Adolf Hitler


"A racing tipster who only reached Hitler's level of accuracy would not do well for his clients."

A. J. P. Taylor (1906 - 1990)
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German political and military leader and one of the 20th century's most powerful dictators. Adolf Hitler converted Germany into a fully militarized society and launched World War II in 1939 (see Federal Republic of Germany). He made anti-Semitism a keystone of his propaganda and policies and built the Nazi Party (see National Socialism) into a mass movement. He hoped to conquer the entire world, and for a time dominated most of Europe and much of North Africa. He instituted sterilization and euthanasia measures to enforce his idea of racial purity among German people and caused the slaughter of millions of Jews, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), Slavic peoples, and many others, all of whom he considered inferior.

Adolf Hitler had hoped to become an artist but was rejected as unqualified by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in October 1907. His mother died in 1908, and Adolf Hitler pretended to continue his studies in Vienna in order to receive an orphan’s pension. In reality, he mostly wandered about the city admiring its public buildings and frequently attending operas, especially those of Richard Wagner, whom Adolf Hitler adored for his heroic portrayals of German mythology.

When he had exhausted his inherited funds, Adolf Hitler, unwilling to take a job, ended up in a homeless shelter. It was there that he was first exposed to extreme political ideas, particularly the racial concepts of Lanz von Liebenfels. Liebenfels published a periodical about the supposed superiority of Aryans, an ill-defined race which included Germans, and the inferiority of other races, especially Jews. At the same time Adolf Hitler acquired a hatred for socialism and came to equate it with the Jews.

Between 1910 and 1913 Hitler’s life improved when he began to paint and sell postcards and pictures for a living, copying famous paintings and drawing public buildings. He debated ideas with others in the hostel in which he lived, developing the beginnings of his public speaking style. Failure to register for the draft in Austria led him to flee for Munich, Germany, in 1913 to escape Austrian authorities. He was extradited to Austria but was found physically unfit to serve in the military.

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