Adolf Hitler's Early Years
Adolf Hitler was born in the small Austrian town of Branau on the 20th of April 1889. He came from a middle-class family that lived comfortably, although he suggested in his book Mein Kampf that his family was poor and his childhood was filled with hardship. His father Alois Hitler was a customs official with the Austrian Civil Service. His mother, Klara was a former servant girl and became Alois' third wife. The young Hitler had ability but performed poorly at school. He reacted against discipline. One of his teachers described Hitler as "wilful, arrogant and bad tempered. He had obvious difficulty in fitting in at school. Moreover he was lazy.... He demanded of his fellow pupils their unqualified subservience, fancying himself in the role of leader."
Hitler had a poor relationship with his father, who could not accept his son's lack of self-discipline and his interests in art, architecture and music.
When his father died in 1903, his mother Klara had very little control over her son, and in 1905 he left school. In 1907 Hitler applied to enter the Vienna Academy of Art but his application was rejected. In that year his mother died from cancer. Hitler had been devoted to his mother and her death affected him deeply. He carried her portrait everywhere he went for the rest of his life.
In 1908 Hitler moved to Vienna. Once again he sought admission to the Academy Of Art but was rejected for a second time. For a while he had enough money to live on from his inheritance and from an orphan's pension but by the time he was twenty-one, Hitler was almost penniless, and was forced to live in a shelter with homeless men. On the odd occasion he made money from drawing...