Hitler (1889-1945), Adolf

27 February, 2009
Bovy Daniel

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau, a small Austrian town sited at the German border. In Vienna, he had frequent contacts with ultranationalist and anti-Semitic people. In 1913, he left Vienna being completely repelled by the “cosmopolitan” population and above all by Jews whom he considered to be parasitic mushrooms of humanity. The first form of Hitlerian violence against Jews is dated September 1919. The year after, in a letter dated July 3 and sent to Konstantin Hierl, Hitler again expressed his anti-Semitic feelings. It would be hazardous to conclude that Hitler already wanted to kill Jews during that period of his life. In Mein Kampf (1925-1926) – a book written in prison with the help of Rudolf Hess after the 1923 Putsch – Hitler developed the main Nazi themes: supremacy of the Aryan race, necessity to fight for a Lebensraum, elimination of Jews. Some historians believe that the extermination program was already written but it is necessary to take into account the responsibility of others: Hitler alone would never have been able to execute the Final Solution of the Jewish question. In January 1933 already, laws against Jews were voted. The first physical attacks against Jews were pogroms. The Cristal Night is considered to be central (November 9, 1938). On January 1939, in the Reichstag, Hitler expressed his political prophecy for the first time, which he would later on remind in crucial periods: “Today I will once more be a prophet: If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevization of the planet, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!” He spoke so again on January 30, 1942 at the Sport Palace of Berlin and on September 30, 1942. The military invasion of Poland was the first step to the conquest for a new Lebensraum. This included the extermination of Jews since the Nazis considered the territorial conquest of the Eastern territories to be racial wars led by the SS and the Einsatzgruppen. When the German army experienced severe defeats, one could observe a brutal acceleration of the genocidal process making it irreversible. From 1942 (beginning of mass deportations) to 1944, Hitler and his killers spent a tremendous energy in trying to exterminate as many Jews, gypsies and a great part of the Eastern population as possible. In spring 1944, precisely at the moment when the Wehrmacht absolutely needed logistics, Hitler ordered that Hungarian Jews should be transported by train from Hungary to Auschwitz where they were later on assassinated. This confirms that in a way the extermination of Jews had become the only war objective Hitler could still realize. Hitler’s political testament confirms that he was convinced of his Weltanschauung (conviction) till the end of his life: “One will be eternally grateful to national-socialism which has allowed Jews to disappear from Germany and Central Europe”.


Kershaw, I., 2000, Hitler, tome 1, 1889-1936. : Flammarion.

Kershaw, I., 2000, Hitler, tome 2, 1936-1945. : Flammarion.

Fest, J., Hitler, Tome 1: Jeunesse et conquête du pouvoir, : Gallimard.

Fest, J., Hitler, Tome 2: Le führer, : Gallimard.

Hamann, B., 2001, La Vienne de Hitler. Les années d'apprentissage d'un dictateur. : Édition des Syrtes, 2001.

Cite this item

Bovy Daniel, Hitler (1889-1945), Adolf , Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, [online], published on: 27 February, 2009, accessed 17/02/2020, http://bo-k2s.sciences-po.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/hitler-1889-1945-adolf, ISSN 1961-9898
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