Ten million people. That is the amount of lives that were taken from families and friends in the 1941 to 1945 event of The Holocaust. One man, ten million lives. That astounding number of people were murdered essentially by one man, that knew how to lead an army. To understand how Adolf Hitler was growing up, how he gained power, and why he established a genocide, takes a lot of explaining. But the simplest way to start and follow it all, is to begin from his birth.
Hitler’s father (Alois) was illegitimate. Alois also was supposed to have five other children, but they all died at young ages. Hitler and his sister, paul was the only ones that survived past childhood out of all Klara Hitler’s and Alois Hitler’s offspring. Hitler later takes up views such as the belief in natural selection, for obvious reasons. Not to mention that Alois and Klara are cousins and had five kids together, meaning Adolf was conceived from incest. Adolf spent a majority of growing up in upper Austria. While growing up it didn’t help that his father was a abusive alcoholic that Adolf hated and feared. On the brightside, he really loved and cared for his mother. Who tragically died in 1907 after much suffering. Hitler was constantly described of as a nuisance throughout school, which in turn got him hit and yelled at by his father to behave better. Funny how that works, huh? With his life spiraling downhill, he never advanced beyond secondary education. After Adolf ended his education, he picked up a really unique interest in art. In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler explained how ever since he was a little boy he wanted to become a famous artist, he consistently expressed his passion for art. But his little dreams were crushed when he attempted to attend the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, but he failed the entrance exam. Twice. So for many months Adolf lived a very lonely life with no one to turn to and no permanent shelter to stay at. On the contrary, hitler claims Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice. (Hitler X). This statement is contradictory as Hitler did in fact receive welfare and other assists from the government like housing and food when he was living on the streets of vienna. He found himself painting postcards and advertisements and drifting back and forth between many municipal hostels. Hitler of course did not enjoy the life he was currently living in, so instead of that being the end, since he had nothing to live for and nothing to do, so he made a change that just may have granted him meaning to his life back.
In 1913 Hitler packed his bags and moved to Munich, where he would soon apply for the military, which also failed to turnout because of his inadequate physical vigour. However, once the first World War began, he petitioned Bavarian King Louis III to allow him to serve, and one day later, he was on the 16th bavarian reserve infantry regiment. He carried out his responsibilities of being an infantryman with great pride, but he was wounded in october of 1916, then was gassed two years later. In the World War, he was constantly in front lines, so he was always under relentless stress and anxiety and adrenaline, and he did a wonderful job serving for his country. With that he later received the medal of the Iron Cross, second class in december of 1914, and then Iron Cross first class in August of 1918. He entered the war with optimism and enthusiasm, as a great relief from all the stress and frustrations he had with his normal daily life, he enjoyed it. So he did his best and was a great man throughout the whole war because he would never think of jeopardizing his opportunity to get distant from his old life. He found discipline and comradeship satisfying and was confirmed in his belief in the heroic virtues of war.
Discharged from the hospital among the social chaos after germany’s defeat in World War I, he decided to join politics. In 1919 he went as a army political agent in Munich, more specifically the German Workers Party. Quickly moving up in ranks because he is such a charismatic hard working man, he was in charge of propaganda within a year. He loved working that job so much he resigned from the military to devote all of his time and energy into working for this political party. Soon after Hitler became head of propaganda, the party was renamed to National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NAZI. After the heartbreaking loss in World War I, the time was ripe to have a party such as the Nazi’s to take power. Resentment and discontent was festering within the country after the loss. In march 1920, a coup d’etat was formed by a small amount of army officers attempting to establish a right wing government Munich was a gathering hole for men that were in the military and were very dissatisfied like The Freikorps that were german men that were in the army and refused to return back to regular civilian life. Most of these men joined the Nazi party. As the Nazi party rapidly grew there was a huge boom when the party in bavaria attempted to seize power of the Munich. Hitler assisted in the attempt at a revolution and was shot by police. When in the hospital he was sentenced to prison for five years, but only served 9 months. He used this free time to begin his autobiography Mein Kampf. The depression started soon after Hitler was out of prison, this was a major setback for many political parties. However, unremitting propaganda set against the failure of the government to improve conditions during the depression, produced a steadily mounting electoral strength for the Nazi’s. In 1932 Hitler opposed Hindenburg (Who was president at the time) who he had an alliance with prior to opposing him, and that’s how Hitler gained several acquaintances that would assist him in leading the nation along the way (which he’d then most likely betray). After opposing Hindenburg, Hitler gained a mass following. Since Hindenburg now feared Adolf would seize his spot, he offered him chancellorship of germany, which Hitler greatly accept, but did not want it to stop there. He needed more power. So once crowned chancellor, with the cabinet already having multiple Nazi’s within it, Hitler established an absolute dictatorship. And a few days later the enabling bill passed so that Hitler would receive full power and in less than three months later all other political parties ceased to exist. Economic recovery and a rapid reduction in unemployment (Which Hitler took credit for, even though it was inevitable since the depression was over and all other countries had the same recovery) created a huge following for the Nazi party. A combination of success and somewhat forcing people to support the Nazi party and if they didn’t they would go to jail or be killed, brought the support of 90% of voters in a plebiscite.
With Hitler now in absolute power, he can do whatever he pleases. Not only that, but with his strong leadership skills and his charisma, he has the rest of the country to support him. Nine months after becoming chancellor he gave a speech that was heard on the radio Nationwide The struggle between the people and the hatred amongst them is being nurtured by very specific interested parties. It is a small, rootless, international clique that is turning the people against each other, that does not want them to have peace … It is the people who are at home both nowhere and everywhere, who do not have anywhere a soil on which they have grown up, but who live in Berlin today, in Brussels tomorrow, Paris the day after that, and then again in Prague or Vienna or London, and who feel at home everywhere. [Man in audience shouts ‘The Jews!’] They are the only ones who can be addressed as international, because they conduct their business everywhere, but the people cannot follow them, (Hitler, Siemens Dynamo Works speech) This speech was one of the earliest times Hitler publicly announced his hatred for the Jewish race. This sparked the event on November 9th, 1938 when, Carefully orchestrated anti-Jewish violence erupted throughout the Reich ( From Kristallnacht To The Final Solution 1). Within the next two days rioters marched through the streets and robbed over 1,000 synagogues, broke over 7,500 businesses windows, and around 30,000 Jewish men between the ages of 16 and 30 were sent to the first line of concentration camps. The police stood by and watched as neighbors of these Jewish men were being captured and taken and firemen were there to not stop the destruction of synagogues or businesses, but to make sure the fire did not spread onto adjacent Aryan property. These attacks were given a name, Kristallnacht or the night of the broken glass. After this horrific night the Jewish race lost all hopes in having a regular life inside Germany’s nation. The Jews were constantly being humiliated by their own government. The were fined one million dollars, responsible for cleaning up the Kristallnacht, not allowed to collect insurance, denied entry to theatres, segregated in many public places like subways, not allowed to own businesses, earning university degrees, or from practicing law or medicine. It was at this point all hope was completely lost. The Jewish people knew they needed to do something risky such as emigrate or fight back or hide. The Nazi government never stopped. They continued to take properties of Jews by a process they called Aryanization. While the first people that were sent to concentration camps were political dissidents (which assisted Hitler in becoming a dictator), trade unionists, and social democrats, his Army of people that he named the SA (Storm Troopers) were fighting mainly communists. However, in 1933 Hitler’s SA began raiding gay bars because according to him homosexuality was on the grounds for prosecution. These homosexual males (Yes, only males) were sent to concentration camps to be treated for conversion therapy. Along with male homosexuals, african american males (most of which fight with Adolf in WWI) were sent to the camps as well. As were many other races and religions Hitler didn’t find fit to live in his country. But they were there for sterilization and inhumane experiments. The majority of concentration camp inhabitants were Jews. Some went through sterilization and experiments, but they were all one way or another systematically murdered in gas chambers.
These tests were disgustingly inhumane and barbaric. Shortly after WWII began, what the Germans called the T4 program was initiated. The essentially euphemistically Euthanasia program that was conducted in the camps, were tests to kill people who were physically or mentally handicapped. Hitler genuinely believed that these people were not worth their life and they didn’t deserve it, he also called them worthless eaters. The Nazis pioneered the gas chambers and mass crematoria for this program. Another test done at these camps were simply to attempt to fight diseases. The Nazi scientists tried several types of antibiotics and immunization compounded to try to stop these contagious diseases and other injuries soldiers encountered when fighting. Which included diseases such as malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis. Later on if they survived they were given all sorts of antibiotics and sent them into mustard gas chambers to see if there was a potential solution for it. A third medical category was conducted to try to advance Nazi racial and ideological goals. The most infamous and largely documented test were of Joseph Mengele on dozens of twins and gypsies at Auschwitz, to determine how different races withstood various contagious diseases and how they reacted to them, he did this by literally injecting the virus into them and observing how they dealt with the virus, how it spread, symptoms, and how quick or if they died. Early 1942 was when these concentration or extermination camps were constructed in several locations such as Treblinka, Sobibor, and Belzec in occupied Poland.
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