Feeling that all was lost, Hitler shot himself on April 30, 1945. By orders
formally given by him before his death, SS officers immersed Hitler's body in
gasoline and burned it in the garden of the Chancellery. Soon after the suicide
of Hitler, the German forces surrendered. The war was officially over; however,
the world was only beginning to realize the extent of its horror. The rise and
sudden fall of Hitler had a sensational effect on people and nations around the
On Easter Sunday April 20, 1889, at an inn called the Gasth of Zum Pommer, the
wife of an Austrian Customs official gave birth to a son, Adolf Hitler. He was
the fourth child to the parents of Alois and Klara Hitler of Austria. Hitler was
a good student. He took singing lessons and sang in the church choir. When he
hit an adolescent age, he began to rebel. When Hitler's dad acquired a top
ranking job in the military, he wanted his son to work hard so that he might
become a civil servant. Hitler wanted nothing of it. He wanted to become an
artist like he always dreamed.
One of the teachers in his high school classified young Hitler as "notorious,
cantankerous, willful, arrogant, and irascible. He has an obvious difficulty in
fitting in at school." He did well enough to get by in some of his courses but
had no time for subjects that did not interest him. Years later, his former
school mates would remember how Adolf would taunt his teachers and draw sketches
of them in his school notebooks. Forty years later, in the sessions at his
headquarters which produced the record of his table talk, Hitler recalled
several times the teachers of his school days with contempt. "They had no
sympathy with youth. Their one object was to stuff our brains and turn us into
erudite apes themselves. If any pupil showed the slightest trace of originality,
they persecuted him relentlessly".
Adolf saw no real reason to stay in high school. He left school at age sixteen
without a leaving certificate. In September 1907, Hitler left home taking with
him all the money left to him by his father, who had died a few years earlier.
The money would be enough for tuition and board at the art school in Vienna.
The Vienna School of Fine Arts had strict entrance requirements. After taking
the preliminary examination, the applicant was asked to submit drawings.
Biblical drawings were most preferred. Hitler's drawings were returned saying
they were "too wooden and too lifeless." He was rejected. He tried three
months later and did not get past the preliminary exam. His artist career was
over. His mother died two months later on December 21st 1907.
Hitler moved into an apartment with his friend in Vienna. He pretended to be a
student living off his relatives money. He read many books and sat in on the
Austrian government sessions . Hitler speaks of his life in Vienna as "five
years in which I had to earn my daily bread, first as a casual laborer, then as
a painter of little trifles." He loitered about the streets and was hungry. He
painted water postcards and peddled them on the streets. He drew several
advertising posters for such things as soap, cigarettes, and deodorant.
In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich. Life was not much better there until the First
World War started in 1914. While many people were frightened and sad at the
thought of a world war, Hitler was delighted. He held the rank of corporal, and
in forty-seven battles he served on the Western Front as a dispatch runner,
delivering messages back and forth between the front lines and the officers in
the rear. His courage during one of these missions earned him the Iron Cross, a
highly prized medal for bravery that was rarely awarded to a mere corporal .
On October 13th 1918, a month before Germany surrendered to the Allies, his good
luck ran out. When Hitler and his fellow dispatch runners were waiting in line
for their food rations, British troops began lobbing high explosive shells
nearby. Some of these shells contained chlorine gas, a deadly poison. Hitler
and the others quickly put on their gas masks, but not before they had been
exposed to the fumes. By the next morning some of the men were dead, and others,
like Hitler, were suffering from breathing and vision problems. "My eyes,"
wrote Hitler, "had turned to glowing coals; it had grown dark around me".
Hitler soon regained use of his eyes, but as he was about to rejoin his regiment,
he got the terrible news of Germany's surrender. "Once again, everything went
black before my eyes, and I tottered and groped my way back to the place where
we slept and buried my burning head in the blankets and pillows". After the war
Hitler was given a job guarding a post. It was very boring work, but provided
shelter. He was then given an undercover agent job. As a special bonus, he
was allowed to attend the University of Munich. He took many philosophical
As part of Hitler's job, he investigated a party called "the German Workers'
Party." He was disgusted how the group had no organization, although he was in
favor of many of the party's ideas. To follow up with his job, he joined the
group to make sure they were no threat to the government. He was member number
fifty-five of the German Workers' Party. Hitler was made director of propaganda.
The group was severely hurting by their lack of attendance. This was mainly
due to the lack of communication with the group. Hitler took hold, and made a
drastic change in the publicity the group got.
Hitler finally found his talent ...