67] Brüning's measures of budget consolidation and financial austerity brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular.[68] Under these circumstances, Hitler appealed to the bulk of German farmers, war veterans and the middle class, who had been hard-hit by both the inflation of the 1920s and the unemployment of the Depression.[69] In September 1931, Hitler's niece Geli Raubal was found dead in her bedroom in his Munich apartment (his half- sister Angela and her daughter Geli had been with him in Munich since 1929), an apparent suicide. Geli, who was believed to be in some sort of romantic relationship with Hitler, was 19 years younger than he was and had used his gun. His niece's death is viewed as a source of deep, lasting pain for him.[70] In 1932, Hitler intended to run against the aging President Paul von Hindenburg in the scheduled presidential elections. His 27 January 1932 speech to the Industry Club in Düsseldorf won him, for the first time, support from a broad swath of Germany's most powerful industrialists.[71] Though Hitler had left Austria in 1913 and had renounced his Austrian citizenship in 1925, he still had not acquired German citizenship and hence could not run for public office. On 25 February, however, the interior minister of the Brunswick, a Nazi (the Nazis were part of a right-wing coalition governing the state) appointed Hitler as administrator for the state's delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin. This appointment made Hitler a citizen of Brunswick.[72] In those days, the states conferred citizenship, so this automatically made Hitler a citizen of Germany as well and thus eligible to run for president.[73] The new German citizen ran against Hindenburg, who was supported by a broad range of nationalist, monarchist, Catholic, republican and even social democratic parties. Another candidate was a Communist and member of a fringe right-wing party. Hitler's campaign was called "Hitler über Deutschland" (Hitler over Germany).[74] The name had a double meaning; besides a reference to his dictatorial ambitions, it referred to the fact that he campaigned by aircraft.[74] Hitler came in second on both rounds, attaining more than 35% of the vote during the second one in April. Although he lost to Hindenburg, the election established Hitler as a realistic alternative in German politics.[75]
  27. 27. Appointment as Chancellor This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(April 2009) Meanwhile, Papen tried to get his revenge on Schleicher by working toward the General's downfall, through forming an intrigue with the camarilla and Alfred Hugenberg, media mogul and chairman of the DNVP. Also involved were Hjalmar Schacht, Fritz Thyssen and other leading German businessmen and international bankers.[76] They financially supported the Nazi Party, which had been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by the cost of heavy campaigning. The businessmen wrote letters to Hindenburg, urging him to appoint Hitler as leader of a government "independent from parliamentary parties" which could turn into a movement that would "enrapture millions of people."[77] Adolf Hitler, at a window of the Reich's Chancellory, receives an ovation from supporters in his first day in office asChancellor. (30 January 1933) Finally, the president reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler Chancellor of a coalition government formed by the NSDAP and DNVP. However, the Nazis were to be contained by a framework of conservative cabinet ministers, most notably by Papen as Vice-Chancellor and by Hugenberg as Minister of the Economy. The only other Nazi besides Hitler to get a portfolio was Wilhelm Frick, who was given the relatively powerless interior ministry (in Germany at the time, most powers wielded by the interior minister in other countries were held by the interior ministers of the states). As a concession to the Nazis, Göring was named minister without portfolio. While Papen intended to use Hitler as a figurehead, the Nazis gained key positions.
  28. 28. On the morning of 30 January 1933, in Hindenburg's office, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor during what some observers later described as a brief and simple ceremony. His first speech as Chancellor took place on 10 February. The Nazis' seizure of power subsequently became known as the Machtergreifung or Machtübernahme. Reichstag fire and the March elections Having become Chancellor, Hitler foiled all attempts by his opponents to gain a majority in parliament. Because no single party could gain a majority, Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag again. Elections were scheduled for early March, but on 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire.[78] Since a Dutch independent communist was found in the building, the fire was blamed on a communist plot. The government reacted with the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February which suspended basic rights, includinghabeas corpus. Under the provisions of this decree, the German Communist Party (KPD) and other groups were suppressed, and Communist functionaries and deputies were arrested, forced to flee, or murdered. Campaigning continued, with the Nazis making use of paramilitary violence, anti- communist hysteria, and the government's resources for propaganda. On election day, 6 March, the NSDAP increased its result to 43.9% of the vote, remaining the largest party, but its victory was marred by its failure to secure an absolute majority, necessitating maintaining a coalition with the DNVP.[79] Parade of SA troops past Hitler – Nuremberg, November 1935 "Day of Potsdam" and the Enabling Act
  29. 29. This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2009) On 21 March, the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening ceremony held at Potsdam's garrison church. This "Day of Potsdam" was staged to demonstrate reconciliation and unity between the revolutionary Nazi movement and "Old Prussia" with its elites and virtues. Hitler appeared in a tail coat and humbly greeted the aged President Hindenburg. Because of the Nazis' failure to obtain a majority on their own, Hitler's government confronted the newly elected Reichstag with the Enabling Act that would have vested the cabinet with legislative powers for a period of four years. Though such a bill was not unprecedented, this act was different since it allowed for deviations from the constitution. Since the bill required a ⅔ majority in order to pass, the government needed the support of other parties. The position of the Centre Party, the third largest party in the Reichstag, turned out to be decisive: under the leadership of Ludwig Kaas, the party decided to vote for the Enabling Act. It did so in return for the government's oral guarantees regarding the Church's liberty, the concordats signed by German states and the continued existence of the Centre Party. On 23 March, the Reichstag assembled in a replacement building under extremely turbulent circumstances. Some SA men served as guards within while large groups outside the building shouted slogans and threats toward the arriving deputies. Kaas announced that the Centre Party would support the bill with "concerns put aside," while Social Democrat Otto Wels denounced the act in his speech. At the end of the day, all parties except the Social Democrats voted in favour of the bill. The Communists, as well as some Social Democrats, were barred from attending. The Enabling Act, combined with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler's government into a legal dictatorship. Removal of remaining limits This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(April 2009) “ At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the Nazi movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They ”
  30. 30. Centre Party, the third largest party in the Reichstag, turned out to be decisive: under the leadership of Ludwig Kaas, the party decided to vote for the Enabling Act. It did so in return for the government's oral guarantees regarding the Church's liberty, the concordats signed by German states and the continued existence of the Centre Party. On 23 March, the Reichstag assembled in a replacement building under extremely turbulent circumstances. Some SA men served as guards within while large groups outside the building shouted slogans and threats toward the arriving deputies. Kaas announced that the Centre Party would support the bill with "concerns put aside," while Social Democrat Otto Wels denounced the act in his speech. At the end of the day, all parties except the Social Democrats voted in favour of the bill. The Communists, as well as some Social Democrats, were barred from attending. The Enabling Act, combined with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler's government into a legal dictatorship. Removal of remaining limits This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(April 2009) “ At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the Nazi movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power! ” —Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934[80] With this combination of legislative and executive power, Hitler's government further suppressed the remaining political opposition. The Communist Party of Germany and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) were banned, while all other political parties were forced to dissolve themselves. Finally, on 14 July, the Nazi Party was declared the only legal party in Germany. Hitler used the SA paramilitary to push Hugenberg into resigning, and proceeded to politically isolate Vice-Chancellor Papen. Because the SA's demands for political and military power caused much anxiety among military and political leaders, Hitler used allegations of a plot by the SA leader Ernst Röhm to purge the SA's leadership during the Night of the Long Knives. As well, opponents
  31. 31. unconnected with the SA were murdered, notably Gregor Strasser and former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher.[81] In 1934, Hitler became Germany's president under the title Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Chancellor of the Reich). President Paul von Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934. Rather than call new elections as required by the constitution, Hitler's cabinet passed a law proclaiming the presidency vacant and transferred the role and powers of the head of state to Hitler as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor). This action effectively removed the last legal remedy by which Hitler could be dismissed – and with it, nearly all institutional checks and balances on his power. On 19 August a plebiscite approved the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship winning 84.6% of the electorate.[82][83] This action technically violated both the constitution and the Enabling Act. The constitution had been amended in 1932 to make the president of the High Court of Justice, not the chancellor, acting president until new elections could be held. The Enabling Act specifically barred Hitler from taking any action that tampered with the presidency. However, no one dared object. As head of state, Hitler now became Supreme Commander of the armed forces. When it came time for the soldiers and sailors to swear the traditional loyalty oath, it had been altered into an oath of personal loyalty to Hitler. Normally,
  32. 32. soldiers and sailors swear loyalty to the holder of the office of supreme commander/commander-in-chief, not a specific person.[84] In 1938, Hitler forced the resignation of his War Minister (formerly Defense Minister), Werner von Blomberg, after evidence surfaced that Blomberg's new wife had a criminal past. Prior to removing Blomberg, Hitler and his clique removed army commander Werner von Fritsch on suspicion of homosexuality. [85] Hitler replaced the Ministry of War with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht(High Command of the Armed Forces, or OKW), headed by the pliant General Wilhelm Keitel. More importantly, Hitler announced he was assuming personal command of the armed forces. He took over Blomberg's other old post, that of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, for himself. He was already Supreme Commander by virtue of holding the powers of the president. The next day, the newspapers announced, "Strongest concentration of powers in Führer's hands!" Third Reich Main article: Nazi Germany Having secured supreme political power, Hitler went on to gain public support by convincing most Germans he was their saviour from the economic Depression, the Versailles treaty, communism, the "Judeo-Bolsheviks", and other "undesirable" minorities. The Nazis eliminated opposition through a process known as Gleichschaltung ("bringing into line"). Economy and culture Hitler oversaw one of the greatest expansions of industrial production and civil improvement Germany had ever seen, mostly based on debt flotation and expansion of the military. Nazi policies toward women strongly encouraged them to stay at home to bear children and keep house. In a September 1934 speech to the National Socialist Women's Organization, Adolf Hitler argued that for the German woman her "world is her husband, her family, her children, and her home." This policy was reinforced by bestowing the Cross of Honor of the German Mother on women bearing four or more babies. The unemployment rate was cut substantially, mostly through arms production and sending women home so that men could take their jobs. Given this, claims that the German economy achieved near full employment are at least partly artefacts of
  33. 33. propaganda from the era. Much of the financing for Hitler's reconstruction and rearmament came from currency manipulation by Hjalmar Schacht, including the clouded credits through the Mefo bills. 1934 Nuremberg rally Hitler oversaw one of the largest infrastructure-improvement campaigns in German history, with the construction of dozens of dams, autobahns, railroads, and other civil works. Hitler's policies emphasised the importance of family life: men were the "breadwinners", while women's priorities were to lie in bringing up children and in household work. This revitalising of industry and infrastructure came at the expense of the overall standard of living, at least for those not affected by the chronic unemployment of the later Weimar Republic, since wages were slightly reduced in pre-World War II years, despite a 25% increase in the cost of living.[86] Laborers and farmers, the traditional voters of the NSDAP, however, saw an increase in their standard of living. Hitler's government sponsored architecture on an immense scale, with Albert Speer becoming famous as the first architect of the Reich. While important as an architect in implementing Hitler's classicist reinterpretation of German culture, Speer proved much more effective as armaments minister during the last years of World War II. In 1936, Berlin hosted the summer Olympic games, which were opened by Hitler and choreographed to demonstrate Aryan superiority over all other races, achieving mixed results.
  34. 34. Although Hitler made plans for a Breitspurbahn ("broad gauge railroad network"), they were preempted by World War II. Had the railroad been built, its gauge would have been three metres, even wider than the old Great Western Railway of Britain. Hitler contributed slightly to the design of the car that later became the Volkswagen Beetle and charged Ferdinand Porsche with its design and construction.[87] Production was deferred because of the war. Hitler considered Sparta to be the first National Socialist state, and praised its early eugenics treatment of deformed children.[88] On 20 April 1939, a lavish celebration was held in honour of Hitler's 50th birthday, featuring military parades, visits from foreign dignitaries, thousands of flaming torches and Nazi banners.[89] An important historical debate about Hitler's economic policies concerns the "modernization" debate. Historians such as David Schoenbaumand Henry Ashby Turner have argued that social and economic polices under Hitler were modernization carried out in pursuit of anti-modern goals.[90] Other groups of historians centred around Rainer Zitelmann have contended that Hitler had a deliberate strategy of pursuing a revolutionary modernization of German society. [91] Rearmament and new alliances Main articles: Axis powers, Tripartite Pact, and German re-armament Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's visit to Venice from 14 to 16 June 1934
  35. 35. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Parade of the SA troops In a meeting with his leading generals and admirals on 3 February 1933, Hitler spoke of "conquest of Lebensraum in the East and its ruthless Germanisation" as his ultimate foreign policy objectives.[92] In March 1933, the first major statement of German foreign policy aims appeared with the memo submitted to the German Cabinet by the State Secretary at the Auswärtiges Amt(Foreign Office), Prince Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow (not to be confused with his more famous uncle, the former Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow), which advocated Anschluss with Austria, the restoration of the frontiers of 1914, the rejection of the Part V of Versailles, the return of the former German colonies in Africa, and a German zone of influence in Eastern Europe as goals for the future. Hitler found the goals in Bülow's memo to be too modest.[93] In March 1933, to resolve the deadlock between the French demand for sécurité ("security") and the German demand forgleichberechtigung ("equality of armaments") at the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald presented the compromise "MacDonald Plan". Hitler endorsed the "MacDonald Plan", correctly guessing that nothing would come of it, and that in the interval he could win some goodwill in London by making his government appear moderate, and the French obstinate.[94] In May 1933, Hitler met with Herbert von Dirksen, the German Ambassador in Moscow. Dirksen advised the Führer that he was allowing relations with the Soviet Union to deteriorate to a unacceptable extent, and advised to take immediate steps to repair relations with the Soviets.[95] Much to Dirksen's intense disappointment, Hitler informed that he wished for an anti-Soviet understanding with Poland, which Dirksen protested implied recognition of the German-Polish border, leading Hitler to state he was after much greater things than merely overturning the Treaty of Versailles.[96]
  36. 36. In June 1933, Hitler was forced to disavow Alfred Hugenberg of the German National People's Party, who while attending the London World Economic Conference put forth a programme of colonial expansion in both Africa and Eastern Europe, which created a major storm abroad.[97] Speaking to the Burgermeister of Hamburg in 1933, Hitler commented that Germany required several years of peace before it could be sufficiently rearmed enough to risk a war, and until then a policy of caution was called for.[98] In his "peace speeches" of 17 May 1933, 21 May 1935, and 7 March 1936, Hitler stressed his supposed pacific goals and a willingness to work within the international system.[99] In private, Hitler's plans were something less than pacific. At the first meeting of his Cabinet in 1933, Hitler placed military spending ahead of unemployment relief, and indeed was only prepared to spend money on the latter if the former was satisfied first.[100] When the president of the Reichsbank, the former Chancellor Dr.Hans Luther, offered the new government the legal limit of 100 million Reichmarks to finance rearmament, Hitler found the sum too low, and sacked Luther in March 1933 to replace him with Hjalmar Schacht, who during the next five years was to advance 12 billion Reichmarksworth of "Mefo-bills" to pay for rearmament.[101] A major initiative in Hitler's foreign policy in his early years was to create an alliance with Britain. In the 1920s, Hitler wrote that a future National Socialist foreign policy goal was "the destruction of Russia with the help of England."[102] In May 1933, Alfred Rosenberg in his capacity as head of the Nazi Party's Aussenpolitisches Amt (Foreign Political Office) visited London as part of a disastrous effort to win an alliance with Britain.[103] In October 1933, Hitler pulled Germany out of both the League of Nations and World Disarmament Conference after his Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath made it appear to world public opinion that the French demand for sécurité was the principal stumbling block.[104] In line with the views he advocated in Mein Kampf and Zweites Buch about the necessity of building an Anglo-German alliance, Hitler, in a meeting in November 1933 with the British Ambassador, Sir Eric Phipps, offered a scheme in which Britain would support a 300,000-strong German Army in exchange for a German "guarantee" of the British Empire.[105] In response, the British stated a 10-year waiting period would be necessary before Britain would support an increase in the size of the German Army.[105] A more successful initiative in foreign policy
  37. 37. occurred with relations with Poland. In spite of intense opposition from the military and the Auswärtiges Amt who preferred closer ties with theSoviet Union, Hitler, in the fall of 1933 opened secret talks with Poland that were to lead to the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of January 1934.[104] In February 1934, Hitler met with the British Lord Privy Seal, Sir Anthony Eden, and hinted strongly that Germany already possessed an Air Force, which had been forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles.[106] In the fall of 1934, Hitler was seriously concerned over the dangers ofinflation damaging his popularity.[107] In a secret speech given before his Cabinet on 5 November 1934, Hitler stated he had "given the working class his word that he would allow no price increases. Wage-earners would accuse him of breaking his word if he did not act against the rising prices. Revolutionary conditions among the people would be the further consequence."[107] Although a secret German armaments programme had been on-going since 1919, in March 1935, Hitler rejected Part V of the Versailles treaty by publicly announcing that the German army would be expanded to 600,000 men (six times the number stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles), introducing an Air Force (Luftwaffe) and increasing the size of the Navy (Kriegsmarine). Britain, France, Italy and the League of Nations quickly condemned these actions. However, after re-assurances from Hitler that Germany was only interested in peace, no country took any action to stop this development and German re-armament continued. Later in March 1935, Hitler held a series of meetings in Berlin with the British Foreign Secretary Sir John Simon and Eden, during which he successfully evaded British offers for German participation in a regional security pact meant to serve as an Eastern European equivalent of the Locarno pact while the two British ministers avoided taking up Hitler's offers of alliance.[108] During his talks with Simon and Eden, Hitler first used what he regarded as the brilliant colonial negotiating tactic, when Hitler parlayed an offer from Simon to return to the League of Nations by demanding the return of the former German colonies in Africa.[109] Starting in April 1935, disenchantment with how the Third Reich had developed in practice as opposed to what been promised led many in the Nazi Party, especially the Alte Kämpfer (Old Fighters; i.e., those who joined the Party before 1930, and who tended to be the most ardent anti-Semitics in the Party), and the SA into lashing out against Germany's Jewish minority as a way of
  38. 38. expressing their frustrations against a group that the authorities would not generally protect.[110] The rank and file of the Party were most unhappy that two years into the ThirdReich, and despite countless promises by Hitler prior to 1933, no law had been passed banning marriage or sex between those Germans belonging to the "Aryan" and Jewish "races". A Gestapo report from the spring of 1935 stated that the rank and file of the Nazi Party would "set in motion by us from below," a solution to the "Jewish problem," "that the government would then have to follow."[111] As a result, Nazi Party activists and the SA started a major wave of assaults, vandalism and boycotts against German Jews.[112] On 18 June 1935, the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) was signed in London which allowed for increasing the allowed German tonnage up to 35% of that of the British navy. Hitler called the signing of the AGNA "the happiest day of his life" as he believed the agreement marked the beginning of the Anglo- German alliance he had predicted in Mein Kampf.[113] This agreement was made without consulting either France or Italy, directly undermined the League of Nations and put the Treaty of Versailles on the path towards irrelevance.[114] After the signing of the A.G.N.A., in June 1935 Hitler ordered the next step in the creation of an Anglo-German alliance: taking all the societies demanding the restoration of the former German African colonies and coordinating (Gleichschaltung) them into a new Reich Colonial League (Reichskolonialbund) which over the next few years waged an extremely aggressive propaganda campaign for colonial restoration.[115] Hitler had no real interest in the former German African colonies. In Mein Kampf, Hitler had excoriated the Imperial German government for pursuing colonial expansion in Africa prior to 1914 on the grounds that the natural area for Lebensraum was Eastern Europe, not Africa.[116] It was Hitler's intention to use colonial demands as a negotiating tactic that would see a German "renunciation" of colonial claims in exchange for Britain making an alliance with the Reich on German terms.[117] In the summer of 1935, Hitler was informed that, between inflation and the need to use foreign exchange to buy raw materials Germany lacked for rearmament, there were only 5 million Reichmarks available for military expenditure, and a pressing need for some 300,000Reichmarks/day to prevent food shortages.[118] In August 1935, Dr. Hjalmar Schacht advised Hitler that the wave of anti-Semitic violence was interfering with the workings of the economy, and hence rearmament.[119] Following Dr. Schacht's complaints, plus reports that the
  39. 39. German public did not approve of the wave of anti-Semitic violence, and that continuing police toleration of the violence was hurting the regime's popularity with the wider public, Hitler ordered a stop to "individual actions" against German Jews on 8 August 1935.[119] From Hitler's perspective, it was imperative to bring in harsh new anti-Semitic laws as a consolation prize for those Party members who were disappointed with Hitler's halt order of 8 August, especially because Hitler had only reluctantly given the halt order for pragmatic reasons, and his sympathies were with the Party radicals.[119] The annual Nazi Party Rally held at Nuremberg in September 1935 was to feature the first session of the Reichstag held at that city since 1543. Hitler had planned to have the Reichstag pass a law making the Nazi Swastika flag the flag of the German Reich, and a major speech in support of the impending Italian aggression against Ethiopia.[120] Hitler felt that the Italian aggression opened great opportunities for Germany. In August 1935, Hitler told Goebbels his foreign policy vision as: "With England eternal alliance. Good relationship with Poland . . . Expansion to the East. The Baltic belongs to us . . . Conflicts Italy-Abyssinia- England, then Japan-Russia imminent."[121] At the last minute before the Nuremberg Party Rally was due to begin, the German Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath persuaded Hitler to cancel his speech praising Italy for her willingness to commit aggression. Neurath convinced Hitler that his speech was too provocative to public opinion abroad as it contradicted the message of Hitler's "peace speeches", thus leaving Hitler with the sudden need to have something else to address the first meeting of the Reichstag in Nuremberg since 1543, other than the Reich Flag Law.[122] On 13 September 1935, Hitler hurriedly ordered two civil servants, Dr. Bernhard Lösener and Franz Albrecht Medicus of the Interior Ministry to fly to Nuremberg to start drafting anti-Semitic laws for Hitler to present to the Reichstag for 15 September.[120] On the evening of 15 September, Hitler presented two laws before the Reichstag banning sex and marriage between Aryan and Jewish Germans, the employment of Aryan woman under the age of 45 in Jewish households, and deprived "non-Aryans" of the benefits of German citizenship. [123] The laws of September 1935 are generally known as the Nuremberg Laws. In October 1935, in order to prevent further food shortages and the introduction of rationing, Hitler reluctantly ordered cuts in military spending.[124] In the spring of 1936 in response to requests from Richard Walther Darré, Hitler ordered
  40. 40. 60 million Reichmarks of foreign exchange to be used to buy seed oil for German farmers, a decision that led to bitter complaints from Dr. Schacht and the War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg that it would be impossible to achieve rearmament as long as foreign exchange was diverted to preventing food shortages.[121] Given the economic problems which was affecting his popularity by early 1936, Hitler felt the pressing need for a foreign policy triumph as a way of distracting public attention from the economy.[121] In an interview with the French journalist Bertrand de Jouvenel in February 1936, Hitler appeared to disavow Mein Kampf by saying that parts of his book were now out of date and he was not guided by them, though precisely which parts were out of date was left unclear.[125] In March 1936, Hitler again violated the Versailles treaty by reoccupying the demilitarized zone in the Rhineland. When Britain and France did nothing, he grew bolder. In July 1936, the Spanish Civil War began when the military, led by General Francisco Franco, rebelled against the elected Popular Front government. After receiving an appeal for help from General Franco in July 1936, Hitler sent troops to support Franco, and Spain served as a testing ground for Germany's new forces and their methods. At the same time, Hitler continued with his efforts to create an Anglo-German alliance. In July 1936, he offered to Phipps a promise that if Britain were to sign an alliance with the Reich, then Germany would commit to sending twelve divisions to the Far East to protect British colonial possessions there from a Japanese attack.[126] Hitler's offer was refused. In August 1936, in response to a growing crisis in the German economy caused by the strains of rearmament, Hitler issued the "Four-Year Plan Memorandum" ordering Hermann Göring to carry out the Four Year Plan to have the German economy ready for war within the next four years.[127] During the 1936 economic crisis, the German government was divided into two factions, with one (the so- called "free market" faction) centring around the Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht and the former Price Commissioner Dr. Carl Friedrich Goerdeler calling for decreased military spending and a turn away from autarkic policies, and another faction around Göring calling for the opposite. Supporting the "free- market" faction were some of Germany's leading business executives, most notably Hermann Duecher of AEG, Robert Bosch ofRobert Bosch GmbH, and Albert Voegeler of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG.[128] Hitler hesitated for the first half of 1936 before siding with the more radical faction in his "Four Year Plan" memo
  41. 41. of August.[129] Historians such as Richard Overy have argued that the importance of the memo, which was written personally by Hitler, can be gauged by the fact that Hitler, who had something of a phobia about writing, hardly ever wrote anything down, which indicates that Hitler had something especially important to say.[130] The "Four-Year Plan Memorandum" predicated an imminent all-out, apocalyptic struggle between "Judo-Bolshevism" and German National Socialism, which necessitated a total effort at rearmament regardless of the economic costs.[131] In the memo, Hitler wrote: Since the outbreak of the French Revolution, the world has been moving with ever increasing speed toward a new conflict, the most extreme solution of which is called Bolshevism, whose essence and aim, however, are solely the elimination of those strata of mankind which have hitherto provided the leadership and their replacement by worldwide Jewry. No state will be able to withdraw or even remain at a distance from this historical conflict . . . It is not the aim of this memorandum to prophesy the time when the untenable situation in Europe will become an open crisis. I only want, in these lines, to set down my conviction that this crisis cannot and will not fail to arrive and that it is Germany's duty to secure her own existence by every means in face of this catastrophe, and to protect herself against it, and that from this compulsion there arises a series of conclusions relating to the most important tasks that our people have ever been set. For a victory of Bolshevism over Germany would not lead to a Versailles treaty, but to the final destruction, indeed the annihilation of the German people . . . I consider it necessary for theReichstag to pass the following two laws: 1) A law providing the death penalty for economic sabotage and 2) A law making the whole of Jewry liable for all damage inflicted by individual specimens of this community of criminals upon the German economy, and thus upon the German people.[132] Hitler called for Germany to have the world's "first army" in terms of fighting power within the next four years and that "the extent of the military development of our resources cannot be too large, nor its pace too swift" (italics in the original) and the role of the economy was simply to support "Germany's self-assertion and the extension of her Lebensraum."[133][134] Hitler went on to write that given the magnitude of the coming struggle that the concerns expressed by members of the "free market" faction like Schacht and Goerdeler that the current level of military spending was bankrupting Germany were irrelevant. Hitler wrote that:
  42. 42. "However well balanced the general pattern of a nation's life ought to be, there must at particular times be certain disturbances of the balance at the expense of other less vital tasks. If we do not succeed in bringing the German army as rapidly as possible to the rank of premier army in the world . . . then Germany will be lost!"[135] and "The nation does not live for the economy, for economic leaders, or for economic or financial theories; on the contrary, it is finance and the economy, economic leaders and theories, which all owe unqualified service in this struggle for the self-assertion of our nation."[128][clarification needed] Documents such as the Four Year Plan Memo have often been used by right historians such as Henry Ashby Turner and Karl Dietrich Bracher who argue for a "primacy of politics" approach (that Hitler was not subordinate to German business, but rather the contrary was the case) against the "primacy of economics" approach championed by Marxist historians (that Hitler was a "agent" of and subordinate to German business).[136] In August 1936, the freelance Nazi diplomat Joachim von Ribbentrop was appointed German Ambassador to the Embassy of Germany in London at the Court of St. James's. Before Ribbentrop left to take up his post in October 1936, Hitler told him: "Ribbentrop . . . get Britain to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, that is what I want most of all. I have sent you as the best man I've got. Do what you can . . . But if in future all our efforts are still in vain, fair enough, then I'm ready for war as well. I would regret it very much, but if it has to be, there it is. But I think it would be a short war and the moment it is over, I will then be ready at any time to offer the British an honourable peace acceptable to both sides. However, I would then demand that Britain join the Anti-Comintern Pact or perhaps some other pact. But get on with it, Ribbentrop, you have the trumps in your hand, play them well. I'm ready at any time for an air pact as well. Do your best. I will follow your efforts with interest".[137]
  43. 43. On 25 October 1936, an Axis was declared between Italy and Germany An Axis was declared between Germany and Italy by Count Galeazzo Ciano, foreign minister of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini on 25 October 1936. On 25 November of the same year, Germany concluded the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. At the time of the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact, invitations were sent out for Britain, China, Italy and Poland to adhere; of the invited powers only the Italians were to sign the pact, in November 1937. To strengthen relationship with Japan, Hitler met in 1937 in Nuremberg Prince Chichibu, a brother of emperorHirohito. However, the meeting with Prince Chichibu had little consequence, as Hitler refused the Japanese request to halt German arms shipments to China or withdraw the German officers serving with the Chinese in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Both the military and the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office) were strongly opposed to ending the informal German alliance with China that existed since the 1910s, and pressured Hitler to avoid offending the Chinese. The Auswärtiges Amt and the military both argued to Hitler that given the foreign exchange problems which afflicted German rearmament, and the fact that various Sino-German economic agreements provided Germany with raw materials that would otherwise use up precious foreign exchange, it was folly to seek an alliance with Japan that would have the inevitable result of ending the Sino-German alignment.
  44. 44. By the latter half of 1937, Hitler had abandoned his dream of an Anglo-German alliance, blaming "inadequate" British leadership for turning down his offers of an alliance.[138] In a talk with the League of Nations High Commissioner for the Free City of Danzig, the Swiss diplomat Carl Jacob Burckhardt in September 1937, Hitler protested what he regarded as British interference in the "German sphere" in Europe, though in the same talk, Hitler made clear his view of Britain as an ideal ally, which for pure selfishness was blocking German plans.[138] Hitler had suffered severely from stomach pains and eczema in 1936–37, leading to his remark to the Nazi Party's propaganda leadership in October 1937 that because both parents died early in their lives, he would probably follow suit, leaving him with only a few years to obtain the necessary Lebensraum.[139] [140] About the same time, Dr. Goebbels noted in his diary Hitler now wished to see the "Great Germanic Reich" he envisioned in his own lifetime rather than leaving the work of building the "Great Germanic Reich" to his successors.[141] On 5 November 1937, at the Reich Chancellory, Adolf Hitler held a secret meeting with the War and Foreign Ministers and the three service chiefs, recorded in the Hossbach Memorandum, and stated his intentions for acquiring "living space" Lebensraum for the German people. He ordered the attendees to make plans for war in the east no later than 1943 in order to acquire Lebensraum. Hitler stated the conference minutes were to be regarded as his "political testament" in the event of his death.[142] In the memo, Hitler was recorded as saying that such a state of crisis had been reached in the German economy that the only way of stopping a severe decline in living standards in Germany was to embark sometime in the near-future on a policy of aggression by seizing Austria and Czechoslovakia.[143][144] Moreover, Hitler stated that the arms race meant that time for action had to occur before Britain and France obtained a permanent lead in the arms race.[143] A striking change in the Hossbach Memo was Hitler's changed view of Britain from the prospective ally of 1928 in the Zweites Buch to the "hate-inspired antagonist" of 1937 in the Hossbach memo.[145] The historian Klaus Hildebrand described the memo as the start of an "ambivalent course" towards Britain while the late historian Andreas Hillgruber argued that Hitler was embarking on expansion "without Britain," preferably "with Britain," but if necessary "against Britain."[117][146] Hitler's intentions outlined in the Hossbach memorandum led to strong protests from the Foreign Minister, Baron Konstantin von Neurath, the War Minister Field
  45. 45. Marshal Werner von Blomberg, and the Army Commander General Werner von Fritsch, that any German aggression in Eastern Europe was bound to trigger a war with France because of the French alliance system in Eastern Europe (the so-called cordon sanitaire), and if a Franco-German war broke out, then Britain was almost certain to intervene rather than risk the chance of a French defeat. [147] The aggression against Austria and Czechoslovakia were intended to be the first of a series of localized wars in Eastern Europe that would secure Germany's position in Europe before the final showdown with Britain and France. Fritsch, Blomberg and Neurath all argue that Hitler was pursuing an extremely high-risk strategy of localized wars in Eastern Europe that was most likely to cause a general war before Germany was ready for such a conflict, and advised Hitler to wait until Germany had more time to rearm. Neurath, Blomberg and Fritsch had no moral objections to German aggression, but rather based their opposition on the question of timing – determining the best time for aggression.[147] Late in November 1937, Hitler received as his guest the British Lord Privy Seal, Lord Halifax who was visiting Germany ostensibly as part of a hunting trip. Speaking of changes to Germany's frontiers, Halifax told Hitler that: "All other questions fall into the category of possible alterations in the European order which might be destined to come about with the passage of time. Amongst these questions were Danzig, Austria and Czechoslovakia. England was interested to see that any alterations should come through the course of peaceful evolution and that the methods should be avoided which might cause far-reaching disturbances."[148] Significantly, Halifax made clear in his statements to Hitler— though whether Hitler appreciated the significance of this or not is unclear—that any possible territorial changes had to be accomplished peacefully, and that though Britain had no security commitments in Eastern Europe beyond the Covenant of the League of Nations, would not tolerate territorial changes via war. [149] Hitler seems to have misunderstood Halifax's remarks as confirming his conviction that Britain would just stand aside while he pursued his strategy of limited wars in Eastern Europe. Hitler was most unhappy with the criticism of his intentions expressed by Neurath, Blomberg, and Fritsch in the Hossbach Memo, and in early 1938 asserted his control of the military-foreign policy apparatus through the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair, the abolition of the War Ministry and its replacement by the OKW, and by sacking Neurath as Foreign Minister on 4 February 1938,
  46. 46. assuming the rank, role and tile of theOberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht (supreme commander of the armed forces).[150] The British economic historian Richard Overycommented that the establishment of the OKW in February 1938 was a clear sign of what Hitler's intentions were since supreme headquarters organizations such as the OKW are normally set up during wartime, not peacetime.[151] The Official German history of World War II has argued that from early 1938 onwards, Hitler was not carrying out a foreign policy that had carried a high risk of war, but was carrying out a foreign policy aiming at war.[152] The Holocaust Main article: The Holocaust An American soldier stands in front of a wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the newly liberated Buchenwald concentration camp One of the foundations of Hitler's social policies was the concept of racial hygiene. It was based on the ideas of Arthur de Gobineau, a French count; eugenics, a pseudo-science that advocated racial purity; and social Darwinism. Applied to human beings, "survival of the fittest" was interpreted as requiring racial purity and killing off "life unworthy of life." The first victims were children with physical and developmental disabilities; those killings occurred in a programme dubbed Action T4.[153] After a public outcry, Hitler made a show of ending this program, but the killings in fact continued (see Nazi eugenics). Between 1939 and 1945, the SS, assisted by collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied countries, systematically killed somewhere between 11 and 14 million people, including about six million Jews,[154][155] in concentration camps, ghettos and mass executions, or through less systematic methods elsewhere. In addition to those gassed to death, many died as a result of starvation and disease while working as slave labourers (sometimes benefiting
  47. 47. private German companies). Along with Jews, non-Jewish Poles, Communists and political opponents, members of resistance groups, homosexuals, Roma, the physically handicapped and mentally retarded, Soviet prisoners of war (possibly as many as three million), Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, trade unionists, and psychiatric patients were killed. One of the biggest centres of mass-killing was the industrial extermination camp complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau. As far as is known, Hitler never visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the killing in precise terms.[156] The Holocaust (the "Endlösung der jüdischen Frage" or "Final Solution of the Jewish Question") was planned and ordered by leading Nazis, with Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich playing key roles. While no specific order from Hitler authorizing the mass killing has surfaced, there is documentation showing that he approved the Einsatzgruppen killing squads that followed the German army through Poland and Russia, and that he was kept well informed about their activities. The evidence also suggests that in the fall of 1941 Himmler and Hitler decided upon mass extermination by gassing. During interrogations by Soviet intelligence officers declassified over fifty years later, Hitler's valet Heinz Linge and his military aide Otto Gunsche said Hitler had "pored over the first blueprints of gas chambers." His private secretary,Traudl Junge, testified that Hitler knew all about the death camps. Göring gave a written authorisation to Heydrich to "make all necessary preparations" for a "total solution of the Jewish question". To make for smoother cooperation in the implementation of this "Final Solution", the Wannsee conference was held on 20 January 1942, with fifteen senior officials participating (including Adolf Eichmann) and led by Reinhard Heydrich. The records of this meeting provide the clearest evidence of planning for the Holocaust. On 22 February, Hitler was recorded saying to his associates, "we shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews". World War II Main article: World War II Early diplomatic triumphs Alliance with Japan Main article: German–Japanese relations
  48. 48. Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka with Hitler in Berlin In February 1938, Hitler finally ended the dilemma that had plagued German Far Eastern policy, namely whether to continue the informal Sino-German alliance that existed with Republic of Chinasince the 1910s or to create a new alliance with Japan. The military at the time strongly favoured continuing Germany's alliance with China. China had the support of Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath and War Minister Werner von Blomberg, the so- called "China Lobby" who tried to steer German foreign policy away from war in Europe.[157] Both men, however, were sacked by Hitler in early 1938. Upon the advice of Hitler's newly appointed Foreign Minister, the strongly pro- Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler chose to end the alliance with China as the price of gaining an alignment with the more modern and powerful Japan. In an address to the Reichstag, Hitler announced German recognition of Manchukuo, the Japanese-occupied puppet state inManchuria, and renounced the German claims to the former colonies in the Pacific held by Japan.[158] Hitler ordered an end to arms shipments to China, and ordered the recall of all the German officers attached to the Chinese Army.[158] In retaliation for ending German support to China in the war against Japan, Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek canceled all of the Sino-German economic agreements, which deprived the Germans of raw materials such as tungsten that the Chinese had previously provided. The ending of the Sino-German alignment increased the problems of German rearmament, as the Germans were now forced to use their limited supply of foreign exchange to buy raw materials on the open market. Austria and Czechoslovakia
  49. 49. This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider moving more of the content into sub-articles and using this article for a summary of the key points of the subject. (April 2010) In March 1938, Hitler pressured Austria into unification with Germany (the Anschluss) and made a triumphant entry into Vienna on 14 March.[159] [160] Next, he intensified a crisis over the German-speaking Sudetenland districts of Czechoslovakia.[161] On 3 March 1938, the British Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson met with Hitler and presented on behalf of his government a proposal for an international consortium to rule much of Africa (in which Germany would be assigned a leading role) in exchange for a German promise never to resort to war to change the frontiers.[162] Hitler, who was more interested in Lebensraum in Eastern Europe than in participating in international consortiums, rejected the British offer, using as his excuse that he wanted the former German African colonies returned to theReich, not an international consortium running Central Africa. Moreover, Hitler argued that it was totally outrageous on Britain's part to impose conditions on German conduct in Europe as the price for territory in Africa. [163] Hitler ended the conversation by telling Henderson he would rather wait 20 years for the return of the former colonies than accept British conditions for avoiding war.[163][164] On 28–29 March 1938, Hitler held a series of secret meetings in Berlin with Konrad Henlein of the Sudeten Heimfront (Home Front), the largest of the ethnic German parties of the Sudetenland. During the Hitler-Henlein meetings, it was agreed that Henlein would provide the pretext for German aggression against Czechoslovakia by making demands on Prague for increased autonomy for Sudeten Germans that Prague could never be reasonably expected to fulfill. In April 1938, Henlein told the foreign minister of Hungary that "whatever the Czech government might offer, he would always raise still higher demands ... he wanted to sabotage an understanding by all means because this was the only method to blow up Czechoslovakia quickly".[165] In private, Hitler considered the Sudeten issue unimportant; his real intentions being to use the Sudeten question as the justification both at home and abroad for a war of aggression to destroy Czechoslovakia, under the grounds of self-determination, and Prague's refusal to meet Henlein's demands.[166] Hitler's plans called for a massive military build-up
  50. 50. along the Czechoslovak border, relentless propaganda attacks about the supposed ill treatment of the Sudetenlanders, and finally, "incidents" between Heimfront activists and the Czechoslovak authorities to justify an invasion that would swiftly destroy Czechoslovakia in a few days campaign before other powers could act.[167] Since Hitler wished to have the fall harvest brought in as much as possible, and to complete the so-called "West Wall" to guard the Rhineland, the date for the invasion was chosen for late September or early October 1938.[168] In April 1938, Hitler ordered the OKW to start preparing plans for Fall Grün (Case Green), the codename for an invasion of Czechoslovakia.[169] Further increasing the tension in Europe was the May Crisis of 19–22 May 1938. The May Crisis of 1938 was a false alarm caused by rumours that Czechoslovakia would be invaded the weekend of the municipal elections in that country, erroneous reports of major German troop movements along the Czechoslovak border just prior to the elections, the killing of two ethnic Germans by the Czechoslovak police, and Ribbentrop's highly bellicose remarks to Henderson when the latter asked the former if an invasion was indeed scheduled for the weekend, which led to a partial Czechoslovak mobilization and firm warnings from London against a German move against Czechoslovakia before it was realized that no invasion was intended for that weekend.[170] Though no invasion had been planned for May 1938, it was believed in London that such a course of action was indeed being considered in Berlin, leading to two warnings on 21 May and 22 May that the United Kingdom would go to war with Germany if France became involved in a war with Germany.[171] Hitler, for his part, was, to use the words of an aide, highly "furious" with the perception that he had been forced to back down by the Czechoslovak mobilization and the warnings from London and Paris, when he had, in fact, been planning nothing for that weekend.[172] Though plans had already been drafted in April 1938 for an invasion of Czechoslovakia in the near future, the May Crisis and the perception of a diplomatic defeat further reinforced Hitler in his chosen course. The May Crisis seemed to have had the effect of convincing Hitler that expansion "without Britain" was not possible, and expansion "against Britain" was the only viable course.[173] In the immediate aftermath of the May crisis, Hitler ordered an acceleration of German naval building beyond the limits of the A.G.N.A., and in the "Heye memorandum",
  51. 51. drawn at Hitler's orders, envisaged the Royal Navy for the first time as the principal opponent of the Kriegsmarine.[174] At the conference of 28 May 1938, Hitler declared that it was his "unalterable" decision to "smash Czechoslovakia" by 1 October of the same year, which was explained as securing the eastern flank "for advancing against the West, England and France".[175] At the same conference, Hitler expressed his belief that Britain would not risk a war until British rearmament was complete, which Hitler felt would be around 1941–42, and Germany should in a series of wars eliminate France and her allies in Europe in the interval in the years 1938–41 while German rearmament was still ahead.[175] Hitler's determination to go through with Fall Grün in 1938 provoked a major crisis in the German command structure.[176] The Chief of the General Staff, General Ludwig Beck, protested in a lengthy series of memos that Fall Grün would start a world war that Germany would lose, and urged Hitler to put off the projected war.[176] Hitler called Beck's arguments against war "kindische Kräfteberechnungen" ("childish power play calculations").[177] On 4 August 1938, a secret Army meeting was held at which Beck read his report. They agreed something had to be done to prevent certain disaster. Beck hoped they would all resign together but no one resigned except Beck. However his replacement, General Franz Halder, sympathised with Beck and together they conspired with several top generals, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (Chief of German Intelligence) andGraf von Helldorf (Berlin's Police Chief), to arrest Hitler the moment he gave the invasion order. However, the plan would only work if both Britain and France made it known to the world that they would fight to preserve Czechoslovakia. This would help to convince the German people that certain defeat awaited Germany. Agents were therefore sent to England to tell Chamberlain that an attack on Czechoslovakia was planned and their intentions to overthrow Hitler if this occurred. However the messengers were not taken seriously by the British. In September, Chamberlain and French Premier Édouard Daladier decided not to threaten a war over Czechoslovakia and so the planned removal of Hitler could not be justified.[178] The Munich Agreement therefore preserved Hitler in power. Starting in August 1938, information reached London that Germany was beginning to mobilize reservists, together with information leaked by anti-war elements in the German military that the war was scheduled for sometime in

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