To promote the concept of ‘racial hygiene’ and what he believed to be survival of the fittest, Hitler enacted a racial cleansing campaign which led to the deaths of between 11 and 14 million people, including over 6 million Jews.
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Austria, the fourth of six children. His family moved quite often in his early years, finally settling in a small town in Lambach, Germany when Hitler was six years old. He was described as a happy, carefree child who loved to play cowboys and Indians.
In 1900, Hitler’s younger brother died of measles, seemingly transforming the young Hitler overnight into a morose, sullen, detached child who constantly battled his teachers and authoritarian father. It is said that Hitler was frequently beaten and the conflict between the boy and his father only increased as Hitler wanted to study in a classical high school, rather than the technical studies his father forced upon him. Hitler’s father died in 1903, and his behavior at school only worsened, finally leading to his humiliating expulsion, never to return to school again. He joined the Bavarian army in August of 1914 serving in France and Belgium in the first World War. He earned the Iron Cross for bravery twice during the conflict. He dictated and published his belief’s and autobiography, called Mein Kampf in 1925.
In 1932, he became a German citizen and his writings claim that he felt it was his obligation and fate to be the savior of Germany. This was to be the start of his political ascension and he was eventually appointed Chancellor of Germany and a year and a half later, in August 1934 was the undisputed leader of Germany. By 1939, Hitler had begun his plan to create a pure, master race to secure the successful future of Germany. He started by killing any children with physical and developmental disabilities, then set up a series of concentration camps where he sent millions to die in gas chambers. He conducted mass executions of Jew, non-Jewish Poles, Communists and anyone considered to be a political opponent. Homosexuals, Soviet POW’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses and psychiatric patients were all put to death.
A series of miscalculations led to the German defeat in World War II, and on April 30, 1945, with the Soviet Army advancing towards his bunker, Hitler and his wife simultaneously committed suicide to avoid capture.