Adolf Hitler - A Brief Biography

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei - (National Socialist German Workers Party), often abbreviated to the NSDAP, and commonly known as the Nazi Party.
He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. 
A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the precursor of the Nazi Party (DAP) in 1919, and became leader of NSDAP in 1921.
He attempted a coup d'état, known as the 'Munich Putsch' at the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall in Munich in 1923.
The failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, 'Mein Kampf' ("My Struggle").
After his release in 1924, he gained support by promoting Pan-Germanism, antisemitism and anti-communism, with charismatic oratory and propaganda.

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Hitler was appointed chancellor in 1933, and transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party state based on the Völkisch and autocratic ideology of National Socialism.
One of Hitler's avowed aims was to establish a 'New Order' in continental Europe.
His foreign and domestic policies had the goal of aquiring Lebensraum ("living space") for the Nordic Aryan people.
This included the rearmament of Germany, resulting in the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in 1939, leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Adolf Hitler was born at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary, on April 20, 1889, the fourth child of six.
(see Braunau Stadtwappen right)


Adolf Hitler was born in one of the most provincial parts of a Germanic community that was itself a congeries of provinces.
In writing of his father in 'Mein Kampf', Hitler described him as a man of the world, but the Austrian customs officer who had risen to middle-class officialdom from the shoemaker's trade was as far from that as were most of his neighbors.
They were insular country people who lived in tight ethnic enclaves in the midst of a polyglot state and who looked with instant suspicion on anything or anyone who differed from them. 
They rejected not only Jews but all outsiders, Protestant Germans along with the Catholic Italians who shared Austria's high Tyrolean mountains, as well as the other regrettable nationalities who made up part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: Poles, Czechs, Ladins, Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Slovakians, Ruthenians, Walachians, and the rest.
The Dual Monarchy was made up essentially of a loose association of tribes, each inwardly territorial, bristling at any sign of another nationality's pretensions to power, which could only come about at the expense of one's own integrity and self-esteem.
The peoples of Austria-Hungary lived in an atmosphere of fierce tribal loyalties and conflicts, in a monarchy called Kaiserliche and Koenigliche; both an empire and a kingdom, since the emperor of Austria was also the king of Hungary, as well as the king of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slovenia, Jerusalem, and many other territories and the sovereign of over a dozen resident ethnic and religious minorities.
Austria had a long history of mixed peoples.
Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Celts had migrated there from Spain; Romans, Germans, a Tartar people called the Avars, and Slavs had all settled there and had left their imprint on the country and its later population even when they moved on.
The German name for the Roman invaders was Walsch, or Welsch, and names like Walgau, Walchensee, and Seewalchen are related to what were Roman settlements. Slavic names are preserved in Feistritz (from Bistrica"fast water"), Fladnitz (from Blatnica"swamp water"), Liesing (from Lesnica''wood brook"), Görach (from Gora"mountain"), and Görtschak (from Gorcia "hill"). A Roman name like Anula became Anif; Lentia became Linz; Janiculum, Gnigl; and Cucullae, Kuchl. Salzburg was still known in the eighth century by its Latin name Juvavia as well as by its Germanic name. Vienna was called by the Romans Vindobona, from a similar Celtic name, and by the ninth century it was called Wenia, or Venia.
The villages in Lower Austria that the Hitlers, or Hiedlers, or Müttlers (this name, too, had a number of variants) came from, along with the Schicklgrubers (meaning hedge diggers) and Pölzls on Hitler's maternal side, were, like most of the Austrian settlements, outwardly homogeneous: although non-Germanic elements were present, they were neither numerous nor conspicuous in comparison with the overwhelmingly German-speaking majority.
But in these provinces, too, non-Germanic peoples had either intermarried with the Germans or, in a few cases, remained as undigested foreign bodies.
In Upper Austria, riots had occurred in Innsbruck when Adolf Hitler was fifteen years old.
An Italian faculty had been approved for the law school of the University of Innsbruck (until the end of the eighteenth century, when it was replaced by German, Latin had been the language of instruction in Austrian universities); Italian students had met at an inn to celebrate the occasion; and in the course of counter-demonstrations, many of the Italians had been arrested and forty revolvers had been taken from them.
The German Austrians were always convinced of the need to defend their language and culture against the aliens around them even though they were often related to them.


The Hitler family descends from Stefan Hiedler (born 1672) and his wife, Agnes Capeller.
Their grandson was Martin Hiedler (17 November 1762 – 10 January 1829), who married Anna Maria Göschl (August 23, 1760 – 7 December 1854).
Martin and Anna were the parents of at least three children, Lorenz, in which there is no further information, Johan Georg (baptised 28 February 1792 – 9 February 1857), who is the stepfather of Alois Hitler (father of Adolf), and Johann Nepomuk (28 February 1792 – September 17, 1888), a maternal great grandfather of Adolf Hitler.
They were from Spital, Austria.
Brothers Johann Georg and Johann Nepomuk Hiedler are connected to Adolf Hitler several ways, although the biological relationship is disputed.
Johann Georg was considered the officially accepted paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler by the Third Reich.
Whether Johann Georg was in fact Hitler's biological paternal grandfather is considered unknown by modern historians, but his case is the most plausible and widely accepted.
He married his first wife in 1824 but she died in childbirth five months later.
In 1842, he married Maria Anna Schicklgruber and became the legal stepfather to her illegitimate five year old son, Alois.
Johann Nepomuk Hiedler (also known as Johann Nepomuk Hüttler) was named after a Bohemian Saint Johann von Nepomuk.
Some view this name as evidence that Johann Nepomuk and subsequently his great-grandson Adolf Hitler had some Czech blood, however, Johann von Pomuk/Johann Nepomuk, was an important saint for Bohemians of both German and Czech ethnicity.
Using Nepomuk just indicates ties to Bohemia, without indication of ethnicity.
Johann Nepomuk became a relatively prosperous farmer and was married to Eva Maria Decker (1792–1888) who was fifteen years his senior.
The actual father of Alois Hitler is disputed.
Legally, Johann Nepomuk was the step-uncle of Alois Schicklgruber (later Alois Hitler) (see right), the stepson of his brother Johann Georg Hiedler, a wandering miller.
For reasons unknown, he took in Alois when he was a boy and raised him.
It is possible that he was, in fact, Alois' natural father but could not acknowledge this publicly due to his marriage.
Another, and perhaps simpler, explanation for this kindness is that Johann Nepomuk took pity on the ten year old Alois and took him in.
Alois was, after all, the stepson of Johann Georg, and Johann Nepomuk may have known that in fact Alois was Johann Georg's natural child.
After the death of Alois' mother Maria, it could hardly have been a suitable life for a ten-year old child to be raised by an itinerant miller.
Johann Nepomuk died on September 17, 1888.
In any case, Johann Nepomuk left Alois a considerable portion of his life savings.

Johann Nepomuk's granddaughter, Klara (see left) had a longstanding affair with Alois before marrying him in 1885 after the death of his second wife.
In 1889 she gave birth to Adolf Hitler.
It was later claimed Johann Georg had fathered Alois prior to his marriage to Maria, although Alois had been declared illegitimate on his birth certificate and baptism papers; the claim that Johann Georg was the true father of Alois was not made after the marriage of Maria and Johann Georg, or, indeed, even during the lifetime of either of them.
In 1877, twenty years after the death of Johann Georg and almost thirty years after the death of Maria, Alois was legally declared to have been Johann Georg's son.
Accordingly, Johann Georg Hiedler is one of three people most cited by modern historians as having possibly been the actual paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler.
The other two are Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, the younger brother of Johann Georg, and a Graz Jew by the name of Leopold Frankenberger.
In the 1950s, this third possibility was popular among historians, but modern historians now think it highly unlikely as the Jews were expelled from Graz in the fifteenth century and were not permitted to return until the 1860s, several decades after Alois' birth.


Johanna Hideler, the daughter of Johann Nepomuk and Eva Decker Hiedler, was born on 19 January 1830 in Spital (part of Weitra) in the Waldviertel of Lower Austria.
She lived her entire life there and was married to Johann Baptist Pölzl (1825-1901), a farmer and son of Johann Pölzl and Juliana (Walli) Pölzl. Johanna and Johann had 5 sons and 6 daughter, of which 2 sons and 3 daughters survived into adulthood.
The three daughters who survived into adulthood were Klara (Adolf Hitler's mother), Johanna, and Theresia.

Klara Hitler
Alois Hitler
Hitler's father, Alois Hitler (1837–1903), was a customs official, and Hitler's mother, Klara Pölzl (1860–1907), was Alois' third wife.
She was also his half-niece, so a papal dispensation (both individuals were Roman Catholic) was obtained for the marriage.
Hitler's father, Alois Hitler, was an illegitimate child.
For the first 39 years of his life he bore his mother's surname, Schicklgruber.
In 1876, he took the surname of his stepfather, Johann Georg Hiedler.
The name was spelled Hiedler, Huetler, Huettler and Hitler, and was probably regularized to Hitler by a clerk.
The origin of the name is either "one who lives in a hut" (Standard German Hütte), "shepherd" (Standard German hüten "to guard", English heed), or is from the Slavic word Hidlar and Hidlarcek. (Regarding the first two theories: some German dialects make little or no distinction between the ü-sound and the i-sound.)
Allied propaganda exploited Hitler's original family name during World War II.
Pamphlets bearing the phrase "Heil Schicklgruber" were airdropped over German cities.

Paula Hitler
Das Grab von Paula Hitler
He was legally born a Hitler, however, and was also related to Hiedler via his maternal grandmother, Johanna Hiedler.
All of Adolf's older siblings  – Gustav, Ida, and Otto – died before reaching three years of age and only Adolf and his sister Paula (see left and right), seven years his junior, reached adulthood.
Hitler's father also had a son, Alois, Jr., and a daughter, Angela, by his second wife who were therefore Hitler's half-brother and half-sister.
The name "Adolf" comes from Old High German for "noble wolf" (Edel=nobility + wolf), hence, one of Hitler's self-given nicknames was Wolf or Herr Wolf; he began using this nickname in the early 1920s and was addressed by it only by intimates (as "Uncle Wolf" by the Wagners) up until the fall of the Third Reich.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

It is reliably reported that during the 1930s Hitler would often whistle the Disney hit
'Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf'
presumably a reference to himself - which does at least show that he had a sense of humour. See above for contemporary video, with soundtrack, of Hitler relaxing at the Berghof.

House at Leonding
The names of his various headquarters scattered throughout continental Europe (Wolfsschanze in East Prussia, Wolfsschlucht in France, Werwolf in Ukraine, etc.) reflect this.
By his closest family and relatives, Hitler was known as "Adi".

At the age of three, his family moved to Kapuzinerstrasse 5 in Passau (see right), Germany.

There, Hitler would acquire a Bavarian dialect of Austro-Bavarian rather than an Austrian dialect.
In 1894, the family relocated to Leonding near Linz.

In April of 1895 the upwardly mobile Hitler family moves to the hamlet of Hafeld, Austria, some thirty miles southwest of Linz, the provincial capital. Consisting of a dozen houses set on a high ridge, surrounded and half-hidden by orchards, Hafeld, near Fischlham, is a small village with a population of around one hundred.

St. Georgen im Fischlham
With the intention of working the land during his impending retirement, Alois, with nearly forty years in the customs service, Alois purchased a beautiful nine-acre farm within sight of the mountains of the Salzkammergut.
Alois had retired there to try his hand at farming and beekeeping.
Though retiring early to devote his remaining years to the (what might be presumed) idyllic existence of a peasant farmer, Alois was nevertheless firmly convinced that his sons, especially the under-achieving eldest, Alois II, could do no better in life than to follow in their father's footsteps by entering the civil service.

Alois Hitler Jr.
Although Alois Jr. was the black sheep , he was probably the happiest member of the family. He had an earthy robust character, charmed women, and lived by his wits. He was always inventing schemes for getting rich quickly, and most of them came to grief. Neither prison nor poverty soured him. He was unfailingly good-humored and polite. He was one of those who enjoy life to the full.

After devoting the major part of his adult life to furthering his career, the previously much absent father now had the time to become involved in the lives of his children.

During this time, the young Hitler attended school in nearby Fischlham, a municipality in the district of Wels-Land in Upper Austria, Austria, where Hitler received his first two years of formal schooling, from 1895-1897.

Fischlham Primary School
Fischlham Primary School
Twelve-year old Angela Hitler walked the two miles from the Hitler residence to Fischlham with her brother, the six-year old Adolf Hitler, dressed in a dark-blue sailor suit, in tow.
Sitting at his desk in the "shabby and primitive" school house -split into two classrooms, one for boys and one for girls - the bright, and reasonably well behaved, but somewhat spoiled 'Muttersoehnchen' (Momma's boy), began his formal schooling.
Mittermaier, one of the schools teachers, remembered young Adolf "as a lively, bright-eyed, and intelligent six-year old."

Franco-Prussian War
Karl May
As a child, he played "Cowboys and Indians" under the inspiration of the boy's fiction writer Karl May (see left) and, by his own account, became fixated on war after finding a picture book about the Franco-Prussian War (see right) among his father's belongings.

An avowed pacifist from Saxony, Karl May authored numerous popular adventure stories set in the American Wild West, while never personally setting foot outside the continent of Europe. May's books were all the rage in those times, and Hitler and his peers would follow, with devotion, the adventures the white American hero, Old Shatterhand, as he decimates the ranks of the evil Ogellallah Indians.
Although May never saw America he produced dozens of wild and rowdy stories of trappers, hunters, cowboys and Indians. Like the late 19th century American "dime novels," May's stories were filled with tales of adventure and violence. His swashbuckling hero, 'Old Shatterhand', was a white American who fought the red men and his ruthlessness was always described with admiration. Old Shatterhand liked to quote the Bible to show he was perfectly justified in killing his enemies. As a balance to Old Shatterhand and the white man, there were the noble Apaches and their resolute chief, Winnetou. Adolf was deeply impressed with the character of Winnetou and nearly forty years later would state that Winnetou had always been his "model of a noble spirit." May's stories were snatched up by millions of readers and a generation of German youths adored his work. Boys like Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer (1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner) were loyal May fans.  Even girls, like Eva Braun, read May.

Hitler had a troubled childhood, as his father was violent to him and violent towards his mother.
Hitler himself said that, as a boy, he was often beaten by his father.
Years later, he told his secretary:
"I then resolved never again to cry when my father whipped me.
A few days later I had the opportunity of putting my will to the test.
My mother, frightened, took refuge in front of the door.
As for me, I counted silently the blows of the stick which lashed my rear end".
Some historians believe a history of family violence committed by his father against his mother is indicated in a section of his book 'Mein Kampf' in which Hitler describes in vivid detail an anonymous example of family violence committed by a husband against a wife.
This along with beatings by his father against him could explain Hitler's deep emotional attachment to his mother while at the same time having deep resentment towards his father.
To make matters worse for the frustrated retired customs official during this period, it became obvious that the soil on the farm was non-productive.
When Alois had first set eyes on the Hafeld farm, he had been struck by the serene beauty of the property, however, when the cold autumn rains - intensified by the nearby mountains - swept the place, he began to have second thoughts.
Nevertheless, he persevered as long as possible.
The peasant life agreed with Alois, who was especially passionate about bee-keeping.
Hitler would later recall:
"It was the most normal thing in the world to be stung by bees. My mother would pull out as many as forty-five or fifty stings from my father when he returned from clearing the hives.
He never protected himself in any way except by smoking all the time. In other words it was a good excuse for another cigar !

The Inn - Lambach
Stadtwappenn Lambach
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Eventually Hitler's father's farming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure.
In 1897 the Hitlers sold the farm and  took up residence two and a half miles away in Lambach, a town with some 1700 inhabitants.
They moved into a fashionable lodging house directly across the street from the town's Benedictine abbey.
Six months later they moved into a spacious second floor apartment in the main plaza just around the corner.

Lambach is a market town in the Wels-Land district of Upper Austria, Austria, on the Ager and Traun Rivers. It has a population of 3,242 as of 2001. A major stop on the salt trade, it is the site of the Lambach Abbey, built around 1056.

As a retired official of the Royal and Imperial Civil Service, Alois became part of the Honoratioren - leading citizens of the small town like the mayor, doctor, school principal, tax collector, and more important merchants.
The eight year old Adolf was admitted to the Catholic school in the 11th-century Benedictine cloister attached to the abbey.

Hakenkreuz - Lambach 
The abbey church had been built nearly a thousand years earlier, and was remodeled hundreds of years later by a ruling abbot whose coat of arms contained his initials (TH) in the form of a stylized hakenkreuz (hooked-cross).
In German mythology the swastika  was the "fire whisk" which twirled the universe into existence.
The abbot, responsible for the remodeling, combined German myth with Christianity and the swastika-like symbol appeared on various parts of the abbey, including the main gateway and on the pulpit.
As usual, the young Hitler excelled in his school work.
He also attended choir lessons and began training as an altar boy.
They met regularly to discuss the problems and issues of their day.
In Lambach the eight-year-old Hitler also sang in the church choir, took singing lessons, and even entertained thoughts of one day becoming a priest - like the young Stalin.
Although Alois disliked much of church policy, he nevertheless considered a parish priest a model, and along with Klara, they encouraged Adolf's hopes.
As the son of a retired official, young Adolf enjoyed the prestige and status of his father's position.
Since the family was one of the most prosperous in the small community, by the time Adolf was nine he was looked up to by many of the local boys and soon became, in his own words, a little "ringleader."
His favorite game was still cowboys and Indians, and he would organize the neighboring boys, and sometimes the girls, into teams and lead his braves against the opposing forces.
During the 18 months Adolf lived in Lambach, he frequently got in trouble.
He once brought "Indian" knives and axes to school.
One day he was caught taking a puff on a cigarette.
Another time he organized the neighboring boys and raided an orchard. Over the objections of his mother, his father handled such misbehavior in the accepted way - a customary thrashing. His father's anger, however, was contained.
Angela would later remark that she and Klara would hang on to Alois' coattails when he went to "hit" Adolf, and Adolf himself never held such thrashings against his father.
He would later state that they were "necessary" and that his life as a child "showed little or no difference from that of other people."
Adolf's grades in school remained at excellent, with an occasional above average in singing, drawing, and gymnastics.
In the last quarter of the 1897-98 school year he received twelve 1's which is equivalent to twelve A's in the American school system.
Neighbors, nonetheless, considered Adolf a little rogue, who was always where the action was and usually leading it.
Although they complained that the boy with the "beautiful blue eyes" was a spoiled loud-mouth, and could be unsettling to have around, they also noted that he could talk to adults and at times was very expressive and fluent for one so young.

In November, 1898, Alois purchased a house in Leonding, a little village three miles west of Linz.
The family moved in shortly before Adolf turned ten.
It was an attractive house situated in tranquil surroundings with a half-acre yard in the rear. Alois, not a man to sit idly by, spent his time working a small garden and a few fruit trees.
He also continued to tend bees and wrote articles on bee-keeping.

On 2 February 1900 Hitler's younger brother, Edmund, died of measles.
Adolf was also ill, but recovered, although for the rest of his childhood and boyhood he was considered a 'sickly youth'.
To Klara, the death was like a hammer blow and brought back the memories of the three children she had lost twelve years before.
She suffered terribly, and neighbors were shocked when she failed to attend the funeral.
To the ten year old Adolf, who had been very close to his younger brother, the death left a lasting wound.
After the church service he stood in a driving snowstorm and watched while his little brother was lowered into his grave.
In the future, anytime Adolf looked out of his bedroom window he was reminded of Edmund who's grave was visible from his window.
He became moody, dispirited and withdrawn.
The death of Edmund deeply affected Hitler, whose character changed from being confident and outgoing, and an excellent student, to a morose, detached, and sullen boy who constantly fought his father and his teachers.
Years later when Adolf Hitler would become famous, journalists and reporters would flock to the area to see what people remembered of him.
Although the local population would repeat the stories of his Indian games, how quickly he ran if called by his father, how well he did in the Leonding school, or how spoiled he was, they also remembered a very curious thing.
They said Adolf was sometimes seen, late into the night, sitting on the high cemetery wall "gazing up at the stars" or talking to the "windblown trees."
One of Adolf's playmates remembered that Adolf would also climb the hill behind his house at night and talk to a "nonexistent audience."
After Edmund's death, religion lost its glamour for the young Adolf and he never again talked about becoming a priest.
It appears that Edmund's death haunted Hitler all his life.
With Edmund's death, the close bond between Klara and Adolf intensified.
She resumed her doting over him and pampered him continuously.
His health and dispirited attitude worried her profoundly.
With the end of summer vacation that year, Adolf (a star pupil in grade school) began classes, on 9/17/1900, at the non-classical secondary school on Stein Gasse in Linz.

The school which was only a couple hundred yards north of the Hitler home. 
As usual, he excelled in his school work.
Like all small boys of the time, he was often dressed in "lederhosen, white shirt, and a small green hat with a feather in its band."
Nearly directly opposite the Hitler home, on the other side of the road, was the local Catholic cemetery and church of St. Michael.
The Hitler family attended the church every Sunday and Adolf joined other local boys in singing in the choir.
From his upstairs bedroom window, Adolf could see over the high stone wall surrounding the cemetery.

In the sixth grade, his first year of high school (Realschule) in Linz he failed and had to repeat the grade.
His teachers said that he had "no desire to work".
Making the transition from grade school to high school can be a hard period for any boy, but was particularly hard on the eleven year old Adolf Hitler. 

Linz  Stadtzentrum
He not only had to contend with the recent death of his brother, but with a new environment. Unlike the small rural towns where he had spent his life, Linz was a bustling city of 55,000 people.
Adolf either had to walk to the four-story school building, which took about an hour, or he could take the train.
In the secondary school, which wasn't mandatory and where parents paid for their children's education, his father's position and rank meant little.
As an "outsider" he and a few other boys from Leonding, were looked down on by many of the wealthier city boys as one of those "from the peasants."
For the first time he now found himself exposed to the class prejudices of the upper classes who considered him unworthy in not only character but appearance.
As one class conscious historian later commented: "For here he found himself a rough-hewn rustic, a despised outsider among the sons of academics, businessmen, and persons of quality."
Adolf's whole world must have seemed like it was falling in on him.
He appeared listless and unconcerned and, for the first time, did poorly in school.
As Adolf's grades plunged, a conflict between father and son developed because Alois feared another "no-account" son.
Adolf Hitler would later write that "hostility" developed between his father and himself when he was "eleven years old."
It wasn't long before Adolf found himself at the mercy of his father's discipline on a regular basis.
Klara shielded the boy whenever possible, but normally consoled him afterward, and no doubt alienated her husband.
The opposing values between parents drew Adolf closer to his mother and he developed a rebellious attitude toward his father.
For the first time, relatives and neighbors noted that the 'spoiled child' Adolf could also be defiant, and did not like anyone telling him what to do.
He failed maths and natural history, and was not promoted that year.
"When I was a schoolboy," Hitler would later state, "I did all I could to get out in the open air as much as possible - my school reports bear witness to that !"
Hitler's frustration is made clear by one of his own stories.
One of his jobs at home was to protect the family garden from neighboring chickens.
Adolf found it "irritating" that when he chased them away they came back again.
"When I was a child," he would later recollect, "my parents had a little garden in Leonding. Our neighbor insisted on letting her hens forage in our garden. One day I loaded a shot-gun and blazed off at them."

Hittler and Wittgenstein - Realschule - Linz
Realschule - Linz
For one school year he was a student there at the same time as Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.
It is a matter of controversy whether Hitler and Wittgenstein even knew of each other, and if so whether either had any memory of the other.
After repeating the year he had failed Adolf was promoted.
He would earn decent grades in most subjects when he returned to school in the fall, but his grades would never reach the level they had before his brother's death.
Like many students, he did not like mathematics and never mastered the technicalities of written languages.
His grades in Mathematics were poor, but his grades in geometrical drawing were above average.
As in his first year he was failing French.
His grades in conduct, on the other hand, were usually "good."
Hitler would later blame his bad grades during this period on his habit of reading material not concerned with school activities. 
Because his father expected better grades, the friction between them continued.
Hitler later said that his educational slump was a rebellion against his father, who wanted the boy to follow him in a career as a customs official; he wanted to become a painter instead.
Alois wanted Adolf to follow in his footsteps and become a civil servant for the Austrian government. Adolf, on the other hand, was opposed to it.
Building upon the child's instinct to rival the father and a doting mother to protect or console him, Adolf's rebellious attitude toward his father increased.
His sister Paula would later state: "When Mother said anything he obeyed, and when Father said anything he was against it.
Adolf admitted to his father that he did not want to follow in his footsteps.
The conflict between father and son intensified.
"Adolf," his sister also remarked, "challenged my father ... and... got a sound thrashing everyday. He was a scrubby little rogue, and all attempts of father to thrash him for his rudeness and cause him to crave the profession of an official of the state were in vain. How often on the other hand did my mother caress him and try to obtain with her kindness, where the father could not succeed with harshness !"
Neither mother nor father succeeded, for Adolf had other ideas.
Adolf's teachers and classmates noticed that he had an above average ability in drawing.
He was very adept at drawing geometric or architectural structures.
He could amaze his classmates by drawing from memory buildings which they would recognize before he was finished.
Some of his early works still survive and show the crude but budding talent of an untrained child. Adolf nourished the idea of becoming an artist.
When he revealed this to his father it only aggravated the bad feelings already there.
Caught in that awkward period between the passing of childhood and the coming of adolescence, Adolf still led his Indian braves against the opposing forces.
"When we children played 'Red Indians,'" his sister later related, "my brother Adolf was always the leader. All the others did what he told them; they must have had an instinct that his will was stronger."
One of his classmates would later remark: "We were always playing at war--war games endlessly. Most of us got sick of it, but Hitler always managed to find some who would play with him, usually younger boys."
Another commented: "He was more alert than the other boys, and in their games it was he who used his wits to best advantage....and he was always the leader."

During this period Adolf also acquired the habit of reading since his father had a small library. Adolf's mind was fired by the exploits of the Norwegian Arctic explorer and oceanographer, Fridtjof Nansen (1922 Nobel Peace Prize winner), and also the Swedish explorer, Sven Hedin, who had recently traversed the ancient silk routes from Russia, through Tibet to Peking.
After he returned to school in the Fall of 1901, however, and began repeating the year he had failed, things improved.
The shock of his brother's death had subsided somewhat, and he returned to some of his old ways.
By keeping his distance from those "persons of quality," he found his place.
Because of his brashness, and because he was now older than most of his classmates, many began to look up to him and he became a 'little leader' again.
Although Alois, well into his sixties now, still "scolded and bawled" at Adolf, his 'bark was worst than his bite'.
Acquaintances stated he "never touched" Adolf during these later years and that "the boy stood in awe of him."
Apparently Alois had returned to his mellowed ways, for witnesses stated that he was always cheerful and good company.
He seems to have had his sentimental moments, and in one of his surviving letters inquires about purchasing two beehives he built years earlier on the Hafeld farm "as a memento of my activities there."
Adolf Hitler would always speak of his father without malice, and even remember times when his father joked with him. Years later he would remark:
'I used occasionally to say to him: 'Father just think...' He used immediately to interrupt me: 'My son, I have no need to think, I'm an official.''
Klara, who was always considered "a real nice women," was often seen on school mornings walking Paula to the gate and giving her a kiss in parting.
Open affection was not a common trait among the Germans in the area, and the Hitler children were the envy of some of their peers.
"My mother," Hitler would recall years later, "lived for her husband and children."
Although Klara attended church every Sunday with the children, Alois attended only on the Emperor's birthday.
On the other hand, Alois continued to be involved with social issues and met at informal gatherings at a local inn, and even joined a singing group.
He was content, and though he had been bothered by a lung aliment for some time, appeared in good health.
During this time, Adolf's grades improved, and his twelve year old mind began to be shaped by the beliefs of his day.
The ideals impressed upon the young Hitler during this period would dominate his thinking till the day he died.
This explanation is further supported by Hitler's later description of himself as a misunderstood artist.
German Nationalism became an obsession for Hitler, and a way to rebel against his father, who proudly served the Austrian government.
Most residents living along the German-Austrian border considered themselves German-Austrians, whereas Hitler expressed loyalty only to Germany.
In defiance of the Austrian monarchy, and his father who continually expressed loyalty to it, Hitler and his friends used the German greeting "Heil", and sang the German anthem "Deutschland Über Alles" instead of the Austrian Imperial anthem.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler attributed his conversion to German nationalism to a time during his early teenage years when he read a book of his father's about the Franco-Prussian War, which caused him to question why his father and other German Austrians failed to fight for the Germans during the war.
When Adolf was almost fourteen, his father then 66, died unexpectedly of a lung hemorrhage (Jan. 3, 1903).
The funeral was held a few days later in the church opposite their home.
Alois was laid to rest on the other side of the stone wall.
Although Adolf had his differences with his father, he considered him a "man of honor" and was "deeply bereaved."

In accordance with Alois Hitler's status as a very well respected pillar of the community (Honoratioren), nearly the entire village, relatives from Spital, and former colleagues from the custom service attend Alois's funeral.
Alois's best friend, primary drinking buddy and fellow customs man Karl Wessely - as well as Josef Mayrhofer, the Mayor of Leonding--are among Alois's pallbearers.
By the terms of Alois's will, Mayor Mayrhofer is made the guardian of the minor Hitler children.

Alois Hitler's obituary, written by "one of Alois Hitler's Leonding acquaintances," was published in the Linz Tagepost:
'We have buried a good man: this we can rightly say about Alois Hitler, Higher Official of the Imperial Customs, retired, who was carried to his final resting place today. On the third of this month his life came to a sudden end as a result of an apoplectic stroke in the Gasthaus Stiefler, where he had gone because he was feeling unwell, hoping to revive himself with a glass of wine. 
Alois Hitler was in his 65th year, and had experienced a full measure of joy and sorrow. Having only an elementary school education, he had first learned the trade of a cobbler, but later taught himself the knowledge needed for a civil service career, which he served with distinction, and in addition he achieved success in husbandry. Salzburg, Braunau, Simbach, Linz, were among the places where he saw service.' Alois Hitler was a progressively minded man through and through and, as such, he was a warm friend of free education. In company he was always cheerful, not to say boisterous. The harsh words that sometimes fell from his lips could not belie the warm heart that beat under the rough exterior. He was always an energetic champion of law and order. Well-informed on all kinds of matters, he could always be counted on to pronounce authoritatively on any subject. Fond of singing, he was never happier than when in a joyful company of fellow enthusiasts. In the sphere of bee-keeping he was an authority. Not the least of his characteristics was his great frugality and sense of economy and thrift. All in all Hitler's passing has left a great gap, not only in his family: he leaves a widow and four children not well provided for; but also in the circle of his friends and acquaintances who will preserve pleasant memories of him.'

Whether his father's death was the triggering element or not, by this time Adolf lost complete faith in the teaching of the church.
"Since my fourteenth year," he would later say, "I have felt liberated from the superstition that the priests used to teach."
Around this time a teacher/priest asked Adolf if he said his prayers. Adolf replied: "No, sir, I don't say prayers. Besides, I don't see how God could be interested in the prayers of a secondary school boy."
Klara received about 80% of her husband's income in pensions for her and the children. Because of her frugality, the material life style of the family was not affected.
They lived within the lower fringes of the middle class (petty bourgeoisie).
They lived "quietly and decently--unnoticed little people in an out-of-the-way town."*

Klara allowed Adolf to room at Linz during school days to avoid the three mile trip to school everyday.
She hoped his grades would improve - they didn't.
The landlady of the boarding-house, Frau Sekira (and the five other boys at the Kostplatz), stated that although Adolf appeared ill at ease at times, he was polite, well-behaved and spent most of his free time drawing and reading.
Adolf never became close friends with any of the five boys who shared the lodging.
His experiences the previous year with class prejudices caused him to keep his distance from those who considered him an outsider or one from the peasants.
In German there are two common forms of "you," Sie (formal) and du (familiar).
Du, at the time, was only to be used among close friends of equal status.
The young Adolf, in an apparent defiant gesture, refused to address certain classmates by du since they obviously did not consider him their equal.
As one of the boys would later state: "None of the five other boys made friends with him. Whereas we schoolmates naturally called one another du, he addressed us as Sie, and we also said Sie to him and did not even think there was anything odd about it."
As Adolf Hitler would later state: "In my youth, I was rather a loner and didn’t feel the need to be part of a group."
The peasants at this time furthermore, finding the word "Sie" too formal, frequently used the word "ihr" to address outsiders.
Hitler may also have been proclaiming to those boys of "quality" that he was not a peasant.

Ironically, Adolf's grandfather ( Klara's father), had died the previous January.
After watching his brother, grandfather and now father buried during three of the last four winters, Adolf not only turned away from his religion, but also began to develop a distaste for the colder months and never again enjoyed winter activities.
Although he knew how to snow-ski, he gave it up around this time and never skied again.* "I've always detested snow," he would later state, "I've always halted it."
After Alois' sudden death on 3 January 1903, Adolf's behaviour at the technical school became even more disruptive, and he was asked to leave in 1904.

Stadtwappen Spital
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Spital am Pyhrn
One of Klara's sisters, Theresia, was married to a farmer named Anton Schmidt whose farm at Spital, a municipality in the district of Kirchdorf an der Krems in Upper Austria, consisted of   woods and fields. After Adolf completed his school year, in the summer of 1903, Klara, Angela, Paula and Adolf spent most of the summer on the Schmidt farm.
The Schmidts had two young children and Adolf's Grandmother (Klara's mother) also lived there. Adolf would spend the next four summers there.
Although he occasionally helped out with some of the farm chores, he avoided the tedium of field work.
It was the first annual visit since the death of Alois.
Maria Schmidt would later say that she considered that Adolf lived in "a dream world," and recalled that when it rained, Adolf would pout because he had to stay indoors:
"On such occasions, he often paced up and down or drew or painted and was very angry if he was interrupted. He pushed me out of the room and if I cried outside, he tried to get his mother to give me some tea or something else. We often teased Adolf Hitler and threw something against the window when he was inside, whereupon he quickly jumped out and chased us."

On Sept 14, 1903, Adolf's half sister, Angela who was now twenty, married a young assistant tax inspector from Linz named Leo Raubal.
This was an unpleasant time for the fourteen year old Adolf, who was close to Angela, and saw her leaving as another terrible event.
Adolf never got along with Angela's husband, who made fun of Adolf's idea of becoming an artist or painter, and thought that he should become a civil servant as his father had wanted. Also, because of Adolf's admiration of the Germans of Germany, Leo's position with the Austrian government further alienated them.
Upon completing his second year, he and his friends went out for a night of celebration and drinking.

Steyr  is a town in Upper Austria, situated at the confluence of the rivers Steyr and Enns. Steyr is Austria's 12th most populated town and simultaneously the 3rd largest town in Upper Austria.
It has a long history as a manufacturing center and has given its name to several manufacturers headquartered there, such as Steyr Mannlicher (a firearms manufacturer best known for the Steyr AUG), Steyr Tractor, and Steyr Automobile.

Aged 15, Hitler took part in his First Communion on Whitsunday, 22 May 1904, at the Linz Cathedral.
His sponsor was Emanuel Lugert, a friend of his late father.
By the time Adolf Hitler was fifteen he was a committed outspoken German Nationalist.
During this period a youth movement began sweeping Germany and Austria.
It was a movement which gloried in the coming of a mystical nationalism led by a powerful 'Führer '(leader), who would lead the Volk (common people) to world prominence.
The movement is normally referred to as 'völkisch', which is somewhat defined as a racial community tied together by deep spiritual and cultural views, fortified by a legendary past.
The movement taught that man must become a part of something greater than himself and emphasized the whole of the Volk over the individual.
The movement appealed to many Germans since they, for the most part, have always looked for a strong leader to point them in the right direction.
Hitler, although he was technically Austrian, took his nationalism seriously and, like those around him, was prone to generalities.
Slogans like, "German boy, do not forget that you are a German," and "German maid, remember that you are to be a German mother," were heard by almost every Austrian child. Like adolescents today, who take pride in their heritage, religion or ethnic affiliations (which subtly teach them to believe in their superiority), Adolf believed the teaching and racism of his time.
Because of his light brown hair at the time, and blue eyes, he considered himself an "old German," as compared to others who, as an example, had been "Latinized" by their neighbors to the south.
He once remarked to a schoolmate that the boy was not an "old German" because he had dark hair and dark eyes.
Most of Adolf's classmates, nevertheless, liked him at school or play, and would later state that he wasn't a fanatic and was better than most boys.
One stated that he was brave, likeable, and not a hothead but a "quiet idealist", who tried to be agreeable.
Another felt that Adolf was "no more nationalistic than we all were."
Because of his reputation as an organizer and ringleader, however, Adolf was not allowed back to his school after completing his third year.
As Adolf's German and French teacher, Professor Huemer, would later testify:
'Hitler was certainly gifted, although only for particular subjects, but he lacked self-control and, to say the least, he was considered argumentative, autocratic, self-opinionated and bad-tempered, and unable to submit to school discipline. Nor was he industrious; otherwise he would have achieved much better results, gifted as he was.'

Klara was forced to transfer her son to a different school that year.

Stadtwappen Steyr
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Adolf was  then enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in September 1904 for his final year.
Although it was the closest alternative, Adolf's new school was twenty-five miles away.
Klara had him boarded at the home of a local family named Cichini who lived on the Grunmarkt.

Grunmarkt - Steyr
This was the first time in Adolf's life that he was truly separated from his mother.
At the school in Linz he could come home to be consoled or comforted if he had a problem.
At Steyr, he could return only on weekends.
In addition, at the age of fifteen, when most boys need the companionship of others and have carved out their place among their peers, Adolf had to adjust to a new environment where he was considered a real outsider.
He knew no one, was terribly unhappy, and had trouble adjusting.
He also faced a new curriculum, and his grades during the first semester plunged.
Since a student was expected to maintain a "satisfactory" grade in certain subjects Adolf had to take a special examination in Mathematics before entering his third year.
Once back in school he got along with most of his classmates and, like all boys, participated in sports, indulged in pranks, and planned a trip around the world.
He tried to make contact with girls by carrying their packages, but he was shy around girls his age, and was unable to carry on a sustained conversation.
His grades remained about the same.
As would be expected, some of his teachers liked him, others had no opinion, and some disliked him.
He, on the other hand, disliked most of his teachers and admired others.
He would later pay particular praise to one of his history teachers who, as he put it, "carried us away with the splendor of his eloquence....and who evoked historical facts out of the fog of the centuries and turned them into living reality."
By the second half of the year he learned to fit in and made friends with a few boys.
 Sturmlechner - Portrait of Adolf Hitler
One, a boy named Sturmlechner ,who had artistic ability, drew him in profile.
Adolf also made friends with the boy who shared his room and although years later he could not remember the boy's last name, he had no trouble remembering that his first name was Gustav.
By the end of the school year he was able to bring his grades up.
He failed Geometry however, and had to repeat an examination which resulted in a passing grade.
(It appears that he was permitted to take the re-examination before returning home to Linz.)
In July of 1905, when Adolf was 16, he completed his last year of Mittelschule.
Accordingly, he received his grade completion Certificate, but he did not graduate.
In Austria, the completing and promoting of a grade did not entitle one to a diploma.
Adolf was required to return later that year and take a "final examination."
Klara, despite all, was delighted with her son's achievement and saw him as a conquering hero.
To have her only surviving son complete high school was one of the great moments in Klara's life.
There was no doubt in her mind that he would prevail in his final examination, and go on to a higher education at a technical institute, or a realschule, for the advanced 'A' diploma also entitled a pupil to a state grant, enabling him to enter an officer cadet training college if he chose.

About the time Adolf returned from Steyr, Klara moved the family to Linz.

Hauptplatz nach Nord mit Markt - Linz
Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich). It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately 30 km (19 mi) south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube.

Linz - Schloss Kaserne

She had sold the house in Leonding the previous month for 10,000 kronen.
The initial purchase price had been 7,700 kronen and with the equity built up over a period of seven years, on a ten year mortgage, only 2520 kronen was owed.
After setting aside 1304 kronen for Paula's and Adolf's future, she ended up with over 5500 kronen after taxes.

Humbold Strasse

To have her stepdaughter and confidante Angela living nearby, Klara rented a third floor apartment in a new, attractive building on Humbold Strasse not far from the Danube River.
The apartment was small but Adolf got his own little room where he set up his painting equipment.
The move to Humbold street appealed to the sixteen year old Adolf.
The Hitler's new apartment was in a prime residential area of Linz, and most of the apartment buildings were three, four and five storied.
Some of the buildings had shops on the ground floor, and with the addition of sidewalk vendors during the day, the street hummed with activity.
A ten or fifteen minute walk in any direction would place one in front of, or in the midst of, any number of technological, artistic or cultural sites.
Adolf was finally able to cast off the stigma of being associated with the peasants.
With the exception of Braunau as his birth place, he seldom would acknowledged in the future that he grew up anywhere but in Linz.
Stadtwappen Linz
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
As in the previous summers, Adolf stayed with his younger cousins on the Spital farm.
The days of cowboys and Indians were behind him, and he became listless and uncommunicative.
He continued to read, draw, paint and, like many teenagers, dabble in poetry.
The Schmidt children noticed the change, and teased him because he would no longer play with them.
They were delighted when Adolf would angrily chase after them.
During the summer Adolf developed, as his father had, a lung infection.
He lost weight and took on a lanky appearance.
Shortly before he was to return home, and then on to Steyr for his final school examination, he suffered a severe lung hemorrhage.
He became weak and pale and began coughing blood.
The attending doctor, Karl Keiss, from the nearby village of Weitra, predicted a slow recovery and thought that Adolf might "never be healthy after this sickness."
According to the Schmidt children, Klara tenderly nursed her son back to health.
Every morning she awakened him with a glass of warm milk and made him drink it
 The family remained on the farm till Adolf was well enough to travel.
With Adolf back home recuperating under the watchful eye of his doting and anxious mother, he missed his examination and never bothered to obtain his diploma.
He knew his poor showing during the last year would probably bring failure, and he would have to return for additional studies. That was the last thing he wanted.
He began spending much of his time painting in oils or water colors, and filling his sketch book with the drawings that most sixteen year old aspiring artists are noted for.
He also copied, with meticulous care, pictures, paintings, or postcards, sometimes making many copies of the same picture till he got it exactly the way he wanted it.
His surviving drawings and paintings from this period, including a water color of Postlingberg Castle near Linz, another titled Camel Boy, and a drawing of a cavalier, show that for an untrained boy he had artistic ability.
That Autumn, a boy named Hagmuller, from Leonding, began attending the high school in Linz. Since it was too far for the boy to travel home for lunch, his father, a baker who knew Klara, arranged for the boy to have his midday meal at the Hitler's apartment in Linz.
Hagmuller would continue to have his noon meal at the Hitlers for almost two years.
Hagmuller was almost four years younger than the sixteen year old Adolf, but despite their age difference they became good friends.
"Often when we were at the table," Hagmuller would later remark, "Adolf would take a sheet of paper and make a quick sketch of some building, column, archway, window, or whatever occurred to him."
Hagmuller also observed Adolf painting in water colors and oils.
There was one still-life he observed which Adolf took "special pains" in doing.
Adolf also did a silhouette of Hagmuller sitting in an armchair. Adolf, as did his father, enjoyed singing, and Hagmuller would later recall: "I can still see the weakly lad pacing up and down the room singing."
Ironically, although Adolf didn't want to attend any more school he had an insatiable appetite for knowledge on subjects that interested him.
He developed into a voracious reader, and spent much of his time reading a great number of books he was able to borrow from the many private libraries in the city.
He also joined the city's Museum Society.
Around this time he began to take a deep interest in the city's architecture.

 Martinskirche - Linz
One building that sparked his interest was Martinskirche which is one of the oldest churches in Austria.
Saint Martin's Church was built in the 8th century on foundations constructed by the Romans who recognized the strategic importance of Linz which commanded both the Danube valley and the former salt routes coming down the Traun valley.
Adolf's mind was fired with the thought that St. Martins builder was none other than Charlemagne, one of the greatest of European conquerors who attempted to unite Europe by force.
Both the French and the Germans claimed Charles the Great as their own.
Adolf considered him one of the greatest men in world history.
Although most of Adolf's reading tended to be informative or instructive he did read some novels.
With the exception of adventure stories, which he read for enjoyment, he seldom read popular novels which had not stood the test of time, and wisely read classics.
Occasionally he did read novels that were in vogue, a friend would later state, "but in order to form a judgment of those who read them rather than of the books themselves."

Linz - Landestheater
He spent his time away from home attending the local concerts and, since movies had not yet come into their own, the theater and opera.
Opera seats at the local Landes-Theater were fairly expensive, so Adolf usually purchased tickets that entitled him to a "cheap seat in the top gallery," or cheaper still, a standing spot.
While at the opera one evening Adolf Hitler met August Kubizek, who was to become one of his best friends.

Practicing frugality, Kubizek and Hitler often used to arrive early at the Landestheater to get a good standing place.
They began competing with one another for one of the two columns which supported the Royal box.
The wooden columns offered the luxury of something to lean against during the sometimes lengthy performances.

August Kubizek
In time they recognized one another and became acquainted.
Kubizek was nine months older than Hitler, and was a mild-mannered and sensitive youth with a look of intelligence.
He was the son of a small businessman and lived above his father's upholstery shop in the family quarters on Klamm Strasse, not far from where Adolf Hitler lived.
He was determined to be a renowned musician.
At the time he could already play the piano, violin, trumpet and trombone and was studying music theory.
He also played the viola for the local Music Society and the Symphony Orchestra.
When he wasn't pursuing his dream he worked in his father's shop refinishing furniture.
Kubizek noted that "Adolf," because of his recent sickness, was a pale and skinny youth, but what captured his main attention was Adolf's beautiful, pale blue eyes.
Kubizek, an only child, was one of those protected teenagers who have an adoration of the rebellious and "admiration" was his strongest point in cultivating a friendship.
As Kubizek would write: "It was this very fact, that he was out of the ordinary, that attracted me even more."
It was, of course, 'love at first sight', although neither of them would ever admit it.
As their friendship matured, Hitler never addressed Kubizek by August but called him 'Gustl' or 'Gustav', which, interestingly, had been the name of Hitler's oldest deceased brother.
Kubizek in reality played the part of an idolizing younger brother.
Although "Gustl" found Adolf high-strung, he also found him reserved.
Hitler was formal and aloof in his dealings with others and was insistent on "good manners and correct behavior."
Unusual for a teenager, Hitler seldom became overly friendly, and there were few teenagers his age that he liked.
He had nothing but disdain for young people who wasted their time in shallow talk and mundane pursuits.
He considered most teenagers superficial for he was, as Kubizek said, 'much more mature than most people of his age'.
Walking was the only exercise that appealed to Hitler, and he and Kubizek often took long walks around the town or hiked into the nearby woods.
They had their favorite trails, and their favorite swimming hole.
On these excursions, a walking stick was the only requirement, and Adolf would wear a colored shirt and (in place of the normal necktie) “a silk cord with two tassels hanging down."
Kubizek was particularly amazed by Adolf's refined speech, which made him very persuasive, even with grown-ups.
Hitler was normally polite to people, was not vain, and could be very sensitive if he felt someone was unhappy or sick.
Kubizek also wrote that Adolf helped him through difficult times, and always have time for people he liked.
Hitler was well-liked and respected by almost everyone he met.
Kubizek was also awed by the seriousness and wide range of knowledge Hitler showed for one as young as he was.
While most teenage boys interests are mainly confined to sports, comradeship and embellished stories or beliefs concerning the opposite sex, Hitler's interests were boundless. 
He was interested in agriculture, city planning, mythology, history, politics, and world events, including air travel.
The Wright bothers had flown their heavier-than-air plane at Kitty Hawk a few years before, and Hitler was very impressed.
He was interested in everything, Kubizek noted, and wasn't indifferent about anything.

Kubizek would come to write a book about his experiences with the young Hitler - (for the full text of that book - click below.)

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

If the portents in retrospect and the occasional melodramatic moments are overlooked, he describes Hitler as a fairly normal teenager with an inquiring mind.
Since many historians like to portray the young Hitler as unbalanced, ignorant, lazy, and stupid, a few have attempted to discredit Kubizek anytime he portrays the young Hitler in a decent light.
Paula Hitler, however (who was about the only acquaintance who never tried to capitalize on her brother's name), stated that as a teenager Adolf had opinions about everything and constantly read.
She also stated that he often used to give persuasive lectures on themes concerning history and politics to her and her mother.

Paula was a quiet, docile and honest woman. She took a back seat to her brother when still a child and remained there all her life. She kept house for him during the "good" years, and later learned applied art and led an obscure life in Vienna. She never married and spent the last years of her life living in the area of Berchtesgaden--her brother's last home. She died on June 1, 1960* almost unnoticed or un-mourned.

As Kubizek further described Hitler:
"There was an incredible earnestness in him, a thoroughness, a. true passionate interest in everything that happened and, most important, an unfailing devotion to the beauty, majesty and grandeur of art."
Because of their common knowledge in theater, painting, architecture, writing, poetry, and especially music and opera, they became close friends and Hitler confided in Kubizek.
Hitler told Kubizek his dream of becoming a painter; "my beautiful dream of the future," as he referred to it.
When Kubizek saw Hitler's room for the first time, it reminded him of an "architect's office." Although Hitler painted landscapes and many other subjects, most of his works tended to be architectural structures.
One of his hobbies was drawing or painting the finer buildings of Linz, and making changes in their design.

Landesmuseum - Linz
His favorite buildings were of the Italian Renaissance style, and his favorite building was the Landesmuseum which he considered "one of the peak achievements in German architecture."
The richly ornamented gate and the hundred meter long sculptured panel above the main floor never ceased to impress him.
Kubizek and Hitler would take long walks around the city, and Hitler would often stop to look over one building or another.
"There he stood," Kubizek would later write, "this pallid, skinny youth, with the first dark brown showing on his upper lip, in his shabby pepper-and-salt suit, threadbare at the elbows and collar, with his eyes glued to some architectural detail, analyzing the style, criticizing or praising the work, disapproving of the material--all this with such thoughtfulness and such expert knowledge as though he were the builder and would have to pay for every shortcoming out of his own pocket."
According to Kubizek, some art lovers in Linz founded a society to promote the construction of a new theater.
Hitler joined the society and "took part in a competition for ideas."
Hitler also made detailed drawings of the city's layout, showing how it could be improved and beautified.
Adolf, Kubizek wrote, "could never walk the streets without being provoked by what he saw."* On more than one occasion Hitler noted that this or that building "shouldn't be here", because it distracted from a view or did not "fit into its surroundings."
Kubizek would later write that Adolf's ideas were not "sheer fantasy, but a well-disciplined, almost systematic process."

Hitler always had a secluded spot outside of town where he could be alone.
One spot was a bench along a winding trail (Turmleitenweg), and another, when he really wanted to be alone, was a large, overhanging rock perched high above the Danube near by. 

Schloß Wildberg 
Here he could think and cultivate his plans and ideas, including one, way ahead of its time, to turn Schloß Wildberg  north of Linz) into an "open-air museum."
This "island where the centuries had stood still," (Adolf's very words according to Kubizek) was to have a permanent population of men, women and children in medieval costumes demonstrating their crafts and trades.
Hitler thought the castle would serve as a place of study for all those who wanted to learn about life as it was lived in the Middle Ages, and, it could pay for itself by charging admission to tourists.
Hitler also nurtured ideas of becoming a poet, writer or playwright.
Kubizek was enormously impressed by some of Hitler's poems.
There was one, a sonnet, that Hitler attempted to extend into a play.
That Hitler "devoted himself to writing, poetry, drawing, painting and to going to the theater," had Kubizek's complete admiration.
Another thing that impressed Kubizek was Hitler's complete self-assurance that one day he would become famous.

In time they came to dream about their success and how they would either build their own villa or renovate a large flat where struggling "lofty minded" artists with talent could come and find shelter. Hitler made numerous sketches of the proposed villa.
On the other hand, if they opted for the flat, they proposed to rent the entire second floor of a huge building adjoining the Nibelungen Bridge which crossed the Danube between Linz and the suburb of Urfahr.
They bought a lottery ticket and dreamed about how they would spend it furnishing their new abode if they won.
Kubizek also noted that Hitler was a night person.
If he wanted to think or something was bothering him, he would take lengthy night walks to the outskirts of the city and now and then climb the nearby hills on the west side of town.
If he wasn't thinking he would paint or read late into the night.
He seldom rose early except when absolutely necessary.
Dr Eduard Bloch
Hitler was aware that early risers see themselves as superior to late risers, but he never tried to hide his sleeping habits.
Kubizek noted that anytime Adolf was up early in the morning, something had to be "very special."
Around this time the Hitler family began seeing a new doctor - a Jew named Eduard Bloch.
He described "Adolf" as a "well mannered," "neat," "obedient boy" who would "bow...courteously" whenever they met.
He found Adolf to be "neither robust nor sickly" but "'frail looking'" with "large, melancholy and eyes....inherited from his mother." 
Dr. Bloch, like Kubizek, also described Adolf as a "quiet," and a "well-bred boy of fourteen or fifteen" who was "old for his age."

click below for more information about 
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Dr Eduard Bloch

Two-and-a-half months before Hitler turned seventeen his grandmother died on Feb, 8, 1906. 
Klara's mother had been loved by the whole family, which went into deep mourning.
For the fourth time in six winters Hitler saw another close family member laid to rest.
With a school year lost ,and spring approaching, Hitler began making plans for his future.
Klara still had hopes that her son would take his final test to obtain his diploma, and enter a local technical school, and become a civil servant like his father.

Anselm Feuerbach
 Hans Makart
Adolf, on the other hand, pleaded that sitting in an office wasn't for him.
He saw artists as a better class of society, and his dream was to become a great artist, possibly like one of his three favorites, Rubens, or the moderns: Hans Makart or Anselm Feuerbach.
He decided that he wanted to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (known then as the (Wiener Hochschule für Schönen Künste) that autumn.

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A diploma was not necessary for admittance to the academy, and he undoubtedly pointed out the good marks he had received in art during his last year of school.
Although not opposed to his studying art, Klara was strongly opposed to his relocating in Vienna.
She had been terribly shaken by his recent sickness, and his frail appearance worried her.
He was her only surviving son and she wanted him by her side.
Vienna was a hundred miles away.
For Hitler's seventeenth birthday, Klara gave in to her son's insistence.
She gave him enough money for a vacation in Vienna, where he could gather information on the Academy.
She did so, however, with the hope that he would get the idea out of his system and give up his idea of leaving home.
Shortly after his birthday, he arrived in Vienna where, after the blandness of Linz, he was immediately enchanted by the large metropolis.
Klara had misjudged her son.


Hitler spent his days sight-seeing and sketching many of Vienna's wonders.
He spent most of his evenings visiting the music halls, theaters, and especially the opera which overwhelmed him when compared to the caliber of Linz's.
Just walking the stairs of the Burg Theater or the State Opera House was enough to make any youth feel he was part of a world of power and grandeur.
As he would later recall: "Never shall I forget the gracious spectacle of the Vienna Opera, the women sparkling with diadems and fine clothes."
Hitler sent postcards to his family and friends including Hagmuller, Kubizek and Dr. Bloch, voicing his enthusiasm.


He returned home more convinced than ever that he wanted to return to Vienna by late September when admission tests to the academy began.
Although the family finances were adequate, Klara did everything to dissuade him.
The love that mother and son had for each other was obvious to everyone, but the thought of being separated from her son was unbearable to Klara.
She was intent that he should choose a profession which would keep him at home.
During the family's summer vacation on the farm that Summer, Adolf was hammered with alternative proposals for pursuing a more sensible career.
He became alienated and kept to himself.
He whiled away the hours by drawing  in his sketch book, painting, reading or taking long solitary walks.
When the family returned home he was further barraged with suggestions by Angela's husband, Leo.
Klara even had her baker friend and his wife attempt to secure Adolf a position as a baker's apprentice which he refused.
When a neighbor, no doubt at Klara's urging, suggested a position with the postal service, Adolf answered that he intended to become an artist.
Undaunted, Klara continued searching for an excuse to keep her son at home.
Kubizek had been taking piano lessons from an expensive Polish teacher named Josef Prewatzki.
Around the end of September when Adolf wanted to leave for Vienna, Klara suggested that he join Kubizek.
Klara knew her son occasionally thought about becoming a poet or writer.
With his love for music and the opera she attempted to convince him to study music so he could go on to become a composer ,or possibly write operas.
Klara's persistence finally paid off.
Adolf relented.

Heitzmann-Flügel Klavier
The relieved Klara brought him a piano made by Heitzmann-Flügel, whose pianos were among the best in the world.
From 1905, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna with financial support from orphan's benefits and his mother.
He was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (1907–1908), because of his "unfitness for painting", and was recommended to study architecture.
Following this recommendation, he intended to pursue architectural studies, yet he lacked the academic credentials required for architecture school.
Hitler began piano lessons on October 2, 1906.
As with any subject he enjoyed, or found interest in, he threw himself into it.
He never missed a class and paid by the month.
According to the teacher, he was a little timid, and was bored easily by finger exercises, but he had a good ear for music, practiced his scales conscientiously and progressed steadily.
His sister Paula remembered that he would sit at the large piano at home for hours practicing. 
With the examinations to the art academy over for another year, life in the Hitler household settled down.
Sometime after his return from Vienna, Hitler and Kubizek visit St. Georgen on the River Gusen, the site of an ancient German battle - a strange comment.
Hitler told Kubizek that much could be learned from the "spirits" residing in the ancient soil, and in the mortar between the cracks of the ruined buildings.
In the Winter of 1906, Hitler and Kubizek attended an opera of Wagner's 'Rienzi - die letzte Tribüne'.
The story is set in fourteenth century Rome and tells the story of a man of the people, trying to free them from the oppression of the upper classes.
The privileged make an attempt to kill Rienzi but are overpowered and after violating their oath of submission are exterminated.
Rienzi rises to the position of dictator and in one scene the trumpets blare and the people shout: "Heil, Rienzi. Heil the tribune of the people."
Hitler was completely enthralled by the music, and by the character of the rebel Rienzi, who had been goaded to political action after witnessing the death of his younger brother.
Rienzi in the end, however, is stoned and burned to death by those who never really wanted the freedom he offered.
The long opera was not over until after midnight, and Hitler, quite out of context, showed a side of his personality that Kubizek had never seen.
After the performance Hitler talked for over an hour.
Undoubtedly influenced by the writers of the time, the seventeen year old Hitler also began to believe strongly in destiny.
The fact that two of his brothers died before he was born, and another was born and died after him, caused him to wonder why he was spared.
He confided to Kubizek that he believed in fate, and that even he could be called upon someday by the people "to lead them out of servitude to heights of freedom."
(This at first appears to be one of Kubizek's exaggerations or recollections borrowed from others (including Mein Kampf), however, Adolf Hitler would tell more than one person that the "beginning" of his success began the first time he saw the opera Rienzi.
It would be hard to deny that the first time he saw the opera was with Kubizek.)
Years later Hitler would comment to another friend on the story of Rienzi: "Listening to this blessed music as a young man in the theater at Linz, I had the vision that I too must someday succeed in uniting the German Empire and making it great once more."
He believed that he was destined for a "special mission."


In January of 1907 Klara fell ill and doctor Bloch summoned Adolf and Angela for a conference on the situation.
They learned that Klara had breast cancer, and her only chance for survival was a serious operation.
Dr. Bloch was touched by Adolf's tears and concern, and recognized the strong "attachment that existed between mother and son."
Klara entered the hospital in mid January and on Jan 18, 1907, during an operation performed by a surgeon named Karl Urban, one of her breasts was removed.
She had little concern about herself, but was most concerned about her children if she should die.
She did not hide from Dr. Bloch that her gravest concern was for her son.
"Adolf is still so young," she said repeatedly to him.
While she lavished her son with almost everything he wanted, she herself spent the next two and a half weeks recuperating in a third class ward of the hospital, even though she could have afforded better. Adolf visited her every day.

When Adolf's recuperating mother returned home he, possibly afraid of disturbing her or unable to concentrate, discontinued his piano practice and lessons.
He resumed his painting and drawing.
Both Kubizek and Dr. Bloch (who called and at times administered Klara morphine to relieve her pain) speak of Adolf's attentiveness to his mother, and the fear in his eyes on bad days.
Dr. Bloch stated that this was not a pathological relationship, only deep affection between a mother who adored her son, and a son who adored his mother.
As the months passed Klara appeared to have recovered.
In May the family moved to a new, two storied apartment building on Bluten Strasse in the Urfahr district.
Here Klara could venture out for walks or do her shopping without climbing as many stairs.
She now apparently had a change of heart about Adolf's desire to become an artist.
When Klara's sisters, and especially Angela's husband suggested to her that Adolf should give up his artistic desires and get a job, she now replied: "He is different from us."
Late that summer she withdrew Adolf's patrimony, now over 700 kronen, and gave it to him along with her blessings to pursue his dream of becoming a painter.
If Adolf was frugal, the money he received was enough for tuition and living expenses in Vienna for over a year.
In Sept. of 1907 his plans were made to leave for the academy's admission test.
Shortly before his departure Klara's health took a turn for the worse, but examinations for entrance to the academy were scheduled for Oct. lst and 2nd, and he would have to wait another year if he didn't go then.
When Kubizek came to see Adolf off, there were tears all around as Klara, Paula and Adolf bid farewell.
They were aware that once accepted, he would begin classes in a week and he might not return till the holidays.

29 Stumper Gasse
When he arrived in Vienna, he rented a single room at 29 Stumper Gasse, which was only a few blocks southwest from the Westbahnhof that served all trains going west. 
If word arrived that his mother's health had taken a turn for the worse, he could catch a train and, for a little over seven Kronen, be back in less than three and a half hours.
Along with 51 other candidates, Adolf Hitler was refused admittance to the art Academy.
He was crushed.
All his dreams were dashed.
The fact that out of 113 original candidates only 28 were admitted did not console him. 
For over a week he roamed the streets of Vienna not knowing what to do.
He then received word that his mother had taken another turn for the worse.
Hitler returned home immediately to be by his mother's side. 
On October 22nd. he consulted with Dr. Bloch and found that Klara was in a very serious condition.
The operation had occurred too late, and the disease was spreading rapidly.
An experimental treatment was attempted which only added to her suffering.
Within a short time she needed constant attention.
Her bed was moved to the kitchen/living room area, which was the warmest room in the house. 
Although Adolf admitted to others that he had failed to gain admittance to the academy, he didn't burden his mother with his rejection, and assured her that he was accepted and would become an artist someday.
Klara spent the next two months in constant pain, which she bore well believing "that her fate was God's will", however, the ever present Adolf according to neighbors, Kubizek, and Dr. Bloch, anguished over her suffering.
Although Klara's sister Johanna also helped care for Klara, Adolf took over as man of the house.
He was in constant attendance to his mother, and did whatever possible to make her comfortable.
Dressed in his old clothes, he scrubbed floors, helped with the washing, and cooked her favorite meals which she greatly appreciated.
He took charge of his eleven year old sister, Paula, and even tutored her.
In late November, Klara had a serious relapse.
Adolf slept on the couch near her bed and did what he could to comfort her.
He read aloud to her the sentimental novels she loved, even though he hated them.
He drew her picture, and on some days held her hand for hours on end.
As Paula would state years later: " brother Adolf spoiled my mother during this last time of her life with overflowing tenderness. He was indefatigable in his care for her, wanted to comply with any desire she could possibly have and did all to demonstrate his great love for her."
When Kubizek or Dr. Bloch visited they found Adolf quiet, gentle and apprehensive.
If Klara showed any signs of improvement, Dr. Bloch noted, Adolf's eyes would light up and he would take an optimistic view.
With the holidays approaching, a Christmas tree was placed in the living room in hopes of lifting her spirits.
On Dec 20th. Dr. Bloch made two house calls, and saw that the end was near.
Kubizek also visited and saw her lying, weak and barely able to speak.
Her thoughts, however, were of her son.
When the distraught Adolf left the room momentarily she managed to whisper to Kubizek: "Go on being a good friend to my son when I'm no longer here."
At 2a.m. the following morning, with Adolf at her bedside, Klara, age 47, died in the glow of the lighted Christmas tree.
Adolf was crushed.
Dr. Bloch stated: "In all my career I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolf Hitler."
Two days later, on Christmas Eve, Adolf followed the hearse which drove to Leonding three miles away. 
The funeral Mass was held in the small church across the road from where they used to live, and Klara was laid to rest beside her husband.

Das Grab von Alois und Klara
After everyone else had left, Adolf remained behind at her grave site as though unable to tear himself away.
Hitler would remember the lighted Christmas tree in the house and the memory was so bitter for him that he could never again enjoy Christmas.
He hated when it snowed, and was always in an emotional state around the holidays.
For the rest of his life he would usually spend Christmas Eve alone.
Almost twenty years later he would write in Mein Kampf: "My father I respected, my mother I loved."
He himself wrote the announcement of the passing away of his "deeply, loved, never-to-be-forgotten mother."
For the rest of his life he would always have a picture of his mother on his person or nearby, and whenever the occasion arose would proudly and lovingly show it.
Dr. Bloch, who was Jewish, would later emigrate to the safety of the United States, but still refused to repudiate his statements, including the one that described the young Hitler as "a fine and exemplary son who bore such a deep love and concern for his dear mother which one finds on this globe only in extremely exceptional cases."
Kubizek, also, in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the psychologists, newsmen, historians in residence, who never ceased to degrade the young Hitler as an uncaring son, would later write: "Adolf really loved his mother. I swear to it before God and man."

Josef Mayrhofer
As Klara's oldest child, Adolf, under the guidance of his legal guardian, the Mayor of Leonding, Josef Mayrhofer, took care of all of his mother's personal unfinished business and paid all her debts with the estate left behind.
Surviving documents show that the doctor bill outstanding was 300 kronen while the funeral and coffin, cost 370 kronen - an extremely large sum for a lower middle class family to pay.
Adolf also gave a part of his inheritance to his stepsister since she and her husband agreed to take on the responsibility of raising the eleven year old Paula.
He thanked neighbors for their help and even gave one of his best paintings to a couple who had showed particular loyalty during his mothers sickness. His legal guardian, Mayrhofer, found the young Hitler's actions "laudable."
Since their father had been a State official, the "orphans" Paula and Adolf were now eligible for 600 Kronen annually between them. Their guardian split the pension down the center. The eighteen year old Adolf Hitler was to receive 300 kronen a year in monthly payments until he was twenty-four years old or until he became self-supporting.
Hitler, now armed with a letter of recommendation from his influential landlord (which described Hitler as a "nice, steadygoing .... serious and ambitious young man ... mature and sensible beyond his years,") decided to return to Vienna.
If fortune did not smile on him, he could retake the examination test to the Art Academy later that year.
As "my father had accomplished fifty years before," he would later write, "I too, wanted to become 'something.'"
Kubizek also wanted to leave Linz and enter the Academy of Music in Vienna, but his father was against him leaving at the time.
Hitler made a trip to Kubizek's house and persuaded the father to let him go.
Kubizek would follow him shortly.
With what was left from his inheritance, Hitler left for Vienna in mid February 1908, in search of a "special mission."


On a cold foggy evening in late February 1908, August Kubizek arrived in Vienna.

As he stood amidst the confusion of the Westbahnhof, he saw his friend approaching through the crowd.
Hitler was wearing his dark, good quality overcoat and broad-brimmed hat.
Already at ease in his new environment, he wore kid gloves and carried a walking stick with an ivory handle.
The slim Adolf, Kubizek thought, "appeared almost elegant."
After a warm greeting, they kissed on the cheek in the Austrian manner, they made their way to Hitler's apartment.
After a short walk Hitler stopped in front of an imposing and distinguished building on Stumper Gasse.
With Kubizek following, Hitler entered the arched entrance off to one side, passed through the more elaborate section of the building, crossed a small courtyard and entered the humbler rear section of the building.
They went up the polished stone staircase to the second floor and entered a small room.
This was the same building Hitler had stayed during his attempt to enter the Art Academy a few months before.
The monthly rent was ten kronen and although respectable, it was a no frills establishment in a lower middle class neighborhood. Hitler's monthly pension of 25 kronen only covered the cost of a meager diet, so he had to be frugal with what was left of his inheritance. 
Like most tenement houses it was infested with bugs and the whole floor, six small apartments, had only one lavatory.
After Hitler cleared away the numerous sketches that lay around his room, he and Kubizek had something to eat.
Although Hitler was still suffering and bitter over his mother's death, he insisted on taking Kubizek on a tour of the city.

Ringstrasse - Wien
They made their way to the Ringstrasse, the great boulevard (where once stood the city battlements) which circles the inner city.
Hitler's blue eyes blazed excitedly as he pointed out many of the cities historical landmarks. Just off the Ring was the Art Academy which he still hoped to enter, and not far away was the Music Conservatory which Kubizek hoped to attend.
Like any young man who grows and matures in a small town, Kubizek, like Hitler was overwhelmed by the vast and thriving city.
Kubizek particularly wanted to see the immense soaring spire of St. Stephen's Cathedral but it was shrouded in the fog.
In one of his letters, Hitler had offered Kubizek the advantage of staying with him for awhile. 
Hitler, however, was still the independent type and knowing that he and Kubizek had their differences, he had added: "Later we shall see."
Hitler's small room was not large enough to hold a piano that Kubizek would need to practice on so they spent the next morning looking for a room for Kubizek.
It proved difficult.
Vienna was the most overcrowded capital city in Europe.
Almost half the population lived in one or two rooms, and in the working districts 4 to 5 persons shared these apartments.
The few rooms they found available were either sleazy, did not allow piano playing, or were too small to hold a grand piano.
They returned to their apartment and Hitler persuaded the landlady to give up her larger room next door for theirs.
By the end of the day they had settled into the larger room, #17, for an additional 10 kronen a month.
Because of the housing shortage, the normal rent for a one or two room flat ran from twenty-two to twenty-eight kronen per month in the laboring districts.
Their room was a real bargain. Kubizek was again amazed by Hitler's gift of persuasion.
Within a few days of his arrival, Kubizek took his test and was admitted to the Music Conservatory.
Kubizek's easy accomplishment magnified Hitler's failure to enter the Art Academy.
While Kubizek began attending morning classes, Hitler spent his time in one pursuit after another.
Some days Hitler relentlessly worked on his drawings, on another day, he would sit for hours reading on architecture, another, working tirelessly on an idea he had for a short story, the next, practicing on the piano Kubizek had rented.
Kubizek would state that Hitler was never idle, but always "filled with a tireless urge to be active."
Interestingly, Hitler never made use of the letter of recommendation he had received which introduced him to one of Vienna's best known stage designers, Alfred Roller.
Years later he would comment:
"One got absolutely nothing in Austria without letters of introduction. When I arrived in Vienna, I had one to Roller, but I didn't use it. If I'd presented myself to him with this introduction, he'd have engaged me at once. No doubt it's better that things went otherwise. It's not a bad thing for me that I had to have a rough time of it."

Design for Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde'
Alfred Roller
Alfred Roller (2 October 1864, Brünn, Mähren — 21 June 1935, Vienna) was an Austrian painter, graphic designer, and set designer.
Roller at first studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. In 1897 he co-founded the Viennese Secession.
In his early career Roller was very active as a graphic designer and draughtsman.
In 1902 Roller was introduced to the composer Gustav Mahler by Carl Moll. Roller expressed an interest in stage design and showed Mahler several sketches he had made for Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde'. Mahler was impressed and decided to employ Roller to design the sets for a new production of the piece. Roller continued to design sets for Mahler's productions. Eventually Roller left the Secession and his teaching post at the Kunstgewerbeschule to be appointed chief stage designer to the Vienna State Opera, a position he held until 1909.
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Having to live on a minimum budget, they spent their leisure time visiting the Vienna Woods, taking boat trips on the Danube, and even once took a train trip to the Alps and climbed a mountain.
They also visited the numerous coffee houses in the area.
"The Viennese cuisine was delightful;" Hitler would later recall, "at breakfast nothing was eaten, at mid day ... people lunched off a cup of coffee and two croissants, and the coffee in the little coffee-shops was as good as that in the famous restaurants.
For lunch, even in the fashionable places, only soup, a main dish and dessert were served--there was never an entree."

Burgkapelle - Vienna Boys Choir
One of Hitler's favorite coffee-shops (which served a particular nut-cake he enjoyed) was a favorite of Jewish college students.

On Sundays, Hitler enjoyed listening to musical groups or soloists performing at the city chapel. He was particularly found of the Vienna Boys Choir.

There were also the countless parades, pageantry and social events which accompanied the Hapsburg dynasty.

Kaiser Franz Joseph - Wien

These events were normally stern, formal and dignified affairs that showed off the ruling dynasty as lofty and untouchable.

In an age and in an empire that also believed in armed might, military holidays were celebrated with all the trappings of a society prepared for war.

Two or three evenings each week they went to a theater, opera, or concert because as a student, Kubizek could often get free tickets.

At concerts, Hitler was very fond of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

He enjoyed some of the music of the masters, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and also the Romanticists, Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn and especially Bruckner who had been an organist at the old Linz Cathedral for twelve years.

Like most Viennese, Hitler also enjoyed the music of Johann Strauss and the Hungarian Liszt.
To an inquiring mind, Vienna offered much for no cost.
Hitler and Kubizek spent much of their free time touring the city.
They strolled the avenues and visited the countless museums, churches, historical sites, parks and plazas.

Hitler was particularly fond of the Schwarzenberg Platz, especially at night when the fanciful illuminated fountains produced incredible lighting effects.
Most of Hitler's praises, however, were bestowed upon Vienna's huge and ornate buildings.
He was very impressed by Schloß Schönbrunn  the elegant 1200 room, royal summer residence of the Hapsburgs which had once been home to Napoleon himself.

Schloß Schönbrunn - Wien
Schloß Schönbrunn is a former imperial 1,441-room Rococo summer residence in modern Vienna, Austria. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

After viewing such luxury, Hitler often grumbled about the sparse room they had to return to.
When attending the theater Hitler preferred the more serious works, and Vienna's theaters offered masterpieces by some of Europe's best playwrights.
Vienna was also a famed joyful and carefree city, and its less dignified theaters offered worldly, lighthearted and often risqué performances.

Franz Leha
Although Hitler never admitted to attending anything too risqué, he enjoyed Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow and often whistled Lehar's happy tunes.
Just as in Linz, the opera was still Hitler's first choice in entertainment, but opera seats in Vienna were extremely expensive.
Although Hitler preferred a seat in the upper balcony, to save money, he and Kubizek usually took the cheapest standing room.
Like most people who go to movies today, Hitler did not care for foreign works.
He was only interested in German customs, German feeling, and German thought.

Aida - Verdi
Except for Verdi's opera, Aida - the love story of an Ethiopian slave girl and an Egyptian warrior - he didn't care for most Italian operas.
He also wasn't particularly fond of French operas, and considered Gounod's Faust (there are two rapes within the opera) vulgar.
Not even the Russian Tchaikovsky met with his approval.
On the other hand he appreciated many of the works of the Germans Beethoven and Weber and was especially delighted with Mozart's anti-establishment comedy of infidelity, Figaro.

Richard Wagner
His favorite works were by the highly acclaimed Richard Wagner, who wrote about figures of medieval history, saga, and myth.
Most of Wagner's heroes were purely human and were torn between desire and morality.
During Hitler's years in Vienna, 15 different productions of Wagner's operas were performed in over 420 performances at the State Opera House alone.

Tristan und Isolde - Wagner
Hitler attended every new offering, and saw some of the performances over and over again.
"I was so poor, during the Viennese period of my life," Hitler would later recall, "that I had to restrict myself to seeing only the finest spectacles. Thus I heard Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde' thirty or forty times, and always from the best companies."
Every young man has his idol, and Wagner was Hitler's.
"For me, Wagner is something Godly and his music is my religion,"
Kubizek also noted Hitler's devotion to Wagner.
When Hitler attended a Wagner opera the music had a profound, exhilarating influence on him.
When talking to friends or other opera buffs, Hitler always praised Wagner with passionate devotion.
Wagner not only wrote the music but the librettos for his operas.
He refused allegiance to any set forms.
Besides composing, writing and producing his operas he occasionally took on the role of stage manager, director, and conductor.
He referred to his mission as the 'Kunstwerk der Zukunft' (art work of the future), and to his operas as 'Musikdramen' -  (music dramas).

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Many of the themes of Wagner's music dramas were grounded on lofty German myths and legends, which revealed human emotions that influence nearly all issues and relations.
Like Wagner, Hitler was enthralled by the past, and believed that great significance lay in German mythology.
One of Hitler's favorites was 'Lohengrin'.
He could amaze opera buffs by reciting the entire libretto by heart.
While living with Kubizek, he saw Lohengrin ten times.

Richard Wagner - Lohengrin
Lohengrin's pomp, pageantry, and dramatic interest is compelling. 
t is considered by many to be the finest of all romantic 'grand operas'.
The plot is set in the tenth century and involves a beautiful blonde maiden who is falsely accused of murder.
To her rescue comes the gallant Lohengrin, the "Knight of the Swan," who will champion the accused and later marry her.
The love duet is exquisite ("one of the sweetest and tenderest passages of which the Lyric stage can boast") and there is also the haunting 'Bridal Chorus'.

Besides the compelling music and German nationalism, Hitler no doubt associated with the silver-armored hero with his pure soul and wondrous flashing eyes.
In the end, Lohengrin, called Führer (leader) by his followers, is forced to reveal that he is a "Knight of the Holy Grail" and must give up love for a higher calling.
If an indication of the ideals and beliefs of a young man can be judged on the entertainment he enjoys, the young Hitler appears very normal for his time.
'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' and 'Lohengrin' have, almost since their conceptions been German favorites. Hitler's enjoying 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' is comparable to young people in every generation enjoying stories whose plots rebel against tradition and the old folks.
The story was written by Wagner to scorn the establishment that once rejected him.
The love story, however, is the backbone of the action and everything else is centered around it.
The same thing can be said for 'Lohengrin', and especially 'Tristan und Isolde', which is about love, and little else.
Kubizek, in the meantime, continued with his classes and it was becoming apparent that he was one of the star pupils in the music school.
He was constantly sought after to tutor other classmates and to perform in small musical groups in the homes of some of the wealthy and cultivated of Vienna.
Occasionally Hitler went along and "enjoyed himself very much", though he normally chose to play the part of the silent listener.
Hitler was proud of his friend's achievements but witnessing what appeared to be Kubizek's easy accomplishment, he began searching for a road to instant success.
Although he continued drawing, he did little painting that summer.

Hofburg Library - Wien
The Hofburg, containing among other things, one of the most extensive (and beautiful) libraries in the world, was only a mile away from their room and Hitler visited there regularly.
He continued to read on architecture and art, but also mythology, religion, history and biography.
In his reading on architecture he acquired an extensive amount of history on many of Linz's buildings, and appears to have attempted to write a handbook or manual on the subject.
He then worked tirelessly on a short story he titled 'Am nächsten Morgen' - (The Next Morning).

Murillo - Street Urchins
He talked about becoming a playwright, and after weeks of research at the library began a script centered on the time Christianity was introduced in Germany.
He then switched to a play about the Spanish painter, Bartolome Murillo, who's art work Hitler knew well.
Murillo had also been a "poor orphan", and became famous for his charming paintings of religious subjects and sweet street urchins.
After a vigorous start, Hitler put the idea aside.

Gloriette - Schloß Schönbrunn - Wien
When Hitler felt dejected he would walk to Schloß Schönbrunn,  and spend his time in the huge adjoining park where miles of shaded walks wended their ways among clumps of trees, arbors, vast formal flower beds and elaborate fountains.
Along with other attractions the park also contained a zoo and the Gloriette, an elaborate stone pavilion surmounted by a huge imperial eagle.

Hitler's Bench - Schönbrunn - Wien
Hitler's favorite spot was a stone bench not far from the Gloriette where he enjoyed feeding the birds and squirrels.
He never went to the park on Sundays, since he did not like crowds, and the noisy and carefree spirit of most of the young people annoyed him.
Sooner or later however, he would conceive another idea, and wholeheartedly throw himself into it.
After numerous day trips to the Hof-Library, and night after night of continuous writing, he abandoned one idea after another.
After countless false starts as a playwright or writer, he suddenly decided to become a composer.
Hitler spent months working on a Wagnerian type opera which would have been understood by ancient Germans.
He searched excitedly through volumes of the Hof-Library studying ancient music and looking for the types of musical instruments used by ancient Germans.
That he had no formal musical training, other than four months of piano lessons, daunted him not.
To make up for his lack of knowledge he read the scores and librettos of a large number of operas and acquired an amazing knowledge of stagecraft.
He worked on his opera night after night plotting the story, producing drawings for the sets, sketching the main characters in charcoal, and composing the music, with Kubizek's help. 
Kubizek acknowledged that the prelude turned out very presentable but Hitler was not satisfied. "It reduced him to utter despair," Kubizek wrote, "that he had an ideal in his head, a musical idea which he considered bold and important, without being able to pin it down."
Hitler finally realized that success as a composer was as hard to come by as that of a painter or writer, and finally gave up.
Dejected, he would return to the park and feed the pigeons and squirrels until another idea dawned.

The Travelling Symphony Orchestra came to fruition when
Hitler became Führer
Hitler came up with an idea for a traveling symphony.
He felt it was unfair that only the lucky few in the major cities were privileged to hear first rate performances.
His mobile orchestra was to travel to small towns, where less fortunate people could hear other than second rate performances.
He spent quite a deal of time working out the intricate little details, including the composition of the group, their feeding, dress, direction, and rehearsal time.
He decided that only German composers would be played, and he even timed the length of each piece while at concerts.
The orchestra was not only to perform classic and romantic works, but also the works of modern, young and unknown composers.
The ideal was plausible, but the lack of adequate public halls in small towns made him abandon the idea.
He then returned to the park.
Like all idealistic young men on a minimum budget, Hitler became disillusioned, and he soon developed a strong social conscious.
He would visit the Parliament when it was in session, and on a few occasions even dragged Kubizek along.
Hitler was amazed at the lack of action.
He had expected to see stately men in control, debating and pondering over the problems of their day.
What he saw was dissension, filibustering, confusion, rants, threats, procedure, formality and wordy nonsense.
He came away disillusioned and was appalled by politicians and their, as he called it, "ridiculous institution."
Hitler actually worked out a plan for housing those with low incomes. Using his interior plan as a starting point, the standard building was to be a two storied, four family residence.
Under no condition was any building to contain more than 16 families, and all should be surrounded by gardens, trees, and play grounds.
He thought professional landlords unfair, and believed that housing should be owned and built by the government, and the rent set to cover the cost and maintenance of the building.
He devoted much of his thinking to moving people out of  "distress and poverty."
"For a long time, I had it rough in Vienna," Hitler would later recall. "For months I never even had a hot meal. I lived on milk and dry bread but spent thirteen kreuzers day after day on cigarettes.
I smoked twenty-five to forty a day.
One day the thought came to me: ’Instead of spending thirteen kreuzers on cigarettes, buy butter for your bread.
That would be five kreuzers a day and I’d have money left over.’
Soon after that thought, I threw my cigarettes in the Danube and have never touched another"
Later, when Hitler became Führer, and his European conquests seemed unstoppable, he made the statement:
"Before going into retirement, I shall order that all the cigarette packets on sale in my Europe should have on the label, in letters of fire, the slogan: 'Danger, tobacco smoke kills; danger: Cancer.'"
Although Kubizek always portrayed Hitler as a serious and stern young man, there was another side of him.
Kubizek took a short trip home for the Easter holiday, and wrote Hitler that he had contracted an eye infection, and that when he returned he might be wearing glasses.
Kubizek knew his constant practicing on the piano distracted or annoyed Hitler at times so he also mentioned that he was also going to bring a viola, testing what Hitler's reaction would be. 
On April 20, 1908, the day of his 19th birthday, Hitler wrote back (after making a joke about the bad weather in Vienna): “I am deeply sorry to hear that you are going blind. It means you will play more wrong notes and keys. The blinder you become, the deafer I will become. Oh dear."
He also added that he was going out to buy "cotton" for his ears.
He then signed the letter: "Your friend, Adolf Hitler."

Vienna Konservatorium
Kubizek returned shortly after and, in June, completed his first period at the Conservatory with excellent grades.
He was privileged to conduct the end-of-term concert where three of his songs were sung and part of his sextet for strings was performed.
At a gathering in the "artists' room," Kubizek was showered with praises by his teachers and classmates as Hitler sat quietly by himself watching.
It appeared that for Kubizek, success was just around the corner.
Kubizek went home in July to work in the family business for the summer.
Since he was nearly a year older than Hitler, he was now of military age, and was required to report for a physical.
Found to be fit, he was to undergo eight weeks of training for the Army Reserve, and would not return till November.
Hitler's landlady also took a trip to visit her brother, and Hitler looked after the building for her until she returned.
Hitler kept in touch with Kubizek, and on one occasion, referring to one of his ideas for a book, wrote:
"Since your departure I have been working very hard often again until 2 or 3 in the morning."* 
Knowing Hitler was running short of money Kubizek and his mother sent him some food packages.
A few days later the proud Hitler would write on a postcard dated July 19, 1908:

  Dear friend!
        My best thanks for your kindness. You don't need to send me butter and cheese 
        now. But I thank you most gratefully for the kind thought. Tonight I am going
        to see Lohengrin. Kindest regards to you and your esteemed parents.
                                                                                            Adolf Hitler.

A few days later Hitler would write again, mentioning that he was not feeling well.

It was not until August 17 that Kubizek heard from him again.
This time he mentioned that he had got over a "sharp attack of bronchial catarrh," but was "writing quite a lot lately."
Late that August, Hitler took a trip to the Wooded Quarter for a family gathering on the Spital farm.
Besides his two aunts and their families, his step-sister Angela and her family were also present.
Hitler still disliked Angela's husband, and had considered putting off the trip, but was no doubt shown the new addition to Angela's family - a two month old daughter called "Geli."

Paula Hitler
He also saw his twelve year old sister, Paula, who was now a pretty, quiet and reserved girl.
Hitler had previously given Paula the book 'Don Quixote' (possibly after reading it) as a birthday gift, and got into an argument with her because she disapproved of a list of books he obviously had read and suggested for her education.
Since they were never very close, her rejection of his advice separated them further.
Although "fond" of one another, as Paula would later state, they remained fairly distant all their lives.
Before returning to Vienna, Hitler sent Gustl a postcard wishing him the "best" on his Name-day.
It would be the last contact Kubizek would have with Hitler for thirty years.
(After a promising beginning Kubizek's artistic dreams would be shattered by the First World War, and he became a "clerk.")
In Sept 1908 the nineteen year old Hitler applied for entrance to Vienna's Art Academy again. The drawings he submitted on this occasion were not considered adequate.
He was notified, that this time he would not even be permitted to take the test.
Again he was crushed.
This time he asked for a reason, and was told that his abilities lay in architecture and it was recommended that he study that field.
This judgment is borne out by his surviving drawings and paintings, which show a flare for architectural renderings.
To enter the Architectural branch of the Academy, however, a diploma was necessary.
"What I had defiantly neglected in the high school " Hitler stated, "now took its bitter revenge."
Since he lacked a diploma he would have to show that he was "exceptionally gifted" to enter the architecture field.
Hitler was realistic enough to know that he did not possess such abilities, and never attempted to register.
Because of his failure to gain admittance to the Academy for the second time, he no doubt felt ashamed to face Kubizek, or anyone else.
Around the same time, Hitler also stopped writing Hagmuller, the boy who used to have his lunch at the Hitler house in Linz, and they also "lost touch."

Felber Strasse
On Nov. 18, 1908, with Kubizek expected back in a few days, the dejected Hitler gave notice to his landlady.
Without leaving a forwarding address, he moved to a building across from the railway yards. As required by law, he registered the change of address with the local police station.
This time, he registered as a "student" instead of "artist", as he had done at his former address.
He continued reading and looking for that special mission he was sure would come.
Like most 19 year olds he no doubt carried the false assumption that all he had to do was plod along, and rewards or success would eventualy come.
After his friendship with Kubizek, most other young men must have seemed shallow indeed. 
Like most would-be artists, Hitler had learned to look at objects in depth while drawing or painting and had learned to see details that most people overlook.
To an idealistic young man the ignorance of peers becomes frustrating and one learns to keep their distance from those who do not share ones interest.
During this period. people found him "polite," but "distant."
Hitler did take himself seriously and because of his understanding of the complexities in art, he seldom took sides in any conversation unless he had some knowledge of the topic's details.
He would research subjects to a certain degree before making judgments.
Besides his book reading, he constantly read newspapers, magazines and pamphlets
One subject that was to catch his attention and occupy his thoughts while he lived across from the railroad yards was racism.
For all its cultural and intellectual endeavors, Vienna, like much of the western world, was alive with racial prejudices.

Richard Wagner
Wagner, Hitler's idol, had done as much as anyone to spread the racist idea in German speaking Europe, and there is little doubt that Hitler was acquainted with his writings.
Wagner believed that the Nordic Aryans (northern Europeans), especially the Germans, were a super-race, and considered all others inferior.
His racial views were born out of the cold rationalism of the 19th century intellectual community's adoration of science and the law of nature, which experts had worked out with "iron logic."
 Adolf Josef Lanz von Liebenfels
One of the most prodigious racist writers at the time was an ex-monk named Adolf Josef Lanz von Liebenfels.

His magazine, the 'Ostara', was a typical of the time.
It damned assimilation, preached racial purity, and looked forward to the day of a "German master race". 
Although it "played down 'the Jewish Question,'" 'Ostara' appealed to both the superiority of the Germans and their suspicion of the Jews, Slavs, Turks, Negroes, and other "dark ones."
It contained material that urged the white or Aryan race to arm itself against "dark forces."
In order to popularize the Aryan idea, racial beauty contests were even proposed.
By subjugating the dark races, the Ostara preached, the Aryans could rule the earth.
Hitler, according to Lanz (in a 1951 interview), appeared at his home in 1909, and explained that he had read most issues of the 'Ostara', which he purchased at the tobacco shop near his place on Felber Strasse.
Hitler wasn't able to obtain a few of the back issues, and asked Lanz if he had them.
Lanz  gave him the copies free of charge.
Even after additional reading on the subject, Hitler still was not convinced about the "Jewish danger" and would later state in Mein Kampf: "I returned to my old way of thinking."
However, Hitler knew that there would be those who knew that he wasn't "anti-Semitic" in his youth, and could expose him.
By claiming to have moments of "indecision" he attempted to cover himself.
"Anti-Semitism" was an outgrowth of the nationalistic fervor that infected almost everyone during this period.
Hitler undoubtedly made statements in his youth that could be interpreted as "anti-Semite." 
With the exception, however, of a few foggy statements that Kubizek remembered in retrospect, all reliable sources who knew Hitler personally during his youth agree that he was not an anti-Semite, but an outspoken nationalist.
On August 22, 1909, after a nine month stay, the twenty year old Hitler gave up his residence across from the railway yards.
He took another room, a short distance from Schonbrunn Palace.
He resumed his writing. On Aug 22 he registered as "studying to be a writer" with the local police station.
During this period he kept in touch with his step sister, Angela, who forwarded his pension. Angela abhorred what she called his "flight from reality", and gave him a long scolding.
Hitler decided not to contact her again until his life improved.
Although Hitler was always concerned for the "little man," he, like most people from the lower middle class, had little in common with the "workers."
He saw himself as a step above them.
Their unrefined speech, manners and shallow views were repugnant to him and, as he admitted later, his ignorance of their unions and politics alienated him.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Hitler's interest in at and architecture remained with him all his life, and probably reached its fulfilment as a result of the construction of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, designded by the architect Paul Ludwig Troost (1878 – 1934) and the subsequent ehibitions and celebrations held in Munich. The above video is taken from amateur film of such celebrations in Munich.

Hitler moved into a Men's Hostel, and met a person named Reinhold Hanisch, who went by the name of Walter Fritz. Hanisch, and had traveled through much of Germany and Austria and although originally from the Sudetenland (part of today's Czech Republic) liked to pass himself off as a Berliner.
He avoided steady work, and whenever finances allowed, looked for happiness in a beer or wine bottle.
There was a year round market for paintings in Vienna.
They could be sold to locals in the cafes or to stores that either sold them again.
In summer the paintings could be sold to tourists in cafes or in the street.
Like many self-taught painters, Hitler worked from photographs or other prints, usually after viewing the object.
At this time Hitler moved to the Mannerheim, located on Meldemann Strasse.
The establishment covered almost a whole block, and had room for over 500 men.
Opened in 1905 it was the most sought-after refuge in Vienna for both blue and white-collar workers with low incomes.
This was a time of little social security and no unemployment payments, and even members of the middle classes roomed there.
A number of businessmen, a baron and a count had also roomed there.
The place was exceptionally clean and the cost, when Hitler first moved in, was a little over two kronen for a week's stay.
At the Mannerheim, Hitler had the room and the privacy to paint.
Shortly after moving in, Hitler sent Dr Bloch, who tried so desperately to save his mother, a carefully painted postcard  of a hooded monk hoisting a glass of bubbling champagne, with the caption: "A toast to the New Year."
On the reverse side were cordial New Year's greetings and it was signed: "In everlasting thankfulness, Adolf Hitler."
Hanisch followed Hitler to the Mannerheim in about a week.
He knew that Hitler's type of paintings were the kind that tourists and the average person found pleasing, and admitted he hoped to benefit for himself.
Hanisch convinced Hitler that he would need an agent to sell his paintings, and would handle it for half the proceeds.
Hitler appeared reluctant, and offered the excuse that Hanisch lacked a peddler's license which might get them into trouble with the police
 Hanisch assured him that he would take care of it.
Hitler finally agreed.
Hitler continued painting landscapes or architectural renditions of churches and the more noble buildings of Vienna.

By the beginning of February Hitler settled into a fairly stable routine.
He did many paintings of the 'Gloriette' and the "Roman Ruins" in Schonbrunn Park.
With his paintings subsidizing his pension, Hitler was soon making more than enough to pay the rent and eat decently.
Hanisch stated that Hitler, using part of his Easter windfall, even splurged and went to the movies.
In July, Hitler had reason to believe that Hanisch was cheating him on what he was receiving for his paintings.
He asked for a list of all Hanisch's customers and when Hanisch refused, their partnership began to crumble.
Shortly after, Hanisch disappeared with two of Hitler's best paintings, including one oil titled 'Parliament House' which Hitler valued at 50 kronen.
Hitler filed a complaint with the police.
Early in August Hanisch was arrested for possible embezzlement and carrying false identification papers.
There were Jews at the Mannerheim with whom Hitler often discussed politics, and he "often found Jews who listened to his political debates."
Many of his favorite actors and musicians were Jews.
He spoke enthusiastically about Gustav Mahler, and the work of Felix Mendelssohn.
Although he didn't agree with the politics of the late author and poet Heinrich Heine, Hitler thought that his poetry deserved respect, and argued that it was sad Germany did not "recognize his merit."
The rampant anti-Semitism that existed in Europe failed to influence Hitler.
One of his closest friends during this period was a Jew named Josef Neumann.
Neumann was an art dealer who was instrumental in moving Hitler up the social ladder.
He had previously put Hitler in touch with a few Jewish art dealers, who purchased the best of Hitler's paintings.
The dealers resold the paintings, for the most part, to Jewish businessmen, doctors and lawyers.
Hitler, consequently, increased the number of his paintings and his business improved.
Hitler's and Neumann's relationship turned into such a close friendship that on certain days they would spend all their time roaming the huge city, visiting museums or lost in conversation.
Hitler and Neumann had long discussions about Zionism.
In one conversation Neumann stated that if all the Jews left Austria, the country would be in trouble for the Jews would carry away much of Austria's money.
Hitler, who appears to have understood nothing about international banking affairs at the time, disagreed.
He believed that the money would be confiscated since it was not Jewish but Austrian. In another discussion about the Jews, Hitler thought it possible that God had not personally given Moses the Ten Commandments but that Moses had collected them from various other cultures. But, if the Ten Commandments were the work of the Jews, Hitler believed, "they had produced as a nation one of the most marvelous things in history, since our whole civilization was based on the Ten Commandments."
Hitler would carry that thought with him for the rest of his life and would state thirty-one years later: "The Ten Commandments are moral values which are undeniably praiseworthy."
Neumann was disenchanted with Vienna and dreamed of saving enough money and moving to Germany.
The idea strongly appealed to Hitler, and on one occasion they actually made plans to leave together.
Their plans fell through, and Neumann would depart by himself before the end of 1910, and may have been the one who planted the seeds in Hitler's mind of moving to Germany.
Hitler felt a strong sense of obligation and openly praised Neumann long after he was gone. Hitler also had nothing but praise for the Jewish art dealers, including Altenberg, another named Landsberger, and a picture framer, Morgenstern, who bought most of his works.
He thought highly of nearly all Westernized Jews, especially since they were "willing to take chances" by buying his art.
In the large reading room at the Mannerheim, Hitler began to join in on the discussions with the more educated "middle class" residents.
In December of 1910, Hitler's aunt Johanna, Klara's sister, knowing her time was short withdrew her savings from the bank and gave Hitler a large share of it.
She, like most of Hitler's other relatives, had opposed his idea of becoming an artist.
She nevertheless had corresponded with him on occasion, and apparently had a change of heart.
She gave him the money for the purpose of pursuing his career as an artist.
Five months after receiving this "windfall," and a month after Johanna's death, Angela, Hitler's step-sister, inquired at the Linz court as to whether Hitler was still entitled to his share of the orphan's pension since he now appeared self-supporting.
Angela's husband had died the previous August, and with a daughter and son of her own, she now wanted Hitler's share of the pension to revert to the 15 year old Paula whom she was still raising.
In May, 1911, at age 22 Hitler made the trip to Linz and according to Paula, "voluntarily" gave up the right to his share of the pension.
According to court records Hitler stated he was "able to maintain himself and...agrees that the full amount of the orphan's pension should be put to the use of his sister." 
Mayor Mayrhofer, Hitler's guardian, believed that Hitler had again acted "decently", and heard no complaints about Hitler's actions.
( In later years when reporters and historians began making inquires, Mayrhofer, who knew the young Hitler as well as anyone, never found anything bad to say about him.)
Exactly how much Hitler received from his aunt is a mystery, other than to report that it had been a "considerable sum."
What Hitler did with the money is even a bigger mystery.
Since he never reported his windfall to the management, others feel he shrewdly doled it back to himself in small amounts as he had done with his inheritance when his mother died.
Actually, he may have taken a trip to the countryside that May, before he returned to Vienna.
Nonetheless, after Hitler returned to Vienna he resumed his painting.
He produced landscapes and portraits in ink, watercolor and oils.
With the warmer weather, and his Jewish contacts, he was able to sell everything he painted.
Like many artists, Hitler thought of switching to the less glamorous end of the artistic endeavor and working for businesses where the income is steady.
He "undertook technically difficult work for reproductions in print (usually engravings), mainly for posters or illustrations for advertisements of cosmetics, face powder, footwear, shoe polish and ladies' underwear."
For a while he renewed his dream of becoming an architect, and secured, from a construction company, assignments producing elementary architectural designs.
Hitler was always looking for that "special mission" he thought he was to achieve.
Almost everyone who met him was impressed by his ambition and energy.
Between bouts of painting and reading, he would get an idea and throw himself into it for weeks or months at a time.
After experimenting with model airplanes, he attempted to design a full size airplane.
After reading the science journals in the reading room about underwater exploration, his imagination was fired and he attempted to design water-diving equipment.
He noted that paper money wore out too quickly, and felt bills should be made smaller.
He then attempted to come up with an idea for enclosing them in celluloid.
He occasionally resumed his idea of writing a book and in many cases told people he was a writer.
What he was attempting to write at this time is not known.
He read a number of books on philosophy, Eastern and Western religions, astrology, occultism, and ancient Greece and Rome which abounded with Gods
He was remarkably knowledgeable about the history of German antiquity, and the numerous gods and heroes of its mythology.
He also knew his Bible, being particularly well versed in the Old Testament.
He had also read Dante's 'Divine Comedy' which is religious in content (though its goals were ethical), and showed great sympathy for pre-Christians who had contributed philosophical ideals.
Hitler's design may have been to write a book on religion, or a theme concerning Christianity again, which, as with his earlier "opera," had always appealed to him from a worldly point of view.
By such twists and turns however, he began to acquired information in many fields unknown to most men.
His reading was far from the narrow confines accepted by most intellectuals.
"With the indiscriminateness of the self-educated," his readings opened up a whole world of ideas.
Unlike most intellectuals, academics and professionals (who spent a large part of their lives acquiring an expertise in one particular subject, and who are, consequently, surprisingly ignorant of nearly everything else outside their expertise), Hitler had a scope of interconnecting knowledge that was widening.
He also had a "extraordinarily efficient memory" which retained what he read. 
Although he was not an authority in anything, he was acquiring a vast general knowledge which was "nothing short of amazing."
In addition, men of education usually keep within their own circles or class and are oblivious to other classes desires and beliefs.
Hitler's changing life styles and locations, since a youngster, had exposed him to a wide range of social classes which laid the seeds of insight into the driving motivations of different classes. 
Mythology can also "open a window to a people's soul", and Hitler's reading and knowledge of German Mythology had also given him special insights that few people understand.
His habit of reading different newspapers with different perspectives also gave him a more realistic and discerning view of events.
He knew when to "retain the essential and discard the non-essential".
Unlike those trained in the academic tradition, he was not easily swayed by the opinions of others.
He came to understand that the "educated classes" are just as blinded by their interests, and in protecting their way of life and, consequently, are as predisposed, prejudiced, narrow-minded and unenlightened as any other class.
As even Marx noted, the place a person assumes in the economic order deeply influences his sense of identity.
Hitler did not identify with the "have or satisfied" classes, but he did not identify with the lower strata of the industrialized working classes either.
In the political discussions that continued in the reading room, which at times had twenty debaters, Hitler, over the course of a year, became the leading speaker for the people caught in between the two.
Besides denouncing those of the upper classes, Hitler continued to rail against the Marxists and their trade union organizations which preached the brotherhood of man.
In time Hitler became one of the best debaters and most respected people in the Mannerheim reading room.
He learned to listen. He did not try to antagonize people.
According to observers he was usually "polite," "friendly," "helpful," "goodhearted," "charming," and "wasn't proud or arrogant".
He took an interest in his companions, and would always stop to help or advise a friend.
He contributed and even organized collections for men who had run out of money, and needed a quick helping hand to stay another day.
On the other hand, he still never became overly friendly and, unlike most men, seldom talked about himself.
No one thought of taking his favorite chair near the window, and most placed the distinctive "Herr" (referring to a gentleman) before his name.
As one resident noted: "He seemed to understand everyone."
In time, even the director of the Mannerheim would occasionally stop to talk with him--"an honor seldom granted a resident."
Hitler however, was not satisfied.
"A feeling of discontent seized me," he stated in Mein Kampf. Like many young people who find substance in posters and slogans that praise other places, over his bed hung one that glorified Germany. Germany was a land that had been beckoning to him for years.
Although all of Europe was alive with counter-political beliefs, Vienna with its international flavor of warring parties and nationalities, did not play well against Hitler's ideas of a strong German nation.
Hitler also believed the Habsburgs, in attempting to quell the unrest in Austria, were practicing an anti-German policy by unfairly giving in to the other nationalities and minorities which sooner or later would bring about the collapse of the empire.
The lure of Germany finally won out.
With some obscure ideal of hopefully finding a position "as a designer" for a large architectural firm, he decided to return to the state of Bavaria where as a boy he had developed his dialect.
He had been at the Mannerheim for nearly three and a half years.
In the end he had not only won the respect of most of the men there, but also their friendship. There were those who were sorry to see him go.
On May 24, 1913, shortly after his 24th birthday, Hitler received the final part of his father's estate.
Hitler stuffed his few belongings into a single suitcase and headed for the Westbahnhof.
He purchased a one-way ticket to Munich, Germany.

(Interestingly, shortly before Hitler left Vienna, Joseph Stalin (at age 33 just an up and coming Bolshevik ) was sent to Vienna in January 1913 to study the "Austrian situation." He rented a room just off the NE corner of Schonbrunn Park for a month and while there, working with the German socialists, wrote a Marxist tract. Hitler continued to visit Schonbrunn Park at that time. Perhaps the two, who were to become adversaries exactly twenty years later, crossed paths.)


Hitler arrived at the main railroad Hauptbahnhof in München on May 25, 1913.

 Hauptbahnhof  München
München Kleines Stadtwappen
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
München (Munich) is the capital and the largest city of the German state of Bavaria. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, behind Berlin and Hamburg.

The city's motto is "Weltstadt mit Herz" (Cosmopolitan city with a heart). Its native name, München, is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat of arms. Black and gold - the colours of the Holy Roman Empire - have been the city's official colours since the time of Ludwig the Bavarian.

 Hauptbahnhof  München
He left the station and began searching for an apartment.
The speech of the people reminded him of his childhood and he was "full of enthusiasm."
Munich, though not as large as Vienna, was a thriving city with over 600,000 people.
It had been the capital of Bavaria since 1255, and past Bavarian kings had contributed greatly to its art and architecture.
Painting, sculpture, and architecture museums abounded.
Munich was often referred to as the "modern Athens."
Besides being the center of German art, it boasted one of the best universities and libraries in Germany and was the intellectual center of Bavaria.

34 Schleissheimerstrasse -  München
A few blocks north of the railroad station, Hitler stopped before a four-story building on Schleissheimer Strasse to inquire about a posting:
"Furnished rooms to let for respectable gentlemen."

The premises at 34 Schleissheimerstrasse consist of a three-story house owned by a tailor, Josef Popp, whose shop takes up the ground floor. Popp's family: his wife and their two children, Peppi and Liesel, occupy the second floor. The third floor, accessed by a dark and narrow staircase, leads to a series of rooms that the Popp's rent to various tenants. Hitler is shown a small room furnished with a bed, a table, a sofa, a chair, and displaying two oleographs, (an oleograph is a chromolithograph printed with oil paint on canvas in imitation of an actual original oil painting) on the wall.

After a short talk with the landlady, he took a room for 20 marks a month, three flights up, where his only window overlooked the street.
The owner of Hitler's new residence was a Paris trained tailor named Josef Popp who had his business on the ground floor while the first and second floors were occupied by himself, his wife, their two children and their parents.
When Herr Popp first observed "the new lodger" his wife had rented to, he was glad to see that Hitler "was far from shabby."
His wife found Hitler to be a well mannered "Austrian charmer."
As required, Hitler registered with the local police department, but this time as an "Architectural painter from Vienna."
To show his contempt for Austria., or possibly attempting to emulate other "men of the world," he designated himself as "stateless", though Hitler made no attempt to relinquish his Austrian citizenship.

Tuerkenstrasse in Schwabing - München
Hitler's residence was located on the edge of the artist colony and student district in the Schwabing area not far from the University.
The area sprawled over the northern part of the city and bristled with art shops, studios, book stalls, and cafes.
During the days the streets thronged with young people and older dreamers carrying sheet music, canvases or manuscripts to and fro in hopes of instant success.
Most of these would-be "great artists" were normally found in the numerous cabarets and beer gardens.

'Der Untergang des Abendlandes'
Oswald Spengler
Oswald Spengler
Brewing was Munich's major industry, and life revolved around the beer mug.
Not far away, in a room similar to Hitler's, Oswald Spengler had begun writing 'Der Untergang des Abendlandes'  - (The Decline of the West).

'Der Untergang des Abendlandes', or 'The Downfall of the Occident', is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler.
The first volume of which was published in the summer of 1918. Spengler revised this volume in 1922 and published the second volume, subtitled Perspectives of World History, in 1923. The book introduces itself as a "Copernican overturning" and rejects the Euro-centric view of history, especially the division of history into the linear "ancient-medieval-modern" rubric. According to Spengler, the meaningful units for history are not epochs but whole cultures which evolve as organisms. Cultures have a lifespan of about a thousand years. Hitler was greatly influenced by the book when it was published

Thomas Mann also lived in the district, and was writing about social disintegration and moral decay. (Twenty-five years hence, despite his own misgivings, Mann would write in admiration about Adolf Hitler.)

Thomas Mann (6 June 1875 – 12 August 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. His analysis and critique of the European and German soul used modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer. 

Full of hope, Hitler began his painting the very next day.
According to Mrs. Popp, within a few days, Hitler completed "two lovely pictures," one of the 'Frauenkirche' (Church of our Lady) and the other of the 'Theatinerkirche' (Church of the Theatines).
Hitler, enthralled by his new environment, would rise early in the morning in search of customers and take up the brush later in the day.
He took his meals at local restaurants for awhile, but always the economizer he soon brought sausage, bread and the like to his room.
For a young man, Hitler surprised the Popps by his aloofness.
Whenever they offered him the advantage of joining them for supper or conversation he often found an excuse to refuse.
As in Vienna he never became overly friendly, and could not be induced to talk about himself. 
Frau Popp noticed that he seldom received mail from Austria, and when he did it was usually from his "sister."
There were times when he would just stay in his room for days painting, or "with his nose buried in heavy books" that he obtained from the Bavarian State Library, which was a fifteen minute walk from his room.
Frau Popp noted that he often "read and studied from morning to night."
She noticed that the books covered a wide variety of subjects including politics, and once asked Hitler what he expected to gain by all that reading.
Hitler, she said, smiled and took her by the arm and while walking beside her said: "Dear Frau Popp, does anyone know what is, or what isn't, likely to be of use to him in the future?"
The Popps found Hitler to be a modest and charming young man, who kept himself and his room very clean.
The Popps' children and parents were also "very fond of the young man", and felt that Hitler was a "nice" person.
Since Herr Popp's livelihood depended on his reputation as a master tailor, he took an interest in how his tenants dressed.
For a modest fee he supplied Hitler with a couple of fitted suits, and a well tailored topcoat which Hitler kept, like his room, in impeccable order.
To satisfy his sweet tooth, Hitler often purchased "day old" rolls and cakes, for a reduced rate, at a bakery shop down the street and to the left, on Gabelsberger Strasse.
In time he befriended the baker, Franz Heilmann, who purchased two of his paintings.
Heilmann remembered Hitler as a "sensible" and "respectful" young man who was always neatly dressed.
Hitler still did many of his paintings, after viewing the object when possible, from photographs or post cards.

Hofbrauhaus - Aquarell - Adolf Hitler
As in Vienna, some of his paintings were done on the scene.
He painted the Hofbrauhaus (one of the biggest pubs in the world and the most celebrated of Munich's beer halls) so many times he could paint it from memory, with all its details.
Although Hitler did some work in oils, most of his works during this period were watercolors.
Hitler soon began making over 100 marks a month.
Since he had few material aspirations (he admitted to an acquaintance years later that one Mark a day was enough for lunch and supper and he could live "very well" on 80 marks a month) he began to enjoy a very comfortable life style.
Hitler however, was not proud and appreciated what people did for him.
As time passed, Frau Popp found him very helpful.
Hitler would help her around the house, and was not beneath beating carpets, bringing in the coal, or filling her list at the market.
He also entertained her son by reading "military books" to him.
When Herr Popp gathered with friends for his weekly card game, Hitler, who never gambled, was not adverse to running errands for them.
When the card game ended, Hitler occasionally would join Herr Popp and his friends in a certain amount of socializing and conversation.
Popp and most of his friends considered Hitler an "emancipated, interesting figure."
Most of these discussions covered art, music and Bavaria.

Wappen des Königreiches Preußen
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Wappen des Königreichs Bayern
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
During most of its history Bavaria had been an independent kingdom but joined Bismarck's "Second Reich" in 1871. (The "First Reich" was the "Holy Roman Empire" (962-1806) which Napoleon destroyed.)
Of the 26 German states, Bavaria was second only to Prussia in size and influence.
Prussian dominance however, angered many of the Bavarians and although most accepted their status, there was a small though active group who advocated an independent Bavaria. 
Another group favored separation from Germany and union with their fellow Catholics of Austria.
Bavaria, consequently, held a special independent position in Germany, and politics were always a major topic.
Hitler, as an outsider, found a ready audience and was listened to with respect.
Acquaintances reported that his political views were consistent, and that he liked to predict political developments.
In time Hitler and Herr Popp used to have political conversations almost every night.
With regard to art, Hitler's sentiments were not based on ignorance.
Because of his many visits to excellent art museums, and his reading on the subject, he had obtained an impressive amount of knowledge in art history.
Hitler considered "modern art" nothing but "deplorable smears."
He believed that if people like Kandinsky (who attended the University of Odessa and who had been offered a professorship in law ironically) did not have the right connections, their "spiritual" ideas of art would have got them "locked up in asylum."
Hitler believed that the art critics who praised such "alien trash" were too "ignorant or insecure" to state their true feelings.
Alpine Scene - Adolf Hitler
He also felt that the ruling "elite" knew absolutely nothing about art. 
Hitler considered such art one of the "symptoms of a slowly rotting world."
He despised all "modern art", whether it came from the authoritarian right or the Marxist left.
With regard to his own work, Hitler refused to hire an agent, and sold his paintings to the Kunsthandlung Stuffle (an art shop) on Maximilian Strasse, or to tourists and businessmen on the broad Leopold Strasse.
That Hitler would peddle his paintings on Leopold is noteworthy--Munich's Academy of Art rests right off Leopold and there can be little doubt that some "customers" assumed that Hitler was a struggling art student and/or might become famous some day.
A doctor Schirmer remembered that Hitler approached him when he was having a beer at one of the many beer gardens in the area at the time. Hitler, he said, was neatly dressed and politely asked him if he was interested in purchasing a small oil painting he had with him.

Alpine Scene - Adolf Hitler
The doctor purchased the painting for 25 marks and commissioned Hitler to reproduce two of his favorite postcards in water colors.
Hitler completed the paintings of Bavarian mountain lakes within a week.
As Hitler learned the in-and-outs of the Munich art business, his paintings began bringing in 10 to 25 marks apiece and he sold all he could paint.
Since a bank clerk of his age made about 70 marks a month while many metal workers, with families to provide for, made less than 100 marks a month, his success as an artist was undeniable.
During the winter months in Munich, as in Vienna, the tourist trade dwindled and Hitler designed and painted commercial posters for business and thereby continued to keep his income at nearly 100 marks a month.
Hitler's easy life was abruptly shaken on Jan 18, 1914.
The Munich police arrested him. 

Kaiserliche Wappen von Österreich
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
They had received a summons from the Austrian Government requiring Hitler to show himself in Linz in two days.
Hitler was tentatively being accused of leaving Austria to evade military service.
If this was found to be true, he could be fined up to 2000 kronen, sentenced to a year in prison, and he would still have to fulfill his military obligations.

The Kaiserlich und Königliche Armee - (Austro-Hungarian Army) was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army (Common Army, recruited from all parts of the country), the Imperial Austrian Landwehr (recruited from Cisleithania), and the Royal Hungarian Honved (recruited from Transleithania).

After being taken to police headquarters, Hitler explained that he was not trying to evade military service.
Draft dodgers at that time went to Switzerland, not to Germany, which had an extradition treaty with Austria.
The local authorities were sympathetic to Hitler's story, and with the help of his lawyer friend, Hepp, Hitler was granted an audience the next day with the Austrian Consulate General.
The following day (the same day Hitler was to report at Linz) the Consulate received a negative response which stated:  "Is to report on 20 January."

Kaiserliche und Königliche Infanterie - 1900
The Austrian authorities, possibly slighted over Hitler's statement of "Stateless" on his German registration card, wanted Hitler to be taken to the border and handed over to them.
The Consulate however, refused to repatriate Hitler, and personally acted on his behalf.
Since his lung affliction years before, Hitler had always been a lean and frail person suffering from "bronchial catarrh."
Consequently the Consulate advised Hitler to send a letter to Linz, and the Consul himself sent an accompanying letter which stated that Hitler "was suffering from a condition which renders him unfit for military service and at the same time removes all motive for evading it ... As Hietler [sig] seems very deserving of considerate treatment, we shall provisionally refrain from handing him over as requested...."
The Austrian authorities, finally seeing their error, dropped their insistence on his immediate return.
All fines and all charges were dropped.
On Feb. 5, 1914 Hitler reported, not as a guarded deserter but as a regular recruit to Salzburg (to save him the trouble of traveling all the way to Linz) to have a physical for possible army service.
Even though Hitler admitted to earning a "100 marks" a month, the Austrian embassy, realizing the fault lay with them, paid for the trip.
After a thorough examination which included "mental abilities," the five foot, nine inch Hitler was found to be "unfit", and like a large number of other conscripts, was rejected because he was "too weak" for armed service.
Under Austrian "recruitment law" Hitler would not have to report again for one full year.
If his condition had not improved he would still be required to report one more time.
Only after being rejected on the third occasion would he be exempt from military service.
Hitler returned to Munich and his comfortable and respectable life style.
In April 1914, Hitler turned 25 years old.
Like most men leaving their adolescence behind, he had matured and most of the petty resentments of unfulfilled youth were left behind.
He visited the many art and technical museums throughout the city and repeatedly visited the German (Deutsche) Museum located on an island in the Isar.

München Opernhaus
He spent some of his spare time at the opera on Max-Joseph-Platz, and at the library on Ludwig Strasse.
He spent most of his time reading books or magazines, and painting each day.
He continued to visit the local cafes, where he read the daily papers, ate pastries, sold his paintings, and expounded on his views to those around him.
Like millions of other law-abiding Germans, he went almost unnoticed among the crowd.


Sarajevo - 1914
On June 28, 1914 Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand, the heir apparent to the Austrian throne, and his wife were visiting the Balkans.
They were shot and killed in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist.
This seemingly local incident would at first appear not to affect Hitler, however, this was not the case.
Because it was believed (and later confirmed) that the Serbian secret police played a hand in the murders, the Austrian government worried that the incident would ignite revolts among the other restless "races" within the Empire.

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Royal Arms of Serbia
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Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand
They therefore decided to take strong measures against the "unruly Serbs", and reduce Serbia in power and land.
Believing the incident would not go beyond a localized affair, they nonetheless sought the approval of their major ally, Germany.
Germany's recent successes, however, had earned her the suspicion and hostility of the other world powers.
Germany's determination to build up a navy and compete for colonies, alienated an ambitious Great Britain.
Germany's founding of a few minor colonies in the Pacific, threatened the aspirations of Japan. Germany's determination to build a Berlin to Baghdad railroad, threatened the goals of Russia. 
By attempting to expand in North Africa, Germany outraged France.
All of these "great" nations viewed the newcomer as a threat to their economic, political and colonial self-interest.

French Coat of Arms
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Compounding matters, France had been Germany's bitterest rival ever since their first battle in the year 1214, and the French were still smarting over the defeat Bismarck had dealt them in 1870 - symbolized by Alsace-Lorraine.
Since the fall of the Roman Empire the French had always viewed themselves as the new inheritors of the continent and were very resentful of German power.
France not only aimed at recovering Alsace-Lorraine but dreamed of controlling the German Rhineland and so destroying Germany as a rival forever.
Because Germany had a "Triple Alliance" which included herself, Austria and Italy, in 1902 France signed an agreement with Italy which seriously weakened the Triple Alliance.
A few years later, France brought about a reconciliation between Russia and Great Britain.
The three formed the Triple Entente.
Militarily, Germany was becoming isolated and surrounded by rivals who longed to see her reduced in wealth and power.
When Austria inquired as to whether Germany would support her, word was sent from Berlin that the "blank. check" was still in effect (see The Balkans) and promised German backing if Russia, who viewed herself as protector of the Slavs, threatened to support Serbia.
But, the German government "favored strictly limited military operations, which were considered justifiable, even in London."

Kleines Wappen des Deutschen Reiches
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The German leaders also believed the war would not go beyond a localized affair, however, because of treaties, public and private, events took a different course.
When Austria declared war on Serbia on July, 28, 1914, Russia mobilized a large part of its regular armies in support of Serbia.
Germany demanded that Russia demobilize.
With the encouragement and advice of France, which "in effect gave a blank check to Russia," Russia answered on July 30 by ordering a "general mobilization" (including reserve forces) of the entire Russian army of 5,971,000 men.

Coat of Arms of the
Russian Empire
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In the mind of several Russian diplomats, "this was no war for limited aims, but a war for the almost complete elimination of Germany". 
Since Poland had been swallowed up (by Russia, Prussia(Germany) and Austria) over a hundred years before, Russia rashly began placing troops along the Austrian and German borders.
Germany started its mobilization and on July 31st sent Russia an ultimatum, demanding that mobilization of Russian forces be stopped in twelve hours.
Russia made no reply, so Austria called for the mobilization of its entire 3,000,000 man army.
Russia's mobilization, combined with knowledge that France was determined to take part in a European war, ended any hope of a localized conflict and to many "forced Germany's hand." 
Germany now had to decide whether she was to abandon or to extend the advances she had made into southeastern Europe over the preceding decades.
The survival of the Austrian Empire, as well as German's position as a great nation were also at stake. Germany had either to fight a war, or abandon central and southeastern Europe to independent national states and other world powers.

German Mobilisation
Germany, confident of victory, called for the full mobilization of its entire 4,500,000 man army, and declared war on Russia on August first.
France (believing she and Russia could destroy Germany as a rival by Christmas) ordered the mobilization of her 4,017,000 man army.
The other declarations of war to follow were only a formality.
The leaders of all the belligerent nations went to war to settle old scores and conquer new lands.
Among the general population, the fervor of the moment fed suppressed hostilities.
The ultra-national dream of "great nations" to fulfill their destinies grew into a vision
In the smaller nations, the dream was that the national political map would be redrawn and each nationality would seek its own destiny.
Nearly everyone praised the coming war for one reason or another.
Novelists, historians, theologians, composers, poets and other persons of quality led the fervor.

Kaiser Wilhelm II
In Germany, when Kaiser Wilhelm II proclaimed to tens of thousands assembled in the palace square in Berlin that he no longer saw parties or denominations but only "German brothers," the nation's barriers disappeared almost instantly.
Considering the growth of the Social Democrats in Germany, some experts predicted "that mobilization could be paralyzed by a general strike, and that social revolution might raise its ominous head."
The opposite proved the case.

Deutsch Reichstag in Berlin
Even the most leftist of the Marxists in the German Reichstag forgot about their internationalism and voted for the war.
The leaders of the far right Pan-German movement (one-third of its 35,000 members were engaged in academic professions at this time) officially proclaimed that "we must gather all men of German tongues into one Reich and one people. An everlasting master race will then direct the progress of mankind."
In Berlin crowds marched down the Unter den Linden boulevard in impromptu gaiety, cheering, waving flags, and singing patriotic songs.
To the Germans it was a dream come true.
A time to carry forward old dreams. To expand. To become the greatest power in Europe.
With victory, Germany would unite all the Germans of Europe and be the undisputed master of the continent.

 Rainer Rilke
Such diverse German elements from the noted poet Rainer Rilke to Adolf Hitler were overjoyed at the turn of events.

Declaration of War - München 1914
In Munich the declaration of war was read to the public on the steps of the Feldherrnhalle.
Hitler, well groomed and dressed in one of his tailored suits, stood before the Hall among an enthusiastic crowd of thousands of Munich's "best."
Like hundreds of other zealous onlookers he waved his hat in approval.  
Hitler would later state: "I, overwhelmed by emotion, fell upon my knees and from an overflowing heart thanked Heaven for granting me the good fortune of being allowed to live in these times. A fight for freedom had begun, greater than the world had ever seen before." 

König Ludwig III von Bayern
Before the echo of Germany's declaration of war on France faded that day, the twenty-five year old Hitler, still an Austrian, applied for special permission from King Ludwig III to join the German army.

Coat of Arms of Great Britain
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The Germans expected the British to stay out of the war, but always one to look to their own ambitions, and envious of German industrial competition, the British considered it compatible with their interest that France not be defeated.
In addition, if Germany won the war, Germans would be the "arbiter" of Europe and the British habit of always dividing the continent into at least two hostile camps to serve their own purposes would end.
Prior secret agreements between the French and British governments had already compelled Britain to come to France's aid, but, for propaganda reasons, the British government needed an excuse to appease her more passive population.
An almost forgotten 75 year old treaty with "Little Belgium," that many believed was no longer in effect, came to her service and war was declared on Germany.
 In London, enthusiastic crowds urged their government on while they attacked shops with German sounding names and dachshunds were killed in the streets.
Hitler received word that his request to join the German army was accepted, and he reported to a Bavarian infantry regiment (set up in a large school on the corner of Elisabeth and Gentz) for acceptance.
A "few days" later the 25 year old Hitler moved into the Oberwiesenfeld Barracks on the outskirts of Munich and began his basic training.
Hitler's indoctrination into the army consisted of a two month extensive course in military formalities (saluting, drilling, marching), along with bayonet and rifle practice.
Hans Mend, one of Hitler's fellow recruits was impressed by Hitler's "dynamic glance and by his unusual presence," even though Hitler was dressed in his gray-green uniform like the other recruits. Mend stated, "I thought he might be an academic because a lot of them had joined the...Regiment."
As the opposing armies fought their way north in an attempt to get around one another, Hitler continued with his basic training. .
At the beginning of October Hitler made a visit to his landlords and told Herr and Frau Popp that his regiment would soon be leaving Munich and he would be sent to the front shortly after. 
Since his room was his official address, he asked the Popps to notify his sister if a message came that he been killed.
He told the Popps that if no one wanted his few possessions, they could keep them.
Hitler bid them farewell and, as he hugged the Popp's two children in a farewell gesture, Frau Popp, aware of the heavy casualties at the front, burst into tears.
Hitler, undoubtedly touched by such concern, turned tail and hurriedly took off down the street.
On Oct 8, Hitler, along with the other recruits of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, called the List Regiment after its first commander, swore allegiance to Ludwig III, head of the state of Bavaria, and Kaiser William of Germany. 

Hitler served as a runner on the Western Front in France and Belgium in the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16.
He experienced major combat, including the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras and the Battle of Passchendaele.
Hitler was twice decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914 and Iron Cross, First Class, in 1918 (see right).
 On 15 October 1918, Hitler was temporarily blinded by a mustard gas attack.
Hitler described the war as "the greatest of all experiences" and he was praised by his commanding officers for his bravery.
The experience made Hitler a passionate German patriot, and he was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918.
Like many other German nationalists, Hitler believed in the Dolchstoßlegende (Stab-in-the-back legend), which claimed that the army, "undefeated in the field," had been "stabbed in the back" by civilian leaders and Marxists back on the home front, later dubbed the November Criminals.


Kurt Eisner
After World War I, Hitler remained in the army and returned to Munich, where he attended the funeral march for the murdered Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner.
After the suppression of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, he took part in "national thinking" courses organized by the Education and Propaganda Department of the Bavarian Reichswehr under Captain Karl Mayr.

Captain Ernst Röhm
It was while working with this department that Hitler me Captain Ernst Röhm
In July 1919, Hitler was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, both to influence other soldiers and to become involved with  the German Workers' Party (DAP), which had been set up by the Army, in collaboration with the Thule Gesellschaft.

Thule Gesellschaf

It is important to note that Hitler, in 'Mein Kampf', did not give an accurate account of his initial involvement with the DAP, as he was concerned not to the reveal the involvement of the Army and the Thule Gesellschaft in the setting up of the DAP - which later became the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party; NSDAP).

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Hitler worked with the founder of the DAP, Anton Drexler (see right) who was antisemitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist.
Drexler favoured a strong active government, a "non-Jewish" version of socialism and solidarity among all members of society.
Anton Drexler 
Hitler became a member of the DAP on the 12 September 1919, becoming its 55th member.
Dietrich Eckart

At the DAP, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of its early founders and member of the occult Thule Society.
Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him, teaching him how to dress and speak, and introducing him to a wide range of people.
Hitler thanked Eckart and paid tribute to him in the second volume of Mein Kampf.

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To increase the party's appeal, the party changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party; NSDAP) - (see right).
Hitler was discharged from the army in March 1920 and with his former superiors' encouragement began participating full time in the party's activities.
By early 1921, Hitler had become highly effective at speaking in front of large crowds.
In February, Hitler spoke to a crowd of nearly six thousand in Munich.
To publicize the meeting, two truckloads of party supporters drove around waving swastikas and throwing leaflets.

Hitler soon gained favour for his polemic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles (see left), rival politicians, and especially directed against against Marxists and Jews.
The NSDAP was centred in Munich, a hotbed of German nationalists, including Army officers determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar Republic.
Gradually they noticed Hitler and his growing movement as a suitable vehicle for their goals.

And the rest - so they say - is history - or is it ?

To answer that question click below for

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  1. Hitler as Wolfaboo

    As mentioned in your article, Hitler's infatuation and self identification with wolves seems to have begun in earnest in 1921 around the same time he assumed leadership of the National Socialist German Worker's Party and began receiving the patronage of one of his earliest political mentors, Dietrich Eckart. Prior to this and following the end of the First World War Hitler had made his reputation in the German Army by acting as a political spy for the German Reichwehr against the Communist revolutionaries. It was in the context of his work as a political spy he began using the pseudonym "Herr Wolf." (The Twisted Cross by Joseph J Carr p. 46) He also began signing articles of his that were published in the Volkischer Beobachter as simply "Wolf." (The Unknown Hitler p. 111) The society matrons and ladies of means whom Eckart had introduced him to during this period also referred to him by this name. (ibid.) Stan Lauryssens' book describes how Hitler would sit at Helene Bechstein's feet while she gently stroked his hair while murmuring 'Mein Wolfchen.' (The Man Who Invented the Third Reich p. 107) During this time he was given speaking lessons and introduced to their friends in polite society (Op Cit p. 118) whose members would become the Nazi Party's initial principal financial sponsors. On April 20, 1922, Hitler's next birthday, one of his bodyguards named Christian Weber presented him with a German Shepherd whom Hitler named 'Wolf.' He quickly became the first in a line of Hitler's pets with whom Hitler formed a close bond, taking him on long walks and to party meetings. (Hitler and his God pp. 94-95) Upon the acquisition of a hardbound copy of Timothy Ryback's important book 'Hitler's Private Library' I happened to notice something else quite significant. At the top of the dust jacket is an enlarged reproduction of Hitler's signature.

    If one were to study Hitler's signatures over time one would see a preponderance of those in which the rendering of the first name has been summarized into an 'S' shaped 'Sigrune.' ( Originally said to refer to the Sun this character was later re-interpreted by German occultist and Ariosophist Guido von List as meaning 'Victory.' ( Aside from the obvious symbology, one might imagine Hitler's usage of this particular style of writing his first name from a purely practical standpoint after he became dictator. However, if one studies the signature printed on the dust jacket of Mr. Ryback's book one will notice a distinctly different stylization. Hitler breaks the cursive 'd' to form the right side of a capital 'W' so that his name appears to spell the name, 'Wolf Hitler.' Looking on line I found a couple other examples of this signature. One is signed to a document said to date from November of 1923 ( while another is affixed to a document displayed in the Simon Weisenthal archives and credited as Hitler's first anti-semitic written work dating from 1919. ( In both of these signatures the stylization of the 'Ad' into a capital 'W' are clearly evident.

    1. Very interesting remarks regarding Adolf Hitler's signature

  2. Different authors have ascribed to his first name different meaning. According to John Toland, "..Adolf was derived from the Teutonic word meaning 'fortunate wolf'.." (Adolf Hitler by John Toland p. 130) while Joachim Fest asserts Hitler determined that the word 'Wolf', "was the primitive Germanic form of Adolf." (Hitler by Joachim Fest p. 157)

    As a mythological figure, the wolf is an animal highly regarded in various European and Native American cultures. Investigating the cultural ancestry of this lupine obsession in Europe one finds reference in the Histories of Herodotus dating back to 500 BC to a tribe called the Neurians of Scythia who were said to wear wolf-skins at their annual festivals as a means of transforming themselves into wolves. (Realm of the Ring Lords by Laurence Gardener, pp. 213-214) The original works of Norse Mythology known collectively as the Volsunga Saga composed in the 13th Century (op cit, p. 39) include tales in which the protagonists donned the skins of wolves and adopted their physical traits. (op cit, p. 215) Whether Hitler was familiar with these tales is unknown but it should be kept in mind that according to his friend August Kubizek he often would see Hitler surrounded by the five volumes of the 'Heldenbücher' or 'The Sagas of the German Heroes' when he was growing up in Linz. (The Young Hitler I Knew by August Kubizek, p. 62) In Christian tradition, the wolf is the emblem for St Francis of Assisi. (Totems by Brad Steiger p. 211) For some Indian tribes, the wolf is the 'Great Teacher.' (Totems by Brad Steiger p. 210) To them, the wolf is said to be wise, cunning, intelligent, strong, gregarious, courageous and mysterious. (Spirits of the Earth by Bobby Lake-Thom p. 98) According to Joachim Fest, the word 'wolf', "..suggested the qualities of strength, aggressiveness and solitariness.." to Hitler. (Hitler by Joachim Fest p. 157) The extent of this identification is suggested by the following anecdote regarding a particularly nice bit of trolling and the Fuhrer's resultant butthurt,

    "Once when the industrialist Otto Harz was visiting the Obersalzberg and Hitler likened himself to a wolf, Harz jokingly remarked, 'But Fuhrer, a wolf is long-legged, skinny, has a long nose and eats meat.'

    "Hitler reddened and walked away. A few minutes later Rudolf Schmundt, Hitler's chief armed-forces adjutant, suggested to Harz that he leave. The industrialist was never again invited to the Berghoff."
    (Hitler's Secret Life by Glenn B. Infield p. 58)

    1. Very interesting remarks about the nature of the wolf in European mythology.

  3. Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
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  4. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.