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Adolf Hitler was born on the 20th April 1889, in Braunau on the river Inn between Austria and Germany. The son of an Austrian customs officer, Alois Schickelgruber Hitler, age 52 and a girl in her 20s, Karla Poelzl Hitler. His grandfather was a wandering miller, Johann Georg Hiedler who had an affair with Anne Marie Schickelgruber. In 1837 she gave birth to an illegitimate Alois. Adolf had a sister Paula. His life was one of misery in part with a father who sort comfort in drink. His mother wanted him to be a monk but was expelled for smoking. They moved to Leoning in Linz where he did well at school. From 1900 to 1904, he attended Realschule at Linz and from 1904 to 1905 at Steyr. Adolf left school at 16 without graduating.
In October 1907, when he was 18, Hitler left his mother who was dying of cancer and went to Vienna. In December 1908, his mother died. For the next five years he lived on charity, odd jobs and selling his sketches. In Vienna, Adolf learned to hate. He rejected the teachings of Marx and he enjoyed Luegar. Jews were Marxists and could take over the world. In cheap cafes he gave political speeches, people started to listen to this sickly harried young man with the hypnotic eyes. He went to Munich in 1913.
When war broke out in 1914, because he had been rejected for military service, he wrote to the King of Bavaria and was assigned to the 16th Bavarian Infantry and sent to the front. In four years he took part in 47 battles. He was wounded twice and gassed. He received the Iron Cross, 2nd class in 1914 and the Iron Cross 1st class in August 1918. He never made further than Lance Corporal. This is where he learned about war, power and its uses. Everything sprang from there. What he wanted to do was bring Germany back to being a great power. He used many methods, including political agitation in 1923. He built up a great party, The national Socialist Party. He explained the depression and it, indeed the unemployment helped carry him to total power.
He became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 at the age of 44 and built
up Germanys military power as part of the propaganda. In 1940, when the German army was supposed to be overwhelming, the French had more tanks than Germany.
Most evidence indicates that Hitler contemplated war as early as 1938 when he realised Britain and France had given in. When Germany went to war with Poland in 1939, it lasted only three weeks and when Britain and France did nothing to help Poland, Hitler assumed it was because they couldnt.
In 1938 he became head of the three services but never combined them. Operated separately at a distance, a rivalry between the army, navy and air force started. There were still commander in chiefs of the forces and they made most of the decisions. When in 1939, Hitler insisted that there must be an offensive against France, the generals hesitated. But Hitler decided, above them to invade France, within weeks France was defeated. With 25,000 dead and no loss to Germany. Though others carried it out, it was Hitlers stroke of genius that did it. It never crossed Hitlers mind that Britain would continue the war after France had been defeated.
He was never interested in the battle of Britain and went to Berchtesgaden, suspecting that there would be no invasion. Thereafter began his development of power and he proved all his generals wrong, they had said a total defeat of France was impossible. Most people say that a victor needs a supremacy to carry out invasions, Germany had none, yet destroyed what had become one of the greatest armies in Europe.
From June 1940 to June 1941 with the exception of minor conflicts in Greece, there was peace on the continent of Europe. Hitler had achieved what no previous great man had achieved, not even Napoleon, he brought all Europe up to the Russian front under his domination. Some had been conquered, some had been annexed to Germany. Two Sweden and Switzerland were independent but were bound by the war machine.
Germany had become a great power but some wondered why he did not stop. But if you are a war lord, you do not want to give up. Hitler used other arguments, he did not want to demobilize the army when he hadnt finished his campaigns and he was a man, despite his victories, full of apprehension.
In 1941, he was convinced that if he didnt strike a blow against Russia, maybe one day they would turn against him and betray him, so he invaded. Russia had done everything to avoid war and this time when Hitler said well invade, his generals did nothing to oppose him. He thought Russia would collapse within a month. The Russian front surrounded and surrendered. But the Russian armies had not collapsed. They decided to encircle Moscow with thousands surrendering and fronts collapsing.
This was the turning point of the second world war, in June 1941, Germany was acknowledged victor, dominant over the whole of Europe. In December 1941 the German forces halted in front of Moscow. They were never to take it. For the moment, Hitler appreciated that total victory could not be achieved on the other hand, he was confident that they could renew the campaign next year.
There was an almost total collapse of the generals. No new ones were appointed and Hitler became head of them all although on the Western Front and Italian Front the commanders in chiefs still had daily orders from Hitler. It was at this time that he became a real recluse, settling down in an underground bunker, running the war a long way from the front. He only went to the front line once and his only other public appearance was in November 1943.
Hitler sounds a most unattractive man but he could impress people, not only make them fear him but inspire them again and again. Even hi generals, faced with problems could only have to be with him half an hour and they could come away convinced that the Fuhrer could win anything, anywhere.
But Stalingrad was the first great disaster at the German side. Hitler refused to withdraw his troops when Stalingrad held firm. In January 1943, the German forces surrended. Throughout 1943, the Germans suffered losses and when in 1944, the allies landed in France there was pressure on both sides. Some people wondered why they could not be a compromise peace. But Hitler never contemplated it. For him although the war could never be won, it was not necessary that it should be lost. With, in 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, he felt that he had another ally and this declared war on America. In an extraordinary remark he said We have chosen the wrong side, we ought to be allies of the Anglo-Saxon powers. But providence has imposed on us this world historical mistake
He hoped that sooner or later, Britain and America and Russia would quarrel and eventually, instead of battering away at Germany, would ask fo her help and instead of being the enemy of the world, into an ally. The key power which would swing the whole world situation differently.
Right up to the end, when things were going badly wrong, Hitler could give only one order, hang on. Right till the very end, Hitler believed that some new miracle weapon would be discovered that would tip the scales. We now know this was a bluff. German scientists although knowing the methods had not got anywhere near the atomic bomb. Hitler had not been interested at the time so didnt push it. When he did consider it, it was too late.
He became in the end, physically a broken man. His left shoulder was shattered, at any rate crippled from a bomb in July 1944, trembling all over, dragging his feet, hardly able to speak and yet, there was that same magic, the inspiration with which people would come away.
Generals who commanded phantom armies, would break away believing they would crush the world. Few of them could break loose from Hitlers magnetic personality and from the promise of victory. At the very end, he dismissed most of his staff and lived in a fantasy where he was still in control. When goering hinted that he would try for peace, even to the point of surrender, Hitler had him arrested.
When he realised that the war was lost, he also found he was on his own. He had no confidants, no friends. Most round him were acquaintances. He was a solitary man and sometimes, very rarely did he accept advice or decisions from others. For instance, the terrible massacre of the Jews was inspired more by Himmler than Hitler although he took it up.
On July 20th 1944, a bomb in a briefcase was left under a table where Hitler and some of his men were having a conference. The bomb exploded but Hitler only received minor injuries. It had been moved from its original position which could have killed Hitler and put by a table leg which protected him. The plan was carried out by several generals and others who had once been close to him. They believed he was leading Germany to disaster.
Some had been planning it for years, roundups of the men and women went on for months. At Hitlers orders, the leaders who had not committed suicide were hanged in a cruel way and filmed for his enjoyment. These men are greatly honoured in Germany today. The key men were:-
General Ludwig Beck
General Frederick Olbricht
Mayor General Hans Oster
General Claus Schenk Graf von Staiftenberg
Major general Henning von Trescow
September 1, 1939. Speech by Adolf Hitler
For months we have been suffering under the torture of a problem which the Versailles Diktat created - a problem which has deteriorated until it becomes intolerable for us. Danzig was and is a German city. The Corridor was and is German. Both these territories owe their cultural development exclusively to the German people. Danzig was separated from us, the Corridor was annexed by Poland. As in other German territories of the East, all German minorities living there have been ill-treated in the most distressing manner. More than 1,000,000 people of German blood had in the years 1919-1920 to leave their homeland.
As always, I attempted to bring about, by the peaceful method of making proposals for revision, an alteration of this intolerable position. It is a lie when the outside world says that we only tried to carry through our revisions by pressure. Fifteen years before the National Socialist Party came to power there was the opportunity of carrying out these revisions by peaceful settlements and understanding. On my own initiative I have, not once but several times, made proposals for the revision of intolerable conditions. All these proposals, as you know, have been rejected - proposals for limitation of armaments and even, if necessary, disarmament, proposals for limitation of warmaking, proposals for the elimination of certain methods of modern warfare. You know the proposals that I have made to fulfill the necessity of restoring German sovereignty over German territories. You know the endless attempts I made for a peaceful clarification and understanding of the problem of Austria, and later of the problem of the Sudetenland, Bohemia, and Moravia. It was all in vain.
It is impossible to demand that an impossible position should be cleared up by peaceful revision and at the same time constantly reject peaceful revision. It is also impossible to say that he who undertakes to carry out these revisions for himself transgresses a law, since the Versailles Diktat is not law to us. A signature was forced out of us with pistols at our head and with the threat of hunger for millions of people. And then this document, with our signature, obtained by force, was proclaimed as a solemn law.
In the same way, I have also tried to solve the problem of Danzig, the Corridor, etc., by proposing a peaceful discussion. That the problems had to be solved was clear. It is quite understandable to us that the time when the problem was to be solved had little interest for the Western Powers. But that time is not a matter of indifference to us. Moreover, it was not and could not be a matter of indifference to those who suffer most.
In my talks with Polish statesmen I discussed the ideas which you recognize from my last speech to the Reichstag. No one could say that this was in any way an inadmissible procedure on undue pressure. I then naturally formulated at last the German proposals, and I must once more repeat that there is nothing more modest or loyal than these proposals. I should like to say this to the world. I alone was in the position to make such proposal, for I know very well that in doing so I brought myself into opposition to millions of Germans. These proposals have been refused. Not only were they answered first with mobilization, but with increased terror and pressure against our German compatriots and with a slow strangling of the Free City of Danzig - economically, politically, and in recent weeks by military and transport means.
Poland has directed its attacks against the Free City of Danzig. Moreover, Poland was not prepared to settle the Corridor question in a reasonable way which would be equitable to both parties, and she did not think of keeping her obligations to minorities.
I must here state something definitely; German has kept these obligations; the minorities who live in Germany are not persecuted. No Frenchman can stand up and say that any Frenchman living in the Saar territory is oppressed, tortured, or deprived of his rights. Nobody can say this.
For four months I have calmly watched developments, although I never ceased to give warnings. In the last few days I have increased these warnings. I informed the Polish Ambassador three weeks ago that if Poland continued to send to Danzig notes in the form of ultimata, and if on the Polish side an end was not put to Customs measures destined to ruin Danzig's trade, then the Reich could not remain inactive. I left no doubt that people who wanted to compare the Germany of to-day with the former Germany would be deceiving themselves.
An attempt was made to justify the oppression of the Germans by claiming that they had committed acts of provocation. I do not know in what these provocations on the part of women and children consist, if they themselves are maltreated, in some cases killed. One thing I do know - that no great Power can with honour long stand by passively and watch such events.
I made one more final effort to accept a proposal for mediation on the part of the British Government. They proposed, not that they themselves should carry on the negotiations, but rather that Poland and Germany should come into direct contact and once more pursue negotiations.
I must declare that I accepted this proposal, and I worked out a basis for these negotiations which are known to you. For two whole days I sat in my Government and waited to see whether it was convenient for the Polish Government to send a plenipotentiary or not. Last night they did not send us a plenipotentiary, but instead informed us through their Ambassador that they were still considering whether and to what extent they were in a position to go into the British proposals. The Polish Government also said that they would inform Britain of their decision.
Deputies, if the German Government and its Leader patiently endured such treatment Germany would deserve only to disappear from the political stage. But I am wrongly judged if my love of peace and my patience are mistaken for weakness or even cowardice. I, therefore, decided last night and informed the British Government that in these circumstances I can no longer find any willingness on the part of the Polish Government to conduct serious negotiations with us.
These proposals for mediation have failed because in the meanwhile there, first of all, came as an answer the sudden Polish general mobilization, followed by more Polish atrocities. These were again repeated last night. Recently in one night there were as many as twenty-one frontier incidents: last night there were fourteen, of which three were quite serious. I have, therefore, resolved to speak to Poland in the same language that Poland for months past has used toward us. This attitude on the part of the Reich will not change.
The other European States understand in part our attitude. I should like here above all to thank Italy, which throughout has supported us, but you will understand that for the carrying on of this struggle we do not intend to appeal to foreign help. We will carry out this task ourselves. The neutral States have assured us of their neutrality, just as we had already guaranteed it to them.
When statesmen in the West declare that this affects their interests, I can only regret such a declaration. It cannot for a moment make me hesitate to fulfill my duty. What more is wanted? I have solemnly assured them, and I repeat it, that we ask nothing of those Western States and never will ask anything. I have declared that the frontier between France and Germany is a final one. I have repeatedly offered friendship and, if necessary, the closest co-operation to Britain, but this cannot be offered from one side only. It must find response on the other side. Germany has no interests in the West, and our western wall is for all time the frontier of the Reich on the west. Moreover, we have no aims of any kind there for the future. With this assurance we are in solemn earnest, and as long as others do not violate their neutrality we will likewise take every care to respect it.
I am happy particularly to be able to tell you of one event. You know that Russia and Germany are governed by two different doctrines. There was only one question that had to be cleared up. Germany has no intention of exporting its doctrine. Given the fact that Soviet Russia has no intention of exporting its doctrine to Germany, I no longer see any reason why we should still oppose one another. On both sides we are clear on that. Any struggle between our people would only be of advantage to others. We have, therefore, resolved to conclude a pact which rules out for ever any use of violence between us. It imposes the obligation on us to consult together in certain European questions. It makes possible for us economic co-operation, and above all it assures that the powers of both these powerful States are not wasted against one another. Every attempt of the West to bring about any change in this will fail.
At the same time I should like here to declare that this political decision means a tremendous departure for the future, and that it is a final one. Russia and Germany fought against one another in the World War. That shall and will not happen a second time. In Moscow, too, this pact was greeted exactly as you greet it. I can only endorse word for word the speech of Russian Foreign Commissar, Molotov.
I am determined to solve (1) the Danzig question; (2) the question of the Corridor; and (3) to see to it that a change is made in the relationship between Germany and Poland that shall ensure a peaceful co-existence. In this I am resolved to continue to fight until either the present Polish government is willing to continue to bring about this change or until another Polish Government is ready to do so. I am resolved t remove from the German frontiers the element of uncertainty, the everlasting atmosphere of conditions resembling civil war. I will see to it that in the East there is, on the frontier, a peace precisely similar to that on our other frontiers.
In this I will take the necessary measures to se that they do not contradict the proposals I have already made known in the Reichstag itself to the rest of the world, that is to say, I will not war against women and children. I have ordered my air force to restrict itself to attacks on military objectives. If, however, the enemy thinks he can form that draw carte blanche on his side to fight by the other methods he will receive an answer that will deprive him of hearing and sight.
This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our territory. Since 5.45 A.M. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met by bombs. Whoever fight with poison gas will be fought with poison gas. Whoever departs from the rules of humane warfare can only expect that we shall do the same. I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and its rights are secured.
For six years now I have been working on the building up of the German defenses. Over 90 millions have in that time been spent on the building up of these defense forces. They are now the best equipped and are above all comparison with what they were in 1914. My trust in them is unshakable. When I called up these forces and when I now ask sacrifices of the German people and if necessary every sacrifice, then I have a right to do so, for I also am to-day absolutely ready, just as we were formerly, to make every possible sacrifice.
I am asking of no German man more than I myself was ready throughout four years at any time to do. There will be no hardships for Germans to which I myself will not submit. My whole life henceforth belongs more than ever to my people. I am from now on just first soldier of the German Reich. I have once more put on that coat that was the most sacred and dear to me. I will not take it off again until victory is secured, or I will not survive the outcome.
Should anything happen to me in the struggle then my first successor is Party Comrade Goring; should anything happen to Party Comrade Goring my next successor is Party Comrade Hess. You would then be under obligation to give to them as Fuhrer the same blind loyalty and obedience as to myself. Should anything happen to Party Comrade Hess, then by law the Senate will be called, and will choose from its midst the most worthy - that is to say the bravest - successor.
As a National Socialist and as German soldier I enter upon this struggle with a stout heart. My whole life has been nothing but one long struggle for my people, for its restoration, and for Germany. There was only one watchword for that struggle: faith in this people. One word I have never learned: that is, surrender.
If, however, anyone thinks that we are facing a hard time, I should ask him to remember that once a Prussian King, with a ridiculously small State, opposed a stronger coalition, and in three wars finally came out successful because that State had that stout heart that we need in these times. I would, therefore, like to assure all the world that a November 1918 will never be repeated in German history. Just as I myself am ready at any time to stake my life - anyone can take it for my people and for Germany - so I ask the same of all others.
Whoever, however, thinks he can oppose this national command, whether directly of indirectly, shall fall. We have nothing to do with traitors. We are all faithful to our old principle. It is quite unimportant whether we ourselves live, but it is essential that our people shall live, that Germany shall live. The sacrifice that is demanded of us is not greater than the sacrifice that many generations have made. If we form a community closely bound together by vows, ready for anything, resolved never to surrender, then our will will master every hardship and difficulty. And I would like to close with the declaration that I once made when I began the struggle for power in the Reich. I then said: "If our will is so strong that no hardship and suffering can subdue it, then our will and our German might shall prevail."
September 3, 1939. Proclamation by Adolf Hitler
Great Britain has for centuries pursued the aim of rendering the peoples of Europe defenseless against the British policy of world conquest by proclaiming a balance of power, in which Great Britain claimed the right to attack on threadbare pretexts and destroy that European State which at the moment seemed most dangerous. Thus, at one time, she fought the world power of Spain, later the Dutch, then the French, and, since 1871, the German.
We ourselves have been witnesses of the policy of encirclement which has been carried on by Great Britain against Germany since before the war. Just as the German nation had begun, under its National Socialist leadership, to recover from the frightful consequences of the Diktat of Versailles, and threatened to survive the crisis, the British encirclement immediately began once more.
The British war inciters spread the lie before the War that the battle was only against the House of Hohenzollern or German militarism; that they had no designs on German colonies; that they had no intention of taking the German mercantile fleet. They then oppressed the German people under the Versailles Diktat the faithful fulfillment of which would have sooner or later exterminated 20 million Germans.
I undertook to mobilize the resistance of the German nation against this, and to assure work and bread for them. But as the peaceful revision of the Versailles Diktat of force seemed to be succeeding, and the German people again began to live, the new British encirclement policy was resumed. The same lying inciters appeared as in 1914. I have many times offered Great Britain and the British people the understanding and friendship of the German people. My whole policy was based on the idea of this understanding. I have always been repelled. I had for years been aware that the aim of these war inciters had for long been to take Germany by surprise at a favourable opportunity.
I am more firmly determined than ever to beat back this attack. Germany shall not again capitulate. There is no sense in sacrificing one life after another and submitting to an even worse Versailles Diktat. We have never been a nation of slaves and will not be one in the future. Whatever Germans in the past had to sacrifice for the existence of our realm, they shall not be greater than those which we are to-day prepared to make.
This resolve is an inexorable one. It necessitates the most thorough measures, and imposes on us one law above all others: If the soldier is fighting at the front, no one shall profit by the war. If the soldier falls at the front no one at home shall evade his duty.
As long as the German people was united it has never been conquered. It was the lack of unity in 1918 that led to collapse. Whoever offends against this unity need expect nothing else than annihilation as an enemy of the nation. If our people fulfills its highest duty in this sense, that God will help us who has always bestowed His mercy on him who was determined to help himself.
THE LAST DAYS OF HITLER
Hitlers head-quarters were in the Reich Chancellery, the large mausoleum he had built. The huge rooms were now disused. Underneath the old chancellery and garden, 50ft below ground, a bunker had been built. It could be reached from the main building through the butlers pantry. At the foot of the stairs were three airtight, watertight bulkheads. One closed the passage to the pantry, one led to the garden of the Foreign office and one led to the bunker. The bunker was in two parts. The first consisted of twelve rooms, none larger than a cupboard. These included servants quarters and the kitchen. At the end of the central passage was a curved staircase leading downstairs to a still deeper and larger bunker. This was the Fuhrerbunker, Hitlers own bunker. This contained eighteen rooms which were made small and cramped. There was a partition, one side was the telephone exchange, power house etc then on the other side was the holiest of holies. The quarters of Hitler. Eva Braun had a sitting room, bathroom and dressing room come bedroom. Hitler had a bedroom and a study. The sixth was an ante-room. Two other doors led to the map room and rest room of the personnel guards to Hitler. On the right of the passage were his two doctors. Morell and Stumpfegger and the first aid room. At the end of the passage, the cloakroom that led up four flights of stairs to the garden. This was the emergency exit.
There were other bunkers under the chancellery. One of the Party Chancellery where Bormann and his staff lived. Another held SS Brigade-fuhrer Mohnke and his staff. In the cellers of the Propaganda Ministry lived Goebbels and his staff. The airless claustrophobia of the bunker was the final bleak expression of the artificially and isolation of Hitlers own existence. In the baleful glare of its electric lights night merged into day. The last military conferences often ended at 6am, after which Hitler would slump exhausted on his sofa, seeking relief in plate after plate of cream cakes. In the hours of darkness, he would occasionally emerge from the bunker to take his Alsatian Blondi for a walk.
To those who saw him, Hitler presented a dreadful physical spectacle like a man risen from the grave. A wash with drugs provided by the Reich Injection Master Professor Theodar morelli, hunched and shaking with faltering voice, foul breath and glucose eyes, a crust of spittle and cake crumbs flecking his lips, his jacket blotched with food stains. Major Boldt recalled His head was slightly wobbling, his left arm hung slackly and his head trembled a good deal. There was an incredible flickering light in his eye, creating a fearsome and unholy un-natural effect. His face and the parts around his eyes gave the impression of total exhaustion. All his movements were those of a senile man
People who had known him in the earlier years before the war, when he was a human dynamo often bursting with restless energy, noted about 1942 on, that he seemed to be aging at least five years for his every one. Near the end, on the day he celebrated his last birthday, he seemed closer to 70 than 56. He looked what they called physically senile, the man was living on nerves, dubious medications and driving willpower. Sometimes even the willpower seemed to be slack. Then suddenly it would flash again with the old drive and fury.
On April 29th, after fegelain was shot and Ritter von Griem and Hanna Reitsch were ordered out of Berlin to go and arrest Himmler in the early hours, Hitler named the late liaison officers sister in law, Eva Braun. They were both affirmed that they were of pure Aryan decent and were free of hereditary diseases and were declared man and wife.
After the wedding, there was a melancholy reception in Hitlers suite attended by Goebbels and his wife, Bormann, General Burgdorf, Ambassador Hewel, Artur Axmann, head of the Hitler Youth, Colonal Nikolaus von Below, Gerda Christian and Heinz Linge, amongst others. Professor Stonck recalled I could see Hitlers hunched spine, the curved
shoulders that seemed to twitch and tremble. His eyes did not seem to be focusing. They were like wet pale porcelain, glazed, actually more grey than blue. They were filmy, like the skin of a grape. They were bloodshot and there was no expression He concluded that Hitler had the classic symptoms of Parkinson Disease and if he lived after the war, then he would have been a hopeless cripple.
On the 30th April, he said farewell to goebbels, Bormann and the others. He shook hands, mumbled some words although from the look in his eyes he was a thousand miles away. At 3.20pm, Hitler and Eva withdrew into their suite. Major Gunsche was told to wait 10 minutes before going in. Suddenly a single shot was heard. Rushing in, Hitlers body was crumpled up, his head hanging towards to floor. Blood ran from his right temple, Eva was sitting on the sofa, no visible wound showed but she was dead.
Hitler had shot himself with his Walther 7.65mm pistol and probably simultaneously biting into a cyanide pill. Eva had taken poison. Three guards took Hitlers body, wrapped in a blanket and carried it away. Bormann took Evas body and it was handed over to the guards. As they were carried up to the garden, Erich Kempka, arrived with a detail of men carrying 40 gallons of petrol in cans.
The two bodies were placed in a trench, covered in petrol and set alight. All present raised their arms in Nazi salutes, the bodies were then buried in a deep trench dug out of a shell crater. On the 3rd of May 1945, a red army private exhumed their remains and Hitlers teeth and skull are now said to reside in separate boxes in a Moscow Archive.