Hitler as a person did not possess a highly innovative or creative intellectual nature, and neither were his ideas nor the way he combined them anything new. His ideology consisted of a blend of nineteenth-century theories of race and history, Social Darwinism, post-Great War resentments, antisemitism, antimodernism, and even elements of Christianity. What set Hitler apart in his rise to power was the fervour with which he presented his political views and his ability to captivate large crowds, leaving those who heard him speak fascinated by his message. As a political leader and dictator, Hitler’s evolution demonstrated his capacity to leave a mark on significant historical events and implement his own beliefs about race and territorial expansion, despite lacking impressive credentials and accomplishments in the realms of military, diplomacy, and bureaucracy.

“The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes”
― Adolf Hitler

As a child, Hitler had been an average student and left school at the age of 16. Over the next two and a half years, he resided in Linz, Austria, where he spent his time drinking, dreaming, drawing, and envisioning the redesign of the city. During his early adulthood, Hitler managed to live a comfortable life in Vienna without any employment, allowing him to observe the prevailing currents and ideas in the city. He developed an interest in ultranationalism, antisemitism, and pan-Germanism. One of his idols was Karl Lueger, the antisemitic leader of the Christian Socialist Party and mayor of Vienna from 1895 to 1910, whose propaganda methods impressed Hitler greatly. Through his connections in Vienna, Hitler became acquainted with various political extremists, gradually piecing together his own worldview.

Hitler’s fascination with social Darwinist theories, which portrayed life as a struggle between races, grew during this time. His reading primarily consisted of mythology, biology, and even occult literature, though he tended to rely on summaries and pamphlets rather than delving into the original scientific and philosophical texts. It was believed that Hitler’s conversion to antisemitism occurred in 1918, following Germany’s defeat in World War I, with the Jews being scapegoated for the country’s loss.

After the First World War, Hitler joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Within a year, he became a full-time activist for the party and a popular speaker. In 1923, Hitler led a group of conspirators, including war hero Erich Ludendorff, in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Bavarian government and establish a national revival in Germany. As a result, Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for high treason. During his time at Landsberg Prison, he was treated as a celebrity and eventually stopped receiving visitors to focus on completing the book he had begun. Following his release in 1925, Hitler published his book, Mein Kampf, which served as both a memoir and a propaganda tract. However, it did not become a bestseller until Hitler assumed the role of Germany’s chancellor in 1933.

Prior to his rise to power, Hitler was a relatively unknown figure outside of Bavaria. Some people found his humble background, unremarkable military career, and lack of formal education and experience somewhat amusing. However, Hitler’s most distinguishing characteristic among the many demagogues and ideologues of interwar Europe was the immense power he acquired after becoming Germany’s chancellor in 1933.

“The art of reading and studying consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting what is not essential.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Hitler in his evolution into political leadership and dictatorship was his belief in racial superiority and his ideas about the influence and destruction of the purity of the Germanic race. However, it is important to note that there are no races in the biological sense as distinct divisions of the human species. Human genetic potential and biodiversity exist across the world. While race is not a fixed, natural attribute, it is a socially constructed concept tied to physical appearance, shaped by historical, cultural, and social factors. It was created and perpetuated by those in power, maintained through laws and systems, and exists within the realm of science.

Although the concept of race was given legal definitions, it is not an inherent characteristic, and our identities develop over time. Power structures play a significant role in perpetuating racial differences, which are reinforced by laws created to uphold such systems. Race discrimination was designed to establish power hierarchies, with structures constantly reaffirmed to maintain them in people’s minds.

The association of racism with breeding emerged as scientists began classifying animals and plants in the late 18th century. Additionally, the slave trade played a major role in shaping racial constructs. The slave trade was driven by the pursuit of wealth and power, which could only be achieved by asserting that humans were unequal. According to Hitler and Nazi ideology, the Aryan race and its blood held special significance, although these terms did not describe objective realities. However, these labels had very real implications once Nazi ideology was protected by laws and put into practice.

Hitler believed that humanity was engaged in a great struggle between races, or “communities of blood,” and that the Germans, as members of the supposed Aryan race, needed more space to expand. He viewed the ancient Greeks and the Germanic tribes that brought down Roman society as the epitome of ancient greatness. The one constant in Hitler’s worldview was that Aryans were the opposite of Jews. To him, Jews represented everything negative and were the antithesis of the supposedly perfect Aryan race. According to Hitler, Jewishness was a race, a biological reality unaffected by religion, name, or practice. He described Jewish men as weak and effeminate, yet believed they possessed an intelligent cunning that posed a threat to the supposedly superior Aryans.

An important aspect of Hitler’s ideology was his determination to address these perceived issues. He frequently linked communism and Bolshevism with Jews, suggesting that Jews were behind the creation of Communism to destroy Germany. While Jewish people were seen as a separate race by Christians, particularly the Catholic Church, it is impossible to consider religion as a biological reality as it is subject to change. Nevertheless, Judaism was regarded as inherently bad and an immutable biological reality that permanently separated people. Jews in Europe had faced persecution since the 18th century and were confined to specific areas to pressure them to convert to Christianity. Over time, they were denied regular employment and property ownership, leading to a sense of difference. Despite being granted equal participation in society and integration into the armed forces, Jews in France continued to face prejudice as they attempted to advance socially.

In Hitler’s anti-Semitic beliefs, Rosenberg emphasized German superiority. According to his racist theory, the Germans did not seek global dominance but aimed to create a space where Nazi racial groups could thrive. Despite being members of European society, a significant number of Jews were targeted for persecution. SA officials, driven by panic and violence, disregarded the legality of their crimes. Local SA units engaged in boycott campaigns, targeting Jews within the first two weeks of March. Hitler’s initial months in power were marked by hooliganism and terror, which rendered his plan for a Jewish policy regretfully inadequate.

“The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it.”
― Adolf Hitler

The boycott was implemented as a means to exert pressure on German Jews and the international media in order to suppress criticism of the Nazi regime. All Germans were instructed to boycott Jewish businesses and professions due to anti-Nazi sentiments expressed in the international press. Hitler sought to address the “Jewish question” according to his own terms, resulting in the introduction of a series of anti-Semitic policies by the dictatorship.

The initial policy of the boycott involved the persecution, harassment, and boycotts of Jewish shops. Subsequently, the Nuremberg laws of 1935 were enacted, leading to the isolation and exclusion of Jews from society. Since there were no biological means to differentiate Jews from the rest of the population, records were used to identify individuals based on their religious identity. Those with Jewish roots had their citizenship revoked and were no longer considered German citizens. German Jews were treated as foreigners and faced restrictions on employment in universities, government positions, as well as renting and owning homes.

With the outbreak of war, Jewish prisoners were sent to concentration camps, and Eastern European ghettos were established to confine them. Initially, the goal was to remove Jews from Germany rather than exterminate them all, but the overcrowded conditions in the ghettos led to numerous deaths. The fourth stage of the Final Solution, which involved the systematic extermination of Jews, began in 1942 and continued until 1945. Gas chambers were constructed, and the camps were liquidated. All death camps were located in Poland, and prisoners were transported there by train. At Auschwitz, daily selections were conducted to determine whether individuals would be assigned to labour or sent to the gas chambers.

These tragic events highlight the dangerous consequences that can arise when a nation persecutes and kills based on unfounded ideologies and unsupported beliefs. It is evident that the acceptance of a principle as true or the existence of something can lead to extreme measures being taken, resulting in the prosecution and death of countless individuals.

“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
― Adolf Hitler

Another noteworthy characteristic of Hitler in his journey towards political leadership and dictatorship was his emphasis on the idea of territorial expansion and the concept of uniting the Germanic people within a single territory known as GrossDeutschland. These ideas were not exclusive to Hitler but had their origins in 1871 when Bismarck assumed the position of Chancellor of Germany. Bismarck successfully established a Prussian empire without engaging in conquest because he aimed to avoid wars. The formation of a new Germany made the nation realize that its existing territory was insufficient, leading to a desire for territorial expansion and the concept of GrossDeutschland as an initial idea. These notions fueled the Germanic notion of imperialism and the belief that the Germanic people should be united to achieve GrossDeutschland.

When the Nazis came to power, they sought to pursue geographical expansion based on these territorial ideas. There was also support for Ebert’s stab-in-the-back theory, which blamed socialism for Germany’s defeat in World War I. Consequently, the Nazi movement positioned itself as anti-socialist and anti-communist. Hitler’s rise to dictatorial power coincided with a reduction in unemployment, and the control of the brown shirts demonstrated his authority, as exemplified by the assassination of Ernst Rohm.

Germany, being one of the first nations to rebuild its economy after World War I, gained support from Austria. Hitler had ambitions to occupy additional territories, and to avoid war, Britain and France appeased him by ceding certain lands. Jewish individuals who fled Germany were forced to relocate to Poland and France, which ultimately fell under German control. The Jews who remained in Germany in 1938 were subjected to violent attacks, resulting in the destruction of their businesses and homes, with the intention of pressuring them to leave.

When Germany exceeded the limits of its territorial ambitions, Britain declared war. The onset of World War II occurred when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Hitler was concerned about facing Russian troops once he crossed the Polish border, so he entered into a pact with Russia. Under this agreement, Germany would annex the part of Poland that had once belonged to Prussia, while Russia would take control of the remaining portion. Both countries agreed to maintain neutrality towards each other as long as they did not cross the demarcation line.

“Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”
― Adolf Hitler

However, Hitler had always anticipated breaking the agreement and crossing the border. Instead, he focused on conquering other territories that were comparatively easier to capture. Belgium, Holland, and France were ill-prepared to withstand the German forces and became vulnerable targets. By 1940, Germany had successfully occupied Denmark and Norway, leaving Britain as their sole remaining enemy. The mounting pressure on Hungary and Romania compelled these countries to align with Germany, resulting in their territories also falling under German control.

When Germany appeared to be on the verge of complete victory in mid-1941, they decided to break the pact with the Soviet Union and initiated Operation Barbarossa. As the Germans believed that Britain was on the verge of surrender, they advanced towards Moscow but encountered a setback due to fuel shortages. Germany was still grappling with the issue of Jewish populations in various occupied territories. From 1939 to 1941, Stage 3 of Germany’s racial policy involved the deportation of Jews to concentration camps. Jews within Germany faced significant obstacles in leaving the country after the war, while the Germans also occupied new territories that had Jewish populations unwelcome to them. Consequently, Jews were sent to gas chambers and death camps to eliminate them from German territory.

In 1942, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Totalitarian Japan formed the Axis powers, fighting together with shared goals and a belief in their invincibility. However, the Battle of Stalingrad, which took place from August 23, 1942, to February 2, 1943, marked a turning point. The German forces sought to seize the oil fields but were met with strong resistance from the Russians. Eventually, the Germans suffered heavy casualties and were taken prisoner, and sent to Siberian camps. On April 30, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin, enabling his generals to surrender. The war in the West came to an end on May 8, 1945.

Despite the immense tragedy and devastation caused by these events, it is evident that believing in unfounded ideologies and pursuing irrational ambitions can lead to wars and the loss of innocent lives.

“Struggle is the father of all things. It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is able to preserve himself above the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal struggle.”
― Adolf Hitler

In conclusion, an individual like Hitler, lacking highly creative or original thinking, and devoid of novel ideas or unique approaches, was able to assume dictatorial power and become a political leader in Germany. Hitler did not seize control through an unlawful coup d’état, nor did he win over the German populace with his persuasive oratory skills. It is worth noting that the Great Depression was not an inevitable consequence of Germany’s defeat in World War I. Hitler’s path to becoming chancellor in 1933 was more complex and convoluted than conventional interpretations suggest. A combination of circumstances, political manoeuvring, luck, betrayal, and miscalculations by various individuals contributed to Hitler’s rise.

Regarding Hitler’s ascent to power, what set him apart was the fervour with which he articulated his political beliefs and his ability to mesmerize large audiences when sharing his ideas with them. Throughout his political career and evolution as a dictator, Hitler managed to trigger significant historical events despite his lack of tact and skill. However, the resulting loss of innocent lives did not deter him but rather fueled his determination and obscured his objectives.

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