Adolf Hitler Early Life: ● Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria. ● Tried but failed to get into an art college. ● He lived in poverty in Vienna and Munich then joined the German armyupon the beginning of the Great War. ○ Gave him a sense of purpose for the first time. ● Worked as a messenger. ○ Was awarded medals for bravery. ● Horrified when Germany lost the war. ● Thought that the ToV was very harsh (like many other Germans at thetime). ● Communism: ○ He hated it. ○ But was impressed by the way in which communists were ready touse violence to get what they wanted. ● Began political life in Munich (a Bavarian city): ○ 1919, he joined and took over a tiny group called the GermanWorkers’ Party. ○ Hitler was lazy but a brilliant spokesman. ○ Appealed to ex-servicemen and membership soon grew. ○ Hitler changed the name to National Socialist German Workers’Party (Nazi). ○ Followers got into deliberate street fights with socialists andcommunists. ■ They were known as the Sturmabteilung (Storm Section orStorm Troops) or the SA. ■ They were given the name brownshirts because of theiruniform. November 1923: Hitler tries to seize power
● The Ruhr crisis caused the Germans to respond with strikes these causedinflation: ○ People lost their life savings. ○ Hitler decided it was the right time to stage a revolution. ● 8 November 1923, Hitler tried to use the SA to take control of Bavaria. ○ This was known as the Beer Hall Putsch as it started when he tookover a meeting occurring in a Munich beer hall. ○ The attempt failed. ● 9 November 1923, Hitler’s Nazis were met by armed police who killed 16of his followers and later arrested a fleeing Hitler after 2 days pursuit. ● Hitler was tried for treason: ○ He used the trial to win publicity. ○ He was dealt with leniently. ○ Sentenced to 5 years in prison, only served 9 months. ● Hitler decided after that only to use legal means to get power Mein Kampf (My Struggle): 1925 ● This was a book explaining Hitler’s beliefs published in 1925 and writtenwhilst he was in jail. ● Basic ideas as stated by the book: ○ ToV was an unjust attack on Germany and must be overturned. ○ Leaders of the Weimar Republic were traitors as they hadaccepted the ToV. ○ Jews were the cause of Germany’s problems; they were subhumanand were always trying to destroy Germany (anti-Semitism). ○ The German people needed Lebensraum (living space) whichshould be taken from the non-German people of Eastern Europe. The Lean Years: ● 1925-30 the Nazis had little support: ○ Germany was recovering and so few people were attracted toextreme nationalists like Hitler, as there was no reason for them tobelieve that Germany had been wronged when it was doing sowell. ● Economic depression:
○ In 1929 the Wall Street Crash brought unemployment and inflationback to Germany: ■ Hitler gained more power and in 1933 he was given theposition of Chancellor of the Reichstag. Support for Hitler: ● Mainly it was people from the lower and middle classes of society thatsupported Hitler.