Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in 1889. Little Adolf was no regular child, however. He was small and sensitive and grew to dislike his father. He strived to be an artist but could not. He grew up to be a favored military man and enjoyed wartime. He was rather upset when World War I had ended. During a prison stay, he wrote a memoir which was not taken seriously around the world. After prison, he became the dictator, becoming all powerful. Ordering the killing of numerous non-Germans to back up his pure German plan. He thought he had it made until his leaders lost faith in him. Adolf was near the end and to him, suicide was the only way out.
Keywords: Hitler, Holocaust, genocide, mental illness.
In Austria on April 20, 1889, a child was born to a customs officer, Alois and his mother, Klara. This child’s name was Adolf. He was to be the future Fuhrer of the Nazi party in Germany. However, as a child, little Adolf was far from dictator. Was Adolf Hitler’s upbringing the cause of his sadistic ways? What happened to him during his time in prison for treason? Why did he feel he needed to kill off an entire race of people? How were his officers so loyal to Adolf Hitler to do his dirty work? Can we keep something like the Holocaust from happening today?
Being born into a world where his father had such high expectations of his son becoming a government worker like himself, Adolf Hitler was far from the child his father had wanted. Young Adolf was a very sensitive child, such so that he could not be wrestled with his father as other children his age often was. He would scream and cry uncontrollably on many occasions. His father could not console him at any time. Little Adolf would run to his mother for comfort. His father could not stand this about Adolf and would spend many hours at a bar drowning his feelings. Because of his delicate nature, Adolf’s father would verbally and physically abuse him. He was coddled by his mother and developed a passionate love for her. He was a smaller boy and was delayed in his maturity development, in that he only developed one testicle which could have been the reason for his small stature and woman-like features such has his small hands and wider hips. He was very insecure about this and did not have any feelings for girls as he was growing up. He never had many friends and was very shy. He held a very deep hatred for his father and this became some of the initial fuel for the reason behind his hate for Jews. Growing up, Adolf loved art and wished to pursue a career being an artist. His father despised this about him because he wanted a different path for him, one of a government official. However, when Adolf was thirteen years old, his father died of a stroke. This gave him the opportunity to pursue his art passion. He never performed well in school because his father wanted him to succeed so he only did what he felt he needed to to get by. For this reason, he never received a diploma. When the time came to try to get into art school, he did not. The school did not believe his art was very good. He tried again the following year and again they declined. They instead mentioned to Adolf about trying the path of architecture instead. However, when it came to the architecture school, he required a diploma to get in, which he never received due to his unwillingness to do much in school. This made Adolf furious. Adolf’s mother died when he was eighteen years old from breast cancer. After this, he did some odd jobs, but basically became a bum on the streets of Vienna. He eventually moved to Munich and began reading. He read and read so that he could sound smart and have reasons to back up his own arguments. He became a great speaker, so much that he could influence many people to believe what he said. He eventually enlisted in the military and found his true self. He was the model military man. He was wounded two times and still wanted to go back for more. However, it was his second time in the military hospital when he found out that Germany had lost the war. He believed, and wanted other people to believe that the Jewish people were the ones to blame for Germany’s loss of World War I. Adolf would go occasionally go to parliament and listen to debates but saw that the ones assembled were not of pure German descent. He saw the mixed ethnic groups involved and became angered. When Adolf was around thirty years old, he went to a gathering of people who were against Jews, against capitalism, and against almost everything. It was the German Workers Party which later changed its name to The National Socialist German Workers Party, which was shortened to the German word for nationalist: Nazi. (Witherbee, 2009) He initially went as a spy, but he liked what he was hearing so he became a member of the group. He began speaking and the people listened. They listened so much that they began a rebellion against the government to overthrow them. This did not end well. This act landed Adolf Hitler in prison for treason. Adolf was sentenced five years in prison. He only served about a year of that sentence. During his stay in prison, he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf or My Struggle. In his memoir, he wrote what he felt the future of Germany should be. He believed that Germans were a superior race and they should not taint the purity of the German race with Jewish, or non-German blood. No one in the whole world gave Mein Kampf much consideration. They should have. After his release from prison and about ten years later, he would be the ultimate leader of Germany, The Fuhrer.
Why did Adolf Hitler feel he needed to kill off an entire race of people? He believed the German race was the pure race. He needed to make sure it stayed that way. The only way in his mind to make sure that happened was to get rid of everything that was a threat to that purity. This included any non-German person who got in his way. Any cross-breeding of different races was not allowed. Hitler felt that the Jews represented what he once was when he was younger, and he despised them. In his memoir, Hitler referred to the Jews as The Black Plague and maggots (Hitler, 1923). He felt their presence was repulsive. He also felt it was the Jews and Communists fault that Germany lost the first world war. In 1933, Adolf Hitler had ordered the first concentration camp be built, German Jews were stripped of any rights and discrimination against Jews was encouraged. Sometime in 1934, a poll was taken of the German people that gave Adolf Hitler a ninety percent approval rating. Then in September of 1939, World War II began. (Witherbee, 2009)
Did Adolf Hitler have an illness to be able to show no empathy for his victims? This is a question that haunts many people. How can a person order the death of other human beings and not feel any remorse at all for that order? Many of the commanders of the camps giving the orders for Hitler had many psychological breakdowns and many of the men ordered to do the actual act of killing took to alcohol to relieve their stress. At the concentration camps, they began to do mass exterminations using gas chambers, killing thousands at a time. This was done to benefit the ones doing the killing, not the ones being killed. This was because it would be less traumatic to the men doing the murders themselves. (Zukler, 1994) The concentration camp extermination was supposed to be kept secret, but the number of humans being killed became too many to be able to keep quiet. Adolf Hitler did not have a formal diagnosis of an illness, but one can only wonder what exactly must have been wrong in his mind to do such atrocities. Mental illness is a big topic these days and we need to keep it in check. People need help who are unable to get to the help. There are so many people that are trying to start their own revolution by going on shooting sprees and killing many innocent people for no real reason other than they did not get their way. Maybe if Adolf Hitler had psychological help in his day, the German world would have a different history.
How did Hitler have so much control of his officers to be able to do his dirty work? Many of the officers’ men had refused to proceed with the killing of civilians and did so without dire consequences. He made all his German military leaders pledge an oath of loyalty to him personally. (Witherbee, 2009) He also imposed fear in his officers by ordering the execution of police leaders and the former Chancellor of Germany. He did all this to keep his authority intact. In 1944, people were starting to lose faith in Hitler. He was beginning to realize people were out to get him and was becoming more and more agitated about it. There were many assassination attempts on his life and he had ordered the execution of anyone disloyal. (Witherbee, 2009) Hitler had lost his control over not only his officers but just about everyone within his authority. He new his time was nearly over.
Over the years, there have been many genocides around the world. Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, and many more genocides have taken place. But, none as renown as the German Holocaust. What can be done to keep a genocide of this magnitude from ever happening again? This question could get more political and controversial than anyone would care to get into. However, it must always be in the back of our minds that there must never be a dictator with the likes of Adolf Hitler! For him to have sustained so much power and control over the military and government is almost unimaginable to think of today. In fact, there are many groups of people today that refuse to believe that the Holocaust even happened. However, we know because of historical data that it did indeed occur. We, as a people, must not let our voices go unheard! We have a democracy in place where we have a choice. We all can have a voice as to who we want to represent us at the local, state and country level. This voice is called a vote. If we do not use our right to vote, we cannot speak out about what is going on in the government. There is a choice to be made every election day. Research the options that are available. Let your voice be heard!
In conclusion, the Holocaust is an important time in world history. Not that it was a good time to remember, no, not at all. We must remember how it came to be and how it cannot be again. We cannot forget this horrible act of power by one man. Adolf Hitler was a deranged man with ideas of a perfect Germany. A perfect race that was not tainted by non-German blood. He was working to resolve the issue of the Jews being a problem by utilizing a plan called The Final Solution. This plan was to torture, force labor and kill as many non-German men, women and children as possible. (Witherbee, 2009) Approximately six million Jewish people and millions of other non-German people were killed or died from disease during Adolf Hitler’s reign over Germany. Adolf Hitler killed himself with a gun on April 30, 1945. He had given his dog, his new wife and his secretaries poison pills before pulling the trigger. Let us all remember the Holocaust and not duplicate it!
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