Historical Background of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20 in 1889 in Austria-Hungary. In a family of six children, Adolf was the fourth born to Klara Pölzl and Alois Hitler. His older brothers and a sister died while still young. However, his younger brother’s death from measles greatly affected him. During his childhood, the family had moved from Austria to Passau, to Leonding, Hafeld, Lambach and finally, permanently back to Leonding. In Lambach, Hitler had taken singing lessons, was active in church, and had even considered priesthood. His father, Alois practiced farming and bee keeping and also worked with the customs bureau and had wanted Hitler to take after him. Hitler was at the time schooling near Fischlham and was fixated on attending classical High school to become an artist (Shirer 9). However, this brought an antagonism between him and his father who was against his ideas. This prompted his father to enroll him in Linz for studies, a move Hitler disliked and intentionally decided to perform poorly for Alois to let him pursue arts. However, this was never to happen, since after the death of his father in 1903, his performance in school deteriorated before his mother supported his idea to quit school. Hitler then left school with no interest to further his studies even though he had passed his final exams though after repeating. Just like other Germans, from Austria Hitler developed his nationalist ideas at a young age. His was a strong supporter of Germany and despised the rule of Habsburg Monarchy. Together with his friends, they sang the German and not the Austrian anthem. His interest in war heightened after he found a picture book on the Franco-Prussian War in their house that belonged to his father (Hitler 6).
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Adolf Hitler’s Historical Inclination to Nazism
Hitler’s anti-Semitism developed when he was in Vienna as he states in his book, My Struggles. This is probably because of the strong support of anti-Semitism in Vienna that was evident when he was there. However, August Kubizek, a close friend of his claims Hitler became an anti-Semite before leaving Linz where he went to study. However, Hitler’s anti-Semitism when still young is questionable. His anti-Semitism is similarly likely to have grown after the First World War when Germany was defeated (Kershaw 65).
Before becoming an anti-Semite and a Nazi, Hitler led Bohemian lifestyle while still in Vienna. He had a tough young adult life as a laborer and a painter after being denied an opportunity in the Academy of Fine Arts. After the death of his mother in 1907, four years after his father’s death Hitler became homeless and had to settle with other poor men. At the time, there were many religious, racial and immigrant propaganda that possibly affected Hitler’s view and inclination while still a young boy. Hitler later on left Vienna in an attempt to escape service to the Habsburg Empire, explaining in his book that he disliked their racial mixture. In the early 1900s, Hitler was able to serve in World War I, after which the Bavarian Soviet Republic absorbed his battalion and appointed him the Deputy Battalion Representative. During this time, he had not yet formed his political standpoint. He was against the monarchists though but did not belong to any class. He claims that he was not an anti-Semite during his service to the Bavarian Soviet Republic. However, Hitler later on defined his political views as an anti-Semite and a nationalist. He similarly highlighted his unbelief in capitalism as Jewish (Gaab & Jeffery 61).
The Origin and Beliefs of Nazism
Nazism, also National Socialism stems from Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Nazism was their ideology, mainly its represented the Nazi Party. The Nazi Party practiced racism and anti-Semitism. The party developed from Pan-Germanism. A far right German nationalist movement that was against communism in Germany whose intentions was to push communists to support German nationalism. Nazism allowed the domination of the inferiors by the racial based superior group. They believed the inferior races were a threat to the national survival. The Aryan race according to them was the superior race, a belief that led to the extermination of Romani, Jews, the mentally and physically disabled, blacks, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other political opponents and degenerate groups and races during the holocaust. Among some of their other beliefs was expansionism that allowed the superior race to grow in size at the expense of inferior races as their population increased. This resulted to the replacement of the inferior races. Although they were anti-communists, they were against Marxism. They wanted the disintegration of social divisions and advocated for national unity from the different races. The Nazis were against capitalism and communism since they were associated with Jewish materialism. Due to their strong support for national unity, they were against any form of strikes or lockouts that affected nationalism. Instead, the Nazis made sure the state controlled wages and salaries (Thomas 34).
The Nazi was ideologically influenced by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a German, nationalist. His works had inspired Hitler and some other members of the Nazi including Arnold Fanck and Dietrich Eckart. Fichte had in Speeches to the German Nation in 1808, called for a revolution in Germany to flee itself from the French occupiers. This was during the occupation of France in Berlin (Ryback& Timothy 129).
The Rise of Nazism
According to Peurket & Detlev (48), Nazism is a form of politics of the far right. This is because of their theme of racial superiority over the inferior races. The Nazi party insisted that they belonged to neither the right wing nor the left wing. They were somewhere in the middle of both, syncretic. Hitler mentioned that they did not favor any of the groups but instead supported some of their beliefs like national resolve from the right wing (Hitler 287).
The far-right movement in Germany during the period after the First World greatly influenced the Nazi Party. This is because of the common beliefs the two shared. The far right movement was against Marxism, liberalism and Semitism. They supported nationalism like Nazism and had rejected the Treaty of Versailles, an act that bore their contempt to the Weimar Republic that signed the treaty. The Nazis also got their inspiration from the paramilitary organizations that had participated in the political violence after World War I. This is because of the change in leadership in the far-right movement that occurred in the early 19th century whereby the old monarchists from a younger generation. These young leaders were associated more with nationalism than restoring the German monarchy. Instead, they planned to disintegrate the Weimar republic that was in power and establish a radical state based on martial ruling associated with the national unity of Germany (Peurket& Detlev 74).
In an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic in 1931, The Nazis, the party of reactionary German National People, the far-right monarchist together with other monarchist officers in the German army and industrialists formed an opposition alliance, the National Front. However, the alliance collapsed after elections in 1932. It was bound to break, because of the differences between the Nazis and the DNVP, a far-right party (Bendersky & Joseph 96).
However, the Nazi party developed two groups within its confines, the conservatives and radicals. The conservatives headed by Herman Goring, Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich had persuaded Hitler to support capitalism and reactionism. On the other hand, radicals including Joseph Goebbels and Otto Strasser viewed capitalism as Jewish. They emphasized on capitalism and were against any form of conciliation with capitalists. A large percentage of the Nazis also supported anti-capitalism and socialism and had expected the party to establish a strong economic and social revolution after gaining power. Therefore, Strasser left the party believing that Hitler had compromised the party by accepting capitalism. As a result, Rohm pushed the party to its second revolution, without Hitler’s authority. Hitler was then angered forcing him to purge Rohm together with the other radical members. However, Hitler had taken a pragmatic position that was between the radical and the conservative groups of the party. He had allowed the private enterprises of the capitalists only if they worked along the goals of the Nazi party. Although Hitler was against the communist ideology, he occasionally praised the leader of the Soviet Union for his efforts to eliminate Jewish communists. He had supported the union between Nazi and the Soviet Union in an effort to fight liberalism of liberal democracies like France (Beck 72).
The Nazi party rose to power because of the many beliefs and goals they wanted to establish. Particularly, nationalist leaders like Fichte guided the party. They sought to promote the exceptionalism of Germans and saw the need to purify Germans from inferiors and the French. After rising to power, they even eliminated French words in the German language. Inspiration of these past leaders drove the Nazi Party into the action. As nationalists, they denounced individualism and materialism (Cyprian 542). They instead advocated for German superiority. Foreigners and foreign ideas, Catholics, Jews and Freemasons were inferior to them. They sought to conserve the environment and advocated for the upholding of morals and tradition. The Nazis supported revolutionary nationalists’ policies. They claimed that they also got their influence from Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany who founded the empire. Their aim was to continue the work of German nationalism that Bismarck had started. A German unified state. Hitler as the leader of the Nazis was also a strong supporter of Bismarck. However, he criticized his moderate policies especially his support for the lesser Germany without Austria. Hitler in his book saw himself similar to Bismarck in many ways. However, apart from Bismarck, Hitler also got political influence from Georg Ritter von Schönerer while he was still young and in Austria. Ritter advocated for German nationalism, anti-Catholism, anti-Semitism, anti-Slavism and he was also against Habsburg views. It is from von Schönerer that Hitler adopted the Heil greeting of the Nazis and the absolute leadership of the Nazi Party (David 159). Karl Luger’s anti-Semitism and anti-liberalism had also impressed Hitler. Therefore, it is evident that the Nazi rose to power because of their popular belief and support from the greater German community.
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