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Early life

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in the


small Austrian town of Braunau on the Inn River
along the Bavarian-German border. The son of
an extremely strong-willed Austrian customs
official, his early youth seems to have been
controlled by his father until his death in 1903.
Adolf soon became rebellious and began failing
at school. He finally left formal education
altogether in 1905 and began his long years of
aimless existence, reading, painting, wandering
in the woods, and dreaming of becoming a
famous artist. In 1907, when his mother died,
he moved to Vienna in an attempt to enroll in
the famed Academy of Fine Arts. His failure to
gain admission that year and the next led him
into a period of deep depression as he drifted
away from his friends.

It was during this time of feeling rootless that


Hitler first became fascinated by the immense
potential of mass political manipulation
(control). He was particularly impressed by the
successes of the anti-Semitic, or anti-Jewish,
nationalist Christian-Socialist party of Vienna
Mayor Karl Lueger (18441910). Lueger's party
efficiently used propaganda (spreading a
message through literature and the media) and
mass organization. Hitler began to develop the
extreme anti-Semitism and racial mythology that
were to remain central to his own "ideology" and
that of the Nazi party.
In May 1913, Hitler returned to Munich, and
after the outbreak of World War I (191418) a
year later, he volunteered for action in the
German army in their war against other
European powers and America. During the war
he fought on Germany's Western front with
distinction but gained no promotion

(advancement) beyond the rank of corporal (a


low-ranking military officer). Injured twice, he
won several awards for bravery, among them
the highly respected Iron Cross First Class.

leducation
Hitler did not do particularly well in school,
leaving formal education in 1905. Unable to
settle into a regular job, he drifted. He
wished to become an artist but was rejected
from the Academy in Vienna.
Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in the
small Austrian town of Braunau to Alois Hitler
who later became a senior customs official and
his wife Klara, who was from a poor peasant
family.
At primary school, Hitler showed great
intellectual potential and was extremely popular

with fellow pupils as well as being admired for


his leadership qualities. However, competition
at secondary school was tougher and Hitler
stopped trying as a result.
He also lost his popularity among his fellow
students and instead preferred to re-enact
battles from the Boer war with younger children.
At the age of 15, he failed his exams and was
told to repeat the year but he left without a
formal education instead.
At the age of 18, he moved to Vienna with
money inherited after his father's death in 1903,
in order to pursue a career in art, as this was
his best subject at school. However his
applications for both the Vienna Academy of Art
and the School of Architecture were rejected.
It was supposedly at this time that Hitler first
became interested in politics and how the
masses could be made to respond to certain
themes. He was particularly impressed with the
anti-Semitic, nationalist Christian-Socialist party.
During the First World War he volunteered to
fight for the German Army and gained the rank

of corporal, earning accolades as a dispatchrunner. He won several awards for bravery,


including the Iron Cross First Class.
In October 1918, he was blinded in a mustard
gas attack. Germany surrendered while Hitler
was in hospital and he went into a state of great
depression, spending lots of time in tears. After
the war ended, Hitler's future seemed uncertain.
In 1919, Hitler attended his first meeting of the
German Workers' party, an anti-Semitic,
nationalist group as a spy for the German Army.
However, he found he agreed with Anton
Drexler's German nationalism and anti-

Semitism. He disagreed with how they


were organised leading him to make a
passionate speech. Hitler quickly cemented
his reputation as an engaging orator
through his passion about the injustices
faced by Germany as a result of treaty of
the Versailles.
It soon became clear that people were
joining the party just to see Hitler make his

speeches, which would leave the audience


in a state of near hysteria and willing to do
whatever he suggested.