A Bit of Background • Born in Braunau am Inn, Austria on April 20th, 1889l • His family was working-peasant class • His father dies in 1903 (leaving Hitler as head of the household) and his mother 1907 (of very painful cancer)
Background Continued • Hitler dreamed of being an artist, but is rejected twice by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. • Hitler attempts to join the Army in Austria and is declared “unfit”. • Hitler volunteers for a Bavarian unit in Germany. Hitler is shot in the leg and blinded by mustard gas. • In a military hospital and after the defeat of WWI, Hitler begins to place the blame with the Jews.
Hitler’s Political Life • In 1919, Hitler joins the German Workers’ Party and is placed in charge of propaganda. • Hitler becomes a featured speaker at political meetings-he railed against the Treaty of Versailles and blames Germany’s problems again on the Jews. • The swastika becomes the symbol of the party. • In 1921, Hitler rises to become leader of the Workers’ Party and renames it the Nazi Party. • He takes advantage of the terrible economic situation and social unrest in Germany after WWI.
Hitler’s Political Life cont…. • Attempts to lead a revolt (Beer Hall Putsch, 1923) and is imprisoned where he writes Mein Kampf. • Propaganda (lead by Joseph Goebbels) helps convert many Germans to the Nazi Party and many elections take place. • With Nazi power dramatically rising, President von Hindenburg appoints Hitler as Chancellor on Jan. 30th, 1933.
Hitler Gains Power • In an attempt to pass an “Enabling Act”, a vote is forced in the Reichstag. • By a vote of 441 to 84, the act was passed and this officially ended democracy in Germany. • By March of 1933, Hitler had become dictator of Germany, legally, through the democratic process.
Hitler In Power • Under Hitler, the state, not the individual was supreme. • From birth, one existed to serve the state and obey the dictator. Those who disagreed were disposed of. Many intellectuals spoke out against Hitler or left Germany. • Rallies, parades and propaganda continue and there is a mixture of fear and optimism. • Hitler as dictator, can focus on the issue that got him into politics-hatred of Jews. The first boycott was April 1, 1933.