Who is the person sitting to the left of corporal Hitler?

Who is the person sitting to the left of corporal Hitler?

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My son, in my opinion, looks like the person sitting next to corporal Hitler in this photograph.

Does anyone know who this is or any information about where the photo was taken?

Here's the exact description of the photo, according to Hitlerpages.com:

Hitler and his fellow-soldiers in Fournes en Weppes, April 1915.

First row: Adolf Hitler, Balthasar Brandmayer, Anton Bachmann, Foxl, Max Mund. Second row: Ernst Schmidt, Johann Sperl, Jakob Weiß, Karl Tiefenböck.

This way, your man is called Balthasar Brandmayer. But it turns out that he's not just "some random soldier sitting next to Hitler" as we could think.

In fact, he's an author of a book called "Two messengers" which was released in 1932. It speaks about the times of his war service and frequently refers to Hitler. I don't know if it was translated into English, but…

I recommend you the linked book "Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918, The List Regiment" by John F. Williams, as there's a lot about Brandmayer, with quotes from his memoirs. Unfortunately many important pages are not included in the online preview, but there's still a lot to read about him.

Below there's another photo from the same session, with Brandmayer lying at the grass.

If any of you wonder, the dog's name is Foxl (Fochsl).

Hillary, Hitler & Cold War II

In assessing the motives and actions of Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton compared them to Adolf Hitler's. Almost always a mistake.

After 12 years in power, Hitler was dead, having slaughtered millions and conquered Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.

And Putin? After 13 years in power, and facing a crisis in Ukraine, he directed his soldiers in the Crimea to take control of the small peninsula where Russia has berthed its Black Sea fleet since Napoleon.

To the Wall Street Journal this is a "blitzkrieg."

But as of now, this is a less bloody affair than Andrew Jackson's acquisition of our Florida peninsula. In 1818, Gen. Jackson was shooting Indians, putting the Spanish on boats to Cuba and hanging Brits. And we Americans loved it.

Still, there are parallels between what motivates Putin, a Russian nationalist, and what motivated the Austrian corporal. Hitler's war began in blazing resentment at what was done to Germany after Nov. 11, 1918.

The Kaiser's armies had defeated the Russian Empire, and the Italians at Caporetto, and fought the Western Allies to a stand still in France, until two million Americans turned the tide in 1918. When Berlin accepted an armistice on President Wilson's Fourteen Points, not a single Allied soldier stood on German soil.

But, at Paris, the Allies proceeded to tear a disarmed Germany apart. The whole German Empire was confiscated.

Eupen and Malmedy were carved out of Germany and given to Belgium. Alsace-Lorraine was taken by France. South Tyrol was severed from Austria and given to Italy. A new Czechoslovakia was given custody of 3.25 million Sudeten Germans.

The German port of Danzig was handed over to the new Poland, which was also given an 80-mile wide strip cut out of Germany from Silesia to the sea, slicing her in two.

The Germans were told they could not form an economic union with Austria, could not have an army of more than 100,000 soldiers, and could not put soldiers west of the Rhine, in their own country.

Perhaps this Carthaginian peace was understandable given the Allied losses. It was also madness if the Allies wanted an enduring peace.

Gen. Hans Von Seeckt predicted what would happen. When we regain our power, he said, "we will naturally take back everything we lost."

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he wrote off the lands lost to Belgium, France and Italy -- he wanted no war with the West -- but set out to recapture lost German lands and peoples in the East.

He imposed conscription in 1935, sent his soldiers back into the Rhineland in 1936, annexed Austria in 1938, demanded and got the return of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia at Munich in 1938.

He then sought to negotiate with the Polish colonels, who had joined in carving up Czechoslovakia, a return of Danzig, when the British issued a war guarantee to Warsaw stiffening Polish spines.

Enraged by Polish intransigence, Hitler attacked. Britain and France declared war. The rest is history.

What has this to do with Putin?

He, too, believes his country was humiliated and shabbily treated after the Cold War, and sees himself as protector of the ethnic Russians left behind when the Soviet Union came apart.

Between 1989 and 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev had freed the captive nations of Eastern Europe, allowed the Soviet Union to dissolve into 15 nations, and had held out a hand of friendship to the Americans.

What did we do? Moved NATO right onto Russia's front porch. We brought all the liberated nations of Eastern Europe into our military alliance, along with three former Soviet republics.

The War Party tried to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, which was established to contain and, if necessary, fight Russia. Had they succeeded, we could have been at war with Russia in 2008 over Georgia and South Ossetia, and today over Crimea.

Now we hear new calls for Ukraine and Georgia to be brought into NATO. Are these people sane?

Five U.S. presidents who faced far more violent actions by a far more dangerous Soviet Union -- Truman, Ike, JFK, Johnson, Reagan -- refused even to threaten force against Russia for anything east of the Elbe river.

These presidents ruled out force during the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the smashing of Solidarity in Poland in 1981.

Yet, today, we are committed to go to war for Lithuania and Estonia, Obama is sending F-16s to Latvia where half a million Russians live, and the War Party wants Sixth Fleet warships moved into the Black Sea.


• Vienna – Academy of Arts – Cosmopolitanism and culture • opera – Presence of Galician Jews anti-Semitism – Street artist – Homeless shelters – Politicization • Karl Lueger • Elements of mystical German nationalism – Aryan ideal – Swastika

• Munich – on the run for A-H authorities • June 28, 1914 • Enlisted in German army

• Wartime service – Bicycle messenger – Promoted to corporal – Awarded Iron Cross • 1918 surrender… • Weimar Republic “November Criminals”

• 1919 -1923 • Many Germans were disillusioned after the defeat in the First World war. Ex-soldiers felt that they had been ‘stabbed in the back’ and felt that they had not been defeated on the battlefield. Many of them joined right wing groups such as the Freikorps or the Nazi party. • The Spartacist rising, amongst others, led to many people fearing a Communist revolution in Germany. People looked to right wing groups to act against this, the Freikorps in particular. • Economic hardship was coupled with humiliation as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Right wing groups gained popularity by saying that they would not adhere to its terms.

• Military uniforms demonstrated strength at a time when the government was weak • Use of force against communists and trade unionists was popular with business • Populist policies and rhetoric were employed to discredit opponents and develop support • References to traditional values and reminders of “who was to blame” for the economic crisis built support…

• Post-WW 1 – Hitler remained in the Ger. army acted as a “mole” and spied on various communist organizations • One group he spied on – German Workers Party became the National Socialist (Nazi) Party in 1919 (NSDAP), w/ Hitler as the leader • Munich – Beer Hall Putsch (1923) • The failure of the Beer Hall Putsch demonstrates that power needs to be taken through legal means

• Hitler on trial – sedition • A political circus – sympathetic judge, minimal sentence… • Landsberg Prison • Mein Kampf – Lebensraum – Biological/ Racial anti. Semitism

• A new approach – NSDAP as a “leader party” the focus was shifted to propaganda and electoral success and winning the support of big business • “First power, then politics” • The “Germany Flights”

• 1924 -1929 – – Focus on traditional values Built on fear of left wing groups Continued use of military imagery Lack of electoral support due to relative prosperity in Germany at the time • 1929 -1932 - A Change in Fortunes – Wall Street Crash leads to end of effective financial assistance from USA – Unemployment rises rapidly – Hyperinflation recurs – Threat of Communism increases – Coalition government fails to address problems successfully

• Nazis used force to prevent uprisings • Their rhetoric played on people’s fears • Big business won over through revised economic plans • Emphasis placed on military power won support of many soldiers and traditionalists. • Weak coalition governments enabled Nazis to gain political strength • Propaganda and shows of might impressed the masses

• Seats won in the Reichstag 1932 saw a NSDAP plurality • Rohm’s Brown Shirts in the streets…

• In 1933 the push for total power began: at this point, the Reichstag burned down, creating an opportunity for Hitler – Blame was placed on the comms. and an auth. crackdown began… • the Nazis still failed to gain a majority in subsequent elections, but they w/ their supporters pushed thru the Enabling Law • Hindenburg was forced to appoint Hitler as Chancellor (other politicians believed that Hitler can be manipulated easily) = Day of Potsdam • (President Hindenburg’s eventual death allowed Hitler to assume presidential powers)

• Mar 21, 1933 – staged photo of Hindenburg and Hitler (after Hitler had won the Mar 5 elecs. ) – • Potsdam church – where Pr. kings had been crowned – So Hindenburg in full uniform (= mil. tradition) – Hitler in civilian clothes and bowing (thus not a mil. coup) • Goebbels wanted this to create continuity and more pop. support – the fact that all this was in a church further legitimized it – and the image showed that the army was ready to accept Hitler – the army was what worried him the most – So given the symbolism, there was little resistance – legitimacy instead of a rev!

• after 1933, the Nazi dictatorship began: – other pol. parties were outlawed – a Reich Church was organized (a combo of Nazism and Protestantism and Paganism) – trade unions and other social orgs. were disbanded… – the Gestapo was est. and given unlimited powers concentration camps were est. , inc. Dachau • one of their 1 st actions, along w/ Himmler’s SS, was to take out the now problematic Brown Shirts and their leader Ernst Rohm (“Night of the Long Knives”)

– a massive state propaganda program was implemented, inc. Nuremberg Rallies • Goebbels, as Min. of Truth and Enlightenment, created the “Big Lie” • Unacceptable ideas were stamped out – the “Burning of the Books”

– the Weimar constitution and civil rights were suspended and the Nuremberg Laws enacted later in the 1930 s – These included the Civil Service Law and the Preservation of Blood and Honour Laws • ARTICLE 2 – A citizen of the Reich may be only one who is of German or kindred blood, and who, through his behavior, shows that he is both desirous and personally fit to serve loyally the German people and the Reich. – German Jews were systematically denied their rights of citizenship and pushed out of the German nation

• Nazi racial thinking – Ger. natl community drew its strength from pure blood and sacred Ger. earth – So the bureaucracy grew – the 1933 and later laws sought to exclude Jews from this utopian vision: the Civil Service Law, the physicians law, the disbarring of lawyers, the Law against Overcrowding of Ger. Schools, the Law for Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring (sterilization program/T 4), the Reich Flag Law (swastika as symbol), the Citizenship Law, the Law for the Defense of Ger. Blood and Honour, Law for the Protection of the Hereditary Health of the German People (the last outlawed Hebrew and any kind of sexual contact b/n Aryans and no-Aryans), etc… – Goebbels ran the Aryanization campaign – Jews were pushed out of the arts he decided the fates of individual composers and tunes

– Jews allowed their own culture but only in exclusion (Kulturbund) – For most Gers. the eco. was the issue – Hitler had to be pragmatic: Jewish doctors were allowed to practice until enough Aryan doctors could be guaranteed…so the eco. boycott varied – Hitler moderated eco. actions – didn’t want to turn Jews into an eco burden – he aimed to assimilate mischlinge thru several generations – he did not want to weaken war potential – Similarly, anti-Jewish actions decreased during the Olympics – (Mischlinge of the 1 st degree – ¼ Jewish, thus 1 grandparent (volljuden had 3 Jewish grandparentps) – complex and changing laws – there was also the Q of “race” after temporary contact w/ Jews – if a Ger. converted to Judaism but then left, he was Ger. again – but his children were considered mischlinge …

• The Nazis had to figure out a way to implement the Nur. Laws…the layers of fault/blame in implementation of Nur. Laws can be portrayed in a bull’s eye pattern…(D. Bankier) • Innermost layer – Hitler/Nazi core … • Next – the idealists/careerists - SS/Gestapo • Next, someone in the Min. of Welfare who makes the rule that Jews can’t redeem vouchers for glasses, so Jewish opticians end up w/ a ltd. customer base (these “micro” details don’t come from the top but instead come from a bureaucrat who is working for promotion) • At the next level, an opera director is fired because he is a Jew, and his replacement takes the job, even if thinks that it might not be fair… • The racial laws, inc. the Civil Service Law, have the effect of tranquilizing the situation (the law is not the fault of the bureaucrats – the gov’t passed it – but it is the role of the bureaucrats to implement it)

– The late 30 s was a pd of stabilization , except for the radicals who expected more… – 1938 was a fateful yr as the concept of Greater Ger. (w/ Aus. and Czech. ) and a “Jewish Solution” were closer – Hard-core Nazis were confronting avg. people’s “complacency” they worried that Jewish values had penetrated the bourgeoisie and that people’s enthusiasm for Nazi values was merely perfunctory – The fact that Jews were criticized and ostracized was not enough they were still there and paralyzing the mind of the avg. German – anti. Semitic policy thus had to be radicalized • KRISTALLNACHT - the violence was followed by a 1 billion DM indemnity… The Nazis wanted the avg. to play a greater role in the anti-Semitic policies the Nazis thus shared Jewish wealth w/ the avg. (they appealed to the common stereotype of the wealthy Jew)

• The Nazis let the “laws” of the market go after Jews • the Nazis would go to companies and offer to buy “x” amt. and go on to ask if was it “fair” that the co. should sell to Jews as well… • the Nazi boycott led cos. to deny sales to Jews • then the Nazis would go to and extort individual merchants this forced Jews into bankruptcy – they had to sell at low prices • and even the 5% the Jewish merchant would get he wouldn’t be able to take if he emigrated (and emigration had been a major goal of the Nazis, inc. the 1930 s Madagascar scheme and the Havarah Agreement) most Jews realistically faced the restrictions of the Evian Conference…

• this eco shift was key to the Aryanization of the eco. • maybe 40% of the buyers were unscrupulous profiteers, 40% were the sleeping partners, 20% were the well-meaning and sympathetic business owners who tried to be fair… • so on average 80% took advantage not b/c they were anti-Semitic but b/c they wanted to get richer and thus the Nuremberg Laws were sold and the Holocaust set in motion… • Hitler did this to eliminate the Jews and the redistribution of property appeased people…the Holocaust can thus for Bankier be traced to eco. determinism…

– Hitler was lionized as “der Fuehrer”, and the 3 rd Reich born – His pol. popularity grew b/c of ongoing propaganda, eco. growth (autobahn), foreign policy “successes”…

Germany Invades the Rhineland March 7, 1936

The Austrian Anschluss, 1936

The “Problem” of the Sudetenland

The Spanish Civil War: 1936 - 1939 Francisco Franco

The Spanish Civil War: A Dress Rehearsal for WW II? Italian troops in Madrid

“Guernica” by Pablo Picasso

Appeasement: The Munich Agreement, 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain Now we have “peace in our time!” Herr Hitler is a man we can do business with.

The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, 1939 Foreign Ministers von Ribbentrop & Molotov

More Comments:

H Doanld Capps - 3/13/2011

Contrary to Mr. Streeter's somewhat flippant dismissal, I suggest that the material Dr. Weber presents in his discussion with Lindley -- as well as the book, of course -- does provide another dimension of insight into Hitler and his wartime service. It also raises questions about the assumptions that many have as to the role of Hitler's wartime service as it relates to what would eventually become the Third Reich.

Andrew D. Todd - 3/3/2011

As I've noted previously, I've always been impressed by the interpretation which Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler touch on, by way of envoi, in their _The Trenches: Fighting on the Western Front in World War I,_ (1978).

"Violence in the streets seemed tame to those who had experienced the violence of the trenches." (p.177)

The driving force behind the 1920's hyperinflations was the casualties of the First World War, and the dispute about who was to pay the pension costs-- or whether the pensions were to be paid. Ten million men died, and another ten million were crippled. As one veteran observed:

"More than anything, I hated to see war-crippled men standing in the gutter selling matches. We had been promised a land fit for heroes it took a hero to live in it. I'd never fight for my country again." (pp. 176-77)

This was an Englishman-- one of the fortunate. The aftermath of war was far worse in Germany and Eastern Europe. Something had to give. The immediate event setting off the German hyperinflation was that the French occupied Germany's industrial belt, the Ruhr, and the German government, with its resources at nil, called a general strike, paying strike wages in yet more paper currency. The over-riding fact was that the French government was going to go out and take anything it wanted, and that resistance was futile, and that there wasn't likely to be anything left for anyone else.

War had conditioned the trench veterans-- of all nationalities-- so that they would respond to the strain of economic destitution with ultra-violence. The ultra-violence would be fitted into whatever conventional politics had been floating around, and would transform it.

In other words, one can account for the Sparticists, the Freikorps, etc. as normal politics plus the addition of the verb "kill." The same goes, of course, for other countries. Totalitarian politics equals normal politics plus the verb "kill." Kill. Kill! Killlll!! It doesn't really matter what kind of political system you have-- few politicians have the self-discipline to tell someone like Timothy McVeigh to get lost.

Obviously, if you wanted to kill, you had to define some group as legitimate targets. It didn't much matter whether it was Jews and Gypsies in Central Europe, or Kulaks in Great Russia. You had to pick some group who could be defined as outsiders, and and used as a lightning-rod for the desire to kill for the sake of killing.

Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, _The Trenches: Fighting on the Western Front in World War I_, 1978

Dale R Streeter - 2/28/2011

Correction: "superior soldiers" should be "superior officers"

Dale R Streeter - 2/28/2011

Much of this is pure speculation, it even smacks of the late, unlamented, field of psychohistory. Nothing in the article suggests that Hitler's war experiences led to his virulent anti-semitism, which may have come, as some historians have suggested, from his youth, or may have been a mere prejudice which he used opportunistically. It scarcely matters, the result was the same. However, I can't see how your statement, "It changes our understanding of how Hitler’s anti-Semitism came about" can be supported by this article in any case.
Not all participants in a "seminal catastrophe" react the same. Some relished the war, there is a large body of writing on this point, and many more found it appalling. Broad generalizations of this kind just cannot be made. The interviewer in this article tries to make the case that Hitler was an inadequate soldier, perhaps even cowardly. Again there is only speculation on this and it is not set on a very firm foundation. I have no wish to make a case for Hitler, but to look at his record and invent interpretations that fit a preconceived notion is not good history. Why should Hitler's blindness from gas be psychosomatic? Was that common? Any soldier anywhere near the front would be happy for a respite from the carnage. As I mentioned in my first post, much of the so-called animosity between "front-soldaten" and rear-eschelon soldiers was bitter envy. This is not new and does not suggest that Hitler was overtly favored over others someone has to be the dispatch carrier. The charge that Hitler was obsequious to his superior soldiers proves what? Any basic understanding of the German army would support the unquestioned obedience of the rank and file towards orders. This is not a new insight. The reported distain for Hitler by other members of his unit in the 1922 reunion is also problematic. How can anyone know why he was shunned, if he was? Perhaps, his personality was offensive (although he was known to be charming and friendly when he wanted to be), perhaps his comrades disliked his political views. Many reasons can be suggested if one had reliable information in the form of diaries or memoirs, which apparently don't exist. So why speculate? Hitler found followers from among well regarded, highly decorated soldiers, Eric Ludendorf, Ernst Roehm, and Herman Goerring, for example. Did their support of his political views allow them to overcome their disgust for a rear-area soldier? How are we to know? My only point is that Hitler served in the army, closer to the front that some it seems, and received highly regarded and sought after decorations. (I very much doubt that either class of the Iron Cross was awarded for longevity.)
It's my opinion that this article and the interview it's based on reveal little or nothing on "how Hitler rose to power" fifteen years later. That insight must come from another, less speculative, source.

Gary Ostrower - 2/28/2011

Mr. Streeter asks "to what purpose?" Let Weber speak for himself:
Lindley: How do you think your book adds to our understanding of Hitler?

Weber: It changes our understanding in two ways. First, on seeing how Hitler was “made” or radicalized. If you can show that the most extreme political leader of the twentieth century was politicized and radicalized in a very different manner than was previously believed, then that in itself is a very significant finding.

In addition, it changes our understanding of how Hitler came to power, and how he was inventing and re-inventing himself in a way that made him attractive to a German electorate. And it sheds new light on how Hitler rose to power.

It also changes our understanding of many other issues. For instance, we now know that, when Hitler based decisions in the Second World War on experiences from the First World War, he was not governed by immediate experience, but rather by reconfigured or reinvented experience. It changes our understanding of how Hitler’s anti-Semitism came about.

Beyond Hitler, it changes our understanding of Jewish-Gentile relations and it raises the question of whether the First World War was the “seminal catastrophe” of the twentieth century that George F. Kennan famously thought it was. I’m convinced it was a catastrophe for Eastern Europe, but I’m not sure it was the “seminal catastrophe” of the twentieth century for Germany or for Hitler.

Dale R Streeter - 2/27/2011

This is interesting and informative, but to what purpose? To inform us that soldiers who become politicians make the most of the dangers of their war experiences? So what? This is true from JFK to John Kerry. Whether they do or not does not negate the fact that they served.
It sounds as if Hitler did his duty, didn't shirk, and obeyed orders. The relative dangers that any soldier faces are not usually out of choice, but of necessity for the war effort. The fact that the trench soldiers resented his assignment means nothing it's always that way. War is deadly and unfair. Hitler served, what he did later is another discussion. Also, the proper translation of Etappenschwein is "staff pig" the other variations are unnecessarily harsh.

History of Left-wing Fascism

At the CPAC conference, there was a dust-up concerning certain persons claiming to be the “alt-right.” One of the organizers of the conference said the people claiming to be the alt-right were not conservatives, but were “left-wing fascists.” He also said they had appropriated the term alt-right. The term “alt-right” emerged to represent a form of journalism in some ways evocative of the late Hunter S. Thompson, with right-of-center views and relying on non-traditional platforms. But, the term has come to mean extreme right-wing. My focus is on the term “left-wing fascism.”

In real time, Benito Mussolini and his movement – fascism or national socialism – was of the left. Mussolini was a great admirer of Karl Marx and Marx’s principle of revolutionary socialism. By “revolutionary socialism,” I mean to distinguish Marxist socialism from the democratic socialists and labor unions that were emerging in Europe.

Mussolini, like Marx and Lenin, saw the party as the vanguard of the working class, a force from without the system that would usher in change. Mussolini was in fact a member of the socialist party of Italy, although he broke with the party on the issue of neutrality during World War I. It was later that Mussolini thought to combine socialism with nationalism, and form a new party. He called the combination “fascism.” A fasces is a bundle of rods, each individually weak while the bundle is strong. Mussolini’s counterpart in Germany called the combination “national socialism.” In Germany, where they like long words, this became “Nationalsozialistische.” In America, where we like short words, this became “Nazi.”

Adolph Hitler was in many ways like Mussolini. Hitler, like Mussolini, was a great admirer of Marx, and was originally a member of the socialist party. Hitler, like Mussolini, served in the army of his country during World War I, and both rose to the rank of corporal. Hitler, like Mussolini, said that the members of the working class were not easily drawn to revolutionary socialism, but were responsive to a combination of socialism and nationalism.

The new national socialist parties of Italy and Germany clashed with the communist parties of those countries. This was a clash of rivals both of which were revolutionary socialist and had the will to power. Then, when the traditional conservative, liberal and democratic socialist parties were in decline, the national socialists rose to power with the support of certain industrialists (we would say “crony capitalists”).

The main difference between Hitler’s form of national socialism and Mussolini’s concerned the meaning of “nationalism.” Hitler thought of nationalism along genetic lines, while Mussolini thought of nationalism along cultural lines. American progressives were, at the time, sympathetic to both points of view. Woodrow Wilson was definitely in the racist camp. Theodore Roosevelt in the cultural camp. Family planning, abortion and forced sterilization were part of the agenda, along with establishing labor colonies for the undesirable elements of society and using public schools to indoctrinate the next generation. In Oregon, the KKK was successful in outlawing private or religious schools until the Supreme Court ruled that to be unconstitutional.

Then came, with the end of World War II, knowledge of the horrors that the Nazis had unleashed upon the world. Certainly, American progressives did not want to be associated with that. So, there was a whitewash of history.

The connections of American progressives with the KKK, forced sterilization, experimentation on prisoners, advocacy of labor colonies, internment of Americans of Japanese descent, and admiration of fascism had to disappear from history. Even more, fascism and racism were redefined as right-wing, instead of left-wing.

Takes Power as Dictator

Hitler was right. The years 1924–28 were prosperous for Germany, and revolutions do not flourish on prosperity. From 1925 to 1927 Hitler was even forbidden to speak publicly in the states of Bavaria and Saxony. Then a worldwide economic depression plunged Germany again into poverty and unemployment, and the Nazis began to gain votes. Political and economic instability in Germany allowed Hitler to rise to power. Also aiding his rise were Germany’s bitterness over its defeat in World War I and the harsh conditions of the Treaty of Versailles. By 1930 Hitler had the support of many German industrialists and the military class. In the elections to the Reichstag (parliament), the Nazis won the second largest number of seats in 1930 and the largest number of seats in 1932. Hitler ran for president of Germany in 1932 but lost, capturing only 36.8 percent of the votes on the second ballot. However, he entered into a series of intrigues to gain power. In 1933 Hitler persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint him chancellor of Germany.

Once in power, Hitler established an absolute dictatorship. A mysterious fire in the Reichstag building provided him with an excuse for a decree overriding all guarantees of freedom and for a campaign of violence. In March 1933 Hitler obtained full power with the passage in the Reichstag of the Enabling Act. This act allowed his government to issue decrees independently of the Reichstag and the presidency. With the help of Heinrich Himmler, who became chief of the secret police, and Goebbels, who became head of the propaganda ministry, Hitler suppressed all opposition. In 1934 he adopted the title Führer, or “leader.”

Soon after Hitler became dictator, Germany’s economy recovered and unemployment levels dropped. The country’s economic improvement happened along with a world economic recovery, but Hitler took credit for the German gains. As a result, Hitler became increasingly popular. This support—combined with police terror—upheld his regime.

Nazi propaganda made of Hitler a symbol of strength and national virtue. His indecisions were cloaked as “intuition.” Despite his hours and even days of brooding inertia, Hitler was pictured as a man of intense action. Young Germans came to idolize him. Covering up his unsavory and cruel character, propaganda built a legend of his ascetic habits and selfless devotion to Germany.

As soon as Hitler came to power, the Nazis began persecuting German Jews. Jewish businesses were boycotted, and books written by Jews were burned. The Nürnberg Laws of 1935 deprived Jews of German citizenship. In November 1938 in Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”), the Nazis destroyed or damaged Jewish synagogues and businesses throughout Germany and sent some 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps.

Hitler: Backstory 1919 to 1932

Adolf Hitler’s adult never held a regular job and aside from his time in World War I, led a lazy lifestyle, from his brooding teenage days in Linz through years spent in idleness and poverty in Vienna. But after joining the German Workers’ Party in 1919 at age thirty, Hitler immediately began a frenzied effort to make it succeed.

The German Workers’ Party consisted mainly of an executive committee

Hitler and his career as a Corporal in the German Army

Adolf Hitler’s early years as an adult, especially his military service and success with political agitation and intrigue, provided the prefect preparation for becoming an effective psychopath and one of the worst dictators in modern history, only matched (perhaps) by Polpot.

He served in the Army during WWI. While still in the military and stationed in Munich in 1919, Corporal Hitler become an Army informer, naming soldiers in his barracks that supported the Marxist uprisings in Munich. This resulted in their arrest and executions. Then he became an Army undercover agent, assigned to weed out Marxist influence within the ranks of the German Army and also investigate so-called ‘subversive’ political organizations.

Proven to have a modicum of talent and no scruples whatsoever, the Army sent him to a political indoctrination course at the University of Munich, where he quickly came to the attention of his superiors. In Mein Kampf, he describes his first experience making a political speech in one of his classes :

“One of the participants felt obliged to break a lance for the Jews and began to defend them in lengthy arguments. This aroused me to an answer. The overwhelming majority of the students present took my standpoint. The result was that a few days later I was sent into a Munich regiment as a so-called educational officer.”

His anti-Semitic outbursts impressed his superiors, including his mentor Captain Karl Mayr, (who was later to die in Buchenwald as a result of Hitler’s own policies). In August 1919, Hitler was given the job of lecturing returning German prisoners of war on the dangers of Communism and pacifism, democracy and disobedience.

By now Hitler had discovered he spoke well in front of an audience, and was able to hold their attention and sway them to his point of view. An Army report confirmed his talent by to him as “a born orator.” He was particularly effective when delivering tirades against the Jews to weary soldiers, who were always looking for someone to blame for their misfortunes.

Then they placed an advertisement in an anti-Semitic newspaper in Munich, and at Hitler’s insistence moved the public meeting to a beer cellar that would hold about a hundred. The other committee members were concerned they might have trouble filling the place, but just over a hundred showed up at the meeting held on October 16, 1919.

It was Hitler’s first time as a featured speaker for the DAP. Some committee members doubted Hitler’s ability, but despite these misgivings he astounded everyone with a highly emotional, at times near hysterical manner of speech making. For Hitler, it was an important moment in his young political career. He described the scene in Mein Kampf:

“I spoke for thirty minutes, and what before I had simply felt within me, without in any way knowing it, was now proved by reality: I could speak! After thirty minutes the people in the small room were electrified and the enthusiasm was first expressed by the fact that my appeal to the self-sacrifice of those present led to the donation of three hundred marks.”

The 300 Deutsche marks he raised were used to buy more advertising and print leaflets. The German Workers’ Party now featured Hitler as the main attraction at its meetings. In his speeches Hitler railed against the Treaty of Versailles and delivered anti-Semitic tirades, blaming the Jews for Germany’s problems. Attendance slowly increased, numbering in the hundreds.

Hitler took charge of party propaganda in early 1920, and recruited young men he had known in the Army. There were many alienated, maladjusted soldiers and ex-soldiers in Munich who had a thirst for adventure and distaste for the peace brought on by the Treaty of Versailles. In particular they were angry about the creation of the German Free Republic decreed by Treaty that, with a stroke of a pen, had eliminated the historic German Empire.

A significant portion of Germans objected to the undemocraticmeans used by a foreign power to force a democratic form of government on the German population without even asking them. Many such people expressed their discontent by joining the German Workers’ Party.

However the DAP was not the only rabble-rousing game in town. Many other political groups were looking for members, but none more successfully than the Marxists. There was genuine fear of a widespread Communist revolution in Germany, like the Russian revolution of 1917.

Hitler associated Marxism (whose ideas came from Carl Marx, who was Jewish) with Jews, which doubled his hatred of both. He also understood how a political party directly opposed to a possible Communist revolution could play on the fears of so many Germans and gain support.

In February of 1920, Hitler urged the German Workers’ Party to holds its first mass meeting. He met strong opposition from leading party members who thought it was premature and feared it might be disrupted by Marxists. Hitler had no fear of disruption. In fact he welcomed it, knowing it would bring his party anti-Marxist notoriety. He even had the hall decorated in red to aggravate the Marxists.

On February 24, 1920, Hitler was thrilled when he entered the large meeting hall in Munich and saw two thousand people waiting, including a large number of Communists.

A few minutes into his speech, he was drowned out by shouting followed by open brawling between German Workers’ Party associates and disruptive Communists. Eventually, Hitler resumed speaking and claims in Mein Kampf the shouting was gradually drowned out by applause.

He proceeded to outline the Twenty Five Points of the German Workers’ Party, its political platform, which included: the union of all Germans in a greater German Reich rejection of the Treaty of Versailles the demand for additional territories for the German people (Lebensraum) citizenship determined by race with no Jew to be considered a German all income not earned by work to be confiscated a thorough reconstruction of the national education system religious freedom except for religions which endanger the German race and a strong central government for the execution of effective legislation.

One by one Hitler went through the Twenty Five Points, asking the rowdy crowd for its approval on each point, which he got. For Hitler, the meeting was now a huge success.

“When after nearly four hours the hall began to empty and the crowd, shoulder to shoulder, began to move, shove, press toward the exit like a slow stream, I knew that now the principles of a movement which could no longer be forgotten were moving out among the German people.”

“A fire was kindled from whose flame one day the sword must come which would regain freedom for the Germanic Siegfried and life for the German nation.”

Hitler realized one thing the movement lacked was a recognizable symbol or flag. In the summer of 1920, Hitler chose the symbol which to this day remains perhaps the most infamous in history, the swastika.

It was not something Hitler invented, but is found even in the ruins of ancient times. Hitler had seen it each day as a boy when he attended the Benedictine monastery school in Lambach, Austria. The ancient monastery was decorated with carved stones and woodwork that included several swastikas. They had also been seen around Germany among the Freikorps (soldiers for hire), and appeared before as an emblem used by anti-Semitic political parties.

But when it was placed inside a white circle on a red background, it provided a powerful, instantly recognizable symbol that immediately helped Hitler’s party gain popularity.

Hitler described the symbolism involved: “In the red we see the social idea of the movement, in the white the national idea, in the swastika the mission to struggle for the victory of Aryan man and at the same time the victory of the idea of creative work, which is eternally anti-Semitic and will always be anti-Semitic.”

The German Workers’ Party name was changed by Hitler to include the term National Socialist. Thus the full name was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) called for short, Nazi.

By the end of 1920 it had about three thousand members.

After the elections of March 5, 1933, the Nazis began a systematic takeover of the state governments throughout Germany, ending a centuries-old tradition of local political independence. Armed SA and SS thugs barged into local government offices using the state of emergency decree as a pretext to throw out legitimate office holders and replace them with Nazi Reich commissioners.

Political enemies were arrested by the thousands and put in hastily constructed holding pens. Old army barracks and abandoned factories were used as prisons. Once inside, prisoners were subjected to military style drills and harsh discipline. They were often beaten and sometimes even tortured to death. This was the very beginning of the Nazi concentration camp system.

At this time, these early concentration camps were loosely organized under the control of the SA and the rival SS. Many were little more than barbed-wire stockades know as ‘wild’ concentration camps, set up by local Gauleiters and SA leaders.

For Adolf Hitler, the goal of a legally established dictatorship was now within reach. On March 15, 1933, a cabinet meeting was held during which Hitler and Göring discussed how to obstruct what was left of the democratic process to get an Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag. This law would hand over the constitutional functions of the Reichstag to Hitler, including the power to make laws, control the budget and approve treaties with foreign governments.

The emergency decree signed by Hindenburg on February 28th, after the Reichstag fire, made it easy for them to interfere with non-Nazi elected representatives of the people by simply arresting them.
On March 21st, in the Garrison Church at Potsdam, the burial place of Frederick the Great, an elaborate ceremony took place designed to ease public concern over Hitler and his gangster-like new regime.As Hitler plotted to bring democracy to an end in Germany, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels put together a brilliant public relations display at the official opening of the newly elected Reichstag.

It was attended by President Hindenburg, foreign diplomats, the General Staff and all the old guard going back to the days of the Kaiser. Dressed in their handsome uniforms sprinkled with medals, they watched a most reverent Adolf Hitler give a speech paying respect to Hindenburg and celebrating the union of old Prussian military traditions and the new Nazi Reich. As a symbol of this, the old Imperial flags would soon add swastikas.

Finishing his speech, Hitler walked over to Hindenburg and respectfully bowed before him while taking hold of the old man’s hand. The scene was recorded on film and by press photographers from around the world. This was precisely the impression Hitler and Goebbels wanted to give to the world, all the while plotting to toss aside Hindenburg and the elected Reichstag.

Later that same day, Hindenburg signed two decrees put before him by Hitler. The first offered full pardons to all Nazis currently in prison. The prison doors sprang open and out came an assortment of Nazi thugs and murderers.

The second decree signed by the befuddled old man allowed for the arrest of anyone suspected of maliciously criticizing the government and the Nazi Party.

A third decree signed only by Hitler and Papen allowed for the establishment of special courts to try political offenders. These courts were conducted in the military style of a court-martial without a jury and usually with no counsel for the defense.

On March 23rd, the newly elected Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler’s Enabling Act. It was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” If passed, it would in effect vote democracy out of existence in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

Brown-shirted Nazi storm troopers swarmed over the fancy old building in a show of force and as a visible threat. They stood outside, in the hallways and even lined the aisles inside, glaring ominously at anyone who might oppose Hitler’s will.

Before the vote, Hitler made a speech in which he pledged to use restraint.

“The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures…The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one,” Hitler told the Reichstag.

He also promised an end to unemployment and pledged to promote peace with France, Great Britain and Soviet Russia. But in order to do all this, Hitler said, he first needed the Enabling Act. A two-thirds majority was needed, since the law would actually alter the constitution. Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it. He got those votes from the Catholic Center Party after making a false promise to restore some basic rights already taken away by decree.

Meanwhile, Nazi storm troopers chanted outside: “Full powers – or else! We want the bill – or fire and murder!!”

But one man arose amid the overwhelming might. Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrats stood up and spoke quietly to Hitler.

“We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No enabling act can give you power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible.”

Hitler was enraged and jumped up to respond.

“You are no longer needed! The star of Germany will rise and yours will sink! Your death knell has sounded!”

The vote was taken – 441 for, and only 84, the Social Democrats, against. The Nazis leapt to their feet clapping, stamping and shouting, then broke into the Nazi anthem, the Hörst Wessel song.

Democracy was ended. They had brought down the German Democratic Republic legally. From this day onward, the Reichstag would be just a sounding board, a cheering section for Hitler’s pronouncements.

Interestingly, the Nazi Party was now flooded with applications for membership. These latecomers were cynically labeled by old time Nazis as ‘March Violets.’ In May, the Nazi Party froze membership. Many of those kept out applied to the SA and the SS which were still accepting. However, in early 1934, Heinrich Himmler would throw out 50,000 of those ‘March Violets’ from the SS.

The Nazi Gleichschaltung now began, a massive coordination of all aspects of life under the swastika and the absolute leadership of Adolf Hitler.

Under Hitler, the State, not the individual, was supreme.

From the moment of birth one existed to serve the State and obey the dictates of the Führer. Those who disagreed were disposed of.

Many agreed. Bureaucrats, industrialists, even intellectual and literary figures, including Gerhart Hauptmann, world renowned dramatist, were coming out in open support of Hitler.

In Germany, there were now constant Nazi rallies, parades, marches and meetings amid the relentless propaganda of Goebbels and the omnipresent swastika. For those who remained there was an odd mixture of fear and optimism in the air.

Who is the person sitting to the left of corporal Hitler? - History

O N THE DARK AUTUMN Sunday of November 10, 1918, Adolf Hitler experienced what out of the depths of his hatred and frustration he called the greatest villainy of the century. * A pastor had come bearing unbelievable news for the wounded soldiers in the military hospital at Pasewalk , a small Pomeranian town northeast of Berlin, where Hitler was recovering from temporary blindness suffered in a British gas attack a month before near Ypres .

That Sunday morning, the pastor informed them, the Kaiser had abdicated and fled to Holland. The day before a republic had been proclaimed in Berlin. On the morrow, November 11, an armistice would be signed at Compiègne in France. The war had been lost. Germany was at the mercy of the victorious Allies. The pastor began to sob.

&ldquoI could stand it no longer,&rdquo Hitler says in recounting the scene. &ldquoEverything went black again before my eyes I tottered and groped my way back to the ward, threw myself on my bunk, and dug my burning head into my blanket and pillow &hellip So it had all been in vain. In vain all the sacrifices and privations &hellip in vain the hours in which, with mortal fear clutching at our hearts, we nevertheless did our duty in vain the death of two millions who died &hellip Had they died for this? &hellip Did all this happen only so that a gang of wretched criminals could lay hands on the Fatherland?&rdquo 1

For the first time since he had stood at his mother&rsquos grave, he says, he broke down and wept. &ldquoI could not help it.&rdquo Like millions of his fellow countrymen then and forever after, he could not accept the blunt and shattering fact that Germany had been defeated on the battlefield and had lost the war.

Like millions of other Germans, too, Hitler had been a brave and courageous soldier. Later he would be accused by some political opponents of having been a coward in combat, but it must be said, in fairness, that there is no shred of evidence in his record for such a charge. As a dispatch runner in the First Company of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, he arrived at the front toward the end of October 1914 after scarcely three months of training, and his unit was decimated in four days of hard fighting at the first Battle of Ypres , where the British halted the German drive to the Channel. According to a letter Hitler wrote his Munich landlord, a tailor named Popp, his regiment was reduced in four days of combat from 3,500 to 600 men only thirty officers survived, and four companies had to be dissolved.

During the war he was wounded twice, the first time on October 7, 1916, in the Battle of the Somme, when he was hit in the leg. After hospitalization in Germany he returned to the List Regiment &mdashit was named after its original commander&mdashin March 1917 and, now promoted to corporal, fought in the Battle of Arras and the third Battle of Ypres during that summer. His regiment was in the thick of the fighting during the last all-out German offensive in the spring and summer of 1918. On the night of October 13 he was caught in a heavy British gas attack on a hill south of Werwick during the last Battle of Ypres. &ldquoI stumbled back with burning eyes,&rdquo he relates, &ldquotaking with me my last report of the war. A few hours later, my eyes had turned into glowing coals it had grown dark around me.&rdquo 2

He was twice decorated for bravery. In December 1914 he was awarded the Iron Cross , Second Class, and in August 1918 he received the Iron Cross, First Class, which was rarely given to a common soldier in the old Imperial Army. One comrade in his unit testified that he won the coveted decoration for having captured fifteen Englishmen single-handed another said it was Frenchmen. The official history of the List Regiment contains no word of any such exploit it is silent about the individual feats of many members who received decorations. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that Corporal Hitler earned the Iron Cross, First Class. He wore it proudly to the end of his life.

And yet, as soldiers go, he was a peculiar fellow, as more than one of his comrades remarked. No letters or presents from home came to him, as they did to the others. He never asked for leave he had not even a combat soldier&rsquos interest in women. He never grumbled, as did the bravest of men, about the filth, the lice, the mud, the stench, of the front line. He was the impassioned warrior, deadly serious at all times about the war&rsquos aims and Germany&rsquos manifest destiny.

&ldquoWe all cursed him and found him intolerable,&rdquo one of the men in his company later recalled. &ldquoThere was this white crow among us that didn&rsquot go along with us when we damned the war to hell.&rdquo 3 Another man described him as sitting &ldquoin the corner of our mess holding his head between his hands, in deep contemplation. Suddenly he would leap up and, running about excitedly, say that in spite of our big guns victory would be denied us, for the invisible foes of the German people were a greater danger than the biggest cannon of the enemy.&rdquo 4 Whereupon he would launch into a vitriolic attack on these &ldquoinvisible foes&rdquo&mdashthe Jews and the Marxists. Had he not learned in Vienna that they were the source of all evil?

And indeed had he not seen this for himself in the German homeland while convalescing from his leg wound in the middle of the war? After his discharge from the hospital at Beelitz, near Berlin, he had visited the capital and then gone on to Munich. Everywhere he found &ldquoscoundrels&rdquo cursing the war and wishing for its quick end. Slackers abounded, and who were they but Jews? &ldquoThe offices,&rdquo he found, &ldquowere filled with Jews. Nearly every clerk was a Jew and nearly every Jew was a clerk &hellip In the year 1916&ndash17 nearly the whole production was under control of Jewish finance &hellip The Jew robbed the whole nation and pressed it beneath his domination &hellip I saw with horror a catastrophe approaching &hellip&rdquo 5 Hitler could not bear what he saw and was glad, he says, to return to the front.

He could bear even less the disaster which befell his beloved Fatherland in November 1918. To him, as to almost all Germans, it was &ldquomonstrous&rdquo and undeserved. The German Army had not been defeated in the field. It had been stabbed in the back by the traitors at home.

Thus emerged for Hitler, as for so many Germans, a fanatical belief in the legend of the &ldquostab in the back&rdquo which, more than anything else, was to undermine the Weimar Republic and pave the way for Hitler&rsquos ultimate triumph. The legend was fraudulent. General Ludendorff, the actual leader of the High Command, had insisted on September 28, 1918, on an armistice &ldquoat once,&rdquo and his nominal superior, Field Marshal von Hindenburg, had supported him. At a meeting of the Crown Council in Berlin on October 2 presided over by Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hindenburg had reiterated the High Command&rsquos demand for an immediate truce. &ldquoThe Army,&rdquo he said, &ldquocannot wait forty-eight hours.&rdquo In a letter written on the same day Hindenburg flatly stated that the military situation made it imperative &ldquoto stop the fighting.&rdquo No mention was made of any &ldquostab in the back.&rdquo Only later did Germany&rsquos great war hero subscribe to the myth. In a hearing before the Committee of Inquiry of the National Assembly on November 18, 1919, a year after the war&rsquos end, Hindenburg declared, &ldquoAs an English general has very truly said, the German Army was &lsquostabbed in the back.&rsquo&rdquo *

In point of fact, the civilian government headed by Prince Max of Baden, which had not been told of the worsening military situation by the High Command until the end of September, held out for several weeks against Ludendorff&rsquos demand for an armistice.

One had to live in Germany between the wars to realize how widespread was the acceptance of this incredible legend by the German people. The facts which exposed its deceit lay all around. The Germans of the Right would not face them. The culprits, they never ceased to bellow, were the &ldquoNovember criminals&rdquo&mdashan expression which Hitler hammered into the consciousness of the people. It mattered not at all that the German Army, shrewdly and cowardly, had maneuvered the republican government into signing the armistice which the military leaders had insisted upon, and that it thereafter had advised the government to accept the Peace Treaty of Versailles. Nor did it seem to count that the Social Democratic Party had accepted power in 1918 only reluctantly and only to preserve the nation from utter chaos which threatened to lead to Bolshevism. It was not responsible for the German collapse. The blame for that rested on the old order, which had held the power. * But millions of Germans refused to concede this. They had, to find scapegoats for the defeat and for their humiliation and misery. They easily convinced themselves that they had found them in the &ldquoNovember criminals&rdquo who had signed the surrender and established democratic government in the place of the old autocracy. The gullibility of the Germans is a subject which Hitler often harps on in Mein Kampf. He was shortly to take full advantage of it.

When the pastor had left the hospital in Pasewalk that evening of November 10, 1918, &ldquothere followed terrible days and even worse nights&rdquo for Adolf Hitler. &ldquoI knew,&rdquo he says, &ldquothat all was lost. Only fools, liars and criminals could hope for mercy from the enemy. In these nights hatred grew in me, hatred for those responsible for this deed &hellip Miserable and degenerate criminals! The more I tried to achieve clarity on the monstrous event in this hour, the more the shame of indignation and disgrace burned my brow. What was all the pain in my eyes compared to this misery?&rdquo

And then: &ldquoMy own fate became known to me. I decided to go into politics.&rdquo 6

As it turned out, this was a fateful decision for Hitler and for the world.

Primary Sources

(Source 2) Rudolf Olden, Hitler the Pawn (1936)

Hitler was from the very beginning among the regimental orderlies. He must have given satisfaction, for after being wounded he was drafted back to the same post. The work of dispatch-rider was dangerous in its way, above all in the later years of the war, when the effect of the artillery was making itself felt. But for the men in the trenches the position of the orderlies was always a "shirker's post". They felt no exaggerated respect for their more fortunate comrades, who usually had a roof over their heads, a room or a shed to sleep in, and always enough to eat.

(Source 3) Adolf Hitler, letter to Ernst Hepp (3rd November, 1914)

We swarmed out and chased across the fields to a little farm. To left and right the shrapnel were bursting, and in between the English bullets sang. But we paid no attention. For ten minutes we lay there, and then we were again ordered forward. I was way out in front, ahead of our squad. The first of our men began to fall. The English had set up machine-guns. We threw ourselves down and crawled slowly forward through a gutter. From time to time a man was hit and couldn't go on, and the whole column was stuck. We ran fifteen or twenty yards, then we came to a big pool of water. One after another we splashed into it, took cover, and caught our breath. But it was no place to lie still. So we dashed out quick, and double-quick, to a forest that lay about a hundred yards ahead of us. There we found each other after a while. We crawled on our bellies to the edge of the woods. Over us the shells were howling and whistling, splintered tree-trunks and branches flew around us. And then again grenades crashed into the wood, hurling up clouds of stones, earth, and stifling everything in a yellowish-green, stinking, sickening vapour. We couldn't lie there forever, and if we were going to be killed, it was better to be killed outside.

Again we went forward. I jumped up and ran, as fast as I could, across meadows and turnip-fields, jumping over ditches, over wire and living hedges. A long trench lay before me a moment later I had jumped into it. Before me, behind me, to the left and right others followed. Beside me were Wurttembergers, under me dead and wounded Englishmen. The Wurttembergers had stormed the trench before us. And now I knew why I had landed so soft when I jumped in. Between 240 and 280 yards to the left of us there were still English trenches to the right, the road to Leceloire was still in their possession. An unbroken hail of iron was whistling over our trench.

Finally, at ten o'clock, our artillery opened up in the sector. One - two - three - five - and so on. Again and again a shell burst in the English trenches ahead of us. The fellows swarmed out like ants, and then we rushed them. We ran into the fields like lightning, and after bloody hand-to-hand fighting in different places, we threw them out of one trench after another. Many of them raised their hands. Those who wouldn't surrender were knocked down. In this way we cleared trench after trench. For three days we fought on like this, and on the third day the Britishers were finally licked. The fourth evening we marched back to Werwick. Only then did we see what our losses had been. In four days our regiment of thirty-five hundred men had melted away to six hundred. There were only thirty officers left in the whole regiment.

(Source 4) Lieutenant-Colonel Philipp Engelhardt, letter sent to the Hamburg Provincial Court (29th February 1932)

As commander of the 16th Regiment of Bavarian Infantry at the Battle of Ypres in the period from November 10 to November 17, 1914, I came to know Adolf Hitler as an exceedingly brave, effective and conscientious soldier. I must emphasize the following: As our men were storming the wedge-shaped forest, I stepped out of the woods near Wytschaete to get a better view of developments. Hitler and the volunteer Bachmann, another battle orderly belonging to the 16th Regiment, stood before me to protect me with their bodies from the machine-gun fire to which I was exposed.

(Source 5) Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War (2011)

According to one report, in an attack that would cost the lives of 122 men, Hitler and his fellow dispatch runner Anton Bachmann saw how the List Regiment's new commander, Lieutenant Colonel Philipp Engelhardt, had foolishly stepped out of his cover on the edge of the forest. If we can believe a 1932 report by Georg Eichelsdorfer, the former regimental adjutant, Hitler and Bachmann dramatically leapt forward, covering Engelhardt's body and taking him back to safety.

(Source 6) Konrad Heiden, The Führer &ndash Hitler's Rise to Power (1944)

It cannot be denied that Hitler was a brave soldier. Why, then, did this enthusiast remain an eternal grey private? The German Army needed leaders the need for them became more and more acute as the war progressed yet Hitler never became a leader. One of his superiors, Reserve-Lieutenant Horn, maintained. "If Adolf Hitler had been promoted to the rank of sergeant, he could not have remained a battle orderly and the regiment would have lost one of its best dispatch carriers". It has also been claimed that Hitler did not want to be a leader, but insisted on remaining a dispatch carrier. One of his superiors, it is true, is said to have declared that he did not want Hitler to become a non-com on account of his mental instability.

(Source 7) Adolf Hitler (bottom left) during the First World War.

(Source 8) Fritz Wiedemann, The Man who Wanted to Command (1964)

By military standards Hitler really didn't at that time have potential for promotion. I'm disregarding the fact that he wouldn't have cut a specially good figure as an officer in peacetime his posture was sloppy and when he was asked a question his answer would be anything but short in a soldier-like fashion. He didn't hold his head straight - it was usually sloping towards his left shoulder. Now all that doesn't matter in wartime, but ultimately a man must have leadership qualities if you're doing the right thing when you promote him to be a non-commissioned officer.

(Source 9) Egon Erwin Kisch, The Blue Issue (15th July, 1933)

He (Hitler) was a lance corporal for four years. Every old soldier knows that the rank of lance corporal is only brief and temporary, only a preliminary to more senior noncommissioned rank. Hundreds of thousands of men can be infantrymen and never make lance corporal, but a lance corporal who never makes sergeant in four years' front-line service must be a very suspect type. Either he shirks commanding a squad, or he is incompetent to do so.

(Source 10) Hans Mend, Adolf Hitler im Felde 1914-1918 (1931)

In this book, I want to give the German people true and unvarnished information about Adolf Hitler as a front-line soldier. As a comrade I had many opportunities to hear his pronouncements on the war, witness his bravery, and became acquainted with his brilliant traits of character. I aim to prove that he was just the same in the field as he is today courageous, fearless, outstanding. Everyone who knew him in the field had to admit that he was a model front-line soldier. who. as a combat orderly in static warfare performed super-human feats in a dangerous and responsible position.

(Source 11) Ernst Schmidt, Adolf Hitler and Karl Lippert in 1915

(Source 12) Hans Mend, interviewed by Friedrich Alfred Schmid Noerr, a member of the German resistance (December 1939)

Because he was an Austrian and physically unfit, Hitler had been rejected when he volunteered for service in August 1914. Hitler never had anything to do with guns from the time he joined us at the front as a regimental orderly. He was never anything other than a runner based behind the lines at regimental headquarters. Every two or three days he would have to deliver a message the rest of the time he spent "in back," painting, talking politics, and having altercations. He was very soon nicknamed "crazy Adolf" by all the men he came into contact with. He struck me as a psychopath from the start. He often flew into a rage when contradicted, throwing himself on the ground and frothing at the mouth.

The List Regiment's battalion adjutant was Lieutenant Gutmann, a Jewish typewriter manufacturer from Nuremberg (now emigrated), whom Hitler made up to whenever he wanted preferential treatment of some kind. It was also Lieutenant Gutmann who got him his Iron Cross 2nd Class at Christmas 1914. That was at Bezaillere . near Ypres. Colonel Engelhardt of the List Regiment was wounded in this engagement. When he was carried to the rear, Hitler and Bachmann tended him behind the lines. Hitler contrived to make a big fuss about this exploit of his, so he managed to gain Lieutenant Gutmann's backing in the aforesaid manner.

Meantime, we had gotten to know Hitler better. We noticed that he never looked at a woman. We suspected him of homosexuality right away, because he was known to be abnormal in any case. He was extremely eccentric and displayed womanish characteristics which tended in that direction. He never had a firm objective, nor any kind of firm beliefs. In 1915 we were billeted in the Le Febre brewery at Fournes. We slept in the hay. Hitler was bedded down at night with Schmidt, his male whore. We heard a rustling in the hay. Then someone switched on his electric flashlight and growled, "Take a look at those two nancy boys." I myself took no further interest in the matter.

(Source 13) Ernst Hanfstaengel, Hitler: The Missing Years (1957)

Old army comrades, who had seen him in the wash-house, had noted that his genital organs were almost freakishly underdeveloped, and he doubtless had some sense of shame about displaying himself. It seemed to me that this must all be part of the underlying complex in his physical relations, which was compensated for by the terrifying urge for domination expressed in the field of politics.

(Source 14) Ernst Schmidt, Anton Bachmann and Adolf Hitler
with his dog Foxl at Fournes, April 1915.

(Source 15) Lothar Machtan, The Hidden Hitler (2001)

Why did Hitler remain a lance corporal throughout the war? His toadying to higher authority, if not his efficiency, should have earned him promotion. We are told that he was offered it but refused. It would probably be more correct to say that he could not bring himself to accept. As a noncom he would sooner or later have been obliged to give up what had hitherto enabled him to tolerate war service so well: Ernst Schmidt, his other faithful partners, a relatively safe existence in the rear echelon, and possibly also, a toleration of the homosexual tendencies he could not have pursued as a noncommissioned officer.

(Source 16) Adolf Hitler, letter to Ernst Hepp (5th February, 1915)

Those of us who have the fortune to see their homeland again will find it purer and cleansed of alien influence, that through the sacrifices and suffering that so many hundred thousand of us make daily, that through the stream of blood that flows here day for day against an international world of enemies, not only will Germany's external enemies be smashed, but that our inner internationalism will also be broken. That would be worth more to me than all territorial gains.

(Source 17) Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936 (1998)

His only real affection seems to have been for his dog, Foxl, a white terrier that had strayed across from enemy lines. Hitler taught it tricks, revelling in how attached it was to him and how glad it was to see him when he returned from duty. He was distraught late in the war when his unit had to move on and Foxl could not be found. The emptiness and coldness that Hitler showed throughout his life in his dealings with human beings were absent in the feeling he had for his dog.

Questions for Students

Question 1: Adolf Hitler was appointed as an orderly (dispatch runner). How does source 2 help to explain this Hitler never mentioned he was a dispatch-runner in his autobiography Mein Kampf.

Question 2: In a letter that he wrote on 3rd November, Hitler describes the first battle he took part in. What was the main objective of his regiment? Was it achieved?

Question 3: What does source 16 tell us about Hitler's attitude towards the First World War?

Question 4: On 2nd December 1914, Hitler was presented with the Iron Cross, Second Class. Study sources 4, 5 and 12 explain what Hitler did to gain the award. Why have some historians had doubts about the reasons Hitler won the award?

Question 5: Hitler was never became an officer in the German Army. Study sources 6, 8, 9 and 15 and explain why he did not receive promotion.

Question 6: Study sources 10 and 12 contain views on Hitler provided by the same person. Can you explain why the two sources give a different impression of Hitler. It will help you to read the biography of Hans Mend before answering the question

Question 7: Read source 17. Do the photographs in this unit support the point made by the author of this source.

Question 8: Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933. He made every attempt to control the images of himself that were published in Germany. What do you think his views were on sources 1, 7, 11 and 14?

Adolf Hitler Assignment

The one who does not remember history Is bound to live through it again” -George Santayana Doll Hitler Is known for having the greatest Impact on Europe In all of history, especially Germany. Although the majority of people look down on him for his mass whole country is incredible. He started out as a boy from a little town in Austria with nothing more than a paintbrush and a dream a dream to become an artist and study at the Vienna Academy of Art. Although this infamous man is one of the most hated people in history, his story is one that must be told.

Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in the little town of Braun-am-Len, Austria. Allis Hitler was Doll’s father. He was a customs officer on the Status-German border. His father retired from his Job when Doll was only 6 years old and that created tension In the Hitler household. Doll feared his father because of his strict attitude towards Doll. When he was 13, his father passed away leaving Doll’s mother, Clara, and his younger siblings to care for themselves. He left some money behind for Clara to take care of the family. Doll

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Hitler wanted to become an artist and dropped out of school In hopes of becoming a famous artist. From when Doll was 16 to the age of 19, he did not work or go to school. Hitler moved to Vienna to study art at the Vienna Academy of Art in 1907. He took the entrance exam, but failed. The following year, he tried to take it again, but the academy did not permit him to take it again. Vienna Academy needed artists that could paint people, despite Hitter’s amazing talent to draw landscapes. To make it even worse, his mother passed away 2 months from cancer after he failed his exam he second time in 1908.

There were even some accounts of Hitler sitting next to his mother on her deathbed. Hitler could not live on the little money that he earned selling postcards of architectural drawings so once WWW broke out, Hitler started portraying politics. In August of 1914, World War II broke out and Hitler moved to Munich to avoid being drafted Into the Austrian Army. Hitler became very Involved In politics and became an advocate of the Pan-Germans political party. World War I was also known as “The War to End all Wars” and also “The Great Waif.

It broke out cause Gabriel Prince, a Bosnian revolutionary, assassinated the Austrian President, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife on June 28, 1914. Hitler become a strong leader during WWW because he lived in Austria at the time and was promoted to the rank of Corporal. Hitler was partially blinded by a mustard gas attack in Belgium a month before the war ended. He was sent to a military hospital and about 3 weeks after the incident, news came that he was recovering and he would regain sight in a matter of weeks. When the war ended in November 1918, he was awarded many medals due to is bravery and dedication to his country.

Hitler was outraged that Europe had lost the First World War and that due to the state of depression It was the Jews fault. All people of the Jewish religion were the mall target for Hitler when the second war broke out. Hitler had a “perfect race” In his mind consisting of everyone In Europe that was “normal”. He mainly targeted Jews, but also killed people with disabilities, gypsies, freemasons, and Soviet Union politic advisors, prisoners of war, gays, Jehovah Witnesses, beggars, homeless people, prostitutes, Polish intellectuals, socialists, labor leaders, and Romanizes.

In the sass’s, Hitler was arrested due to his radical politics. Doll had a persuasive ability to him, which worked to his advantage in having most of Europe side with him. He rose to power with a strong will to manipulate Europe. By the early sass’s, Hitler had a hold on Europe both politically and ethnically. Hitler became a German citizen in 1932. He became chancellor of Germany in 1933 and Fhere (dictator of Germany) a year after that which ended in 1945, with his death. A Fhere is a German leader or guide, which is now related often to Hitler.

Hitter’s rise to power was based on long- term affects for Germany. The decade of depression left by the First World War, which left Europe in great debt and starving. There was so much resentment in the Germans, which they wanted a leader that could help them out of the state of depression that lasted so long. Hitter’s Nazi’s, men who followed and helped Hitler to his rise of power, also had a reign of terror that scared Europe and thus leading to Hitter’s rise. Doll Hitler was a very profound and persuasive public speaker.

He would make public speeches about how f he got into power, that he would guarantee food and health for every person in Germany. One of his mottos was “A Chicken In Every Pot, A [Volkswagen] In Every Garage”. This was a very promising statement for Germany after all they had been through. The Holocaust is the most infamous mass murder throughout all of history. It went on from January 30th, 1933 to May 8th, 1945 (V-E Day). It was a plan to murder all people of the Jewish religion in Europe. This was a very highly thought through plan created by Hitler to achieve his “perfect race”.

Hitter’s anti-Semitism acts were cause he thought that it was a Jewish professor that turned Hitler down from being able to study at the Academy in Vienna and also thought that it was a Jewish doctor that could not help Doll’s mother live. When Hitler started invading countries, he started to create laws that banned the Jews from doing certain things. They were not allowed to be teachers or store owners. The Jews had to eventually wear a Star of David on all their clothing items which let other people know who Jews were. This is significant because if you were caught outside past curfew or doing other things that

Jews were banned to do, then you would be arrested or perhaps killed. Only certain people could obtain papers that allowed them to be outside after hours, but even then, not all were spared. After that, in March of 1933, Hitler started a law that every Jew needs to be “relocated”. He built concentration camps in Poland that no one outside of the Jewish community knew about. Nazi’s would go into people’s homes and search for hidden Jews. Soon Jews were sent to live in a ghetto until they were notified that they were going to be sent to a concentration camp.

There were 6 main incarceration camps: Belize, Echelon, Managed, Sober, Trebling, and the worse Auschwitz-Brinkmen. In each camp, the prisoners were to work all day and get no food or water. Many died of starvation, working to death, heat stroke, typhus, and other diseases. But, the biggest killer is what the Nazi’s would do to them. They would line people up and shoot them, they would hang people, beat them, make them go on several mile walks and if anyone fell of exhaustion, they would kill them on sight in front of everyone. The actions that they took towards these people were inhumanly. MSP and that were liberated to tell their stories, but most were not as fortunate. In all of the concentration camps, they would examine people as soon as they arrived at the camp. Professional doctors that worked for Hitler decided who has healthy and who was unable to work. They would often classify old people and young children as “unable to work” due to their age. In Auschwitz, they would have every unable person strip their clothes and go into a room. After everyone they could fit into a room was in, they closed and locked the door tightly.

In many movies and books, the people loud be saying that they were Just taking showers. The Nazi’s would really be on the roof of the building where all the people were crammed inside, and would pour in a chemical called Colon B World War II started on September 1st, 1939 and ended on May 7th, 1945 Victory day. This war lasted about five and a half years, but the results lasted for eternity. Just over 6 million Jews were killed in this time period whether it was death by a concentration camp or starvation in a town or even a disease while in hiding, 6 million died because of Hitter’s abuse of power during this time period.

On April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide by gunshot along with his wife, Eva, who ingested cyanide. Later that day, in accordance to his instructions, his remains were carried up through the bunker’s emergency exit, soaked in petrol and set on fire in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the building. Years later, his ashes were scattered. He committed suicide right after V-day because he knew he had lost for Germany, and didn’t want to live with the guilt that he did more damage than help to Europe. During the war, no one knew about the concentration camps Hitler had built, except for the Nazi’s and the Jews that were deported there.

After Hitter’s death, Europe found out through a source about the camps and the horrors that happened there. People got to be given exclusive tours through the camps to see what was happening right under their noses. They had no idea any of this was happening. How could they? Doll Hitler planned it out so well that no one would even suspect such horrible things could be happening. When George Santayana said, “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again”, He meant that if we do tot understand why something happened or what led to it, we will live through it again.

If we do not understand what Doll Hitler did and why he did it, we will end up living history again, when we do not need to. Hitler had one of the most profound effects on Germany, Europe, and even the whole world was affected by what he did. He created a very well thought through plan to murder all the Jews in Europe, and he almost achieved his distorted goal. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we deal with it. Let us not relive history, but rather learn from it.