The Meaning of Hitler Essay

This essay has a total of 1329 words and 6 pages.

The Meaning of Hitler



The Meaning of Hitler was written by a German journalist by the name of Sebastian Haffner.
In this book, Sebastian Haffner probes the historical, political, and emotional forces
that molded Adolf Hitler’s character. Sebastian Haffner also examines closely Hitler’s
rise to power as Führer of Germany, as well as his great achievements.

Adolf Hitler began by making a mess of his life. He dropped out of school at the age of
14, failed his entrance exam at the Vienna Academy of Arts twice, and spent the time from
his eighteenth to his twenty-fifth year in Vienna and then in Munich doing nothing and
aspiring to nothing. Then, in 1914 when World War I broke out, Hitler volunteered for the
Bavarian army. Hitler was a good soldier and received a couple of awards for bravery but
never ranked higher than corporal. In 1918, when Germany finally surrendered, Hitler was
very upset. He believed that it was the Jews and the Communists who betrayed the
"fatherland", and it was at this time that his hatred for the Jews most likely began.

In 1919, Hitler joined a small radical Right-wing party, which called itself the "National
Socialist German Workers’ Party", or Nazi party, where he soon became the leader. The
party was small at first but Hitler's great skill at deliberating speeches attracted more
and more listeners, and it soon became a major political party with many followers. Since
the country was in chaos after World War I and was faced with the Great Depression, the
Germans saw hope in Adolf Hitler. Unemployment was at about 40% and rising and people
were starving and poor. In his speeches, Hitler blamed the Jews and Communists for their
misfortunes. So why did so many Germans follow Hitler? When he took power, Germany and
all of Europe was suffering from the Great Depression and were looking for answers and
hope. Hitler was their answer. No factor contributed more to Hitler’s success than the
economic crisis. He promised to bring economic recover and national unity. Soon,
factories started putting out weapons and

now had jobs. To the German workers this was a very good sign.
In 1933, when Hitler became Reich Chancellor, the Nazi party took control of every aspect
of every day life. Hitler’s goal was to eliminate the Jewish race from the European
continent and to take control of Germany and turn it into a national socialist nation. He
created a special police force called the Gestapo to make sure that anyone who opposed him
would be eliminated. He took away the Jews’ civil rights. Soon, Jews, communists,
homosexuals and others who were viewed as “inferior” according to the Nazi racial theory
were thrown into concentration camps for extermination. In those camps, the Nazis killed
6 million Jews and many others. Hitler was unstoppable.

World War II began in 1939 when German armies and warplanes attacked Poland. Two days
later Britain and France jumped in and declared war on Germany. The Polish army was no
match for the German army, and Hitler’s armies crushed Poland in four weeks. In the
meantime, German armies occupied Denmark and Norway and trapped the British army on the
beaches of Dunkirk. France was now taken by the Nazis. Next, Germany attacked Britain by
air, but Britain would not back down and eventually Germany backed off. Then, in June
1941 Germany turned and attacked the Soviet Union. However, the Germans completely
underestimated the Soviet Union’s ability of its government to control and mobilize the
country’s resources and were defeated in 1943. By June 1944, the war was going very badly
for Hitler. A series of losses to the Allies and failure to defeat the Soviets had left
Hitler’s armies severely weakened. Germany had also changed a great deal. British and
American bombers were devastating its industries and cities. Underestimating the
Americans, Hitler launched his last reserves west into Belgium and Luxembourg in the
Battle of the Bulge. He felt that a hard blow would cause popular support for the war in
America to collapse, and would lead to the breakup of the coalition arrayed against him.
All he accomplished, however, was to draw away troops needed in the east, allowing the
Soviet army's winter offensive to push forward all the way to the gates of Berlin. Hitler
decided to remain in the city, hoping to inspire its defenders and anticipating a breakup
of the Allies’ alliance. When neither of these hopes was realized, he appointed Karl
Dönitz, the head of the navy and a devoted Nazi, as his successor. On April 30, 1945,
Hitler married his mistress, Eva Braun, in his underground bunker in Berlin. The next day
Hitler and Eva both committed suicide. Finally, on May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered
unconditionally.

When we think about Hitler and his role in Germany, we usually think about the horrible
mass murder of the Jews and oftentimes overlook the other influences Hitler had on
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