The military career of Adolf Hitler is divided into two parts throughout his life. The first takes place in World War I when Hitler served in the Bavarian Army as a soldier and the second in World War II when he served as Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht in his position of Führer of Nazi Germany .
World War I
Hitler received the last part of his father’s inheritance in May 1913 and moved to Munich , where he made money by painting architectural scenes. He could have left Vienna to evade recruitment in the Austrian army. Hitler later stated that he did not wish to serve the Habsburg Empire because of the mix of races in his army.
The Bavarian police sent him back to Salzburg for recruitment in the Austrian army, but failed in his physical examinations and on February 5, 1914 he returned to Munich.
He was 25 years old in August 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the German Empire entered the First World War. Because of his Austrian nationality, he had to apply for permission to serve in the Bavarian army. The permission was granted. Within the army, he began to put into practice his German nationalist ideas that developed from an early age.
During the war, Hitler served in France and Belgium in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment. He was an infantryman in the First Company during the First Battle of Ypres. Hitler’s regiment entered the battle with 3,600 men and in the end 611 remained. In December Hitler’s own company of 250 men was reduced to 42. After the battle Hitler was promoted from Schütze (recruit) to Gefreiter )
During the Battle of the Somme , in October 1916, he was wounded in the left thigh. He did not ask to be evacuated, but was sent for almost two months at the Red Cross hospital in Beelitz. Thereafter, he was ordered to station in Munich. He wrote to his commander, Captain Fritz Wiedemann, asking that he be returned to the regiment because he could not bear to be in Munich when he knew his companions were in the front. Wiedemann accepted the petition and returned to his regiment on March 5, 1917.
On October 15, 1918, he and several of his companions became blind temporarily. Hitler also lost his voice – due to a British attack with mustard gas . After the initial treatment, Hitler was hospitalized in Pasewalk. On November 10, he learned of the defeat of Germany through a pastor, and on his own. Upon receiving this news, he suffered a second attack of blindness.
Hitler wanted to remain in the army after the war, but it was impossible with almost total withdrawal of the armed forces. He returned to Munich for demobilization. In July 1919 he was appointed Verbindungsmann ( intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando ( reconnaissance command) of the Reichswehr , to influence others and soldiers to infiltrate the German Workers Party (DAP). During the monitoring of DAP activities, Hitler was attracted to anti-Semitic founder, nationalist, anti-capitalist Anton Drexler . Impressed with Hitler’s oratorical skills, Drexler invited him to join the DAP, which Hitler did on September 12, 1919.
After Hitler became the leader of the Nazi Party , he began to acquire titles, and the use of paramilitary uniforms for the Nazi Party. In his activity within the NSDAP he created a paramilitary group, Las Sturmabteilung , also known by their acronyms like SA They used to wear a brown brown uniform, which was used by Hitler in official acts.
At the end of 1920, Hitler in certain occasions wore a black uniform, but this was during a period when Hitler imitated of certain way Benito Mussolini. Hitler’s admiration for the Italian dictator later vanished when Germany became a more powerful nation than Italy and Mussolini was ultimately despised by Hitler and regarded him as a puppet-dictator under German control.
Hitler was by default the Fiihrer , since he commanded the Nazi paramilitary organization, but Hitler never adopted additional insignia in these organizations. Hitler also received decorations from the Nazi Party, but only wore his Iron Cross which he obtained in World War I, Nazi Party golden pin, and his Wounded Medal.
The German Reich
Six days after taking office as chancellor in 1933, Hitler met with German military leaders, declaring that their first priority was rearmament. The new Defense Minister, General Werner von Blomberg introduced Nazi principles into the armed forces between They the concept of Volksgemeinschaft that dictated that all the Germans were united in a society without classes. On August 1, 1934 a new law dictated that at the death of Hindenburg the presidency would be abolished, and its powers merged with those of the Chancellor. From that day on, Hitler would be known as Führer and Chancellor of the Reich and would become supreme commander of all the armed forces. Hindenburg passed away the next day. Blomberg on his own initiative introduced the oath on August 2, 1934:
I swear by God this sacred oath that I will render unconditional obedience to the Führer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the commander in chief of the armed forces, and, as a brave soldier, will be prepared at all times to rethink my life for this oathOath established in 1934
In 1939 the word “God” was suppressed to this oath.