Adolf Hitler c ( Braunau am Inn , April 20, 1889- Berlin , April 30, 1945) was a German politician and military officer, imperial chancellor from 1933 and Führer-leader of Germany from 1934 until his death. It brought to power the National Socialist German Workers Party or Nazi Party d and led a regime totalitarian during the period known as the Third Reich or Nazi Germany . In addition, it was who directed to Germany during World War II , that initiated with the main purpose of fulfilling its expansionist plans in Europe .
Hitler joined the German Workers Party , a precursor to the Nazi Party in 1919, and became its leader in 1921. In 1923, following the pronouncement at the Bürgerbräukeller brewery in Munich , Hitler attempted an insurrection, known as the Putsch in Munich , After which he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. During his stay in prison he wrote the first part of his book Mi lucha (in German, Mein Kampf ), in which he exposes his ideology along with autobiographical elements. Released eight months later, in 1924, Hitler gained increasing popular support through the exaltation of Pangermanism , anti-Semitism and anti-communism , using his oratory talent supported by efficient Nazi propaganda and mass concentrations charged with symbolism.
He was appointed Imperial Chancellor ( Reichskanzler ) in January 1933 and, a year later, on the death of President Paul von Hindenburg , he proclaimed himself leader and imperial chancellor ( Führer und Reichskanzler ), thus assuming the supreme command of the German State. It transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich and ruled with a single party based on the totalitarianism and autocracy of Nazi ideology .
Hitler’s aim was to establish a New Order based on the absolute hegemony of Nazi Germany on the European continent. Its foreign and internal policy was aimed at seizing Lebensraum (‘living space’) for the Germanic peoples. It promoted the rearmament of Germany and after the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht the 1 of September of 1939, began the Second World War . With these acts, Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, that established the conditions of the peace after the First World War. 1
Under Hitler’s leadership, German forces and their allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa in 1941. These territorial conquests gradually declined after the Battle of Stalingrad , until 1945, when the Allied armies defeated the German army. For racial reasons, Hitler killed seventeen million people, two ofwhom included six million Jews and between half and a million and a half Gypsies , in what was later called the ” Holocaust .” 3
In the last days of the war, during the battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his old mistress, Eva Braun . The 30 of April of 1945 the two committed suicide in the Chancellery bunker to avoid being captured by the Red Army . Later, their corpses were burned. 4
He came to power for a period of crisis economic, social and political, accentuated by the effects of the Great Depression of 1929 and the popular discontent and frustration in Germany following the defeat in the First World War . Throughout his political mandate used the blurb state and his charismatic oratory to persuade the masses, emphasizing their opposition to the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 , the Jewish people , the pacifism and communism international, particularly the Soviet Bolshevik . At the same time, he emphasized the nationalism German, militarism , the racism , the so – called preservation of the Aryan race , the Pangermanism and armed annexation or recovery of European territories lost by the German Empire after the First World War. After restructuring the industry and economy and stop quickly the inflation and unemployment , Hitler gained popular support. He rearmed and organized the German armed forces , establishing a dictatorship totalitarian staff that transformed German society and eliminated its democratic system . His regime was characterized by racial discrimination, Aryan supremacy and ethnic-religious and political persecution. Since 1939, as a consequence of the war, this model spread to the rest of Europe. On the ideological level, Hitler assumed the approaches of Italian fascism but with its own nuances based on the characteristics of Nazism and German society. Around his figure developed an intense cult of personality .
Pursued an aggressive foreign policy expansionist to expand the Lebensraum ( ‘living space’) German to east Europe, and combat an alleged international conspiracy between Judaism, Freemasonry, communism and capitalism by the US government, English and Soviet . Its policy was to establish a New Order ( Neuordnung ) in which Germany and the Aryan race would have a global hegemonic role.
Responsible for the start of World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland in September 1939, to 1941, the period of its height, troops and Axis allies occupied most of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa , but were defeated by The Allied powers in 1945. By the end of the war, Hitler’s violent policies of territorial conquest and racial subjugation had killed 55 to 60 million people ( about 2% of the world’s population at the time ) For the most part civilians, as well as a considerable degree of destruction of European cities. The systematic and massive extermination of political enemies and people considered racially “inferior” or “subhuman” by detention in a network of concentration and extermination camps in Germany and the conquered territories led to death of just over six million of Jews in what later in the historical context was called the Holocaust , as well as homosexuals, gypsies, Slavs, physically disabled, mentally ill, Soviet POWs and political opponents to his regime. Estimates of the number of people who lost their lives as a result of racial measures taken by Hitler’s government , Axis allies, satellite states and collaborators , according to most historians would be approximately eleven or twelve million people, of whom Half would correspond to the Holocaust.
Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn , a small village near Linz in the province of Upper Austria , not far from the German border , in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire . Born into a middle-class family, his father, Alois Hitler (1837-1903), was a customs agent. His mother, Klara Pölzl (1860-1907), was the third wife of Alois. Hitler was the couple’s third child. 5 Since Hitler’s parents were cousins, they had to obtain a papal dispensation for marriage. Of the five children of Alois and Klara, only Adolf and his sister Paula reached adulthood. 6 Hitler’s father also had a son, Alois Jr. , and a daughter, Angela , with his second wife. 6
His father, Alois Hitler, was an illegitimate son, so during the first 39 years of his life he carried the surname of his mother, Schicklgruber. In 1876, Alois’ father, Johann Georg Hiedler , finally recognized him. In the nineteenth century it was common in Austria variants of the name Hüttler , Hiedler , Hittler and Hitler . The theory of the writer Franz Jetzinger that keeps the surname relation to the Czech Hidlar or Hidlarcek 7 has been cited in the literature on numerous occasions, in August but is now rejected: it’s likely that all these variants derived from Hütte (hut) With what the surname would mean something like “small peasant” or “the one that lives in a cabin”. Referring to Fig.
The Propaganda of the Allies blew up the original family name of Hitler during World War II . Pamphlets carrying the phrase Heil Schicklgruber were launched from the air over German cities. However, Adolf was legally born as Hitler; In addition, was also related to Hiedler through his maternal grandmother , Johanna Hiedler .
The name Adolf comes from the old high German and means “noble wolf” ( Adel = nobility + wolf = wolf). 10 Hence one of the nicknames of Hitler put himself out Wolf or Herr Wolf began using this nickname in the early 1920s and was addressed to him only close friends (as “Uncle Wolf” by the Wagners ) Until the fall of the Third Reich. 11 The names of several of its headquarters scattered throughout continental Europe ( Wolfsschanze in East Prussia , Wolfsschlucht in France , Werwolf in Ukraine , etc.) reflect this. Even Hitler suggested to his sister Paula that he change his name during the Olympics in Garmisch and be kept strictly incognito under the surname Wolff , keeping his name if he wanted to. At the suggestion of Paula, was added the qualification of Frau (Lady) to make less suspicious the name change before his acquaintances (making it appear that the name change was due to a marriage). Hitler was known as Adi by his family and closest relatives.
Hitler said that, as a child, he was often beaten by his father. Years later he told his secretary, “So I made up my mind not to cry any more when my father whipped me. A few days later I had the opportunity to test my will . My mother, scared, hid in front of the door. As for me, I silently counted the blows of the club that struck my butt. ” 12
Hitler’s family often moved from Braunau am Inn to Passau , Lambach, Leonding and Linz . The young Hitler was a good student in elementary school. But in sixth, in his first year of secondary education ( Realschule ) in Linz, he was suspended and had to repeat the course. His teachers said that he had “no desire to work”. However, I was captivated by the readings pangermánicas Professor Leopold Poetsch , who greatly influenced the mind of the young.
In Mein Kampf , Hitler concluded that his poor performance in education was rebellion against his father, who wanted his son to pursue a career as a customs broker; On the other hand, Hitler wanted to become a painter. This explanation is further sustained by Hitler’s later description of himself as a misunderstood artist. However, Alois Hitler wanted his son to become an official like him, a job he was very proud of and had arrived with almost no academic basis. But to the young Hitler that future did not seduce him at all, since he was too far from his goal, the arts. However, after the death of Alois the 3 of January of 1903 , Hitler’s schoolwork did not improve. At the age of 16, Hitler dropped out of secondary education without a degree.
Youth in Vienna and Munich
Due to his mediocre academic record Hitler had to leave in 1904 the Realschule of Linz and moved to the one of Steyr , distant some fifty miles. In 1905 his mother moved the family to a comfortable flat in Urfahr , a suburb of Linz, where Adolf had a room of his own, lived a rather indolent life and, on the pretext of a feigned illness or more probably something exaggerated, convinced Klara That he could not continue in school. 13 So he left school at sixteen, having been rated positively in the course of drawing and having convinced himself that his future lay in painting. 14 For three years, Hitler remained in Linz without looking for work, often in the company of August Kubizek , probably the only friend he had in his teens; According to Hitler, these years would be the “best years of his life.” 15 Although Hitler considered his future to be in painting or architecture, he was a voracious reader, preferring works of German history and mythology. 16 For sixteen years Hitler was already a fervent nationalist Pan – German, and hated the Hapsburgs and ethnic diversity of the Austro – Hungarian Empire . fifteen
At the age of seventeen, Hitler traveled to Vienna for the first time and was able to extend his stay in the city for two months thanks to the monetary assistance of his mother and other relatives. 16 During his stay, he visited the Academy of Fine Arts , where he consulted the requirements for admission in order to become a painter . In October 1907 he returned to Vienna and presented himself to the admission test; However, failed to be admitted to not possess the desired talent, which disappointed him a lot. 17 The following year he tried again, with worse results. The rector of the Academy advised him to try in the field of architecture, but since Hitler had not graduated from college, it was very difficult to be admitted to the respective school. 16 However, in those young years with “exceptional talent” were admitted to the school of architecture without a high school diploma, but it is unknown if Hitler ever attempted to enter. 18
Despite his failure, Hitler decided to stay in Vienna, although for a few months he continued to live in Linz with his mother, who was dying because of breast cancer . After the death of his mother, the 21 of December of 1907 , Hitler traveled to Vienna, where initially he earned a living through various jobs such as sweeping the snow, carrying suitcases on the train and be a construction worker. 18 However, his economic problems did not end, and a year after he arrived in Vienna he was evicted from his apartment and had to live in a miserable hostel, resorting to indigent eaters to quell hunger. 18 However, by 1910 his economic situation was more stable, and remained exclusively painting pictures. Vienna, a cosmopolitan city with a lot of intellectual and multicultural vitality, was completely incomprehensible. Although in later speeches Hitler would affirm that Vienna was “a pearl before my eyes”, Baldur von Schirach would contradict it:
Hitler never loved Vienna. He hated his people. 19
However, his stay in Vienna was very important. According to Hitler, his anti-Semitism was formed in this city; Although his friend Kubizek contradicts it, since it assures that Hitler already was a deep antisemitic in Linz. 20 However, according to Hitler’s own testimony, his political and racial ideas were formed, or at least molded, in that city. Hitler himself would recognize that the city taught him everything he had to know in life:
In this period a universal image and a philosophy became the basis of all my actions. In addition to what I then believed, I had to learn little, and I have had to change anything. twenty-one
On May 24, 1913 and accompanied by Rudolf Häusler, a companion of the hostel for men where he resided, he moved to Munich . He had to wait until he was twenty-four to be able to claim his father’s inheritance, and although he claimed to enter the Munich Art Academy, the main reason for his departure was probably to avoid military service , which he had been delaying since 1909, when he should have done so To join rows with twenty-one years. 22 Apparently he did not want to serve along with Slavs and Jews, 20 though he had always been attracted by the prosperity and strength of the German empire , in contrast to the decadent Austro- Hungarian Empire . For his part, Hitler declared that he left Austria because the mixture of races in Vienna caused him “disgust”. 20 Nevertheless the Austrian authorities managed to locate him and on January 18, 1914, a police officer handed him a subpoena demanding his return: avoidance of military service was a major fine, but the fact of leaving Austria for This was considered desertion and entailed imprisonment. Hitler then traveled to Salzburg , where he was examined on 5 February , but was declared unfit for military service. 2. 3
First World War
On 28 July as as 1914 outbreak of the First World War ; A week later, Hitler volunteered in the German army and was assigned to a Bavarian regiment . The beginning of the war caused great enthusiasm in the young Hitler, who thought that an opportunity had come to change his life:
I am not ashamed to say that, driven by my enthusiasm, I knelt down and thanked Heaven from the bottom of my heart … for allowing me to live in that time. 24
After less than three months of training, Hitler was sent to the western front . Served in France and Belgium , as messenger of the 1st Company of the 16th Regiment of Bavarian Reserve Infantry. He participated in the First Battle of Ypres , where his unit was decimated in four days. At the end of the battle, of the initial 3500 soldiers, only 600 could continue fighting. 25
Subsequently, his political opponents would accuse him of being a coward, but the evidence contradicts them. 25 In October 1916, in the north of France, Hitler was wounded in the leg and returned to the front in March 1917, promoted to the rank of corporal . However, he was not promoted beyond this level, considering at that time that Hitler had no command. Hitler was awarded twice: he received the 2nd Class Iron Cross on December 2, 1914, and the 1st Class Iron Cross on August 4, 1918, an honor which was rarely awarded to a soldier of So low graduation. 25 According to various testimonies, Hitler won his last Iron Cross for having captured unaided fifteen enemy soldiers, although military records do not specify the reason for this decoration. 25
Hitler was considered a “right” soldier, but reportedly unpopular among his peers because of an uncritical attitude toward superiors. “Respect the superior, do not contradict anyone, obey blindly,” he said, describing his attitude while being prosecuted by the Munich Putsch in 1923. One of his comrades commented:
We cursed him and we found him intolerable. There was a white crow among us who did not want to follow the current when we cursed the war. 25
Indeed, Hitler never complained about the dirt on the front and never asked for permission to leave, 25 although he was able to leave when he was recovering from the wound in his leg in a hospital in Berlin . When he returned, he repeatedly predicted that Germany would lose the war because of the Jews and the Marxists, whom he accused of stealing the nation and not performing military service. 26 Personally, Hitler never received letters or presents from friends or relatives, and did not accompany the soldiers when they spoke of women. 25 During the war, he also took the opportunity to draw some cartoons and instructional drawings for the army newspaper.
The 13 of October of 1918 , shortly before the end of the war, Hitler was caught in an attack of poison gas Briton, near Ypres . He was transferred to a field hospital, where he was temporarily blinded by toxic gases. 27 On 10 November he was partially recovered at the Pasewalk military hospital near Stettin when it was reported that the monarchy had been deposed and had been proclaimed the later known as the Weimar Republic . When he learned that an armistice was to be signed the next day and that the war was lost, Hitler said that he collapsed, and later described his reaction: “Everything became black again before my eyes.” 28
Research by Bernhard Horstmann indicates that his blindness temporary may have been the result of a hysterical reaction to Germany ‘s defeat. [ Citation needed ] Hitler said that during this experience metaphorically, to remove the blindfold covering his eyes, was when he discovered that the goal of his life was to achieve the salvation of Germany. In the meantime, he was treated by a military doctor and a specialist in psychiatry, who was reportedly diagnosed as “incompetent to command people” and “dangerously psychotic.” [ Citation needed ] Their commander said, “I never will promote this hysteric!”. [ Citation needed ] However, the historian Sebastian Haffner , referring to Hitler’s experience at the front, suggests that at least had some sort of understanding with the military.
The German defeat in November 1918 shocked him greatly, for in German popular belief the German army remained undefeated. Like many other German nationalists, Hitler blamed the Social Democrats (“November criminals”) for the armistice. One explanation extended by the conservative right over the cause of the defeat was the Dolchstoßlegende (“Legend of the stab in the back”), who claimed that behind the army socialist and Marxist politicians had betrayed and “stabbed” in the back The Germans and their soldiers.
The Treaty of Versailles imposed war reparations and other economically very damaging sanctions on the country, declaring Germany to blame for the horrors of the First World War . During the negotiation of the document arose controversies between the pacifying eagerness of Woodrow Wilson , president of the United States and the revanchismo of the French premier, Georges Clemenceau . Reconciliation was never within the objectives of the United Kingdom and France because, [ citation needed ] since the mid- nineteenth century , Germany had rivaled these two powers for hegemony in Europe and control over the colonial territories in Africa and Asia. The treaty was considered by the Germans as a humiliation and was an important factor in the creation of the political and territorial claims demanded by Hitler and his National Socialist Party when coming to power.
Beginnings in Nazism
Start of the political activity
After the war, whose last phase was certainly very important for its ideological evolution, 28 Hitler realized he had no money, friends, family connections, college or political experience; 29 so he decided to try to continue in the army, quite complicated in the period of demobilization , but managed to remain in its ranks until 31 March 1920. 30
Hitler left the hospital in Pasewalk on November 19 and 21 came to Munich to rejoin his battalion . 31 After the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II on 9 November and the signing of the armistice on the 11th, Germany was plunged into the atmosphere of revolutionary agitation in which the Weimar Republic was born and in Bavaria after the flight on 7 November Of the last king of the Wittelsbach dynasty , Louis III , 32 gave way to the new Republic of Bavaria with a provisional government dominated by the SPD social democrats and especially by the more radical USPD , under the presidency of Kurt Eisner . 33 Soviet-style workers ‘and soldiers’ advice emerged and Hitler found himself on his return with his unit under the control of one of them , and according to his own account in Mein Kampf he requested to be transferred to another destination and was sent the field of POWs of Traunstein , near the Austrian border, 34 where he stayed until late January or early February 1919 . 35 Although its version matches that of his partner Ernst Schmidt, the attitude that maintained during these months must have been far more ambiguous than belies and would have justified a more extensive treatment from being directly opposed to the government that would later be described as that of The “criminals of November”. Not only was Traunstein also governed by soldiers’ councils, but Hitler was cited on 3 April as the representative ( Vertrauensmann ) of his battalion , a position which, among other powers, was to co-operate with the authorities by transmitting to the troop propaganda material And which Hitler most likely boasted from February. 36 In addition, after the assassination of Eisner on February 21, there was a period of chaos and anarchy that culminated in the short phase of genuine communist rule, with the clear aim of installing a “Soviet” republic and that is strictly better known Like Räterepublik or “republic of councils”. 33 The day after its establishment, on April 14, Hitler was re-elected representative of his unit which seems to indicate a certain degree of support for his part to the policy of socialist government or at least that he refrained from externalizing any type of opposition frontal. 37 This behavior, whether of passivity or of opportunism, not only later transpired occasionally in the press, 38 but was also the subject of comments by some Nazi leaders such as Ernst Röhm , Ritter von Epp or Rudolf Hess , 39 but it seems outside He doubted his rejection of the revolutionary left and it is very likely that the votes he received were soldiers who shared that view and knew of his hostility to the Räterepublik. 40
After the Soviet government of Bavaria was overthrown by the German Army and conservative paramilitary groups , Hitler was commissioned the mission that gave him the opportunity to get involved in politics for the first time. His job was to investigate the members of his unit who had collaborated with the Soviet government. His work was appreciated by his superiors, who employed him full-time, assigning him to the Army’s Political Affairs Department at the district level. In this way, Hitler became a military spy, investigating the many socialist groups that were being born throughout Germany. He also participated as an educator in “national thought”, courses organized by the Department of Education and Propaganda of the Bavarian group of the Reichswehr . Hitler’s main task was then to eradicate ‘dangerous ideas’, such as democracy , socialism and pacifism . 41 A key objective of this group was to create a ” turkish head ” to justify the German defeat. [ Citation needed ] The scapegoats were found in the International Judaism , communists and liberal politicians, especially members of the coalition of Weimar, who were considered as the “November criminals”.
In May or early June 1919 , Hitler is already listed as V-Mann ( Verbindungsmann , German term for a police spy) of the Army Intelligence Command ( Aufklärungskommando ), with the aim of attracting other soldiers of similar ideas . In September, he was ordered to investigate a small party called the German Workers’ Party (DAP). Although this party was nationalist, Hitler’s superiors did not know this, and suspected that it could be a socialist or communist party. 41
On September 12 Hitler attended for the first time a meeting of the DAP held in the Sterneckerbräu that should have as its main speaker Dietrich Eckart , although it had to be replaced because of a disease by Gottfried Feder . When in the final debate one of the participants confronted Feder and began to defend Bavarian separatism, Hitler replied with a speech of such intensity that it caught the attention of Anton Drexler , who gave him a copy of his work My Political Awakening and I Encouraged to return and join the party. 42 In the second half of that same month he entered the party and, although he would later claim to be his seventh member, he was actually assigned the number 555, 43 also fictitious because for reasons of image it was decided to start the numbering in 501 apportioning the numbers In alphabetical order to the first militants. 44 A few weeks later, on October 16, Hitler gave at the Hofbräukeller his first public speech at a ceremony attended by 111 people, 45 among which was Ernst Roehm , who shortly afterwards also would join in the party. 46
From that moment, the figure of Hitler was getting more and more protagonism, participating full-time in the activities of the party and clearly outlining the new ideology:
In the early 1920s, Hitler developed a strong sense of his “national mission” (…). The “mission” can be summarized as follows: nationalize the masses; Seize the state; To destroy the internal enemy – the “criminals of November” (referring to Jews and Marxists, more or less the same for their point of view); Build defenses; To carry out the expansion “by the sword” to secure the future of Germany, overcoming the “scarcity of land” ( Raumnot ) and acquiring new territories in Eastern Europe. 47
On 24 February 1920 the party held its first important meeting in the halls of the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. In front of about two thousand attendants Hitler read the twenty-five points of the program of the party that had written him and especially Drexler the previous weeks. These twenty-five points subsequently became the theoretical “unalterable” basis of the National Socialist program and the date of February 24 in a historical motif of annual celebration, although at the time had a very limited impact and until the Völkischer Beobachter relegated the news to his interior pages. 48
On April 1, 1920, the German Workers Party changed its name to the German National Socialist Workers’ Party ; That same day Hitler left the Army. Shortly thereafter, he organized military veterans’ squads, led by Emil Maurice , to maintain order in Party meetings, and expel those who did not agree with the speakers. 49 The 5 of October of 1921 , these squads were organized under the name Sturmabteilung (SA), also known as the brown – shirted by the color of their uniforms. Soon, the SA, under the initial command of Johann Ulrich Klintzich , ceased to be limited to their role of maintaining order and began to attack opposition political groups and Jews, which became their main activity. 50 In the spring of 1920, Hitler takes as emblems the Hakenkreuz – the swastika – and the greeting of fascism Italian arm raised.
Already in early 1921, Hitler was considered a great orator, speaking in front of larger and larger crowds. He gained notoriety outside the party for his controversial speeches, attacking the Treaty of Versailles, and rival groups ( especially Marxists and Jews). That year, Hitler personally led the brownshirts against a meeting of Bavarian federalists. Although Hitler spent three months in jail for the beating that his men gave to the Federalists, on leaving he did not show any regret; On the contrary, he was more determined to use force against his adversaries:
In the future, the National Socialist movement will rudely avoid, if necessary by force, meetings or speeches that may distract the minds of our compatriots. 51
In the summer of 1921, Hitler was the leader of the party; 52 not only was the keynote speaker and propagandist, but was also the main source of income of the revolutionary movement. However, the founders were resentful due to Hitler’s dictatorial behavior, and taking advantage of the fact that he was traveling in northern Germany, they planned to merge his party with other political groups; In this way, they thought to reduce the importance of Hitler and to question his leadership. Hitler learned of these plans and returned to Munich, requesting dictatorial powers in the party, otherwise he would resign. Drexler responded by publishing a letter in a newspaper, denouncing Hitler’s authoritarian abuses, but Hitler filed a lawsuit against him, and Drexler had to retract. Defeated, Drexler was removed from his post as president and Hitler succeeded, becoming the undisputed leader of the Nazi Party. In this way, the ” leadership principle ” was established , which formed the political system of Nazi Germany. 53
In these years Hitler met Rudolf Hess , Hermann Göring , Ernst Hanfstaengl and Alfred Rosenberg , who along with Eckart, introduced him to higher social circles, from which he was able to obtain generous donations for the nascent party.
Encouraged by the rapid growth, Hitler began to devise the seizure of power. However, his party was not yet the main political force in Bavaria, and was unknown outside this state, so Hitler concluded that he needed the support of the political forces and the Bavarian military garrisons to achieve this goal. 54 Influenced by March on Rome of Benito Mussolini , Hitler devised perform a similar march to Berlin, with which the national government would crush easily. 54
At the end of 1922, he had a small and growing band of fanatical followers, inspired by Mussolini’s ” March on Rome “, which began to see in him the desire of a heroic national leader. In this sense, a book published that year referred to Hitler explaining that
The secret of his personality lies in the fact that what lay dormant in the depths of the soul of the German people has come to life in him. And that is what has appeared in Adolf Hitler: the living incarnation of the yearning of the nation. 55
Putsch of Munich
In January 1923 , after the German government delayed the payment of war reparations to France, this nation proceeded to occupy the industrial region of the Ruhr , devastating the German economy. The government then called for nonviolent resistance against France, but by September it was obvious that this strategy was not generating results. On September 26, German Chancellor Gustav Stresemann decided to restart payments to France, and cancel the strategy of resistance. Stresemann anticipated that the nationalists and communists would initiate all kinds of protests and disturbances before these unpopular measures, reason why declared the state of emergency that same day. 56 In this way, the Army commander, General Hans von Seeckt , became the chief authority of the Republic. 56 Hitler saw this period of political instability as the opportunity to make his own version of the march on Rome . 54
However, the traditionally autonomous Bavarian state was unwilling to accept the central authority of General von Seeckt. That same day, the regional government proclaimed its own state of emergency and placed Gustav von Kahr to the control of Bavaria. The national government reacted by demanding the arrest of several nationalist leaders and also called for the suppression of the leading Nazi newspaper Völkischer Beobachter . When the Bavarian Army refused to obey its commander-in-chief, General von Seeckt threatened to use force against Bavaria. Hitler realized then that the regional situation could only worsen for him since, probably, the government of Stresemann would manage to stabilize the situation. When Kahr refused to discuss the situation with Hitler and his allies, the latter suspected that the Bavarian government was going to capitulate to the Berlin government, or worse, were to declare Bavaria’s independence. 57 Hitler then decided to make a risky maneuver: Kahr would kidnap the commander of the Army in Bavaria and the head of the regional police; Once in their power, would convince them to join their side, and then, together, they were going to march to Berlin to overthrow Stresemann. To gain the support of the Army, Hitler decided to use General Erich Ludendorff , as a respected figure in his coup . The old general had been drawn to the Nazi movement a few weeks ago.
On the night of 8 of November of 1923 , Hitler and the brown shirts stormed a public meeting headed by Kahr in the Bürgerbräukeller, a brewery on the outskirts of Munich . Hitler proclaimed a revolution and announced their intentions to form a new government with Ludendorff, who was unaware of the coup, 58 Before starting his “March on Berlin” to overthrow the national government, Hitler claimed the support of Kahr and The local military forces. The latter pretended to help Hitler, but, thanks to Ludendorff’s ingenuity, he escaped as soon as he could and regained regional control. 59 At dawn on November 9 , the Army and the Bavarian police were taking positions against the coup; Ernst Röhm and his Nazi troops were surrounded by the Bavarian War Ministry, and Hitler decided to march with Ludendorff to free them. The old German commander had convinced Hitler that the soldiers and the police would not shoot at him, and would join his cause. 58 However, the police did not retreat to Ludendorff and a firing began. Fourteen coup leaders and four policemen were killed during the fray, including Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter , one of the organizers of the putsch , who was shot in the front line by the arm of Hitler, who escaped with only one dislocated shoulder. 60
Hitler hid himself in the house of Ernst Hanfstaengl , where he wrote his first political testament in which he designated as his successor at the head of the NSDAP Alfred Rosenberg and appointed Max Amann as vice-president, but later versions of the facts that claim he attempted commit suicide. 61 He was arrested the night of November 11, 60 accused of high treason and Rosenberg temporarily became the leader of the party. According to Joachim Fest, this unsuccessful subversion marked one of the great milestones in Hitler’s life, for with it he would have completed his apprenticeship and would have given way to his true entry into politics. 62
His judgment drew international attention, and provided him with a political platform to announce his movement. During his trial, which began on February 26, 1924, Hitler received almost unlimited time to speak, 63 which made his popularity grow because of his powerful and convincing nationalist discourse. Unlike the participants in the Kapp coup , Hitler assumed responsibility for the attempted coup, but denied committing a crime:
I alone bear responsibility. But I’m not a criminal for that. If today I present myself here as a revolutionary, he is like a revolutionary against the revolution. There is no high treason against the traitors of 1918. 64During his trial in 1924 .
On April 1, 1924, Hitler was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in the fortress of Landsberg , although the Constitution provided for life imprisonment against crimes of this type. 65 Hitler received privileged treatment from the guards and was able to receive letters and visits from his admirers. 66 He was acquitted and released on December 20 of that year, as part of a mass amnesty to political prisoners. In total, he only served nine months of his sentence.
Hitler’s stay in the Landsberg prison allowed him to organize his ideas, which he dictated to various secretaries. The result would be a play entitled Mein Kampf ( My Fight ), although originally planned to call it Four years of fighting lies, stupidity and cowardice . 67 This work, dedicated to Dietrich Eckart , [ citation needed ] was an autobiography and, more importantly, an exhibition of Nazi ideology.
Through its 782 pages, Hitler detailed the steps that a future National Socialist German state had to follow in order to finally become the ” master of the world “. 68First, it advocates the definitive conclusion of Franco-German hostility, which would be achieved by the destruction of France . 68 Once this was achieved, Germany would finally be free to expand, with the aim of achieving the so-called ” German living space “. Hitler concludes that the Third Reich should not seek colonies in Asia or Africa , but should expand eastwards, at the expense of Russia . 68 Although it recognizes that various peoples already live in Eastern Europe , it asserts that the German people have the right to evict their occupants:
… nature has not reserved this land for the future possession of a particular nation or race; On the contrary, this land exists for the people who have the strength to take it. 68About the German expansion to the east.
Hitler considers that the conquest of Russia will be relatively easy, since the Bolsheviks control it, and therefore the Jews . 69
As for the internal politics of the Third Reich, Hitler clearly defines that the system of government will be a dictatorship: 68 In addition, the state will have very little to do with the economy, since it will actually be a “racial body”. 69 After establishing that the Aryan race is superior over the rest, he asserts that it must subjugate the others in order to “preserve and increase culture”. 70 It concludes that the Germans are in the present state because they did not preserve their pure race, and “gradually lost their cultural creativity”. 70 After writing this, it is not surprising that it determines that the main purpose of the Nazi State is:
… the preservation of the original racial elements that confer culture and create the beauty and dignity of a higher humanity. 71About the purpose of the State .
He assures us that in a distant future, humanity will face problems that only a superior race, with world domination, can solve. 71
Although at present the interpretation of German history that Hitler exposes in Mein Kampf is considered grotesque and inaccurate, many Germans shared his historical vision. Worse, when Hitler go up power in 1933 , would remain true to his writings 72 and carry out the expansion eastward, which would lead to the Second World War and genocide of peoples Slavs and Semites .
Mein Kampf not only served to expose Hitler’s ideas, it also provided him with his main source of income. 72 Although the book was published in two volumes between 1925 and 1926, only it sold about 240 000 copies between 1925 and 1934, although in the early years sales were low. Hitler spent those years dodging the applicable copyright duties on his book, and accumulated a tax debt of about DEM 405 500 . This debt would haunt him until he became chancellor.
Restructuring of the party
Hitler was released from prison on December 20, 1924. 73 His revolutionary movement was probably at its lowest point, the Nazi Party and its media organs had been banned; Furthermore, Hitler was forbidden to speak in public and the regional government was recommending that he be extradited to Austria. 74 During his absence, Gregor Strasser and Erich Ludendorff led the Nazi movement, and were distancing themselves from him.
On the national side, the political and economic instability that had contributed to the rapid growth of the Nazi Party was in the past. 74 The hyperinflation and strong compensation payments had been damped, and the French had agreed to leave the Rhine . Although thanks to his failed coup Hitler came to have some national prominence, the mainstay of his party remained Munich and in the following months popular support began to decline. In the parliamentary elections in December , the Nazis, who participated under the name of “National Socialist Movement of Freedom”, lost half of their voters; In contrast, the Social Democrats were regaining the lost ballots. The Nazis would continue in decline until 1929, meanwhile, Hitler had to continue organizing the party and fighting to maintain the leadership of the same.
Although many of his colleagues believed he was finished, Hitler was released from prison with a messianic vision of his role in history, and assured that the good times of the Republic would not last. 75 74 Within a few days he requested an interview with Dr. Heinrich Held , Bavarian Prime Minister, and after making promises of good behavior, he succeeded in legalizing the Nazi Party again. The Nazi newspaper Voelkischer Beobachter was also allowed to move again. Believing in the promises of Hitler, Dr. Held told his Minister of Justice:
The wild beast is controlled. We can afford to loosen the chain. 76Dr. Heinrich Held on Hitler.
Although Hitler remained authoritarian, his promises to adhere to the Constitution were partly true. However, the future dictator had not changed his ideology, but his strategy. Having failed to overthrow the Republic with a coup, he was now pursuing the “strategy of legality”; This meant adhering to the norms of the Weimar Constitution in order to legally ascend to power. Some members of the party, especially the leaders of the “brown shirts”, opposed this strategy. Röhm ridiculed her, nicknamed Hitler “Adolphe Legalité”. In this way, Hitler would now rely on democracy and elections to gain power, and then destroy them:
Instead of working to gain power through an armed coup, we must cover our noses and enter Parliament as opposed to Catholic and Marxist deputies. If you overcome them in votes takes longer than surpassing them in shots, at least the result will be guaranteed by your own constitution … Sooner or later we will reach the majority, and after that Germany. 77About your new constitutional strategy.
On February 27, 1925, Hitler made his first speech since his arrest in 1923, although most of his trusted men were missing: Rosenberg , Röhm , Strasser and Ludendorff did not attend, Eckart was dead, and Göring was in exile. However, Hitler made it clear that he did not intend to share leadership with anyone else:
Only I lead the movement, and no one can impose conditions on me as long as I personally take responsibility. 77In his first speech after leaving prison.
However, this time Hitler could not restrain himself. He soon began to describe the state, the Jews and the Marxists as “the enemy”, and threatened them with death. 77 The Bavarian State immediately forbade him to deliver speeches for two years. Since then, he spent most of his time in Obersalzberg , where he continued to write Mein Kampf . 78 Afraid that deported at any time, on April 7, 1925, renounced his Austrian citizenship, effectively becoming a man without nationality , as the Bavarian government refused to grant the German. 79
Unable to use his speech skills , Hitler then began to work as a propagandist and organizer. It was during these years that he organized the Nazi Party at national level, and began to create groupings of all type within the same. The Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls were soon established, and organizations were established in Austria , Czechoslovakia , the Saarland and the Free City of Danzig . The SS were established as a subdivision of the SA ; Its members were to take a special oath of allegiance to Hitler and soon distinguished themselves as being more reliable than the rough brown shirts. Hitler placed himself at the head of the Nazi hierarchy, under the title “Supreme Leader of the Party and SA, President of the German National Socialist Organization of Workers.” In addition, he created the “Directorate of the Reich”, composed of the main Nazi hierarchs. One of the objectives of creating such a vast and complex structure was the formation of “a State within the State”; In this way, when the Nazis finally came to power, Hitler could destroy the republican structure in a short time, and replace it with the structure of his Party. 80
Determined to turn his party into a relevant national force, Hitler called Gregor Strasser and proposed the organization of the movement in northern Germany. 81 The personality of Strasser competed with Hitler, and the idea of working independently in Prussia , Saxony , Hanover and Rhine pleased him, so he devoted himself to this task with his brother Otto Strasser and a young secretary named Joseph Goebbels . However, Strasser’s independent personality and firm belief in the socialist element of the National Socialist program earned him the animosity of Hitler. 82 81 In no time, Strasser would become the most serious threat to the leadership of the latter, and this ultimately cost him his life.
On November 22, 1925, Strasser held a conference in Hanover, where he supported the expropriation of assets of the deposed nobility, a measure that was soon to be consulted in a plebiscite . In this way, the northern Nazi organization, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Gauleiter Nord-West , joined the Marxists in the election campaign. 83 Hitler counterattacked the 14 of February of 1926 , organizing a conference in Bamberg , where Goebbels and Strasser forced to recant his program. To complicate Strasser’s position, Goebbels abandoned his case a few days later and joined Hitler. However, this would not be the end of the enmity between Hitler and Strasser.
After this meeting, Hitler’s party became even more centralized, and the so-called Führerprinzip (“Leader’s Principle”) was finally rooted in party organization. Under this system, leaders would not be elected by their group, but rather appointed by their superiors, being delegated full responsibility to them, while requiring the same unconditional obedience to their subordinates. According to Hitler, all power and authority should be delegated from the top down.
Rise to power
The ascent during the Depression
The Great Depression brought new times for the German revolutionary. For years Hitler had predicted that he would arrive and, while several banks went bankrupt and millions lost their jobs, he declared his satisfaction, because he understood that the moment was opportune for his revolutionary speech:
Never in my life have I been more willing and inwardly ready to fight than these days. Because the harsh reality has opened the eyes of millions of Germans to the unprecedented scams, lies and betrayals of the deceiving Marxists of the people. 84About the Great Depression .
A key element of Hitler’s speech was his ability to revive the feeling of national pride, weakened in World War I and the later Treaty of Versailles. After these events, Germany had lost economic importance in Europe, along with all its colonies, and had also acquired a heavy debt in accepting responsibility for the war. Hitler promised to repudiate the Treaty of Versailles, suspend compensation payments, generate jobs, fight corruption and control the rich. 85 Subtly, the Nazis also began to associate Jews with communists and corrupt businessmen, reviving old anti – Semitic feelings.
The economic instability of the Great Depression soon spread to the political camp and benefited Hitler. In March 1930, Heinrich Brüning was appointed chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg , as the outgoing chancellor was unable to secure a parliamentary majority to govern. Brüning also failed to do so, but remained in power thanks to Hindenburg’s presidential decrees. In this way, the will of the chancellor was subject to that of the president, and the will of the German Parliament was relegated to the background. However, Brüning was a Democrat , and proceeded to call new elections, hoping to obtain the necessary parliamentary majority to be able to govern without the approval of Hindenburg. 86 Ironically, the parliamentary elections of 1930 would not contribute to the strengthening of democracy, as the Nazi Party become the second political force in Germany and the Communist Party in the third.
After gaining popular support, Hitler proceeded to seek the Army. Hitler’s nationalist discourse took its toll on young officers; And a week after the election, during a trial against three officers who had promoted the Nazi ideology in the Army, Hitler was called to testify and took advantage of this opportunity to try to win the support of the military, assuring that it would “avenge” the Revolution of November and that would eliminate the limits imposed to the German Army in the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler’s electoral victory also attracted the attention of German businessmen. From 1931, Walther Funk began to present powerful industrial Hitler; In addition, several companies began to finance it, among which the insurer Allianz . 87 However, most German companies refused to support the future dictator. 88
Schleicher and Papen intrigues
As leader of the second political force in Parliament, Hitler was soon included in the plans of the rulers of the Weimar Republic. 89 In late 1931 met with Chancellor Brüning and President Hindenburg, but both were unable to reach a political agreement with him. It was after this first meeting that Hindenburg assured that:
… the “bohemian cape” was a curious character who could become a Postmaster, but certainly not a Chancellor. 90Hindenburg on Hitler.
On January 7, 1932, Brüning met Hitler again, and tried to persuade him to approve the postponement of the 1932 presidential elections . 91 The old Hindenburg would not run for reelection, and it seemed that Hitler would become president in the absence of other candidates weight; If Hitler accepted the postponement of the elections until the natural death of Hindenburg, Chancellor Brüning would then request the restoration of the German monarchy, albeit under a system of government similar to the British . 92Hitler realized that this measure would not benefit him, and after making a series of demands that were immediately rejected by Hindenburg, he refused to support Brüning’s plan. In this way, Hindenburg was forced to aspire to a second period to avoid a Hitlerian triumph.
On February 25, Hitler finally decided to become a German citizen, and immediately submitted his candidacy, as opposed to Hindenburg. Although Hitler made an impressive electoral campaign, 93 Hindenburg won this election by far, surpassing it by more than 16 percentage points. The Austrian candidate had doubled his party’s votes in two years, but appeared unable to gain power through the votes without engaging politically with Hindenburg. It was in this year that the animosity between Strasser and Hitler was accentuated again; Despite his defeat at Bamberg in 1926, Gregor Strasser had remained a leading leader of the Nazi Party, and was more accepted by Parliament and President than Hitler. Due to his political talent, Hitler kept him in his closest circle of advisors, and along with Goebbels , Göring , Frick, and Röhm , held the Party’s highest rank in 1932. However, Strasser began to criticize Hitler’s intolerant stance , Who refused to share a government with Hindenburg’s men.
After this electoral defeat, the ” brown shirts “, that already surpassed the Army in number, were prohibited. It was at this moment that General Kurt von Schleicher , creator of Brüning’s ascent, began to conspire to bring about its fall. Schleicher contacted Hitler through Röhm; The latter offered to legalize the SA again, with plans to annex them later to the Army. 94 On the other hand, Hitler offered to call new parliamentary elections, in exchange for supporting a new government. As an old friend of Hindenburg, Schleicher persuaded him to force Brüning’s resignation, and then persuaded him to appoint Chancellor Franz von Papen . In the new parliamentary elections of 1932 , the Nazi Party became the first political force of the Parliament, but did not reach the necessary majority to govern. With these results, Hitler refused to support Papen, and claimed the Chancellery for him, refusing again to share power with the faction of Hindenburg and Schleicher. With this new failure, Strasser’s current in the Nazi Party was strengthened, and Hitler’s political leadership began to be publicly criticized by him.
Like its predecessor, the new chancellor turned out to be incapable to obtain the parliamentary majority, and Papen called then to new elections, the third in 1932. Although in these elections the Nazis continued being the first political force, they lost votes, and Hitler Was even further from reaching the majority in Parliament. However, this did not change his strategy, as the Austrian politician continued to sue the Chancellery for him, rejecting the offer of the Deputy Chancellor extended by Hindenburg. For his part, Schleicher began planning the fall of Papen, and convinced Hindenburg that if he appointed Chancellor, he would divide the Nazi Party by separating Strasser. Hindenburg acceded on December 2, 1932, however, Schleicher’s government was brief, as Hitler would succeed in less than two months.
At this point it was clear that even before the rise of the Nazis to power, power no longer resided in the people or the democratically elected Parliament, but in President Hindenburg, who was very old and prone to manipulation by the clique that Surrounded. 95 This was obvious to Hitler, and so, when Papen approached him a few days after leaving the Foreign Ministry, decided to make a deal with him, as the former foreign minister still had the confidence of the president. This alliance came at an opportune time for Hitler, as the Nazi Party was bankrupt, and more radical followers were leaving the ranks to join the Communist Party. To complicate the situation, Schleicher had set in motion his plan to divide the Nazis by offering the Vice Chancery to Strasser, and although he had not accepted, he did have a heated argument with Hitler, after which he resigned all his charges and sent His version of history to newspapers, threatening to end the Party. This was the most serious threat against the Nazi movement since 1925 , and Hitler threatened to commit suicide:
If the party falls to pieces, I will put an end to everything in three minutes with a shot.About the Strasser threat .
Strasser had control over an important part of the Nazi structure, but at the critical moment decided to travel to Italy to take a vacation, in the hope that Hitler would call him back. The future dictator not only did not call him, but took advantage of his absence to remove all his supporters from the positions of importance in the party, and instead appointed more loyal supporters. He then summoned all the Nazi leaders to Berlin, where he took an oath of personal fidelity. Four days after Strasser’s departure, Hitler had finally taken over the entire political structure of the Party.
The 4 of January of 1933 , Hitler met with Papen, which agreed to form a coalition if the last lograse convince Chancellor Hindenburg to appoint the Nazi leader. On January 22 , Hitler had another meeting with Otto Meissner and Oskar von Hindenburg , Secretary and son of the president respectively, getting their support. On January 28 , after spending several days trying to get support from any unsuccessful political force, Chancellor Schleicher presented his resignation to Hindenburg. The old president immediately sought the advice of Papen, who assured him that he could form a government with Hitler, where the Nazis would be a minority and would be under control.
Finally, on January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg. 96 Conservative politicians like Papen, and industrial wealthy as Emil Kirdorf , thought they would achieve control the German revolutionary and that they would work towards their interests, but in a few weeks Hitler would prove more capable than these, and during his rule, many Of those who helped him in his career to be able to end up being executed, confined in concentration camps or fleeing into exile to save their lives.
Establishment of the dictatorship
Hitler was far from secure, the same forces that had motivated the resignation of the last three foreign ministers were still in force, and therefore Hitler had to deal with President Hindenburg and his clique, who Was backed by the Army and its own Cabinet of Ministers, controlled by conservatives and industrialists, where the Nazis were a minority. 97 Furthermore, the Nazi Party’s expectations 4 million were present brownshirts that, led by Ernst Röhm , did not hide his disdain for the fact that many elements conservatives share the government with Hitler. In addition, there were opposition political forces in Parliament, Social Democrats and Communists, which controlled various regional governments; Although, despite their opposition to Nazism, they were never able to approach each other to form a common front against it.
The fire of the Reichstag and the enabling law
With only 34% of the Parliament under his control, Hitler still had to turn to the “Elder Knight”, President Hindenburg , to pass his laws. 98 The Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen , who enjoyed the support of Hindenburg, was confident that “in two months will have cornered both Hitler will squealing”. 98 Papen was not the only one who underestimated Hitler, the press in general followed this same line of thought:
The composition of the cabinet does not leave Herr Hitler the slightest chance of fulfilling his dictatorial ambitions. 98The New York Times , 31 January as as 1933
Conscious of his situation, Hitler initially concealed his revolutionary plans, in his first speeches he avoided as much as possible to alarm the common citizen. 99 However, he immediately began working to acquire more power; After sabotaging talks with the Center Party , Hitler informed his cabinet that new elections were needed. 100 In the face of Hugenberg and Papen’s protests , Hitler calmed them down by assuring them that he would not change the composition of the cabinet regardless of the outcome. For the campaign of the new parliamentary elections , set for 5 of March, Hitler could make use of the resources of the State; In addition, it had the support of an important group of industrialists; Who, after Hermann Göring assured them that they would probably be the last elections “in the next hundred years,” donated three million marks of the time for the Nazi cause. 101 In addition, days before, Hitler had had a dinner with various army leaders; Despite their call to rearm Germany, the results were mixed, few top officials had democratic feelings and many wanted a military dictatorship, but they distrusted the Nazis. 102
Not content with having many resources to campaign, Hitler began to hamper opposition parties. Through presidential decrees, it imposed restrictions on political rallies and restrictions on the press. 103 In addition, it consolidated the authority of a regional parallel government in Prussia , and placed Göring in command of the state police. Soon, the Prussian police with the help of the “brown shirts” began to dissolve opposing concentrations; Only the most deluded opponents came to the police when they were harassed by the Nazis. 104 Soon other seven regional governments of smaller states were usurped by the Nazis, who set up parallel authorities. 105
On February 27, 1933, a week before the election, the Reichstag building was burned down . While there are still doubts about the authorship of the fire, it is clear that Hitler benefited greatly from this crime. 106 After the police caught a Dutch communist named Marinus van der Lubbe at the scene of the crime, Göring began to accuse the Communists of wanting to execute a coup , and the Nazi press soon copied his speech. The next day Hitler wasted no time in filing an emergency decree of six articles drafted by Göring requesting the suspension of several articles of the Weimar Constitution with the aim of “protecting German cultural documents”. 107In fact, the so-called Reichstag fire decree ended all the rights usually defended by democratic nations: freedom of expression ; Respect for private property ; the freedom of the press ; The inviolability of domicile, correspondence and telephone conversations ; As well as freedom of assembly and association . 107 Moreover, it allowed the national government to intervene any regional government which it considered incapable of maintaining order in its state. 108 After Papen and Meissner support the decree, the old president signed. 107
With these powers, Nazi persecution intensified, communist leaders were arrested and sent to concentration camps ; In addition, from the state media began an alert campaign against “communist terror”, trying to convince the German citizen that, unless they did not vote for the Nazis, the country would enter a civil war . 108 109 On the other hand, Hitler moderated his speech, said he only needed four years in power and downplayed his anti – Semitism in public, as he recorded the future president of Germany in the postwar period , Theodor Heuss :
Vocifera much less. He has stopped vomiting fire on the Jews and is now able to deliver a four-hour speech without mentioning the word “Jew.” 110Theodor Heuss , on the Hitlerian speech before the parliamentary elections of Germany of 1933 .
On March 5, 1933, the last democratic elections were held under Hitler’s rule, despite their intense electoral campaign and persecution against their opponents, the parliamentary majority still eluded the Nazis, who won 44% of the seats . 109 Allied with the nationalists of Hugenberg , Hitler now controlled half of Parliament; But to be able to carry out his national revolution, the chancellor demanded two-thirds of the seats. 111 In order to solve this, and using the Reichstag fire decree, all the Communist deputies and a few unfortunate Social-Democrats were arrested, disregarding the parliamentary immunity they enjoyed.
Now Hitler had enough deputies to change the Constitution and to clothe itself with more power; Nevertheless, first he made a symbolic act to reassure the movements represented by President Hindenburg: the military, the junkers and the monarchists . On March 21 , the same date that Bismarck inaugurated the first parliament of the German Empire , Hitler inaugurated the first Parliament of the Third Reich ; He selected the church at the Potsdam barracks , a site of historical importance to the Prussian militarists , and Goebbels strove to create an atmosphere that gave the impression that Hitler was subordinate to the elder Hindenburg. 112 The French ambassador, present at the ceremony, later wrote:
After Hitler’s striking engagement in Potsdam, how could these men-Hindenburg and his friends, the Junkers and the royalist barons, Hugenberg and his nationalist Germans, the German army officers -hesitate to grant him their full trust, In fulfilling all his requests, in granting him all the powers he demanded? 113André François-Poncet , French ambassador in Germany between 1931 and 1938 .
The 23 of March of 1933 , the German Parliament, meeting in the Kroll Opera House , passed the Law to alleviate the hardship of the People and the Reich, better known as the Enabling Act of 1933 . Hitler delivered a moderate speech that contrasted with his usual diatribes. He promised to use his powers only in essential cases, and he committed himself to all classes; 112 also proclaimed by the search for peace with the West and even with the Soviet Union . 112 However, at the end of his presentation, made it clear that if he did not get these powers legally Parliament, their government would obtain through other more violent methods. 114 Only the Social-Democrats voted against Hitler; The Zentrum relented after Hitler promised them that all of his law could be vetoed by President Hindenburg. 115 Thus, 441 deputies approved the law against 94 deputies Social-Democratic 116
With this law, Hitler, for a period of four years, took all the powers of the Legislative Power , and gained the capacity to enact laws that “could deviate from the Constitution”. 113 Yet, not seeking to gain Hindenburg’s enmity, the law retained the president’s powers intact. 113 Thus, the German Reichstag voluntarily succumbing to the chancellor, acquiring a state of total helplessness that remain until the war.
Germany then entered a process known as Gleichschaltung (coordination), where the State and society began to be assimilated by the Nazi Party and its organizations. In his desire to unify Germany under a totalitarian central government, Hitler first enacted the enabling law against German federalism . The governments of the larger states, Prussia and Bavaria , had already been usurped, and the governments of other smaller states soon had the same fate. On March 31, with the help of Wilhelm Frick , Hitler then passed a law which dissolved all regional diets , and ordered its reconstitution under the results of the last national elections . 117 A week later, Hitler said governors for each state, and granted them the power to dissolve the diets and dismiss judges. 117 Thus, all regional governments began to follow the directives of Berlin, and Hitler could end the autonomy jealous historical German states had defended since the Thirty Years’ War ( 1618 – 1648 ).
Hitler’s next goal was the unions , once powerful working-class organizations that had successfully countered a right-wing coup in 1920 . But before they were finished, Hitler and Goebbels , now Minister of Propaganda, worked first to gain the confidence of the working class: after reinstatement on 1 May as a holiday; The Nazis organized demonstrations of workers all over the country; Hitler himself spoke at the airport of Tempelhof in front of a hundred thousand workers, promoting the motto “Honor, work and respect for the worker”. 118 The next day, on 2 May , the attitude of the government changed drastically, all unions were dissolved and “coordinated” by a single union, the German Labor Front , and their leaders were placed under “protective custody,” a Euphemism that implied the internment in a concentration camp; Not even those who had been collaborating with the Nazi regime were saved. 118 Only the Catholic unions were given a respite of two months, then received the same treatment. 118 Since then trade union representatives were directly elected by Hitler, and since the contracts signed by them were legally binding, strikes were de facto prohibited . 119
At this point, the opposition political parties were so helpless and impotent that they began to bow before the minimal pressure of the national government; On May 10 , all properties of the Social Democratic Party were confiscated , and their newspapers closed; 120 Social Democrats responded by choosing a new more tolerant of Nazism directive, but three days later, Wilhelm Frick dissolved the movement considered “subversive”. 120 The Social Democratic leaders ended up accompanying their communist counterparts in the concentration camps. 121 The German People’s Party and the German Democratic Party , bastions of German democracy, voluntarily dissolved in early July; 120immediately followed the Catholic parties, the Bavarian People’s Party was dissolved on July 4 , and its national ally, the Zentrum , did the same the next day. 120 Nor allies rightist Hitler could avoid being “coordinated” the June 21 police occupied all offices of the German National People’s Party , the party of Hugenberg ; A week later he resigned his position as Minister of Agriculture, and dissolved the party, also “voluntarily.” 120
With the neutralized political opposition, Hitler then proposed to his cabinet to outlaw all parties except the Nazi Party . This cabinet had been modified, emphasized Hjalmar Schacht like new minister of Economy, and counted now with eight Nazis; And although the conservative Franz von Papen remained in the government as deputy foreign minister, he was well aware of the futility of his position. 120 The single-party law was passed on July 14, with almost no opposition within the cabinet. 121
While Hitler strove to “coordinate” German society with the Party, at the same time he was working to keep “inferior” elements of society out of society. On 1 April he called for a boycott of Jewish businesses, in response to a “media campaign” that the United States and Britain had allegedly started against him. 122 A victim of this period was Albert Einstein , whose property and possessions were seized after it was discovered and considered as a “communist weapon” a bread knife found in his new summer home. 122 Although they posted brownshirts against Jewish businesses in general there was little violence, and ineffective measure had to be lifted three days later. 119 The boycott itself served to draw from their slumber, albeit temporarily, the old Hindenburg ; The president reproached the chancellor with the fact that Jewish war veterans were not being treated as German citizens. Hitler made a vague promise to calm him, but on April 7 he enacted laws banning the presence of Jews in the public administration, and restricted his presence in law and medicine. 123 He then limited the number of Jewish students in universities, under the pretext of preventing “overcrowding.” 123 The measures of 1933, however, were not considered dangerous by many Jews, who believed that Hitler’s objective was merely to harass Jews from Eastern Europe . 123
The purge of the “brown shirts”
In a short time, it managed to secure itself in the power, occupying the positions of chancellor and president of the Republic to the death of Hindenburg ( 2 of August of 1934 ), naming itself Führer . He removed opponents of his own party and collaborators of dubious fidelity during the so-called ” Night of the Long Knives ,” initiating the process of elimination of various racial, political, social and religious groups he considered “enemies of Germany” and “impure races “Which led him to reassign the guidelines to concentration camps for the systematic liquidation of communists , Jews , Jehovah’s Witnesses ( Bibelforscher ), gypsies , the mentally ill and homosexuals , mainly as well as intense rearmament.
The factories and factories began to work in the machinery of the rearmament. In addition to absorb unemployed labor began to build modern autobahns or roads.
Having obtained the political power he needed, Hitler came to gain support and convince the majority of Germans that he was their savior in the economy derived from the Great Depression , Communism, “Judeo-Bolshevism”, and the Treaty Of Versailles, along with other “undesirable” minorities. The Nazis eliminated the opposition through a process known as Gleichschaltung .
Economy and culture
Hitler was in charge of one of the largest expansions of industrial production and civil improvement as had never been seen in Germany, mostly on the basis of floating debt and rearmament. During a speech by the National Socialist Women’s Organization (NSF) in September 1934, Adolf Hitler argued that for the German woman her world was “her husband, her family, her children, and her home.”
This policy was reinforced by establishing the German Mother ‘s Cross of Honor , along with economic incentives for women who had four or more children. The unemployment rate was substantially reduced, mostly through the production of weapons, construction of civil works ( Todt Organization ) and the sending of women home, so that men could take their jobs. In view of this, it was stated that the German economy managed to employ all, at least according to the propaganda of the time. Much of the funding for reconstruction and rearmament came from the manipulation of the currency by Hjalmar Schacht, including credits through mefo accounts . The negative effects of this inflation were offset during subsequent years by the acquisition of gold from the treasuries of the annexed nations.
Hitler was also in charge of one of the largest infrastructure improvement campaigns in German history, with the construction of dozens of dams, highways, railways, and other civil works. Hitler insisted on the importance of family life: men should be the “breadwinner” while women’s priorities should be children’s education and household chores. This revitalization of industry and infrastructure came at the expense of the general standard of living, at least for those who were not affected by chronic unemployment after the Weimar Republic, as wages declined slightly during World War II and Was increased by 25% average cost of living. Workers and farmers, frequent voters of the NSDAP, however, recorded an increase in their standard of living.
Hitler’s government sponsored architecture on an immense scale, along with Albert Speer who would become the famous “Architect of the Reich”. Although architect was important in the classicist application and re-interpretation of German culture, Speer proved to be much more effective as an arms minister in the last years of World War II. All these advances were widely exploited by the propaganda ministry led by Goebbels.
In 1936, Berlin hosted the Summer Olympic Games , which were inaugurated and led by Hitler as a way of demonstrating German Aryan superiority over all other races. Olympia , the gaming film and other documentary propaganda films for the Nazi party were led by Hitler’s personal filmmaker , Leni Riefenstahl .
Although Hitler made plans for a Breitspurbahn ( a railway network of large caliber) these were canceled after the start of World War II. Had the railroad been built, its caliber would have been three meters, even larger than the Great Western railway of Great Britain.
Hitler also contributed to the design of an accessible and practical car for the people, an automobile that would later become the Volkswagen Type 1 , whose design and construction was entrusted to the engineer Ferdinand Porsche . The production of this one was also postponed because of the war.
Hitler regarded the old Sparta as the first socialist national state, and praised its eugenics treatment of deformed children.
He also awarded the Order of the German Eagle , one of the highest distinctions of the Third Reich, to industrialist Emil Kirdorf in April 1937, in return for his financial support during his rise to power. The following year, when he died, he also organized a state funeral.
The rearmament and new alliances
While it is speculated that since 1919, a secret program was maintained to reassemble an army by the German government, it was in March 1934, when Hitler announced publicly that the German army would be expanded to 600,000 men (six times the number Stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles ), as well as the introduction of an Air Force ( Luftwaffe ) and the increase of the size of the Navy ( Kriegsmarine ). Great Britain , France and Italy , as well as the League of Nations, quickly condemned these actions. However, since Germany again explained that it was only interested in peace, no country took any steps to stop this development and allowed the German arms program to continue. In addition, the United Kingdom did not share France’s pessimistic view of Germany, and in 1935 it signed a naval agreement with Germany, which allowed the German tonnage to increase to 35% of that of the British navy. This agreement, which was signed without consulting either France or Italy, directly weakened the League of Nations and put the Treaty of Versailles on the road to irrelevance.
In March 1936, the provisions of the German government violated the treaty by introducing troops and again occupy the demilitarized zone again Rhine . In the face of the inaction of the governments of Britain and France, Germany’s expansionist zeal spread. In July 1936, the Spanish Civil War began when the army, led by General Francisco Franco , revolted against the government of the Republic . After receiving a request for help from General Franco in July 1936, Hitler sent troops in support of Franco, and Spain served as a test bed for the new German forces and their methods, including the bombing of cities such as Guernica in April 1937, the first bombing of civilian targets of history, 50 and later, Pablo Picasso captured in his famous painting .
Count Galeazzo Ciano , Minister of Foreign Affairs of Benito Mussolini , declared on 25 October 1936 an alliance between Berlin and Rome, which he called “The Axis”. On November 25 of the same year, Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. To strengthen the relationship with this nation, Hitler met in 1937 in Nuremberg with Prince Chichibu, brother of Emperor Hirohito .
The Tripartite Pact was signed by Saburo Kurusu on behalf of the Japanese Empire , Adolf Hitler for Germany and Galeazzo Ciano on 27 September 1940. Later it was expanded to include Hungary , Romania and Bulgaria . This group became known as the Axis Powers . Later, on November 5, 1939, at the Chancellery of the Reich, Adolf Hitler held a secret meeting with the ministers of war and foreigners, plus the three heads of services, registered in the Hossbach Memorandum and revealed his plans for the appropriation of “Living space” ( Lebensraum ) for the German people.
Second World War
On March 12, 1938, Hitler pressed Austria for unification with Germany (the Anschluss ) and made a triumphant entry into Vienna on March 14. This was followed by the intensification of the Crisis of the Sudetenland , in the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia known as Sudetes ; This led to the Munich Agreement of September 1938, which authorized the annexation and immediate military occupation of these districts by Germany. As a result of the summit, TIME magazine proclaimed Hitler Man of the Year 1938. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain hailed this agreement as “peace in our time”, but by giving shape to Hitler’s military demands, Great Britain and France also left Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Hitler ordered the German army to enter Prague on March 15, 1939, taking the Prague and Bohemian Castle and proclaiming a German protectorate in Moravia .
After that, Hitler raises complaints about the Free City of Danzig and the Polish corridor (the Danzig Crisis ), which was ceded by Germany under the Treaty of Versailles . Britain had not been able to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union for an alliance against Germany, and on August 23, 1939, Hitler signed a secret pact of non -aggression (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ) with Stalin in which Agreed on the future partition of Poland between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany . On 1 September, Germany invaded Poland . After securing assistance to Poland , Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September, but they do not act immediately. Not long after, on September 17, Soviet forces invaded eastern Poland .
In April 1940, he ordered the German forces to march on Denmark and Norway . In May 1940, Hitler ordered his forces to attack France, conquering the Netherlands , Luxembourg and Belgium . France surrendered on June 22, 1940. This series of victories persuaded its main ally, Benito Mussolini of Italy , to join the war alongside Hitler in May 1940.
Britain, whose forces had defeated the evacuees of the coastal city of Dunkerque in France , continued to fight alongside the Canadian forces in the Atlantic battle. After his attempts at peace systematically rejected by the British Government, now led by Winston Churchill , Hitler orders the bombing of the British Isles , giving rise to the Battle of Britain , a prelude to the already planned German invasion. The attacks began to hit by the bases of the Royal Air Force and the protection of the radar stations southeast of England. However, the Luftwaffe did not defeat the Royal Air Force in late October 1940. Airborne superiority for the invasion, called Operation Sealion, was uninsured, and Hitler ordered various bombings to be carried out in British cities including London And Coventry , mostly at night.
The 22 of June of 1941 , even without subdue England, three million German troops attacked the Soviet Union , breaking the non – aggression pact Hitler had concluded with Stalin two years earlier. This invasion, called Operation Barbarossa , whose duration was estimated in a few months, seized large amounts of territory, including the Baltic states, Belarus , and Ukraine . They also surrounded and destroyed many Soviet forces. But the Germans, due to a four-month delay in operations in Greece and Yugoslavia, failed to reach Moscow in December 1941, which also influenced the early arrival of the Russian winter with temperatures as low as -50 ° C In 50 years), all combined with the fierce Soviet resistance, reinforced with Siberian troops of the then general Zhukov specially adapted to the extreme conditions. The invasion had not achieved the rapid triumph Hitler wanted.
Hitler signed the declaration of war against the United States on November of December of 1941 , four days after the attack of the Empire of Japan to Pearl Harbor , Hawaii , many historians consider this step a serious tactical and political error, as it managed well together in their Against a coalition that included the world’s largest empire , the world’s largest industrial and financial (United States), and the world’s largest (Soviet Union) army.
In late 1942, German forces were defeated in the Second Battle of El Alamein , thwarting Hitler’s plans to take advantage of the Suez Canal and the Middle East . In February 1943, the titanic battle of Stalingrad ended the siege and destruction of the German 6th Army . Shortly afterwards came the gigantic battle of Kursk (1 300 000 Soviets, 3600 tanks, 20 000 pieces of artillery and 2400 aircraft, against 900 000 Germans, 2700 tanks, 2000 aircraft).
From Stalingrad, Hitler’s military plan became increasingly erratic, the Russians began to move forward by forcing the withdrawal of exhausted German forces and the internal economic situation in Germany deteriorated.
After the Allied invasion of Italy ( Operation Husky ), in 1943, Hitler’s ally, Mussolini, was deposed by Pietro Badoglio , who surrendered to the Allies. Throughout 1943 and 1944, the Soviet Union constantly forced Hitler’s armies to retreat along the Eastern Front. On 6 June 1944, allied Western armies landed in the north of France in Operation Overlord , the largest amphibious military operation ever.
In the German army, the most realistic knew defeat was inevitable, and some officers devised a plan to end Hitler and end the war. In July 1944, one of them, Marshal Erwin Rommel ‘s artillery observation ex-officer , Claus von Stauffenberg placed a bomb at Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg , the Wolfsschanze or Wolf’s Lair, but failed to achieve his objective in one of The attacks against Hitler that was closer to being successful .
The repression was relentless and led to the arrest of some five thousand people, including the entire families of the main people involved. 124 The detainees were tortured and subjected to rapid show trials, held as of August 7, 125 which resulted in the execution of about two hundred of the accused. 126 The main resistance movement was destroyed, although smaller isolated groups continued to operate. The list of personages that fell is extensive and one can cite to Wilhelm Canaris , Friedrich Fromm and Erwin Rommel , among others.
The attack on Hitler on July 20, 1944 left progressive sequels that slowly affected his reasoning, development and domination of the situation.
Hitler also experienced a deterioration of his health. His left hand trembled; Biographer Ian Kershaw and others believe he could suffer from Parkinson’s disease . It has also been suspected, for some of the symptoms, that he may have had syphilis , although the evidence in favor of it is minimal.
Hitler returned for the last time to Berlin on January 15, 1945, in a special train from Ziegenberg, near Bad Nauheim , where from his headquarters known as “Adlershorst” or “Eagle’s Nest” had directed since 11 December 1944 the failed offensive of the Ardennes . 127 128 Now their main concern was the Soviet offensive on the eastern front and the immediate reason for his trip was the radical opposition Guderian his decision to move to Division Grossdeutschland from East Prussia south to reinforce the defense of the Polish front. 129 With his usual distrust of the generals of the Wehrmacht decided that it should be closer to the Staff of Zossen . 130
On 30 January, on the occasion of the twelfth anniversary of his rise to power , he addressed a few words to the German people in a radio address which, despite Goebbels’ optimism, made it clear that his words no longer managed to lift the morale of the Population against the evidence of the desperate situation. 131 That same day Albert Speer told that the loss of production from the Upper Silesia meant the impossibility of continuing to maintain a minimum supply of arms and ammunition to the Army, which Hitler merely said he did not like to receive defeatist reports And keep a complete secret. 132 A few days later, on February 3, a devastating day US the hardest bombing, which had suffered Berlin until then, almost completely destroyed the old Reich Chancellery and badly damaged the new building Speer, forcing Hitler to live Since then almost permanently underground, in a two-storey underground bunker under the Chancellery garden where he had been sleeping since his return. 133
On February 12, the Yalta conference communiqué , which included the harsh conditions imposed by the Allies on Germany after their defeat, including the division of the country, the Nazi Party ‘s ban, and the prosecution of war criminals , did not Did if not reaffirm his position that any kind of surrender was out of the question. 134 Their hopes were considered inevitable in what at one time or another: the breakdown of Western and American allies, the British, with the Soviets. 135 The next day Hitler reacted angrily to learn of the bombing of Dresden and joint insistence was necessary Keitel , Jodl , Doenitz and Ribbentrop to convince him that would be counterproductive to its original intention to execute an Allied prisoner for every dead civilian. 136
On February 24 he held the last meeting with the Gauleiter on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his speech to present the party program. He was in a very bad physical condition, having difficulty controlling the tremors in his left arm and spoke sitting for an hour and a half in which he recalled the “heroic” era of the party and, among evocations of his past triumphs, he said that he was the only one Which could judge the course that would take the decisive phase in which the war was. Little could be added to alluding to the miraculous weapons that were developing before recalling his thesis, in the style of the most relentless social Darwinism , that if the war was lost, it would be because the German people did not possess The necessary “internal value” and he would not feel the least sympathy for its destruction. The forced absences of Erich Koch (East Prussia) and Karl Hanke ( Breslau ) were a reflection of the real situation, so his speech could not dissipate pessimism even among the stalwarts of the old guard, 137 although Rudolf Jordan, The Gauleiter of Magdeburg-Anhalt , felt themselves revived, believing themselves to be faced with the “old Hitler.” 138 The date was until 1942 a big reason for Hitler ‘s speech at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich , but this time was limited to a proclamation whose reading was commissioned Hermann Esser and became the last who led the Germans. 139
Wedding with Eva Braun and Testament
In the early hours of April 29, 1945, shortly after midnight, and Hitler married Eva Braun in the map room of the Chancellery bunker . The ceremony was officiated by Walter Wagner, a municipal official, and in addition to the signers were only witnesses Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann . The act was very brief and at its conclusion the newlyweds retired to their rooms, where they organized a party that lasted several hours, in the course of which their secretary Traudl Junge typed in a room adjoining the private and political wills that Hitler He had dictated about half past eleven. 141 142 Recent reports confirmed the advance of the Soviet troops to areas just a few hundred meters from the foreign ministry, already fighting in the Potsdamer Platz and the last illusions vanished hopes that the army Walther Wenck could get to break the siege . 143
In his private will, which named executor to Martin Bormann, Hitler explained his decision to marry Eva Braun, the willingness of both to die and be cremated to escape the shame of defeat and bequeaths his possessions to the Party , or State, if it ceased to exist, with the exception of its collection of paintings, whose destiny would be a new museum in Linz , and the personal memories or even goods which, in Bormann’s opinion, were necessary for the sustenance of the servants or They had served him with loyalty. 144 145
Its political will is more extensive, with a first part reiterating its traditional rhetoric antisemitic accusing Jews of causing the outbreak of the war and remembering his prophecy that in that case there would be millions of Aryans who die but true Guilty, in what appears to be a transparent allusion to the final solution . He considers that one day that struggle of six years would end up being considered a glorious moment and seems to place the responsibility of the defeat to its old antagonists, the Army officers (not to those of the Navy), for its lack of boldness and fidelity. In the second part it happens to appoint a new government and begins expelling of the party and disposing of all its positions to Hermann Göring , to which it accused of disloyalty for trying to happen to him and to take the power prematurely, and Heinrich Himmler , to negotiate behind his back with the enemy. Instead of Göring chose to succeed to Karl Dönitz , regaining for him the position of president of the Reich that had boasted Hindenburg . He rewarded the fidelity of Joseph Goebbels with the appointment of chancellor , replaced as Minister of Foreign Affairs to Joachim von Ribbentrop by Arthur Seyss-Inquart , like Reichsführer-SS to Himmler by Karl Hanke and put to the front of the Army to general Ferdinand Schörner . f 147 148 Both documents were completed on the four o’clock, the time at which the signatures of Goebbels, Bormann, Wilhelm Burgdorf and Hans Krebs in political will, while the private Nicolaus von Below added yours to Goebbels And Bormann. 149 146 Around noon came emissaries with copies of documents to different destinations: a copy of the political testament was entrusted with the aide of Hitler, Willi Johannmeier , to be delivered to the general Schörner, and should bring copies of both testaments Wilhelm Zander , associate Bormann, to Dönitz and Heinz Lorenz , official of the Ministry of Propaganda, which also carried a ‘Appendix to the political will of the Fuhrer “written by Goebbels who had to get to the Brown House , the headquarters of the Nazi Party in Munich . Under different circumstances none of the messengers managed to complete their mission. 150 151
On April 29 Hitler began to make the last preparations for his suicide. Although he had already learned of the death of Benito Mussolini , hanging that same day with his lover Clara Petacci at a gas station in Milan, where his bodies suffered all kinds of abuse, he was not sure that he knew the details and the Thesis that they influenced him beyond reinforcing a decision already made. 151 152 In the afternoon, before the daily briefing with his generals, he had his Blondi bitch killed . Hitler had already provided blisters of prussic acid , supplied by his doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger , to his secretaries and other members of the bunker staff and decided to test them with Blondi, for which he called his former surgeon, Professor Werner Haase , who poisoned the Animal assisted by Fritz Tornow , the Führer’s sergeant in charge of dog care who had already shot the other two who belonged to him. Hitler did not witness the poisoning, but went to look for a moment and silently the animal’s corpse. 153 154
Towards noon on April 30 he informed Martin Bormann of the final decision to commit suicide and gave his assistant Otto Günsche strict instructions on the cremation of his body and that of his wife, as he said he did not want them to be exhibited in the “wax museum Of Moscow. Immediately Günsche ordered Hitler’s driver, Erich Kempka , to get about two hundred liters of gasoline and take them to the Chancery’s garden. Afterwards and as usual on the one, Hitler had lunch with seeming tranquility in the company of his secretaries, Traudl Junge and Gerda Christian , and his cook Constanze Manziarly . 155 156 After eating Hitler retired to his room and returned shortly after accompanied by Eva Braun for a final farewell ceremony. There were Martin Borman, Joseph Goebbels , Wilhelm Burgdorf , Hans Krebs , Otto Günsche, Walther Hewel , Peter Högl , Heinz Linge , Werner Naumann , Johann Rattenhuber and Erich Voss as well as Magda Goebbels , Else Krüger and the other three women attending the food. 157 156 Hitler gave them only a few words and, after shaking hands with everyone returned to his study where only came out to visit Magda Goebbels who, anxious about their future and that of their children, probably asked him to reconsider His decision not to leave Berlin. After the conversation, shortly before 3:30 pm, he was locked up for the last time in his office accompanied almost immediately by Eva Braun. 156
The whole group, which he joined at the last moment Artur Axmann , remained on hold while Günsche stood guard at the room and after about ten minutes in which no sound is heard, g was Linge who assumed the responsibility of opening the Door being accompanied by Bormann. They found Hitler and Eva Braun sitting on the couch in the study; She leaned to her left giving off the smell of bitter almonds characteristic of prussic acid and with a revolver next to it that was not used, while Hitler had at his feet the gun Walther PPK of 7.65 mm with which a shot had been fired Shot in the right temple of which blood was still flowing. 159 160 h
After their deaths were confirmed, their corpses were wrapped in blankets provided by Linge, and he himself, with the help of three SS members , took charge of transporting Hitler’s body to the Chancery grounds. It was necessary to climb a flight of stairs of about seven and a half meters. Bormann took the body of Eva Braun and handed it to Kempka in the hall, who in turn gave it to Günsche to have him up the stairs. 162
In the midst of the incessant Soviet bombing, Günsche placed the bodies, Eva Braun to the right of Hitler, on the level ground of the garden about ten feet from the exit door of the bunker and, after pouring on them the gas supplied by Kempka, To light the pyre with the help of Linge and Bormann. They quickly closed the door and the group, completed by Krebs, Burgdorf and Goebbels, descended into the bunker’s safety after raising their arms in a brief greeting from ” Heil Hitler .” 163 164
About half an hour later, Günsche ordered two members of Hitler’s personal guard, Ewald Lindloff and Hans Reisser, to bury the corpses. Lindloff did so in one of the bomb craters that had formed in the garden, where the remains of other victims from the hospital that had settled in the Chancellery were already being deposited, and declared that the corpses were “completely consumed” and In a “terrible state,” most likely also damaged and later dispersed by the effect of the bombing that would continue one more day. Two other guards outside the compound, Hermann Karnau and Erich Mansfeld, 165 confirmed that the bodies were “charred, shrunken and unrecognizable.” At six-thirty in the afternoon Günsche confirmed to Reisser that Lindloff had already completed the task and that his help was not necessary. 166
There followed a conference attended by Bormann, Goebbels, Krebs, Burgdorf, Axmann and certainly also General Wilhelm Mohnke in which it was decided to send Krebs, who spoke Russian as a former military attache in Moscow , in an attempt to interview Gueorgui Zhúkov and deliver him A letter signed by Bormann and Goebbels in which he was informed of Hitler’s death and the conditions of an armistice or surrender were being felt. I Krebs came out of the bunker at ten o’clock at night and only got a definite answer at six o’clock in the morning in which Zhukov demanded an unconditional surrender that was to be announced that same day. 169 170
It was not until 10:53 on the morning of May 1 that Admiral Karl Dönitz received in Plön the first news of this and of Hitler’s death in a deceptive telegram written by Bormann: “Testament in force. I’ll be there as soon as possible. Until then, I think it’s better to postpone publication. Bormann. ” At 15:18 a more explicit telegram, the last sent from the bunker and dictated by Goebbels, confirmed the death of Hitler without specifying that it had been a suicide, announcing his appointment as president and advancing the list of some other ministers , Although finally Dönitz ignored it among other things because he never got to receive the will with the complete list. 169 171
The public announcement was delayed a few hours until at 21:30 Radio Hamburg announced important news and at 22:26 Dönitz himself communicated his appointment and the death of the Fuehrer “this afternoon” fighting “at the head of his troops” Against Bolshevism. Dönitz knew that he had died the day before, and even if he had assumed that it had been a suicide, he tried to hide it to avoid the possible reaction of troops who might have felt abandoned by the leader they had sworn loyalty to. 172 173 Helmuth Weidling , head of the defense of Berlin, yes he communicated his men on May 2, just to convince them to stop fighting. 174 Dönitz also wanted to postpone the total capitulation to allow the armies that desperately tried to escape from the Red Army and surrender to the Western allies to continue their struggle, but had no objection to accepting other partial surrenders on May 2 in Italy ; On May 4 in northern Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark; On May 5 in the northern Alps and on the 7th in Austria. 175
The destiny of the corpse and the versions of the Soviets
Largely because of the various Soviet versions, and his refusal to collaborate with Western allies’ investigations into Hitler’s end and the fate of his corpse, his death was questioned for a long time, Luck of myths. 176 On May 2 , the Soviets took the Chancellery and immediately began the search for the body of Hitler, who had entrusted to a special detachment of the NKVD arrived in Berlin on April 29. 177 178 No later they had located the remains on May 9, since that day showed him a cigar box containing a jaw and two dental bridges Fritz Etchmann, a dental mechanic who had worked for Johann Hugo Blaschke , the dentist Of Hitler since 1938. Etchmann identified the bridges as belonging to Hitler and Eva Braun. 169
Therefore, by early May 1945 the Soviets had already found and identified at least some of the remains of Hitler’s corpse. 179 Moreover, not only they had been informed of Hitler’s suicide the night of 30 April by General Hans Krebs , 180 181 j but throughout the month following also located and interviewed many of the other direct witnesses to the events bunker occurred in the last days of April, including a Günsche and Linge , who had been taken prisoner. 183 184
Although during that time the Soviets did not publish an official communiqué on the subject, on June 5, during a meeting in Berlin, they assured members of the Eisenhower General Staff that they had identified Hitler’s remains with almost certainty. However, on June 9 his attitude had already changed radically and during a press conference Zhukov denied that they had identified the remains and speculated that Hitler had escaped from Berlin by plane at the last moment. Then the Russian commander of Berlin, Nikolai Berzarin , said that “in his opinion” he had taken refuge somewhere in Europe, probably in Spain with General Franco . From that moment the obscurantism became a permanent Soviet attitude and did not provide any information on the case. 185
The Russians finally confirmed Hitler’s death in 1955 , but no substantial evidence was shown, except for some odontological details, which nevertheless confirmed that the Russians had bodies.
Recent versions emerged in the 1990s from the Russian side, confirming that the Soviet (NKVD), after an unsuccessful search in which they even came to speculate with the possibility that a double Hitler remained in the Foreign Ministry while he escaped from Berlin , They finally found the remains unrecognizable to Hitler, Braun and the Goebbels family, and that these, secretly even for the same general Zhukov, were transported in special boxes to the border, to a military barracks that later would become territory of The German Democratic Republic . [ Citation needed ]
These remains were secretly buried beneath a garden of that barracks in the city of Magdeburg and only a few authorities of the NKVD knew where they were, until in 1970 they were exhumed, the skull was extracted to Hitler and the rest of the corpses was cremated to avoid That his tomb was the object of veneration, and the ashes were cast into the river. 186
Hitler’s skull has not been found , but a part named Hitler, the parietal bone of his skull box, is in a Soviet museum . However, in September 2009, archaeologist Nick Bellantoni announced that after a DNA analysis of the remains, it was determined that the fragment of the skull would correspond to a woman between 20 and 40 years of age. 187
Traits of his personality
The great interest aroused by the figure of Hitler is due precisely to the edges of his extraordinary personality and his halo of impenetrability. Hitler possessed an extraordinary charisma capable of enveloping not only the people, but also the masses, as well as having a great studied oratory and a remarkable leadership ability; But whoever has stayed with him would say the same thing as his minister and architect Albert Speer : “I never got to know him.”
Certain psychoanalysts , such as Arno Gruen , start from the premise that Hitler’s relationship with his father was dominated by violence. His mother would instead have “deified” him. Since his three older brothers had died shortly before Adolf’s birth, his mother would have always feared losing his fourth child as well. 188 This tensioned relationship would have had a determining influence on the development of Hitler’s personality: the mother would not have been able to protect the child from punishment by the father, but nevertheless would have devised it compensatingly, thus using it in a game Of power against his father. The child would have experienced his mother as weak and worthy of contempt, as his father would have perceived. At the same time, the son would have wanted to protect the mother against the father. This situation would have precipitated the child to certain internal conflicts, which he could only have avoided by alienating himself and his needs. Because of this alienation, a very weak identity would have developed. The inner void would have been filled with violent fantasies and overlapping poses. 189 Apart from this interpretation, numerous psychological works deal with various psychical illnesses of Hitler .
Hitler himself was a very self-sufficient and solitary individual. Very few people were part of his personal retinue, including Albert Speer , photographer Heinrich Hoffmann , Martin Bormann , Wilhelm Bruckner , Joseph Dietrich , Joseph Goebbels , Julius Schaub , Julius Schreck and the architect Geisler and their personal secretaries. They demanded loyalty to them in every trial and discretion.
According to some historians, Hitler was a vegetarian , 190 while others dismiss, 191 non – smoking, 190 teetotaler 190 (data also questioned by some historians), 191environmental , 192 said that enacted the first laws of history penaban mistreatment animals, 192 although the truth is that the first laws against animal abuse and come from the Roman Empire. 193 is said to not allow their employees to smoke or drink in front of him.
Hitler never visited a bombed city, a concentration camp or hospital [ citation needed ] (the only exception was to visit the victims of the attack of July 20). A faithful example of this aspect is that Hitler refused to see the photos and filming of the executions of those involved in the attack executed by Claus von Stauffenberg towards him in 1944.
One of the most relevant features of Hitler’s personality was the ability to impress, fascinate, manipulate, and subjugate those around him; There were people who could be very strong and secure in their fields of action, but in Hitler’s presence these personalities were diminished and manipulated into servility; For example, Hermann Göring told finance minister Schacht that:
Every time I am in front of the Führer I feel my heart in a fist.
Hitler, was very unlikely to show some emotional trait or demonstrate affinity with someone when taking photographs in the presence of people of their confidence and acceptance; But if it showed a very human facet in the presence of children, especially when it was visited in Berghof. 194
Hitler also showed insensitivity and lack of scruples when it came to getting rid of enemies and / or sacrificing soldiers; One can cite as example the destruction of the 6th German Army in Stalingrado .
In her sentimental life, very discreet, are associated the names of Geli Raubal , Maria Reiter , Eva Braun , who was his lover, Unity Mitford and Inga Ley . Leni Riefenstahl , one of the most syndicated at the time, denied being a lover of Hitler. Hitler was very jealous and did not allow almost anyone to interfere in those subjects. Albert Speer in his memoirs pointed out that Hitler showed an inconsiderate, oppressive and humiliating treatment of Eva Braun .
Regarding the sexual orientation of Hitler much it has been written [ citation needed ] due to its initial link with Ernst Röhm , but the evidence indicates that Hitler was, without doubt, heterosexual . 191
One of Hitler’s personal secretaries , Traudl Junge , described the energy emanating from Hitler’s person:
When he was present (Hitler), the whole building buzzed with activity, everyone ran, telephones rang, radio broadcasters kept sending and receiving communica- tion notes … When he was absent, everything returned to monotonous normalcy, Hitler It was like a kind of dynamo.
Junge described Hitler as a person who had two personalities: a very considerate and affable one, and a very cold, angry and overpowering, passionate and calculating person.
Quote Junge in his remembrances:
Hitler was a vegetarian, he liked tea and he could not stand the heat; It was not possible to smoke in its presence and it made its atmospheres to temperature no more than 11 ° C.
Another aspect is that Hitler liked to listen to gossip, because it distracted him from his reality. Moreover, Hitler went to bed very late, at three or four in the morning, and also got up very late, between 10:00 and 11:00; The military personnel on the first floor went to bed around midnight, the last war meeting of each day was over, and it was about seven o’clock. [ Citation needed ]
For members close to Hitler, Keitel, Lammers and Bormann, Hitler preached by example paying his own personal costs without abrogating any state fund. Revenues from Hitler, ably managed by his personal secretary Martin Bormann , successor of Rudolf Hess , came from his postcard image rights and his book Mein Kampf . [ Citation needed ]
Another characteristic of Hitler was his contempt for weakness before the enemy and for this, especially Judaism and second to communism , his impulsiveness and his obsession for goals regardless of the cost they had. For example, when Brauchistch asked for Moscow ‘s strategic withdrawal, Hitler was angered by saying:
You can not take Moscow away from me! I want Moscow!
An example of his apparent flexibility is when he ceded to Himmler for the deportation of the Dutch to Poland, in order to increase first the contingent of the SS.
Albert Speer came to make the following comment on this:
In the place where there must be a heart in Hitler’s chest, there was a great gap.
When it came to dealing with various topics on technical or military aspects, he showed a complete knowledge of these, surprising their interlocutors.
Hitler was very condescending to those who showed courage and courage in combat; He even designed the Cross of Shining, Swords and Oaks for Hans Ulrich Rudel , the celebrated pilot of ” Stukas “.
Self-taught and hard-nosed reader
Hitler was self- taught . His detailed knowledge of various subjects had not been acquired systematically or under scientific direction, since he also always had an adversity against universities and university professors, whom he disparagingly called “Profaxe.” He repeatedly expressed his opposition to the established sciences. 195 Following his mentor Dietrich Eckart , Hitler praised the teachings esoteric and occult authors like Guido von List or Hanns Hörbiger , which joined certain scientific theses with elements mythical and mystical and often also integrated nationalist or racist in his works ideas.
Hitler owned more than 16,000 books distributed in three private libraries located in Munich, Berlin and Berchtesgaden, of which about 12,000 have been preserved. 196Alongside military literature practice, as Heigls Taschenbuch der Tanks (The compendium of tanks Heigl), 197 representing about half of the inventory, 196 Hitler read numerous nacionalgermanos and anti – Semitic writers such as Paul de Lagarde , Hans FK Günther 197 Or Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels 198 and documented his behavior as a reader with underlines and marginal notes. More than ten percent of the books preserved were represented by esoteric right and occultism , for example works by Carl Ludwig Schleich , Maximilian Riedel or Ernst Schertel . 196 197
There is little fiction or fine lyrics among the works that are preserved. 197 The statement of Hitler, that would have done in prison philosophical studies with Immanuel Kant , Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche , should be questioned about the lack of these philosophers between what remains of the library. 197 196 Only one volume with writings of Johann Gottlieb Fichte , given by and dedicated by Leni Riefenstahl , is 197 with dramas of Shakespeare , preferred by Hitler before Goethe and Schiller. He liked to impress his auditors with quotes from Julius Caesar and Hamlet . 196 Hitler was able to memorize essential information durably fruit of their readings, even many details, intercalándolas at will in their speeches, conversations or monologues. In so doing, he generally avoided indicating the source, so auditors often gave the impression that they were original ideas of Hitler himself. 195
He did not speak a foreign language other than a rudimentary French that he had learned in the middle school of Linz, finishing his studies in the field in the third year with the grade of “insufficient”. 199Presumably in the years 1914 to 1918 has had an opportunity to refresh their knowledge in some French on the western front. As chancellor, Hitler reported on the foreign press only via his chief translator Paul-Otto Schmidt . Apart from Prague (1939), Warsaw (1939), Paris (1940) and Rome, as well as Vienna and Berlin, Hitler personally did not know other European capitals.
Since he had poor eyesight, but refused to wear glasses for vanity, servants should distribute reading glasses in every room of the Chancellery, that Hitler had a hand quickly. 200
Hitler’s first testimony on the Jewish question is found in a letter written in September 1919:
Using the biological terminology he would frequently deploy, he declared that the activities of the Jews produced “racial tuberculosis in the nations.” He stated categorically that the Jews were a race, not a religion. Anti-Semitism as a political movement, he declared, should be based on “reason,” not on emotion, and should lead to the systematic elimination of the rights of Jews. However, he concluded:
The “ultimate goal”, which could only be achieved by a government of “national strength”, had to be the “complete elimination of the Jews”. 201
Twenty-five years later, on the eve of his suicide, he wrote in his Political Testament his assessment of the “Jewish race” as the true culprit of the ongoing war.
In a passage in Mein Kampf , he wrote that the sacrifice of the German soldiers at the front of the Great War would not have been necessary if “twelve or fifteen thousand of these Jews corrupting the people had been subjected to toxic gases.” 202
Hitler’s anti-Semitism was a very ingrained and essential component of his ideology, beyond the propagandistic uses he could give throughout his political career. Together with the desire to secure Germany’s hegemony in Europe and the achievement of a vital space for its country, the elimination of the Jews was the third element that conformed its ideology. 203
Hitler’s desire for revenge after the German capitulation in November 1918 focused on a series of enemies he had identified years earlier, which could only be fought by war;
Since in their view the Jews were responsible for the most terrible crimes of all time – by the “stab in the back” of 1918, capitulation, revolution, Germany’s misfortune; Since under his perverted perception they were the main protagonists of the capitalism of the Wall Stret and of the City of London, as well as of Bolshevism of Moscow; And since, according to his belief in the legend of the “Jewish conspiracy
In this sense, Hitler saw himself as the necessary agent for the salvation of Germany and saw the destruction of the power of the Jews as the indispensable means to achieve it.
With his rise to power on January 30, 1933, his Weltanschauung , above all a set of visionary goals, served to integrate the centrifugal forces of Nazism, to mobilize its activists and to legitimize certain political initiatives carried out following, a Form or other, his will. Among these objectives was the elimination of Jews, an idea that he managed to handle with tactical criteria throughout his career. So,
Hitler intervened to channel the attacks in the form of a highly discriminatory anti-Jewish legislation, placating the radicals at every stage and progressing in the radicalization of the measures taken. There was, therefore, a continuous “dialectic” between “savage” actions from below and discrimination orchestrated from above. Each phase of radicalization was more intense than the one preceding it. In this way, inertia never faded. 204
Theories about the origin of his anti-Semitism
Since its inception in the political world, all kinds of theories and rumors have emerged that have tried to explain the origins of Hitler’s anti-Semitism.
It is said that at least since the 1920s rumors were circulating that Hitler had some ancestry of Jewish blood . The most serious of these theories is the one that Hans Frank put forward in his memoirs, written after the war. Frank claimed to have investigated his family history by order of the same Hitler and to the conclusion that his grandmother , Maria Schicklgruber , had given birth to Alois Hitler , the father of Hitler, while working like maid in a Jewish family of Graz surnamed Frankenberger , Of which the son of the same one, Leopold Frankenberger , would be the father of Alois. None of these stories, including Frank’s, has been shown to have factual bases. 205 Obviously the implications of these rumors were politically explosive for the proponent of an ideology especially racist against Jews. The adversaries tried to prove that Hitler had Jewish or Czech ancestors, and although these rumors were never proven, they are thought to be a sufficient reason for hiding their origins. [ Citation needed ]According to Robert GL Waite in The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler , Hitler’s regime made it illegal for German women to work in Jewish families, and after the Anschluss (annexation) of Austria, became the hometown of his father in a Artillery practice area. Waite says Hitler’s insecurities in this regard may have been more important than if Jewish ancestry could be proven by his peers.
By 1903 , Hitler attended the Realschule at the same time as Ludwig Wittgenstein , one of the most outstanding philosophers of the twentieth century. A book by Kimberley Cornish suggests that the conflicts between Hitler and some Jewish students, including Wittgenstein, were a critical moment in the formation of Hitler as an anti-Semite. 206 Cornish’s work, however, has been accused of being of a speculative nature. 207 208
Many other historians try to speculate the origin of their extreme hatred towards the Jews , pointing to the possibility that the biological father of Alois (and therefore his grandfather) was of Jewish origin, [citation needed ] which was denied later. Others attribute it to his mother, Klara Hitler , he died in the care of a Jewish doctor, 209 but Hitler himself seemed grateful for his attention (he gave a painting and later as chancellor allowed to leave Austria). 210 According to some, it would be the idea of the supposed Zionist influence for the United States to enter the war. [ Citation needed ] To date, none of these claims has been convincingly confirmed.
Moreover, several authors also claim that Hitler was seriously influenced by the theory of social Darwinism 211 based on the idea of Darwin of “the supremacy of the fittest” and extended as a social practice by belief in a supposed superiority and physical inferiority And intellectual aspects of some humans as a result of evolution . 212 213 214 215 216 217 In this line of thought, some writers consider that Hitler believed that Jews and other ethnic groups such as African-Americans and Gypsies were “corrupting” the supposed “purity” of the German nation, Physical health, and their opportunity to compete with other nations of the world. 218 The theory is even addressed in the book Why the Holocaust: Hitler’s Darwinistic Messianic Genocide Jan Horník, where the author notes a quote from Darwin in which this wrote that in “the not too distant future” happen one of extermination and replacement “Human races” that if in doubt would generate a “more civilized state” in humanity. K
Another hypothesis states that it was simply by political strategy. [ Citation needed ] Hitler found a symbolic guilty that allowed him to easily justify German nationalism and overcome the class struggle (which in psychology basic is called scapegoat ). [ Citation needed ] The banker was not bad for being a banker, but for being Jewish. If the banker was a German, a German nationalist, he could only pawn the surplus value he earned at the expense of the workers in making Germany bigger. It was an adaptation of the fascist idea of nationalism to overcome the class struggle, but it was much more potent in identifying a mythical enemy against which mythical and ancient suspicion and aversion already existed. A brilliant idea with which to promote a unitary movement with a great dose of criticism and constructive action (the great Germany) and a no lesser dose of destruction and mythical violence. Perfect political action: build and destroy as a political proposal.
According to his writings, he regarded Jews as a foreign race on German territory and shared many of the anti-Semitic ideas common at the time, which were of very ancient origin (an example of this we have in the influence of the apocryphal pamphlet) . The wise men of Zion ). That is how he spoke of a “Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy” (in which he included all leftist movements alike), while blaming Jewish businessmen and financiers for the economic problems that Germany was going through at the time (Some of his early speeches were about what he called “the bondage of interest”). As will be seen, this led them to accuse them of leading Germany to defeat in 1918 .
As for his personal influences that are often mentioned that might have fueled his racism against the Jews, are Henry Ford (who is known for his anti-Semitism), who also published a series of pamphlets known as The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Famous Problem and appealed to an alleged “Zionist conspiracy,” pointing to the Jews as the culprits. Hitler is believed to have influenced Hitler as well, since in 1923 Ford was accused of providing financial aid to Hitler, and later (two years before becoming Chancellor of Germany) Hitler declared To a journalist for The Detroit News : “I consider Henry Ford as my inspiration” (1931) 219
Other figures whose ideology has linked his anti-Semitism include both Friedrich Nietzsche , from whom he read his works in the Landsberg prison where he wrote Mein Kampf ; 73 220 as the reformer German Martin Luther , whom he considered, with Richard Wagner and Frederick the Great , as one of the “big” truly German history, 221 and responsible for a large number of anti – Jewish writings .
Legacy of Hitler
During the Nuremberg Trials, 611 persons belonging to the various institutions of the Third Reich were charged with five crimes: conspiracy , war crimes , crimes against humanity (extermination), crimes against peace and genocide . The main Nazi hierarchs imprisoned were condemned to the gallows or to long sentences of prison; Others died in the months following the fall of Berlin.
Nazism and any similar ideological reminiscence were banned in most of Europe; in fact you can not publish texts orientation or use Nazi swastikas and other publicly Hitlerite symbols without risk of committing misconduct or crime punishable. However, anti-Semitic discrimination remained well into the 1960s, especially in American countries.
From the military point of view, the most important legacy of Nazi Germany is the complete adoption of the concept of the Blitzkrieg , literally lightning war , in all the war academies of the world. The strategies, battles and techniques of the Wehrmacht used in World War II are the object of study in all military institutes. Hitler was nominated for the 1939 Nobel Peace Prize, but this was not a serious nomination and was rather a satire critique of a member of the Swedish parliament. 222
The publication of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf is banned in many European countries, mainly in Germany since 1945 ; 223 however, is being published in other countries, such as Spain and Mexico, circulates freely in many languages by the libraries of many countries and is the subject of studies of all kinds.
Different groups around the world are considered inheritors of Nazism. Violent groups such as the Ku Klux Klan , Aria Nation , etc. claim heirs of this doctrine. fifty
Another of Hitler’s legacies is the name and concept of the Volkswagen ( village car ) car, initially called Kdf-Wagen (Kraft durch Freude, strength through joy ). The original design of the car was made by the engineer Ferdinand Porsche , but Hitler himself took care of the final details of the finish of the body and gave the name. During the Nazi government only prototypes were built, but after the war the Volkswagen (as it was finally known the automobile) became very popular, developing various models of ( beetle ). 224
“Racial hygiene” and the Holocaust
One of the foundations of Hitler and the NSDAP of social policies is the concept of “racial hygiene.” It was based on the ideas of Arthur de Gobineau , the movement of eugenics , and social Darwinism . Applied to human beings, “the survival of the fittest” was interpreted as a demand for racial purity and slaughter outside “life unworthy of being lived.” The first victims were mutilated and children were delayed in a program called Action T4. After a public outcry, Hitler made a move to end this program, but, in fact, the murders continued.
Between 1939 and 1945 , the SS , with the help of collaborationist governments and recruits from the occupied countries, systematically murdered between 11 and 14 million people, including about six million Jews , in concentration camps, ghettos and executions In mass and through other methods such as medical experiments. In addition to those who were gassed to death, many of them died as a result of famine and disease while working as slaves (sometimes for the benefit of German private companies in the process because of the low cost of that labor) . Together with Jews, non-Jewish Poles (over three million victims), political opponents (like some communists), members of resistance groups, Soviet prisoners of war ( estimated to be about three million of them), trade unionists , Religious Protestant Catholics and Protestant Christians , Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of the anti-Nazi clergy, handicapped, physically disabled, mentally retarded, psychiatric patients, homosexuals and gypsies . One of the largest centers of mass murder was the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp complex . Hitler never visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the deaths in precise terms.
The killings that led to the Holocaust (the ” Final Solution of the Jewish Question ” or Endlösung der Judenfrage ) were planned and ordered by Nazi leaders, with Himmler playing a key role. While Hitler’s specific order authorizing the mass murder of the Jews has not been found, documentation shows that he approved of the Einsatzgruppen , death squads that followed the German army through Poland and Russia, and remained well Informed about their activities. Evidence also suggests that in the fall of 1941 , Hitler and Himmler decided to mass exterminate by means of gases. During interrogations by Soviet intelligence officers, declassified more than fifty years later, the valet Heinz Linge and military assistant Otto Gunsche heard Hitler say that there were “too many pores in the foreground of the gas chambers “. [ Citation needed ] Hitler also worried that the so – called Final Solution was applied to each country invaded, the proof was the personal request to Theodor Dannecker to oversee the deportation of Jews from Bulgaria . When deportations of the Dutch Jews began, the wife of Baldur von Schirach , Henriette Hoffmann put Hitler in the same face in what happened to the Jewish population in that country. Hitler after that unfortunate comment expelled the marriage von Schirach from its social circle.
To advance the implementation of this “Final Solution” was held the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, the 20 of January of 1942 , with fifteen senior officials participating, led by Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann . The proceedings of this meeting would provide the clearest proof of planning for the Holocaust. On February 22 , Hitler was recorded telling his associates, “We will regain our health only with the elimination of the Jews.” [ Citation needed ]