World War 2
Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)
For twelve years the fate of Germany was embodied in its Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. Son of an Austrian customs official, he was born in 1889 in the small town of Braunau-am-Inn on the German border. At the age of eighteen, he was already an orphan but his father had left him with small inheritance. He left for Vienna where he dreamed of becoming a famous painter, but he failed the entrance exam to the Academy of Fine Arts. When the First World War broke out he enlisted in the German Army and participated in the fighting on the western front. While there, he was wounded and decorated with the Iron Cross.
After the First World War, Hitler moved the Munich where he joined a small nationalist party, the German Workers National Socialist Party, and became its President in 1921. In November 1923, an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the ruling party in Munich resulted in his being sentenced to five years imprisonment in the fortress of Landsberg. He only served thirteen months of the sentence but this was enough time for him to write his famous book Mein Kampf (My Struggle). In this embroidered story of his life, Hitler reveals his racist doctrine, his nationalism, and his hatred for democracy. The work soon became the Nazis bible.
When Hitler was set free, Hitler devoted his time to strengthening his party, which within a few years became a sizeable force. Appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Hitler set up a Nazi regime, and declared himself Fuhrer of the Reich when the elderly president Paul von Hindenburg died. Germany's fate was then linked to that of its ruler. On 30th April 1945, in a Berlin invaded by the Red Army and in ruins, Hitler committed suicide.