Adolf Hitler – History Evil Figure
In history there have been many evil figures; Genghis Khan, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, while these men accounted for over 100 million deaths. None of these names carry the same weight as Adolf Hitler. A charismatic man he rose through the political structure to lead a country in ruins and turned it into an international powerhouse.
Hitler’s timing in coming to power provided the perfect storm as Germany was searching for a hero. While before WW2 he was not a saint, power corrupted Hitler. I would argue he was a product of his surroundings and poverty, In the hopes to humanize a monster that once walked amongst men.
Hitler was born April 20, 1889 Braunau am Inn, Austria to Alois Hitler and Klara pölzl. Adolf was the fourth of six children for Alois who had two wives before being with Hitler’s mother. Hitler’s family moved at three years old to Germany and at five he moved back to Austria. When his family returned to Austria young Adolf began to form a rebellious nature by refusing to conform to school. His father began to beat him and his mother would try to protect him but it would be no use. Hitler moved again at eight years old and became interested in art as well as becoming interested in becoming a priest later in life. Hitler’s younger brother passed away in 1900, causing Hitler to become introverted and even more rebellious. Alois Hitler wanted Adolf to follow in his footsteps and pushed him to a government schooling rather than a traditional school. He began to feel a sense of German nationalism which would only grow over time. When his Father passed on January 3, 1903 Hitler’s grades slipped and switched to a traditional education which he exceled at.
After his fathers passing Hitler and his mother moved to Vienna, Austria. They went to Vienna for Hitler to attend the school of fine arts. His mother financed his life and when he was rejected from art school twice his will to continue diminished. He was a great artist but due to him never finishing secondary school he was rejected twice. When his mom passed away on December 21, 1907, Hitler lost his money and began living a poor mans life, selling his art to make a quick buck. In the city he was exposed to anti-Semitism at a large scale. While it is debated what cause Hitler’s anti-Semitic beliefs, this is commonly recognized as the largest factor. At this point Hitler was a broken man living on the streets and barely making ends meet, this made him into a strong willed man willing to do anything to keep himself afloat.
In 1914 war broke out in Europe sparking many nations to race to build up their armed forces and strike. Hitler enlisted almost immediately being assigned to the Bavarian army as a runner for messages. At the battle of the Somme Hitler was injured and received the Iron cross second class. He was recommended for the iron cross first class, the highest award in the German army, by Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, his Jewish superior. During his service he was hospitalized twice, once for a thigh injury and a mustard gas attack which left him temporally blind. When the treaty of Versailles was signed Hitler felt stabbed in the back as he was not lacking in nationalism, so naturally he blamed the Jews. He felt humiliated as well which would lead to him seeking revenge on France and Britain.
After the war Hitler remained in the Army, which was demolished to a small force, he was stationed in Munich where he was tasked with spying on the German workers party(DAP). He aligned with their beliefs and slowly began to feel the urge to join the party. As a backdrop to this time in history Germany was a fractured state and the Communists were the front runners. The DAP rose out of people fearing the communists and needed to be investigated. He joined the DAP shortly after he was discharged from the army. He quickly rose through the parties ranks through his abilities to polarize a crowd and galvanized the party. He knew they needed a symbol to rally behind and he made the swastika the parties symbol. While only in the party for a short time he became the first in command and radicalized the party making the Waffen SS as a security force. He renamed the party The National Socialist Party it later became known as the Nazi party.
On November 8, 1923 Hitler along with 2,000+ personnel stormed a public meeting and took control of a local police station, and a beerhall. The German government deployed the Wehrmacht to fight the Nazi’s. Sixteen of Hitler’s men were killed and dozens were injured, Hitler was on the run. Hitler was eventually caught and tried on 11 counts of high treason. He was sentenced to five years at Landsberg prison, where he only served one year of his sentence. He dictated a book in prison, Mein Kampf, this book was a glimpse into the mind of Hitler writing his ideology and life story for the world to see.
At the February 4, 1920 meeting Hitler presents the twenty-five theses as the basis for the new party. The group accepts them. The party emphasizes that it is offering a new philosophy. “”With this the first guiding principles and directives were issued for a struggle which was to do away with a veritable mass of old traditional conceptions and opinions and with unclear, yes, harmful, aims. Into the rotten and cowardly bourgeois world and into the triumphant march of the Marxist wave of conquest a new power phenomenon was entering, which at the eleventh hour would halt the chariot of doom,”” (Volume 2, Chapter 1, p. 374).
Most new programs come from the politicians who are trying to stay in office. The Marxists, Hitler feels, pretend to support democratic ideals but if Marxism is attacked, they will take a violent stance against them.
It is pointed out to Hitler that his movement’s attitude toward the state is negative in 1919-1920. The whole mechanism that exists in any society is geared toward the preservation of the state. Hitler says there are three different conceptions of the state. One conception views the state as existing for a grouping of people, whether it is voluntary or not. There is a veneration of state authority and men exist to serve the state, instead of the other way around. The purpose of the state in this situation is to maintain peace and order. The second conception involves the attaching of some conditions to the existence of the state. It must provide for uniformity in administration and language and must provide for the general welfare of the people.
This brief three and one-half page chapter contains Hitler’s views on citizenship in his ideal state. He begins by saying that in the present state, the terms citizens and foreigners are the only two designations that exist for people. Citizens are those who are either naturally born in the country or those who have been naturalized. Foreigners are defined as citizens of another state. Since most citizenship is determined by the place of birth, race and nationality have nothing to do with citizenship. Naturalization can take place if the immigrant is not a criminal or political subversive and does not present a financial burden to the country. He applies for citizenship, is accepted and receives a letter telling him that he is a German. The authorities pay no attention to the health of the common man.
The purpose of the National Socialist state is to protect the bearer of the culture. Hitler disagrees with Marx on the point that all men are equal. Different blood backgrounds mean that men are not equal and their minds are not equal. It must be a philosophy of life that seeks out the best men, in the Hitlerian context. It is wrong to view a state in economic terms and the National Socialist state must distinguish itself from other states. Wage differentials and economic progress do not make a philosophy. To prove his point, Hitler reviews the factors that lead to the formation and development of culture. One of the factors that distinguish man from animal is invention. Man invents things that make life easier while animals more complacent with their place in the world.
Hitler attempts to outline the major points contained in his folkish state. The important factor is how the state is created. The present political powers cannot be expected to implement the programs and policies. If their present situation continues, their society and political structure will be taken over by the Jews. In order to bring about change, a new force must be found and it must eliminate the existing Jewish power.
The first part in the battle is the eradication of the existing state of affairs. Their effect has to be negative because there is no such thing as constructive work. The criticism is negative, not constructive. Years and years of criticism tear down the existing structure of the state since Marxism cannot exist with any of the bodies that represent the old weak government that put Germany under the foot of the allies.
The Party’s first great meeting is held in the Festsaal of the Hofbrauhaus on February 24, 1920. These mass meeting are scheduled on a weekly basis. One of the views of the movement are Hitler’s views that the World War I peace treaty is basically an attack on Germany. The movement has to be held together during times when its beliefs are being challenged. They notice a unified opposition at their meetings always challenging the same few points. The young movement is besieged by a propaganda campaign against it and within two years Hitler becomes an expert at using this against his opposition. Hitler emphasizes the peace treaty in his speeches. It is a rallying cry to all true Germans.
Hitler attends some of the bourgeois meetings in the 1919-1921 period. They always follow a certain structure. There is always a speech after which the attendees sing the Deutschland song. After that the attendees head for the nearest bars. Hitler’s movement uses red posters at their meetings to irritate the Marxists. Their meetings are crowded with workers who would arrive early. Hitler trains guards—a monitor service. He believes in fighting terror with terror. The monitor service is to deal with people who disrupt the meetings. Their meetings are always successful and crowded, so crowded that the police have to turn people away. At this point there is no party insignia or flag and Hitler knows that they need them to provide a common bond for all Germans.
There is a federation of working folkish groups. These groups elect a common leadership and work on common actions. This is how parties are founded. The movement then has a right of priority which allows them to function with coordination to solve their common problems. The ones who make the party a success are the ones who are willing to sacrifice for it. The German Socialist Party forms at the same time as the National Socialist German Workers Party. Hitler finds that many of his party’s programs are being copied and adopted by others. Weak organizations cannot be made strong. Strong organizations, according to Hitler, usually cannot be weakened. Just because work groups unite in a federation, it does not necessarily mean that they will become strong.
his chapter concerns Hitler’s views on state authority. There are three foundations of the old state: the monarchist state form, the civil service and the army. All of this changes by the end of World War I. The basis for state authority is shattered by the end of the war.
There are three elements that form the basis for state authority. The first has to do with popularity. The foundation for a state cannot rest on popularity alone which leads to the second element of power. If the foundations based on popularity and power exist for a while, it can then lead to state authority based on tradition. The tradition associated with the old Reich is gone after the Kaiser surrendered to the allies.
Hitler is familiar with the use of propaganda from his experiences in the war. He does not attribute the end of the monarchy to the distributed propaganda during the war. At that time there are various war society offices in Berlin which Hitler attributes to the Jews. He accuses them of pillaging the German nation through their war societies and he identifies Kurt Eisner as one who tries to pit Bavaria against Prussia. This takes place as a struggle between Bavarian workers against Prussian militarism. Hitler addresses the issue of whether Germany should be a federated or unified state. A federated state consists of a league of sovereign states. They come together of their own free will and give up some of their sovereign rights for the benefit of the federation’s economic and military benefits.
When Hitler joins the German Workers’ Party, he heads the propaganda department. To him, this is the most important department in the party. He feels it more important to spread the message than to handle administrative duties. He believes that some men are born leaders and that a good leader is not made by someone having a wealth of theoretical knowledge. These people make good organizers. Hitler feels that every movement has to divide its people into supporters and members. Supporters are attracted by propaganda. The organization itself wins the members. The difference between a supporter and a member is that a supporter claims to agree with the goals of the organization while a member fights for the goals. Obviously, members have a more active role than supporters do.
Hitler’s organization experiences rapid growth by 1922 and they have to look at objections to workers being with them because their occupations and economic situations are in the hands of their enemies. The workers have to belong to labor unions in order to hold jobs. Among the issues they have to address are the viability of trade unions; should the party engage in union activities; what should be the task and goals of a National Socialist trade union if they decide to form one; and how should they form the unions. As far as trade unions go, Hitler feels they cannot be done away with and because of their importance, they have to be an area the National Socialist Party is interested in.
This chapter is concerned with the alliance policy of Germany in the years following World War I. Those in power have no interest in an alliance policy or the re-establishment of the German state as it had been. Since the 1918 end of the monarchy, the government has been a failure in foreign affairs, according to Hitler. Party members and the population must be educated in the area of foreign affairs and foreign policy. People should always ask if a policy action will be beneficial or injurious in the present and in the future. The purpose of pre-War foreign policy is to help preserve the character of the German people. In the post-war period, the nation must be restored to its pre-war position of power before sensible foreign powers retaliate against the German people.
Hitler examines Germany’s relationship with Russia in this chapter. He feels that the Russian issue is the most important issue confronting Germany and that the National Socialist movement must correctly assess the issue in order to formulate its own policy and actions. To Hitler, the ablity to feed the nation depends on its soil and that is what must be protected. Thus, Germany must become a world power in order to guarantee its future and Germany is nowhere close to being a world power in the present circumstances. “”The National Socialist movement must strive to eliminate the disproportion between our population and our area—viewing this latter as a source of food as well as a basis for power politics—between our historical past and the hopelessness”
The end of World War I and the armistice basically relegates Germany to a position of submission. The giving up of arms always has serious consequences. It is not just a loss of honor .When the monarchy collapses in 1918, the only concern of the French is to get the Germans out of France and Belgium. Neither England nor France is interested in the dissolution of Germany. The disarmament terms of the peace treaty leads the French to think that Germany will be shattered. They think there will be ensuing economic pressures within the country that will help accomplish this goal. The purpose of the occupation of the Ruhr is to demoralize the German people and economy, even though the French breach the Versailles Treaty with the move into the fatherland.
Mein Kampf. Vol. 2, Eher Verlag, 1925.
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