Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in Germany and as dictator of the Third Reich, Hitler was responsible for many of the events that led to World War II. His belief in Teutonic racial superiority and his anti-Semitism also resulted in the Holocaust.
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, at Braunau am Inn, which is near Linz, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His father, Alois, was a customs agent whose primary concerns were his work, his status, and himself. When he was forty-seven, Alois married Klara Pölzl, his third wife. Even though eight children were born of his marriages, he took little interest in his family, preferring to devote his time to his work. He was a rigid and taciturn man who was especially severe to his sons. Klara, on the other hand, was an indulgent and loving mother, whose children and stepchildren loved and respected her deeply. Alois’s position in the petite bourgeoisie provided the family with a good income and a secure standard of living. Even after his retirement in 1895, the family was able to live comfortably on his pension and inheritances.
Young Adolf was a sickly child who was overprotected by his mother. His father became a direct influence in his son’s life only after he retired, for he then determined to impose his ideals on his children. When Adolf finished the Volksschule in 1900, Alois decided that the...
(The entire section is 3038 words.)
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IntroductionAdolf Hitler was the dictator or absolute ruler of Germany from 1934 to 1945 and leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, known as the Nazi Party. He took advantage of Germany's economic hardships and the bitterness of its citizens after World War I to attract followers, eventually taking complete control of the country. Hitler had a deep hatred of Jews and he used the idea of "racial purity" to justify harsh measures—and eventually mass murder—against them as well as other groups he called "enemies of the state." Hitler's skills as a persuasive speaker and his willingness to use violence to get what he wanted led to a twelve-year reign and sparked a war that led to the deaths of some fifty million people. -- Adolf Hitler Biography
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Holocaust (Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity)
Nazi Extermination of the Jews (Chronolgy of European History)