Adolf Hitler 1889-1945

Essay by andrew smithCollege, UndergraduateA, March 1996

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Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau-am-Inn, Austria, of German descent. His father Alois was the illegitimate son of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. In middle age Alois took the name Hitler from his paternal grandfather. After two wives had died Alois married his foster daughter, Klara Poelzi, a Bavarian, 23 years younger than he. She became Adolf's mother. Adolf was raised as a spoiled child by his doting mother. It was she who protected him from the wrath of his father. He consistently failed in his schooling only to grow up a half educated young man, untrained for any trade or profession, seemingly doomed to failure. His father wanted Adolf to study for a government position. But as young Adolf wrote later "the thought of slaving in a office made me ill...not to be master of my own time." Adolf filled most of his school hours with daydreams of becoming a painter.

His one school interest was history, especially that of Germans. When his teachers spoke of Germany his attention increased. When Adolf was twelve years old and faced with repeating a year in school, Adolf announced he wanted to be an artist and no longer needed to go to school. His father was adamant and shouted "Artist, no! Never as long as I live!" According to Adolf's sister Paula, he was a "scrubby little rogue" who constantly ridiculed the civil-service career of his father, who whipped him daily. Hitler's teachers in grammer school remembered him as arrogant, ill-tempered, willful. One of them wrote"At the same time he demanded the unqualified subservience of his fellow peers, fancying himself in the role of a leader, and of course playing many small harmless pranks."

On January 3, 1903, Adolf's father died of a lung hemmorage at the age of...