Biographies

HITLER, Adolf

* 20.04.1889 in Braunau
† 30.04.1945 in Berlin.
Politician.

Adolf Hitler was a German politician, who became the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party and was appointed as the Chancellor of Germany in 1933. After the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler declared himself Führer, combining the offices of President and Chancellor into one using the power vested in him by the Enabling Act, and he remained a totalitarian ruler until his suicide in 1945. The Nazi Party gained power during Germany's period of crisis after World War I, exploiting effective propaganda and Hitler's charismatic oratory to gain popularity. The Party emphasised nationalism and antisemitism as its primary political expressions, eventually resorting to murdering its opponents to ensure success. After the restructuring of the state economy and the rearmament of the German armed forces (Wehrmacht), a dictatorship (commonly characterized as either totalitarian or fascist) was established by Hitler, who then pursued an aggressive foreign policy. This resulted in the German Invasion of Poland in 1939, drawing the British and French Empires into World War II. The Wehrmacht enjoyed great success in the early stages of the war and the Axis Powers managed to occupy most of Mainland Europe and parts of Asia. Eventually the combined efforts of the Allies defeated the Wehrmacht. By 1945, both Hitler's policy and the Nazi Party lay in ruins; his bid for territorial conquest and racial subjugation had caused the deaths of tens of millions of people, including the deliberate genocide of an estimated six million Jews in what is now known as the Holocaust. During the final days of the war in 1945, as the German capital of Berlin was being invaded and destroyed by the Red Army of the Soviet Union, Hitler married Eva Braun and less than 24 hours later, the two committed suicide in the Führerbunker.