Adolf Hitler Research Paper

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Adolf Hitler, the dictator whose name conjures the horrors of the Holocaust, channeled his youthful frustrations into extreme German nationalism and growing anti-Semitism. Hitler instituted a profound social revolution in Germany, but it was highly exclusionary. Unleashed violence against Jews in November 1938 led to their resettlement in ghettos and, in 1942, to the Nazi’s “Final Solution,” a euphemism for the mass murder of all Jews.

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Adolf Hitler is best known as the ultimate fascist dictator. After World War I he guided his National Socialist German Workers Party, popularly known as the Nazi Party, into prominence in Germany’s Weimar Republic and in 1933 imposed a oneparty dictatorship that steered Germany into World War II. Antidemocratic, antiforeign, anti-intellectual, anti-Bolshevik, and anti-Semitic, he was nevertheless charismatic, led an effective economic recovery, and, with help from propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945), developed powerful emotional and political control over most Germans by the late 1930s. Most historians consider Hitler to have been the key person who caused World War II and the Holocaust. In consequence, his very name is associated with evil.

Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau, a provincial Austrian town near Germany, to a minor customs official of uncertain parentage. The Hitler household was not happy, and Hitler was an undisciplined schoolboy who envisaged grand goals for himself as a loosely defined artist, perhaps as architect, set designer, or music critic, but his accomplishments fell far short of reality. Reduced to vagrancy, Hitler found relief from his frustrations in extreme German nationalism, rabble-rousing politics, and growing anti-Semitism. Only Europe’s call to arms in 1914 “saved” him. He joined a Bavarian regiment, preferring to render military service to Germany. Soldiering became his first real job.

Turning Failure to Success

A rarity among 1914 volunteers, Hitler survived four years of trench warfare, winning the German Iron Cross as a lowly corporal-runner (he was not considered officer material). This decoration allowed him to campaign freely in postwar German politics. The wounded veteran Hitler returned to Munich in 1919, working undercover to assess the myriad political movements that had emerged after Germany’s defeat amid revolutionary turmoil. Hitler casually entered politics by joining one of the obscure parties to which the army had assigned him for surveillance.

From its outset Germany’s Weimar Republic reeled under the harsh conditions imposed by the Versailles Treaty, especially its reparations clauses. Numerous extremist political parties arose, among them Hitler’s Bavarian movement, which in 1921 took the name National Socialist German Workers Party with Hitler as its spokesman. The party adapted its unwieldy name to everyday usage by shortening the word National to Nazi, and Hitler personally chose the swastika, a hooked cross that became the movement’s central icon. Yet, demagoguery won Hitler his central role. Prewar passions and prejudices that had existed in embryonic form within him came to the fore. An animated and indefatigable speaker (and reader), Hitler discovered at age thirty that he could rivet people’s attention, be it in a beer hall or in a salon. Recognizing the emotional power of the spoken word over the printed word, he pioneered in using new electronic media such as the microphone, radio, and film.

Hitler’s formula for political success was as potent as it was lacking in subtlety. The very name that he chose for his party was indicative. The National Socialist German Workers Party was ultranationalistic (“National . . . German”) but also spoke for “the little guy” (“Socialist . . . Workers”). Ergo, the Nazis were Germans first, but they came from the same bedrock class of little people whose unrecognized talents had made their nation great, that is, they were just like Hitler. He played masterfully on the public’s fears and resentments, which were numerous after Germany’s defeat. Hitler’s message was built on absolutes: those who oppose us are traitors; those who support us are patriots.

Armed with this self-assuring message, Hitler dominated his own party, whose unruly members were compelled to recognize his charisma. Outside events also helped him to build his political base. The Weimar Republic’s first blow came in 1923 when French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr industrial area of Germany. Industry came to a standstill, and rampant inflation impoverished the nation overnight. Opportunistically, Hitler struck at what he thought was the right moment, but his Beer Hall Putsch of 9 November 1923, ended in his arrest, trial, and a five-year jail sentence.

Phoenix-like, Hitler turned his trial into a political forum and gained national recognition. During his reduced sentence of one-year fortress arrest, he wrote his memoir-cum-political statement, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). In turgid prose Hitler envisaged a rejuvenated Germany that would expand into an empire comprised of pure Aryan Germans, one in which Jews, Slavs, and other unwanted peoples would be banished. Fortunately for him, few people outside his party took his statement seriously. Upon his release Hitler reasserted control over his unruly following and plotted future campaigns.

From Figurehead to Fuhrer

As long as the Weimar Republic experienced economic stability from 1924 to 1929, aided by private U.S. loans, it could pay off its reparations. Prosperity also deadened the appeal of political extremists, Nazis included. However, the stock market crash of October 1929 struck Germany’s export economy with particular severity. The nation’s conservative business and political leaders could not stem massive unemployment, and the Nazis and Communists successfully gridlocked government. The crisis deepened, and gradually moderate voters drifted rightward into the ranks of the Nazis. Finally, on 30 January 1933, the conservative leaders elevated Hitler to the chancellorship of a coalition government. They assumed that they could use him as a figurehead.

Hitler proved them wrong. Once in power he undermined democracy, deliberately fostering panic after an arsonist burned the Reichstag (Parliament) building. The Nazis herded thousands of Communists and other opponents into hastily erected concentration camps. In March 1933 Hitler forced passage of an enabling act that granted him dictatorial powers and emasculated the Weimar constitution. Weimar’s last election gave the Nazis only 43.9 percent of the vote, but that plurality enabled Hitler to wield complete power. Soon he suppressed all other political parties, absorbed the trade union movement, and instituted Gleichschaltung (leveling), the co-opting of all political, social, and professional associations into his party apparatus. Germans were compelled to greet each other daily with the words “Heil Hitler!” and an outstretched right arm. That greeting powerfully reinforced political conformity.

Shunning orthodox economic advice, Hitler began construction of expressways and public housing, programs that he had blocked while in opposition. Quietly he also initiated massive rearmament programs. Within months the economy improved, unemployment ebbed, and Hitler’s popularity soared. Renewed prosperity plus the use of terror even within his own party—as happened in June 1934 when he purged his Sturm Abteilung (Storm Troopers) in the so-called Night of the Long Knives—created a Hitler myth: Germany’s all-knowing Fuhrer (leader) was forging unity at home and rebuilding prestige abroad. Propaganda minister Goebbels powerfully reinforced Hitler’s image as an infallible Fuhrer.

Hitler instituted a profound social revolution in Germany, one that affected citizens’ daily lives and attitudes, but it was highly exclusionary. Only Germans could participate because in Hitler’s mind-set Jews and other foreigners were inferior to Aryans. By stages he isolated Germany’s Jewish citizens, first with business boycotts and purges of the civil service in 1933, then with his Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which denied Jews citizenship or the right to marry Aryans. Ominously, a vast pogrom (massacre) on 9 November 1938 unleashed violence against Jews and led to their resettlement in ghettos. Finally, in January 1942 at the secret Wannsee Conference, members of Hitler’s inner circle, including Reinhard Heydrich (1904–1942), leader of the paramilitary Schutzstaffel (Protective Echelon), settled upon their “Final Solution,” the Nazis’ euphemism for the mass murder of all Jews. Hitler never issued written orders, but his subordinates knew his wishes and hastened to carry them out.

Master of Deceit

From the outset Hitler knew that his policies would incite fear abroad. Anticipating this, he masqueraded as a defender of peace. In retrospect his actions showed him to be a master of deceit who played on Europe’s war weariness in order to win concessions. Between 1935 and 1939 he repeatedly caught other nations, especially Britain and France, off guard. Their leaders hoped to appease him with timely compromises. Hitler scrapped the Versailles Treaty, openly rearming in 1935, remilitarizing the Rhineland a year later, annexing Austria, then the Czech Sudetenland in 1938, and finally the rest of Czechoslovakia a few months later. Simultaneously, he outspent France and Britain on rearmaments six times over, transforming Germany into a military superpower by the time he invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, beginning World War II. Opportunistically, Hitler shared his Polish conquest with the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1879–1953), a diplomatic marriage of convenience that lasted scarcely twenty months.

Initially Hitler’s armies ran rampant, defeating all opponents and forcing Britain’s expeditionary forces back into their home islands. By June 1941, along with his Axis (Germany, Italy, Japan) partner, the Italian Premier Benito Mussolini (1883–1945), Hitler held sway from Norway to North Africa. However, at this time Hitler’s character flaws surfaced. His ultimate goal, lebensraum (living space), required that he conquer the vast eastern territories occupied by Slavic peoples in order to achieve his fantasy of a greater German Reich (empire) that would last a thousand years. He was also convinced that he alone could accomplish such a feat. Pessimistic about his own longevity, Hitler was determined to finalize his conquests within his lifetime.

In July 1940, after Germany’s victories in the West, Hitler ordered the preparation of Operation Barbarossa, his plan for conquering the Soviet Union. Accordingly, 3 million soldiers attacked eastward on 22 June 1941. At first his Wehrmacht (armed forces) attained easy victories over the surprised Soviets. However, enough defenders survived over the vast expanses and deteriorating weather conditions to halt the invaders before Moscow in December 1941. Soviet reserves launched fierce counterattacks that threw the astonished Germans back. Hitler’s hopes of rapid victory proved illusory. He had embroiled his country in a lengthy war of attrition. Amazingly, Hitler compounded his error by declaring war on the United States four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, turning the conflict into a world war.

Total war revealed severe weaknesses in Hitler’s governmental structure. Ever since his youth Hitler had held social Darwinist notions of life as an eternal struggle. The title of his book, Mein Kampf, implied as much. These notions manifested themselves in the way that Hitler created agencies with overlapping authority in order to foster tension among competing officials. Ultimately all threads led back to him so that he could control his minions amid their institutional infighting. As a result, Germany’s administration and armed forces suffered from duplications of effort and muddled lines of authority. Hitler’s personality was unsuited to the administrative drudgery that might have blunted such chaos. In consequence, strategic decisions were delayed or never resolved. Scientists and technicians received contradictory orders for weapons development and other war-related activities (many of Germany’s best scientists were in exile). Industrialists never geared up properly for a long war; thus, production remained static until too late. Hitler’s disdain for women precluded their effective mobilization for the war effort. Occupied European nations discovered that their conquerors behaved like thugs and stole production, services, capital, artworks, and people in the form of forced labor. Genuine cooperation ceased, and the occupiers acquired only a fraction of the support they needed. Hitler’s hatred of “inferior” peoples such as Jews and Slavs turned the war in the East into a racial war; thus, the captive populations, many of whom despised Communism and its cruel master, Joseph Stalin, never coalesced as a labor pool for Germany.

Ultimately Hitler’s role as commander-in-chief defeated him. After the victories of 1939–1941 he convinced himself that he was military genius. In his youth his intuition had told him that he was a great artist. Now, in wartime, his intuition convinced him that he was a great captain on the order of King Alexander of Macedon, the Carthaginian general Hannibal, or the French emperor Napoleon. In reality he was an amateur. Hitler alone ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union without adequate intelligence. He bobbled his army groups in the opening campaign of 1941 while issuing his cruel Commissar Order for the indiscriminate killing of Soviet leaders (and by implication the entire Russian intelligentsia). Most fateful was his decision a year later to steer his soldiers into the Battle of Stalingrad, where an entire German army was annihilated. Neither Hitler, nor his once-adoring public, nor his armies recovered from that blow as the Allies (France, England, China, Russia, and the United States) closed in from east and west. For that eventuality, Hitler and his generals had no solution despite the smoke and mirrors that he and his propaganda minister threw up about exotic new “vengeance” weapons, an “impenetrable” Atlantic Wall, or the German people’s “fanatical” will to resist.

Too late small numbers of Germans concluded that Hitler was leading their nation over the abyss, and on 20 July 1944, they nearly assassinated him. Nevertheless, the attempt failed, and Hitler remained in control until, surrounded by Soviet forces in Berlin, he committed suicide on 30 April 1945. Even as his ultimate fate approached, he refused to accept blame or express remorse for any of his decisions. In February 1945 he had issued his notorious “Nero” order calling for the destruction of Germany’s basic infrastructure. Had his followers carried out his scorched earth policy, millions of Germans would have died from malnourishment, exposure, and disease. Fortunately, recipients of his order, such as his chief technocrat, Albert Speer (1899–1979), balked. The pity is that they had not disobeyed him sooner.

Before Hitler committed suicide, he prepared his last will and testament. Far from an apology, it was yet another mumbling diatribe against the Jews and an indictment of his own people for failing him in executing his hate-filled schemes. His will became part of the historical record and helps explain why the name “Hitler” is synonymous with “evil.”


  • Browning, C. (2004). The origins of the Final Solution: The evolution of Nazi-Jewish policy, September 1939–March 1942. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Bullock, A. (1962). Hitler: A study in tyranny. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin Books.
  • Burleigh, M. (2000). The Third Reich: A new history. New York: Hill and Wang.
  • Fest, J. C. (1974). Hitler. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  • Hamann, B. (1999). Hitler’s Vienna: A dictator’s apprenticeship. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Hitler, A. (1933). Mein kampf. Marburg-Lahn, Germany: Blindenstudienanstalt.
  • Keegan, J. (1989). The mask of command. New York: Penguin.
  • Kershaw, I. (1999). Hitler: 1889–1936 hubris. New York: W. W. Norton.
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  • Kershaw, I. (2000). The Nazi dictatorship: Problems & perspectives of interpretation (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Weinberg, G. (Ed.). (2003). Hitler’s second book: The unpublished sequel to Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. New York: Enigma Books.


hitler research paper


Why did the Holocaust happen?

Antisemitism was one of the most fundamental causes of the Holocaust. The banner in this picture reads ‘Germany does not buy from Jews’. This photograph is taken from The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Motorcycle Album, a collection of photographs taken on a journey from the Dutch border to Berlin in 1935

Antisemitism was one of the most fundamental causes of the Holocaust. The banner in this picture reads ‘Germany does not buy from Jews’. This photograph is taken from The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Motorcycle Album , a collection of photographs taken on a journey from the Dutch border to Berlin in 1935.

Courtesy of The Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.

The Holocaust was the culmination of a number of factors over a number of years.

Historic antisemitism , the rise of eugenics and nationalism , the aftermath of the First World War, the rise of the Nazis, the role of Adolf Hitler, the internal operation of the Nazi state, the Second World War and collaboration all played key roles in the timing and scale of the final catastrophe.

This section aims to explore how these individual factors contributed to the Holocaust.

Nationalism and the First World War

This leaflet was produced and distributed by the Deutsche Fichte-Bund, a nationalist organisation founded in Hamburg in 1914. The organisation spread nationalist and antisemitic propaganda in Germany and across the world.

This leaflet was produced and distributed by the Deutsche Fichte-Bund , a nationalist organisation founded in Hamburg in 1914. The organisation spread nationalist and antisemitic propaganda in Germany and across the world.

German military personnel serving in the First World War pictured in Aisne, Northern France, in July 1915.

German military personnel serving in the First World War pictured in Aisne, Northern France, in July 1915.

hitler research paper

Following the Enlightenment (late seventeenth century – early nineteenth century), there was a growth in nationalism . The rise in nationalism intensified the rise in antisemitism, which had also been growing since the Enlightenment. The First World War (1914-1918) strengthened these feelings of nationalism across Europe, as nations were pitted against each other.

In 1918, Germany lost the First World War . Many people within Germany, including Adolf Hitler, found this loss very difficult and humiliating to process. Instead, many looked for scapegoats to blame.

This led to the Stab-in-the-Back Myth. The Stab-in-the-Back Myth was the belief that the German Army did not lose the First World War on the battlefield, but was instead betrayed by communists , socialists and Jews on the home front. This myth fostered the growth of extreme antisemitism , nationalism and anti-communism .

These feelings were exacerbated further by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to admit complete responsibility for the war; pay large amounts of reparations (which undermined the Germany post-war economy); give up significant proportions of land, and limited the size of its army. The Treaty was extremely unpopular in Germany, where the public regarded it as a diktat (dictated peace). This led to a lack of faith in the Weimar Republic , the newly established regime of rule in Germany.

The unsettled conditions in Germany encouraged the popularity of nationalism and nostalgia for the country’s pre-war strength. Nationalism was a key factor in the rise in popularity of nationalist political parties such as the Nazis, and, in turn, ideas such as antisemitism.

Eugenics and antisemitism

An Ahnenpass or ancestry pass belonging to Rita Jarmes. Ancestry passes were used to demonstrate Aryan heritage in Nazi Germany. The Nazis often requested Ahnenpasses as proof for of eligibility for certain professions, or citizenship after 1935.

An Ahnenpass or ancestry pass belonging to Rita Jarmes. Ancestry passes were used to demonstrate Aryan heritage in Nazi Germany. The Nazis often requested Ahnenpasses as proof for of eligibility for certain professions, or citizenship after 1935.

This poster, entitled ‘recreation, friends, health’, depicts an ‘ideal’ German child in accordance to the Nazis' vision and beliefs in eugenics.

This poster, entitled ‘recreation, friends, health’, depicts an ‘ideal’ German child in accordance to the Nazis’ vision and beliefs in eugenics.

This pamphlet, entitled Aryan Worldview, was published by Houston Stewart Chamberlain in Berlin in 1905. Chamberlain was an advocate of the racial superiority of ‘Aryans’. His ideas influenced Adolf Hitler and were used by the Nazis as justification for their racial policies.

This pamphlet, entitled Aryan Worldview , was published by Houston Stewart Chamberlain in Berlin in 1905. Chamberlain was an advocate of the racial superiority of ‘Aryans’. His ideas influenced Adolf Hitler and were used by the Nazis as justification for their racial policies.

Robert Ritter (1901-1951) was a German ‘racial scientist’ in the Nazi regime. Ritter’s research into the eugenics of Roma led to his appointment as head of the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit. Ritter’s work to classify Roma aided and justified the Nazis discrimination, persecution, and execution of Roma. Here, Ritter [right] is pictured doing research in 1936

Robert Ritter (1901-1951) was a German ‘racial scientist’ in the Nazi regime. Ritter’s research into the eugenics of Roma led to his appointment as head of the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit. Ritter’s work to classify Roma aided and justified the Nazis discrimination, persecution, and execution of Roma. Here, Ritter [right] is pictured doing research in 1936

Courtesy of Bundesarchiv (R 165 Bild-244-71 / CC-BY-SA 3.0) [Public Domain].

Once in power, the Nazis initiated extensive antisemitic legislation. This letter is a translation of a list of antisemitic measures issued by Göring on 28 December 1938.

Once in power, the Nazis initiated extensive antisemitic legislation. This letter is a translation of a list of antisemitic measures issued by Göring on 28 December 1938.

A photograph showing an antisemitic street sign in Mainbernheim, central Germany, taken in September 1935. The sign reads ‘The Jew is our misfortune. He shall stay away from us’. This photograph is taken from The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Motorcycle Album, a collection of photographs taken on a journey from the Dutch border to Berlin in 1935.

A photograph showing an antisemitic street sign in Mainbernheim, central Germany, taken in September 1935. The sign reads ‘The Jew is our misfortune. He shall stay away from us’. This photograph is taken from The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Motorcycle Album , a collection of photographs taken on a journey from the Dutch border to Berlin in 1935.

hitler research paper

In addition to the rise in nationalism, the modern age saw the rise of racist ideas such eugenics and antisemitism . Both of these ideas lay at the heart of Nazi ideology, and eventually informed their persecutory and genocidal policies.

Following the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859, the study of eugenics became extremely popular. Eugenics is the science of regulating a population through controlled breeding. Eugenic scientists aimed to eliminate traits believed to be undesirable, and encourage those that were ‘desirable’ in order to ‘improve’ the human race. This idea was dangerous as it suggested that certain groups were superior to others. Eugenics quickly became misused by far-right groups.

Hitler and the Nazis later used the popularity of eugenics and the theory of Social Darwinists as a pseudo-scientific justification to support their idea that non-‘ Aryans ‘ were inferior races, and should therefore be exterminated.


Antisemitism  was one of the most fundamental causes of the Holocaust.

The rise of antisemitism over the course of the early twentieth century was extremely dangerous. It allowed an overtly antisemitic party such as the Nazis to come to power in 1933.

Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race of people, who set out to weaken other races and take over the world. Hitler believed that Jews were particularly destructive to the German ‘ Aryan ’ race, and did not have any place in Nazi Germany.

The Nazis’ implemented antisemitic laws, which persecuted and oppressed Jews, and eventually led to their deportation and mass murder.

Rise of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler

This poster was used to promote Hitler in the 1932 Reichspräsident elections, where he ran against Hindenburg for the presidency. Hitler lost the election, with 36.8% of the vote to Hindenburg’s 53%. Despite losing, the election put Hitler on the map as a credible politician. The poster states ’Hesse chooses Hitler!’

This poster was used to promote Hitler in the 1932 Reichspräsident  elections, where he ran against Hindenburg for the presidency. Hitler lost the election, with 36.8% of the vote to Hindenburg’s 53%. Despite losing, the election put Hitler on the map as a credible politician. The poster states ’Hesse chooses Hitler!’

hitler research paper

This poster, also used in the 1932 Reichspräsident  elections was aimed specifically at women, emphasising Hitler’s proposed policies on family life.

hitler research paper

The Nazis’ rise to power , and the role of Adolf Hitler himself, is one of the primary causes of the Holocaust. The Nazis initiated, organised and directed the genocide and their racist ideology underpinned it.

The Nazi rise to power 

The Nazis’ ideology rested on several key ideas , such as nationalism, racial superiority, antisemitism, and anticommunism. These ideas were popular in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s, as the economic and political situation fluctuated and then, following the Wall Street Crash in 1929, quickly deteriorated.

In these uncertain times, the Nazi Party appeared to offer hope, political stability and prosperity. In 1932, the Nazis became the biggest party in the Reichstag , with 37.3% of the vote.

Shortly afterwards, on 30 January 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor. The Nazis quickly consolidated their power, taking advantage of the Reichstag Fire of February 1933   to begin their reign of terror. Whilst primarily aimed at political enemies, the infrastructure of camps and institutionalised torture used in these initial months provided the groundwork for the camp system which later facilitated mass murder. Although not the subject of mass arrests in the same way that many political prisoners were initially, Jews were quickly targeted by the Nazi regime.

The Nazis’ persecution of Jews started with exclusionary policies, eliminating Jews from certain professions and educational opportunities and encouraging them to emigrate. As their power became more secure, the Nazis quickly escalated to more direct persecution, such as the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 which stripped Jews of their citizenship and Kristallnacht (an antisemitic pogrom ) in 1938. This escalation of oppression continued to intensify and radicalise until the outbreak of war, where it quickly became more lethal, and, eventually, genocidal.

The role of Adolf Hitler

As leader of the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler played a key role in the ideas behind, the events leading up to, and the unfolding of, the Holocaust.

Prior to their election, the Nazis shaped their propaganda to present Hitler as a strong leader that could return Germany from the uncertain circumstances of the time to its former glory. In the early years, Hitler was the driving force behind the Nazis, and made key changes to the party’s structure, branding and methods to turn it into a credible political force.

Once elected, Hitler rarely took part in direct actions against Jews or other internal enemies, instead directing his security forces, the SS , SA and SD , and their leader, Heinrich Himmler, to carry out this work. Whilst not physically involved, Hitler was involved in all major policy decisions, including persecutory policies and events. This is evidenced by his personal approval for the secret euthanasia programme of the disabled, T-4 , in Autumn 1939.

Hitler’s fanatic antisemitism , nationalism and anticommunism propelled Nazi ideology, and later, the Holocaust. Hitler’s expansionist policies, such as Lebensraum   pushed Europe into the Second World War. This, alongside other factors, had severe ramifications for European Jews.

Radicalisation of the administration of the Nazi state

The Nazi policy of Gleichschaltung resulted in the expulsion of many Jews from their jobs. Prior to the Nazi rise to power Wilhelm Meno Simon (1885 – 1966) worked as an assistant judge and lawyer in Berlin. In 1933, following as the Nazis applied their policy of Gleichschaltung, Wilhelm was reduced to working as a notary. Here, Wilhelm is pictured with his son, Bernd.

The Nazi policy of Gleichschaltung resulted in the expulsion of many Jews from their jobs. Prior to the Nazi rise to power Wilhelm Meno Simon (1885 – 1966) worked as an assistant judge and senior lawyer in Berlin. In 1933, following as the Nazis applied their policy of Gleichschaltung, Wilhelm was reduced to working as a notary. Here, Wilhelm is pictured with his son, Bernd.

In 1938, following Kristallnacht, Simon emigrated to Britain (where his wife, Gerty, and son, Bernard, were already living) to escape further Nazi persecution. This is a copy of his sponsorship document, which, by 1938, was needed in order to get a visa for Britain.

In 1938, following Kristallnacht , Simon emigrated to Britain (where his wife, Gerty, and son, Bernard, were already living) to escape further Nazi persecution. This is a copy of his sponsorship document, which, by 1938, was needed in order to get a visa for Britain.

hitler research paper

Shortly after being elected into power, the Nazis set about radicalising the infrastructure of government to suit their needs.

Gleichschaltung (Co-ordination)

Gleichschaltung was the process of the Nazi Party taking control over or reforming all aspects of government in Germany. It is otherwise known as coordination or Nazification.

One of the first institutions to be targeted for reform was the Civil Service . On 7 April 1933, the Nazis passed the Act for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service , legalising the removal of anyone of non-Aryan descent from the civil service. Amongst other things, this act removed any judges that were deemed non-compliant with Nazi laws or principles, and therefore paved the way for legalising future radical persecutory actions against the Jews and other enemies of the Nazis. Those that remained in the Civil Service quickly became aware of how enemies of the regime were treated by the SS, and having benefitted from the spaces left by their Jewish colleagues, were unlikely to speak out in their favour.

This process of co-ordination was repeated through almost all aspects of government policy, which helped to align existing institutions to be sympathetic (and obedient) to Nazi ideology. This, in turn, allowed the Nazis to continue to push the boundaries of, and slowly radicalise, persecution.

Cumulative radicalisation

In addition to taking over existing government departments, the Nazis also created new departments of their own. These frequently carried out similar functions to pre-existing departments, often resulting in overlap on policy. An example of this is the Office of the Four Year Plan (created in 1936) and the already existing Economics Ministry, which both had power over economic policy.

This internal duplication meant that many elements of the regime were forced to compete with each other for power. Each office took increasingly radical steps to solidify its favour with Hitler, and in turn, its authority. The process is often referred to as ‘working towards the Führer’: the idea that the Nazi state attempted to anticipate and develop policy in line with Hitler’s wishes, without him being directly involved. Goebbels’ organisation of  Kristallnacht can be used as an example of ‘working towards the Führer’ – Hitler did not directly authorise the event, but it was carried out with his racist ideology and wishes in mind.

The competition and constant radicalisation meant that the administration and bureaucracy of the Nazi state was chaotic. This chaos increased over time because of a lack of clear lines of accountability. For example, even though, in theory, Himmler was answerable to Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick, in reality he only ever received orders from Hitler himself.

As the Second World War progressed, the administration of the Nazi state became even further radicalised. New territories created new positions of power which further increased the radicalisation of ideological policy. The SS competed with senior party members and army officers for these positions and jurisdiction in the newly occupied areas. This internal competition in policy again pushed the radicalisation of policy as each organisation grappled for control, especially where there were ‘security concerns’ in the newly occupied areas.

The effect of the Second World War

The Second World War resulted in an extensive radicalisation of the Nazis’ antisemitic policy.

The first major radicalising action that resulted from the war was the creation of ghettos following the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939. This resulted in three million Jews coming under German control. In order to contain the Jewish population, the Nazis forcibly segregated these Jews from the local population and placed them into ghettos. This was a large escalation of the Nazis’ previous antisemitic policy.

As the war continued it became clear that both the Magagascar Plan and the Generalplan Ost were infeasible, and it would not be possible to forcibly deport and resettle the Jewish population of Europe.

The invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 further escalated lethal actions towards Jews. In the lead up to the invasion, Joseph Goebbels ’ propaganda against Jews and, specifically OstJuden (eastern Jews), became even more vicious. This propaganda not only gave justification for the invasion of the Soviet Union, but directly linked the invasion to Jews.

As the historian Donald Bloxham wrote, ‘The very decision to go to war presupposed a racial mindset…everything that happened in war was liable to be interpreted in that light: frustrations were the cause for ‘revenge’; successes provided opportunities to create facts on the ground’ [Donald Bloxham,  The Final Solution A Genocide , (United States: Oxford University Press, 2009), p.174].

Following behind the Germany Army throughout the invasion and subsequent partial occupation, the Einsatzgruppen conducted mass shootings of communists , Jews and any others thought to be enemies of the Nazi state. As the invasion of the Soviet Union slowed and the tide of war turned against the Nazis, actions against the Jews were further intensified. They were once again used as scapegoats for Germany’s military failures.

These actions culminated in the Wannsee Conference of January 1942 , which coordinated the Nazis genocidal policy towards the Jews and resulted in the establishment of six extermination camps.

The Second World War played a vital role in radicalising the Nazis’ antisemitic policy into genocide. The Nazis reacted to some events in the war by escalating their actions against Jews. One example of this is the murder of Reinhard Heydrich and the subsequent mass killings of civilians and the liquidation of the village of Lidice.


This testimony, given by Oscar Michelson in 1948 as part of The Wiener Holocaust Library’s eyewitness testimony project, discusses the actions of the Nazis and Lithuanian officials in 1940 in Kovno, Lithuania.

This testimony, given by Oscar Michelson in 1948 as part o f The Wiener Holocaust Library’s eyewitness testimony project , discusses the actions of the Nazis and Lithuanian officials in 1940 in Kovno, Lithuania.

German Army soldiers film the massacre of Jews in the Lvov Pogroms of July 1941, carried out by the Einsatzgruppe C and the Ukrainian National Militia.

German Army soldiers film the massacre of Jews in the Lvov Pogroms of July 1941, carried out by the Einsatzgruppe C and the Ukrainian National Militia.

This excerpt is taken from a situation report sent to the Chief of the Security Police and SD Reinhard Heydrich on 30 June 1941. The report details the involvement and collaboration of local Lithuanians in Kovno. This document is a translation used in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

This excerpt is taken from a situation report sent to the Chief of the Security Police and SD Reinhard Heydrich on 30 June 1941. The report details the involvement and collaboration of local Lithuanians in Kovno.

This document is a translation used in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

hitler research paper

The Nazis did not carry out the Holocaust alone. Their descent into genocide was assisted and carried out by collaborators: individuals, groups and governments that helped the Nazis to persecute and murder their victims. Without the aid of these collaborators, the Nazis would not have been able to carry out the Holocaust to the same extent or at the same pace.

Collaboration took many forms.

On the home front in Germany, some civilians actively collaborated with the Nazis to implement their antisemitic persecutory polices, such as denunciating Jewish neighbours or colleagues, or helping to implement antisemitic laws.

This form of collaboration reinforced antisemitic laws and obedience to the regime, which allowed the Nazis to slowly push and escalate the boundaries of acceptable levels of persecution.

Occupied countries

The most active, direct and deadly collaboration took place in the countries occupied by, or aligned with, the Nazis across Europe.

In the Seventh Fort, a concentration camp in Lithuania, Lithuanian police and militia acted as guards and participated in daily mass rapes, tortures, and murders. In Lvov, which is now part of modern-day Ukraine, pogroms organised by the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian National Militia resulted in the deaths and torture of thousands of Jews in June and July 1941. In Romania, the Antonescu regime widely collaborated with the Nazis to murder their Jewish inhabitants. Approximately 270,000 Romanian Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

These are just three examples of widespread collaboration with the Nazis.

The motivations behind these acts of collaboration are complex. Some acted in accordance with historic antisemitic views, others were motivated by potentials for economic gain, others did so out of fear.

Whatever their motivation, the effects of widespread collaboration for the Jewish population in the occupied countries of Europe were lethal. The participation of countries occupied by or aligned with Nazi Germany greatly extended the Nazis’ reach and speed at which the Holocaust unfolded, with fatal consequences.

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Radicalisation of the administration of the Nazi state

What happened in April

hitler research paper

On 1 April 1933, the Nazi Party led a nationwide boycott of Jewish-owned businesses across Germany

hitler research paper

On 25 April 1933, the Law Against Overcrowding in Schools and Universities was issued, restricting the number of Jewish students.

hitler research paper

On 7 April 1943, the SS shut down the Chełmno death camp for the first time. They would later reopen it to liquidate the Łódź ghetto.

hitler research paper

On 19 April 1943, the beginning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto was met with organised armed resistance by its residents.

hitler research paper

On 11 April 1945, the US army liberated Buchenwald camp.

hitler research paper

On 15 April 1945, Bergen-Belsen camp was liberated by the British Army.

hitler research paper

On 30 April 1945, Hitler took his own life in his bunker underneath the Reich chancellery in Berlin.

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The National Archives

Hitler caught between British and Russian military might, 1942-1944 (INF 2/31) View details in catalogue

Adolf Hitler

Lesson at a glance, was hitler a 'passionate lunatic', teachers' notes, external links, connections to curriculum.

Hitler is perhaps one of the most reviled historical figures of the 20th century. After he became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 parliamentary democracy came to an end. A timeline of these events in Germany can be found here .

Before the outbreak of the Second World War, in the period 1935-38, Hitler acted against the terms of the Treaty of Versailles by re-arming and re-building the German army through conscription (1935). He also moved troops into the di-militarised Rhineland (1936). He also tried to unite Germany and Austria with the ‘Anschluss’ (1938). Later that year he demanded the Sudetenland, the German speaking part of Czechoslovakia. Throughout this time he made passionate speeches about expanding German territory. These words and deeds worried foreign observers.

Use the sources in this lesson to find out how he was viewed by some of these commentators. Was he to be regarded as a ‘passionate lunatic’ who would take over Europe? Or an odd eccentric who was rebuilding Germany?

1. Look at source 1. Report by Mr. Law, a British businessman, who worked in Germany.

  • What impression does this source give of Hitler?
  • Why, in Mr. Law’s opinion, was Hitler dangerous?
  • The ‘bombardment of Almería’ mentioned in the source took place during the Spanish Civil War in May 1937. Find out how Germany was involved.
  • How does Mr Law view the ability of Russia, France, Spain and Britain to prevent war?
  • Does Mr. Law favour granting further concessions to Hitler?

2. Read source 2. This is a report on a conversation with Count Bernstorff, a German anti-Nazi campaigner.

  • Which words suggest that Bernstorff disliked the Nazi regime?
  • What type of leader was Hitler according to this source?
  • Does this account of Hitler back up the view of Hitler in Source 1?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of Bernstorff’s account?

3. Look at source 3. Drawing by Richard Ziegler entitled “Unhappy-looking uniformed Hitler” 1944-1945, produced by the Ministry of Information responsible for publicity and propaganda in the Second World War. It also controlled news and press censorship; home publicity; and overseas publicity in Allied and neutral countries.

  • What impression of Hitler does the picture give you?
  • How has the artist created this impression?
  • The government paid the artist to produce this picture. What instructions do you think the artist was given by the government?
  • Can the picture be considered as reliable evidence of what Hitler was like?
  • Does the drawing provide an accurate impression of Hitler as leader of Germany in 1944-45? [Clue: Refer to events during the Second World War at that time]

4. Read source 4. This is a a short description of Hitler prepared by the British Embassy in Berlin.

  • Does this account of Hitler confirm that he was a ‘passionate lunatic’ as described in Source 1?
  • How would you describe Hitler based upon this report?

5. Of the three accounts you have now read, is any one more reliable than the others? Explain your answer

6. you have been asked by the british government to prepare a report on hitler’s state of mind..

You have been provided with the sources above. Your report should:

  • Explain whether or not you think your evidence is reliable
  • Say whether Hitler is sane or not and provide evidence from the sources to support your answer

When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 some people regarded him as a strong leader merely getting back German territory and restoring Germany’s national pride. They thought he would stop once he had reversed the terms the Treaty of Versailles which limited the power and strength of Germany. Others feared that this was only the beginning of a far more aggressive foreign policy. They were to be proved right by Hitler’s decision to takeover of the whole of Czechoslovakia in 1939 after annexing the Sudetenland in 1938. Germany then invaded Poland, bringing about the beginning of the Second World War.

How the British government dealt with Hitler in the run up to the outbreak of the Second World War has come under close scrutiny. Of course at the time, Winston Churchill, no longer in Government from the early 1930s, was a significant critic of the Munich Agreement which allowed Germany to take over Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia an attempt to prevent a war. Churchill continued to criticize Hitler and call for Britain to rearm. When war was declared with Germany in 1939 he returned to power as First Lord of the Admiralty and later became wartime Prime Minister of a national government on 10 May 1940.

Appeasement was the name given to Britain’s policy in the 1930s which permitted Hitler to expand German territory unchecked and did little to stop him in his early moves against the Treaty of Versailles. It was closely linked to the Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain and was popular although is now regarded as a policy of weakness.

Appeasement found support with the British public who wanted to avoid the huge losses of the First World War. There was a strong anti-war or pacifist sentiment. Britain could not afford the financial cost of another war, nor could France, the country’s main ally.

Of course to have stopped Hitler might have meant declaring war – a massive decision when most countries wanted to avoid war at all costs. Britain kept a close watch on developments in Germany. In particular the government was very interested in Hitler’s personality. They wanted to find out what he was like, what he wanted to achieve for Germany, what kind of leader he was and, strangely enough, if he was sane.

The purpose of this lesson is to encourage students to handle conflicting evidence on the character and personality of Hitler and assess their reliability. The first source is an extract from a report by Mr. Law, a British businessman, who worked in Germany provided to the Foreign Office. The second is an extract from an account given by Johann Heinrich Count von Bernstorff, a founding member of the German Democratic Party and a supporter of the League of Nations. He left Germany in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. Both sources present a very unfavourable view of Hitler.

Students later examine a drawing which presents him differently. Why is this the case? The final source offers yet another angle. It is a short description of Hitler prepared by the British Embassy in Berlin. Students are required to contrast this to the earlier sources and consider what factors make a ‘reliable’ source. Does this impact on the value of a source or not?

All sources are provided with transcripts. Students could work on the sources individually or pairs and report back to the group with their findings.

The lesson can also be used as an introduction to a wider enquiry into appeasement and the decisions made by the British Government and others before the outbreak of the war in 1939. Students could use the background notes as a starting point for researching the wider context of appeasement and follow up by attempting the linked lessons on the German re-occupation of the Rhineland and Chamberlain and the Munich Crisis in Related Resources.

Illustration : INF 2/31 Hitler caught between British and Russian military might

Source 1 – FO371/20733 Report by Mr Law, a British businessman who worked in Germany (1937)

Source 2 – FO371/20733 Report on a conversation with Count Bernstorff (1937)

Source 3 – INF 3/1298: Drawing by Richard Ziegler entitled “Unhappy-looking uniformed Hitler”, 1944-1945.

Source 4 – FO 408/67 A short description of Hitler prepared by the British Embassy in Berlin (January 1937)

Illustrated timeline of events from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

BBC history of Nazi Germany

Key stage 3 Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day: the inter-war years: the Great Depression and the rise of dictators

Key stage 4 AQA GCSE History : Germany, 1890–1945: Democracy and dictatorship Edexcel GCSE History : c1900–present: Warfare and British society in modern era OCR GCSE History : War and British Society c.790 to c.2010; attitudes and responses to war

Related resources

Chamberlain and hitler 1938.

What was Chamberlain trying to do?

German occupation of the Rhineland

What should Britain do about it?

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<p>German boys read an issue of <em>Der Stuermer</em> newspaper posted in a display box at the entrance to a Nazi Party headquarters in the Dresden region. The German slogan (partially obscured) at the bottom of the display box reads, "The Jews are our misfortune."</p>

The Press in the Third Reich

  • Third Reich
  • Aryanization
  • Der Stürmer

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Establishing control of the press.

When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany’s 4,700 papers.

The elimination of the German multi-party political system brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by outlawed political parties. It also allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, which were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. In the following months, the Nazis established control or exerted influence over independent press organs.

During the first weeks of 1933, the Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising,” then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy. SA (Storm Troopers) and members of the Nazi elite paramilitary formation, the SS , took to the streets to brutalize or arrest political opponents and incarcerate them in hastily established detention centers and concentration camps . Nazi thugs broke into opposing political party offices, destroying printing presses and newspapers.

Sometimes using holding companies to disguise new ownership, executives of the Nazi Party-owned publishing house, Franz Eher, established a huge empire that drove out competition and purchased newspapers at below-market prices. Some independent newspapers, particularly conservative newspapers and non-political illustrated weeklies, accommodated to the regime through self-censorship or initiative in dealing with approved topics.


Through measures to “Aryanize” businesses, the regime also assumed control of Jewish-owned publishing companies, notably Ullstein and Mosse.

Ullstein, which published the well-known Berlin daily the Vossische Zeitung , was the largest publishing house company in Europe by 1933, employing 10,000 people. In 1933, German officials forced the Ullstein family to resign from the board of the company and, a year later, to sell the company assets.

Owners of a worldwide advertising agency, the Mosse family owned and published a number of major liberal papers much hated by the Nazis, including the Berlin Tageblatt ; the Mosse family fled Germany the day after Hitler took power. Fearing imprisonment or death, reputable journalists also began to flee the country in large numbers. German non-Jewish newspaper owners replaced them in part with ill-trained and inexperienced amateurs loyal to the Nazi Party, as well as with skilled and veteran journalists prepared to collaborate with the regime in order to maintain and even enhance their careers.

The Propaganda Ministry and the Reich Press Chamber

The Propaganda Ministry , through its Reich Press Chamber, assumed control over the Reich Association of the German Press, the guild which regulated entry into the profession. Under the new Editors Law of October 4, 1933, the association kept registries of “racially pure” editors and journalists, and excluded Jews and those married to Jews from the profession. Propaganda Ministry officials expected editors and journalists, who had to register with the Reich Press Chamber to work in the field, to follow the mandates and instructions handed down by the ministry. In paragraph 14 of the law, the regime required editors to omit anything “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.”

The Propaganda Ministry aimed further to control the content of news and editorial pages through directives distributed in daily conferences in Berlin and transmitted via the Nazi Party propaganda offices to regional or local papers. Detailed guidelines stated what stories could or could not be reported and how to report the news. Journalists or editors who failed to follow these instructions could be fired or, if believed to be acting with intent to harm Germany, sent to a concentration camp. Rather than suppressing news, the Nazi propaganda apparatus instead sought to tightly control its flow and interpretation and to deny access to alternative sources of news.

Toward the End of World War II

By 1944, a shortage of newspaper and ink forced the Nazi government to limit all newspapers first to eight, then four, and finally, two pages. Of the 4,700 newspapers published in Germany when the Nazis took power in 1933, no more that 1,100 remained. Approximately half were still in the hands of private or institutional owners, but these newspapers operated in strict compliance with government press laws and published material only in accordance with directives issued by the Ministry of Propaganda. While the circulation of these newspapers was approximately 4.4 million, the circulation of the 325 newspapers and their multiple regional editions owned by the Nazi Party was 21 million. Many of these newspapers continued to publish until the end of the war.

Upon occupying Germany, Allied authorities shut down and confiscated presses owned by Nazi Party organs. The last surviving German radio station, located in Flensberg, near the Danish border, made its final broadcast in the name of the National Socialist state on May 9, 1945. After reporting the news of the unconditional capitulation of German forces to the Allies, it went off the air.

After the War

In the postwar US occupation zone of Germany, the military administration believed that the reestablishment of a free press was vital to the denazification and reeducation of Germans, and essential to the creation of democracy in Germany. Therefore, the first German newspaper approved for publication by the US military high command appeared on January 24, 1945, in Aachen, three months after the US forces captured the city.

Among those tried by the Allies as major war criminals at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg were Hans Fritzsche , head of the Radio Division of the Propaganda Ministry, and Julius Streicher , editor of Der Stürmer .

Critical Thinking Questions

  • How did the Nazi regime try to control the foreign press?
  • What risks may exist when the government controls the press? What can citizens do in the face of this threat?
  • Investigate current governments and their relationship with the press within their countries.

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125 Hitler Essay Topics & Examples

This list contains the best essay topics and research questions about Adolf Hitler. With their help, you can explore Hitler’s rise to power, his dictatorship over Germany, and other interesting aspects. Feel free to choose among our history research topics about Hitler, questions for essays, and presentation titles.

🔝 Top 10 Essay Topics about Hitler

🏆 best hitler topic ideas & essay examples, 📌 interesting hitler essay topics, ❓ research questions about adolf hitler, 🔍 simple & easy hitler research topics, ✍️ hitler’s rise to power essay questions, ✅ hitler & nazi germany essay questions.

  • Adolf Hitler’s Formative Years
  • Hitler’s Lasting Impact and Legacy
  • The Role of Women in Nazi Germany
  • Social Factors Behind Hitler’s Rise to Power
  • Media and Manipulation in Nazi Germany
  • Origins and Impact of Hitler’s Genocidal Policies
  • Hitler’s Ideological Beliefs of Racial Superiority
  • Hitler’s Military Strategy: Tactics and Failures
  • Psychological Perspectives on Hitler’s Mindset
  • Opposition and Resistance to Hitler’s Regime
  • The Rise of Hitler to Power It was this paramilitary formed by Hitler that would cause unrest later to tarnish the name of the communists leading to distrust of communism by the Germans and on the other hand rise of popularity […]
  • Adolf Hitler’s Cultural Theories in “Mein Kampf” So, according to Adolf Hitler, the foreign Aryan spirit was the awakener of Japanese people hence the bore a culture that they did not create.
  • “The End and the Beginning” and “Hitler’s First Photograph” Poems by Szymborska The particular imagery refers to the effects of the Second World War, the pushing of rubble, the collection of corpses, and miring in sofa springs and glass.
  • Comparison of Gandhi’s and Hitler’s Leadership The primary direction of Gandhi’s political and social work was the fight against the nationalist movement of the British rule of India.
  • Hitler’s Use of Propaganda and Fear-Mongering The establishment of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party led to the adoption of a properly coordinated propaganda campaign that would prepare the country for war.
  • World War 2 Leaders Comparison: Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler World War 2 remains one of the most significant and historically important events in the entire world because the United States of America, Japan, and the majority of European countries were involved in it.
  • Man and Monster: The Life of Adolf Hitler He was born to Alois Hitler, his father and Klara Hitler, his mother who was a third wife to Alois Hitler.
  • Hitler’s Speech in Reaction to the Treaty of Versailles Hitler believed that the treaty of Versailles made Germany a colony to the outside world; he blamed it for the suppression of Germany’s workforce.
  • Leadership Styles: Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler The human qualities of a leader are in many ways more revealing regarding his or her success, the respect of the people, and the appreciation of descendants than education and professionalism.
  • Adolf Hitler’s Biography and Achievements Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in 1889; he became the ruler of Germany and one of the most reviled persons in history.
  • Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Alan Bullock The subject of the book under study is the historic personality of Adolf Hitler, the person who managed to change the flow of the European history of the twentieth century, the person who caused the […]
  • Saddam Hussein and Adolph Hitler As a man of a worldwide mind, he was determined to get his way at all mean to be an upstaired position.”He proved this in 1958 when he launched his political career by assassinating a […]
  • WWII History: How Hitler Died From the onset of the war, Hitler proved to be a trustworthy leader. In the US, tests done on a part of the skull purported to be Hitler’s have given unconvincing results.
  • Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler: Leaders Ways This paper aims to reveal the cause of the problems faced by the United States and Germany as identified by their leaders in inaugural speeches and the ways Roosevelt and Hitler were planning to solve […]
  • The Aryan Race in “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler The provided passage is taken from Mein Kampf, the most known work of Adolf Hitler, the infamous leader of the NSDAP since 1921 and the F hrer of Nazi Germany in 1934-1945.
  • How Hitler Compares to Stalin Initially the post of General Secretary was not so powerful in the party; however, following the death Vladimir Lenin who had led the communist party from 1917, Stalin strengthened the opposition by eliminating opposition within […]
  • “Hitler, Chamberlain and Appeasement” by Frank McDonough The term is widely used when referring to the foreign policy that defined the interaction between Neville Chamberlain of Britain and Adolf Hitler of German.
  • The Escape of Adolf Hitler: Discussion The third theory asserts the fact that upon realizing that the war was at its conclusion, the F hrer implemented a devious plan to escape right under the noses of the advancing Soviet forces.
  • Newspaper Coverage of Adolf Hitler’s Death It marks the end of the era of the terrible events of the Holocaust, the seizure of Poland, the extermination of millions of people.
  • Did Hitler Commit Suicide? The siege of Berlin by the Soviet soldiers marked the end of his rule. The confirmation of the teeth to be of the ruler proves he died in the bunker.
  • Comparing the Operational Codes of Stalin and Hitler The model was developed in the middle of the twentieth century when the American government needed to evaluate the potential conduct of and choices made by Soviet leaders and political elites.
  • Fascist Elements in Dictatorial Ideas of Mussolini and Hitler The ideological and political differences between the ideas of Mussolini and Hitler are nuanced. They lie in such government branches as ethnic and military issues.
  • The Rise of Adolf Hitler: The World’s Most Renowned Tyrant Due to their great influence, he had the party saw the need to retain him and therefore took him back as the leader of the party a term which he had offered the party if […]
  • The Role of Individuals in International Politics: Hitler and Stalin The focus of this dissertation will be on the personalities of the two leaders and their opinions on war and peace.
  • Nietzsche’s Influence on Hitler and the Third Reich Nietzsche’s all-out assault on the entire Western Judeo-Christian cultural and philosophical tradition is one of the most important issues of the abandonment of the faith in progress through the submission of human reason that had […]
  • Historical Event: Hitler in the World History Taking into consideration the fact that the World War II and its appalling events are still remembered and feared of, I would really want to interfere with nature and erase from the history the day […]
  • Age of Dictators. Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia The status of the ‘ordinary’ worker was elevated and May Day became the ‘National Day of Labor’, a symbol of the national community where all workers, as well as their employers, would participate in a […]
  • The Spanish Civil War, Franco vs. Hitler, Juan Pujol, Double Agents The war ended with the conquest of the revolutionaries and the dawning of the authoritarianism led by General Francisco Franco, a fascist.
  • “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler After the death of his mother in 1907, Hitler moved to the city of Vienna, where he hoped to join the Art Academy.
  • “Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives” and “East & West”: The Book and the Movie Comparison Alexei, Marie, and their young son are assigned a room in a multifamily apartment, and Marie is given a job in the wardrobe department of an army song-and-dance troupe.
  • Dates of Hitler’s Life in a Diary Form Today, I became the Chancellor of Germany and it means that I am going to change the way other people see our country.
  • Hitler’s Life: Five Dates From His Life I told the German people that they could no longer trust a government that sold out to the enemy at the end of the Great War. It is the only hope of the fatherland, the […]
  • The Mind of a Monster in A. Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” The book was written by Adolf Hitler, who was the Nazi leader and the ruler of Germany during the period of the Holocaust.
  • Adolf Hitler’s Treatment of Non-Germans His writings also indicate that his hate for non-Germans was due to the entrepreneurial nature of some of these non-Germans such as the Jews who were seen by Adolf Hitler as exploiters of the Germans.
  • Hitler’s Actions and 8-Steps for Leading Change He further rallied his allies to convince the unstable Reichstag to pass the dictatorial Act that initiated the Nazi revolution. He could design and enforce his purpose to people with the help of his self-dramatizing […]
  • The Reasons Behind the Rise of Hitler and the Nazis Socio-economic instability, tough ideology, and the active involvement of the media were the key drivers that allowed Hitler to convince people of the power that the Nazi idea carried.
  • “Mein Kampf” a Historical Book by Adolf Hitler However, the book shows that even under the mask of one of the cruelest people in the world, there is a boy with his own dreams and intentions to have a happy life.
  • Adolf Hitler in Arno Breker’s Sculpture In a piece of art, the artist presents the subject of his art to the intended audience from his point of view of the subject.
  • “Joseph Goebbels” and “German Artists and Hitler’s Mind” The book is very informative for a reader willing to learn about art in Nazi Germany and covers the topic fully.
  • Hitler’s and British Policies in World War II Britain was among the countries that did not welcome the idea of another war due to the bloodshed that had ensued in the World War I.
  • Adolf Hitler Life and Strategies This research paper critically analyses the life of Hitler as the president of Germany and the extent he went to conquer the whole world which he sought to do.
  • Adolf Hitler’s Anti-Semitic “Final Solution” While the responsibility of Hitler and the Nazi top command in the mass killing of the Jews is unquestionable, there are disputes over the role that ordinary Germans played.
  • Adolf Hitler and a History of the Holocaust Before going any further it is important to point out the kind of mindset that the German people had back then that made it easier for Hitler to convince them to join him in a […]
  • Propaganda of Adolf Hitler and Jim Jones This is a scenario that has occurred with the Nazi, under the command of Adolf Hitler, and the story of Jim Jones, and the people who followed him in a quest to build an ideal […]
  • Adolf Hitler: From Patriotism to Racism He was also forced to live and work in the city and it is was the cultural and social shock that he experienced as he transferred from the rural to the urban that changed the […]
  • WW II and Hitler’s Army After the massive defeat and deaths of the German army in the war that took place in the eastern side, it was evident that the traditional groups of the army were no longer working as […]
  • To What Extent did Hitler Rule Germany with Popular Consent? Hitler’s absolute hold on power was achieved in 1934 when he consolidated the office of the president and that of the chancellor in the person of “the Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler”.
  • “The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread The Strategic Realities of World War II” by John Mosier In order to present a clear picture of German participation in the war and the reasons, which provoked these people to fight and kill, it is necessary to concentrate on various sources and perspectives and […]
  • The Art of Adolf Hitler He gives a reason that the present Germany is a result of the efforts of himself and partners in the nation’s struggle which offered art in Germany fresh incentives as well as environment for a […]
  • The Leadership Styles of Grant and Hitler Second, Grant was a strategist who wanted the best out of himself and his soldiers while Hitler did not mind much about the well being of his soldiers and most of his strategies involved murder. […]
  • Hitler’s Rise to Power Henrich von Treitschke, a German logician argues that another reason that led to the rise of Hitler was the shame subjected to the background of Hitler as he described the conformity of the masses as […]
  • History of Hitler’s Nazi Propaganda According to Hitler, the German’s defeat in the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, German’s post war inflation, and the economic crisis of the year 1929 were accredited to International Jewry. Over time, the masses […]
  • The Burden of Hitler’s Legacy In his opinion, the Jews were to be blamed for Germany’s downfall in World War 1 and the subsequent peace treaty that was a source of embarrassment to the nation.
  • Adolf Hitler Psychotic State Brief history and family background of Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler was certainly a disharmonious and destructive personality and, in order to define the main underpinnings and causes of his psychological disorders, family background and history […]
  • German Resistance to Hitler The aim of the pact was to protect each other against any military attack and at the same time attack other countries such as Greece by the Italians, Libya by the Germans, Indo-china by the […]
  • Adolf Hitler and Nationalism The war would also bring the downfall of the old European culture of kings and noblemen and their codes of honor”.[2] However, neither the number of casualties at the battlefields could reflect the actual devastation […]
  • Hitler’s Table Talk The involvement of priests in the affairs of the state provided important insights on some of the reasons that made Hitler to be ruthless in his table talk against Christians. As manifested in his table […]
  • Schutzstaffel: Hitler’s Infamous Legions of Death In order to execute the roles of this group, any chosen member had to be of Germany origin and show loyalty to the party.
  • Is Barrack Obama Like Hitler? According to his book, Obama on the other hand recognizes and desires to change the problems in the American functional government and state of politics. This has generated a lot of criticism and the continued […]
  • Germany During Hitler’s Era The multi-polar international system continued to support the actions of leaders such as Hitler, even after the First World War Western powers allowed Germany to ream itself due to the fears posed by the international […]
  • How and Why Was Adolf Hitler Able to Come to Power?
  • Did Adolf Hitler Use Fear to Control?
  • Did Adolf Hitler and the Nazis Treat the Jews Badly?
  • How Did Adolf Hitler Gain and Maintain Power?
  • Why Did Adolf Hitler Become a Hate Filled Dictator?
  • How Adolf Hitler Abused His Power in the Nazi Germany?
  • How Adolf Hitler’s Childhood Changed His Personality and the Course of History?
  • How Would the World Be Different in Adolf Hitler Never Existed?
  • Why Adolf Hitler Wanted to Annex the Sudetenland and Began World War II?
  • Why the Jews Were Persecuted in Germany during Adolf Hitler’s Rule?
  • Why Adolf Hitler Was Appointed Chancellor on 30th January 1933?
  • What Extent Did the Existence of the Third Reich Depend on Adolf Hitler?
  • What Is the Insidious Legacy of Adolf Hitler?
  • Did Adolf Hitler Has Post-encephalitic Parkinsonism?
  • Why Adolf Hitler Spared the Judges?
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  • Why Did Hitler Want So Badly to Proceed the Anschluss of Austria?
  • Did Adolf Hitler Bring Germany Out of Economic Depression?
  • How Germans Tolerated Adolf Hitler after World War I?
  • How Adolf Hitler Came to Be Published in the United States?
  • Why Did the German Workers Stand by Adolf Hitler?
  • What Were Adolf Hitler’s and the Nazi Party’s Ideas?
  • Did Hitler Want a World Dominion or It Was Even Bigger Goal of His?
  • What Were the Political Views and Ideology of Adolf Hitler?
  • Why Did the Invasion of Poland by Adolf Hitler Launched World War II?
  • Hitler’s Legacy of Hate and Prejudice
  • Hitler’s Relationship with Eva Braun
  • Adolf Hitler’s Last Days and the Fall of Berlin
  • The Nuremberg Trials and the Quest for Justice
  • Hitler’s Early Career as a Failed Painter
  • Indoctrination and Education of the Hitler Youth
  • Hitler’s Plans for Germania and Monumental Buildings
  • Holocaust Denial: Historical Evidence Against Revisionist Claims
  • Hitler’s Foreign Policy and Expansionism Leading to World War II
  • Speculations and Medical Records Regarding Hitler’s Mental State
  • What Key Political and Economic Conditions in Germany Facilitated Hitler’s Rise to Power?
  • How Did Hitler Exploit the Weaknesses of the Weimar Republic to Gain Support for the Nazi Party?
  • What Role Did Propaganda Play in Hitler’s Rise to Power?
  • How Did Hitler’s Charismatic Leadership Style Contribute to His Influence?
  • How Did the Great Depression Impact the Nazi Party’s Electoral Success?
  • What Major Events and Political Strategies Led to Hitler’s Appointment as Chancellor of Germany?
  • Why Did Hitler’s Racist Ideology Resonate with Certain Segments of the German Population?
  • What Strategies Did the Nazi Party Employ to Consolidate Power and Suppress Opposition?
  • How Did Hitler Dismantle Democratic Institutions and Establish a Totalitarian Regime in Germany?
  • What Role Did the Enabling Act Of 1933 Play in Consolidating Hitler’s Power?
  • What Major Events Lead to the Rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party?
  • How Did the Ideologies of the Nazi Regime Affect Various Aspects of German Society?
  • How Did the Nazi Government Implement and Enforce Its Anti-Semitic Laws and Policies?
  • What Were the Economic Policies of Nazi Germany?
  • How Did the Nazi Regime Control and Manipulate Public Opinion through Censorship?
  • What Was the Role of the Hitler Youth and Other Organizations in Shaping the Younger Generation’s Values in Nazi Germany?
  • How Did the Nazi Regime Persecute and Oppress “Undesirable” Individuals or “Enemies of the State”?
  • What Were the Resistance Movements Within Germany Against the Nazi Regime?
  • How Did Nazi Germany’s Foreign Policy and Military Aggression Lead to the Outbreak of World War II?
  • What Were the Outcomes of the War for Germany and the World?
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Essays on Adolf Hitler

When it comes to writing an essay about Adolf Hitler, it's important to choose a topic that is not only interesting but also impactful. There are countless topics to explore, ranging from his rise to power to his influence on modern politics. In this article, we will discuss the importance of the topic, provide advice on choosing a suitable topic, and offer a detailed list of recommended essay topics, divided by category.

The study of Adolf Hitler and his impact on history is crucial for understanding the complexities of human nature and the potential for extreme ideologies to lead to catastrophic consequences. By delving into the life and actions of Hitler, students can gain valuable insights into the power dynamics, propaganda, and the consequences of unchecked authority. Furthermore, gaining a comprehensive understanding of Hitler's reign can help prevent similar atrocities from occurring in the future.

When choosing a topic for an essay about Adolf Hitler, it's essential to consider the specific area of interest or focus. Whether it's his early life, his rise to power, or his impact on global events, there are various aspects to explore. It's also important to consider the availability of credible sources and the ability to present a well-researched and balanced argument. Additionally, it's crucial to choose a topic that is relevant and can contribute to the existing body of knowledge about Adolf Hitler.

Recommended Adolf Hitler Essay Topics

Below is a detailed list of recommended essay topics, divided by category:

Early Life and Background

  • The Childhood and Family Life of Adolf Hitler
  • Adolf Hitler's Education and Early Influences
  • Impact of World War I on Adolf Hitler's Ideology

Rise to Power

  • Adolf Hitler's Role in the Formation of the Nazi Party
  • The Beer Hall Putsch and Its Impact on Hitler's Political Career
  • Hitler's Appointment as Chancellor of Germany

Nazi Regime and Policies

  • The Implementation of Hitler's Totalitarian Regime
  • The Nuremberg Laws and Their Impact on Jewish Citizens
  • The Holocaust: Hitler's Final Solution

Impact on Global Events

  • Adolf Hitler's Influence on World War II
  • The Axis Powers and Hitler's Alliance with Mussolini and Japan
  • The Post-War Legacy of Adolf Hitler

Modern Relevance

  • Comparing Adolf Hitler's Leadership Style with Modern Political Figures
  • The Use of Propaganda in Hitler's Regime and Its Relevance Today
  • The Rise of Far-Right Movements and Their Connection to Hitler's Ideology

Choosing an essay topic about Adolf Hitler should not be taken lightly, as it requires careful consideration of the specific area of interest and relevance. By exploring various aspects of Hitler's life and impact, students can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of history and its enduring influence on the present. The recommended essay topics provided in this article offer a diverse range of options for students to explore and analyze, providing a comprehensive understanding of Adolf Hitler and his lasting impact on the world.

Totalitarianism Essay Hitlers Totalitarian Rule

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A Report on Adolf Hitler's Life and Impact

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World War Ii and Adolf Hitler

Adolf hitler's ascent to power: a historical analysis, the impact of adolf hitler on the economy of germany, the life of adolf hitler and his defeat in world war ii, great inventions of the world war ii, analysis of the progression and influence of the german nazi movement, the reasons of why hitler chose the swastika, analysis of the conspiracy theories of adolf hitler on netflix, legacy of ss: lebensborn program, the role of the treaty of versailles, the nazi campaign election and wall street crash in hitler’s rise to power, the role of social darwinism in the construction of nazi ideology, killing centers of world war two, comparative analysis of the films casablanca and triumph of will, a study of communication persuasion of adolf hitler, barack obama and nelson mandela, the swastika: a symbol of the holocaust, graphic novel series "maus": world war ii and the holocaust, the sydney holocaust museum and its significance, working towart the führer: hitler's and stalin's regimes, nothing could save the world from the second world war, the significance of hitler’s security system.

20 April 1889

30 April 1945 (aged 56)

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, a small Austrian town. Hitler became interested in politics during his years in Vienna, after his mother death. During his time in Vienna, he developed many of the ideas that would shape Nazi ideology. Also, nationalism would become the motivating force of Hitler's life.

In 1913, Hitler relocated to Munich. At the outbreak of World War I, he was allowed as a volunteer in a reserve infantry regiment. Hitler was wounded twice during the conflict and received the Iron Cross First Class and the Black Wound Badge. The war experience reinforced his passionate German patriotism.

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich. In September 1919, Hitler joined the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) — often abbreviated to Nazi. In 1921, he became the Nazi party chairman. Hitler was arrested and sentenced to nine months in prison after his failed coup d'état known as the Beer Hall Putsch.

During his nine months in prison in 1924, he began to dictate his autobiographical book and political manifesto that would become "Mein Kampf" ("My Struggle"). The first volume was published in 1925, and a second volume came out in 1927.

In January 1933, Paul von Hindenburg named the 43-year-old Hitler as chancellor. January 30, 1933 marked the birth of the Third Reich. Hitler used his position as chancellor to form a de facto legal dictatorship. In 1933, Hitler's Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany. In next few years, Hitler begun to militarize the nation in anticipation of his plans for territorial conquest.

Adolf Hitler developed the idea of the Jews as an evil race struggling for world domination. Hitler was obsessed with the idea of the superiority of the “Aryan" race. Following his appointment as chancellor, the regime built a network of concentration camps for political opponents and those deemed "undesirable." Also, the Nazis used propaganda, persecution, and legislation to deny human and civil rights to German Jews.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, sparking the beginning of World War II. In 1940 Hitler invaded Norway, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium. Hitler violated the 1939 non-aggression pact with Joseph Stalin, and launched the attack against the USSR on June 22, 1941. By the end of 1942, the tide of the war turned against Germany. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, bringing the war in Europe to a close.

Between the start of World War II and its end, Nazis and their collaborators were responsible for the deaths of at least 11 million noncombatants. In concentration and extermination camps were imprisoned and killed Catholics, homosexuals, political dissidents and the disabled, and especially Jews. On January 20, 1942, the policy of extermination of Europe's Jews began with a plan known by the Nazis as "The Final Solution to the Jewish Problem". The death camps were to be the essential instrument of the “final solution.” From 1942 to 1945, Jews were deported to the camps from all over Europe. At Auschwitz alone, more than 2 million people were murdered.

On 29 April 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun. The couple committed suicide on April 30, 1945, fearful of being captured by enemy troops. Their bodies were burned according to Hitler’s instructions.

The Nazi regime was responsible of death of tens of millions of people, including more than 20 million in the Soviet Union and six million Jews in Europe.

"If you win, you need not have to explain...If you lose, you should not be there to explain!" "Do not compare yourself to others. If you do so, you are insulting yourself." "if you want to shine like sun first you have to burn like it."

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hitler research paper

When to Appease and When to Punish: Hitler, Putin, and Hamas

Much has been written about deterrence, the process of committing to punish an adversary to prevent an attack. But in sufficiently rich environments where attacks evolve over time, formulating a strategy involves not only deterrence but also appeasement, the less costly process of not responding to an attack. This paper develops a model that integrates these two processes to analyze the equilibrium time paths of attacks, punishment, and appeasement. We study an environment in which a small attack is launched and can be followed by a larger attack. There are pooling and separating equilibria. The pooling equilibrium turns the common intuition that appeasement is a sign of weakness, inviting subsequent attacks, on its head, because appeasement is a sign of strength in the pooling case. In contrast, the separating equilibrium captures the common intuition that appeasement is a sign of weakness, but only because deterrence in this equilibrium fails. We interpret several episodes of aggression, appeasement, and deterrence: Neville Chamberlain's responses to Hitler, Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Israel's response to Hamas, Turkey's invasion of Cyprus, and Serbia's attacks in Kosovo.

We would like to thank Rohan Dutta, Andrea Mattozzi, Salvatore Modica and Dan Treisman. We gratefully acknowledge support from the MIUR PRIN 2017 n. 2017H5KPLL_01. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Leverhulme Trust


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The Forgotten History of Hitler’s Establishment Enablers

By Adam Gopnik

A blackandwhite collage of photographs of Adolf Hitler making various gestures.

Hitler is so fully imagined a subject—so obsessively present on our televisions and in our bookstores—that to reimagine him seems pointless. As with the Hollywood fascination with Charles Manson , speculative curiosity gives retrospective glamour to evil. Hitler created a world in which women were transported with their children for days in closed train cars and then had to watch those children die alongside them, naked, gasping for breath in a gas chamber. To ask whether the man responsible for this was motivated by reading Oswald Spengler or merely by meeting him seems to attribute too much complexity of purpose to him, not to mention posthumous dignity. Yet allowing the specifics of his ascent to be clouded by disdain is not much better than allowing his memory to be ennobled by mystery.

So the historian Timothy W. Ryback’s choice to make his new book, “ Takeover: Hitler’s Final Rise to Power ” (Knopf), an aggressively specific chronicle of a single year, 1932, seems a wise, even an inspired one. Ryback details, week by week, day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, how a country with a functional, if flawed, democratic machinery handed absolute power over to someone who could never claim a majority in an actual election and whom the entire conservative political class regarded as a chaotic clown with a violent following. Ryback shows how major players thought they could find some ulterior advantage in managing him. Each was sure that, after the passing of a brief storm cloud, so obviously overloaded that it had to expend itself, they would emerge in possession of power. The corporate bosses thought that, if you looked past the strutting and the performative antisemitism, you had someone who would protect your money. Communist ideologues thought that, if you peered deeply enough into the strutting and the performative antisemitism, you could spy the pattern of a popular revolution. The decent right thought that he was too obviously deranged to remain in power long, and the decent left, tempered by earlier fights against different enemies, thought that, if they forcibly stuck to the rule of law, then the law would somehow by itself entrap a lawless leader. In a now familiar paradox, the rational forces stuck to magical thinking, while the irrational ones were more logical, parsing the brute equations of power. And so the storm never passed. In a way, it still has not.

Podcast: The New Yorker Radio Hour Adam Gopnik considers Hitler’s rise to power.

Ryback’s story begins soon after Hitler’s very incomplete victory in the Weimar Republic’s parliamentary elections of July, 1932. Hitler’s party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (its German initials were N.S.D.A.P.), emerged with thirty-seven per cent of the vote, and two hundred and thirty out of six hundred and eight seats in the Reichstag, the German parliament—substantially ahead of any of its rivals. In the normal course of events, this would have led the aging warrior Paul von Hindenburg, Germany’s President, to appoint Hitler Chancellor. The equivalent of Prime Minister in other parliamentary systems, the Chancellor was meant to answer to his party, to the Reichstag, and to the President, who appointed him and who could remove him. Yet both Hindenburg and the sitting Chancellor, Franz von Papen, had been firm never-Hitler men, and naïvely entreated Hitler to recognize his own unsuitability for the role.

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The N.S.D.A.P. had been in existence since right after the Great War, as one of many völkisch , or populist, groups; its label, by including “national” and “socialist,” was intended to appeal to both right-wing nationalists and left-wing socialists, who were thought to share a common enemy: the élite class of Jewish bankers who, they said, manipulated Germany behind the scenes and had been responsible for the German surrender. The Nazis, as they were called—a put-down made into a popular label, like “Impressionists”—began as one of many fringe and populist antisemitic groups in Germany, including the Thule Society, which was filled with bizarre pre- QAnon conspiracy adepts. Hitler, an Austrian corporal with a toothbrush mustache (when Charlie Chaplin first saw him in newsreels, he assumed Hitler was aping his Little Tramp character), had seized control of the Party in 1921. Then a failed attempt at a putsch in Munich, in 1923, left him in prison, but with many comforts, much respect, and paper and time with which to write his memoir, “Mein Kampf.” He reëmerged as the leader of all the nationalists fighting for election, with an accompanying paramilitary organization, the Sturmabteilung (S.A.), under the direction of the more or less openly homosexual Ernst Röhm, and a press office, under the direction of Joseph Goebbels. (In the American style, the press office recognized the political significance of the era’s new technology and social media, exploiting sound recordings, newsreels, and radio, and even having Hitler campaign by airplane.) Hitler’s plans were deliberately ambiguous, but his purposes were not. Ever since his unsuccessful putsch in Munich, he had, Ryback writes, “been driven by a single ambition: to destroy the political system that he held responsible for the myriad ills plaguing the German people.”

Ryback skips past the underlying mechanics of the July, 1932, election on the way to his real subject—Hitler’s manipulation of the conservative politicians and tycoons who thought that they were manipulating him—but there’s a notable academic literature on what actually happened when Germans voted that summer. The political scientists and historians who study it tell us that the election was a “normal” one, in the sense that the behavior of groups and subgroups proceeded in the usual way, responding more to the perception of political interests than to some convulsions of apocalyptic feeling.

The popular picture of the decline of the Weimar Republic—in which hyperinflation produced mass unemployment, which produced an unstoppable wave of fascism—is far from the truth. The hyperinflation had ended in 1923, and the period right afterward, in the mid-twenties, was, in Germany as elsewhere, golden. The financial crash of 1929 certainly energized the parties of the far left and the far right. Still, the results of the July, 1932, election weren’t obviously catastrophic. The Nazis came out as the largest single party, but both Hitler and Goebbels were bitterly disappointed by their standing. The unemployed actually opposed Hitler and voted en masse for the parties of the left. Hitler won the support of self-employed people, who were in decent economic shape but felt that their lives and livelihoods were threatened; of rural Protestant voters; and of domestic workers (still a sizable group), perhaps because they felt unsafe outside a rigid hierarchy. What was once called the petite bourgeoisie, then, was key to his support—not people feeling the brunt of economic precarity but people feeling the possibility of it. Having nothing to fear but fear itself is having something significant to fear.

It was indeed a “normal” election in that respect, responding not least to the outburst of “normal” politics with which Hitler had littered his program: he had, in the months beforehand, damped down his usual ranting about Jews and bankers and moneyed élites and the rest. He had recorded a widely distributed phonograph album (the era’s equivalent of a podcast) designed to make him seem, well, Chancellor-ish. He emphasized agricultural support and a return to better times, aiming, as Ryback writes, “to bridge divides of class and conscience, socialism and nationalism.” By the strange alchemy of demagoguery, a brief visit to the surface of sanity annulled years and years of crazy.

The Germans were voting, in the absent-minded way of democratic voters everywhere, for easy reassurances, for stability, with classes siding against their historical enemies. They weren’t wild-eyed nationalists voting for a millennial authoritarian regime that would rule forever and restore Germany to glory, and, certainly, they weren’t voting for an apocalyptic nightmare that would leave tens of millions of people dead and the cities of Germany destroyed. They were voting for specific programs that they thought would benefit them, and for a year’s insurance against the people they feared.

Ryback spends most of his time with two pillars of respectable conservative Germany, General Kurt von Schleicher and the right-wing media magnate Alfred Hugenberg. Utterly contemptuous of Hitler as a lazy buffoon—he didn’t wake up until eleven most mornings and spent much of his time watching and talking about movies—the two men still hated the Communists and even the center-left Social Democrats more than they did anyone on the right, and they spent most of 1932 and 1933 scheming to use Hitler as a stalking horse for their own ambitions.

Schleicher is perhaps first among Ryback’s too-clever-for-their-own-good villains, and the book presents a piercingly novelistic picture of him. Though in some ways a classic Prussian militarist, Schleicher, like so many of the German upper classes, was also a cultivated and cosmopolitan bon vivant, whom the well-connected journalist and diarist Bella Fromm called “a man of almost irresistible charm.” He was a character out of a Jean Renoir film, the regretful Junker caught in modern times. He had no illusions about Hitler (“What am I to do with that psychopath?” he said after hearing about his behavior), but, infinitely ambitious, he thought that Hitler’s call for strongman rule might awaken the German people to the need for a real strongman, i.e., Schleicher. Ryback tells us that Schleicher had a strategy he dubbed the Zähmungsprozess , or “taming process,” which was meant to sideline the radicals of the Nazi Party and bring the movement into mainstream politics. He publicly commended Hitler as a “modest, orderly man who only wants what is best” and who would follow the rule of law. He praised Hitler’s paramilitary troops, too, defending them against press reports of street violence. In fact, as Ryback explains, the game plan was to have the Brown Shirts crush the forces of the left—and then to have the regular German Army crush the Brown Shirts.

Schleicher imagined himself a master manipulator of men and causes. He liked to play with a menagerie of glass animal figurines on his desk, leaving the impression that lesser beings were mere toys to be handled. In June of 1932, he prevailed on Hindenburg to give the Chancellorship to Papen, a weak politician widely viewed as Schleicher’s puppet; Papen, in turn, installed Schleicher as minister of defense. Then they dissolved the Reichstag and held those July elections which, predictably, gave the Nazis a big boost.

Ryback spends many mordant pages tracking Schleicher’s whirling-dervish intrigues, as he tried to realize his fantasy of the Zähmungsprozess . Many of these involved schemes shared with the patriotic and staunchly anti-Nazi General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord (familiar to viewers of “Babylon Berlin” as Major General Seegers). Hammerstein was one of the few German officers to fully grasp Hitler’s real nature. At a meeting with Hitler in the spring of 1932, Hammerstein told him bluntly, “Herr Hitler, if you achieve power legally, that would be fine with me. If the circumstances are different, I will use arms.” He later felt reassured when Hindenburg intimated that, if the Nazi paramilitary troops acted, he could order the Army to fire on them.

Yet Hammerstein remained impotent. At various moments, Schleicher, as the minister of defense, entertained what was in effect a plan for imposing martial law with himself in charge and Hammerstein at his side. In retrospect, it was the last hope of protecting the republic from Hitler—but after President Hindenburg rejected it, not out of democratic misgivings but out of suspicion of Schleicher’s purposes, Hammerstein, an essentially tragic figure, was unable to act alone. He suffered from a malady found among decent military men suddenly thrust into positions of political power: his scruples were at odds with his habits of deference to hierarchy. Generals became generals by learning to take orders before they learned how to give them. Hammerstein hated Hitler, but he waited for someone else of impeccable authority to give a clear direction before he would act. (He went on waiting right through the war, as part of the equally impotent military nexus that wanted Hitler dead but, until it was too late, lacked the will to kill him.)

The extra-parliamentary actions that were fleetingly contemplated in the months after the election—a war in the streets, or, more likely, a civil confrontation leading to a military coup—seemed horrific. The trouble, unknowable to the people of the time, is that, since what did happen is the worst thing that has ever happened, any alternative would have been less horrific. One wants to shout to Hammerstein and his cohorts, Go ahead, take over the government! Arrest Hitler and his henchmen, rule for a few years, and then try again. It won’t be as bad as what happens next. But, of course, they cannot hear us. They couldn’t have heard us then.

Ryback’s gift for detail joins with a nice feeling for the black comedy of the period. He makes much sport of the attempts by foreign journalists resident in Germany, particularly the New York Times’ Frederick T. Birchall, to normalize the Nazi ascent—with Birchall continually assuring his readers that Hitler, an out-of-his-depth simpleton, was not the threat he seemed to be, and that the other conservatives were far more potent in their political maneuvering. When Papen made a speech denying that Hitler’s paramilitary forces represented “the German nation,” Birchall wrote that the speech “contained dynamite enough to change completely the political situation in the Reich.” On another occasion, Birchall wrote that “the Hitlerites” were deluded to think they “hold the best cards”; there was every reason to think that “the big cards, the ones that will really decide the game,” were in the hands of people such as Papen, Hindenburg, and, “above all,” Schleicher.

Ryback, focussing on the self-entrapped German conservatives, generally avoids the question that seems most obvious to a contemporary reader: Why was a coalition between the moderate-left Social Democrats and the conservative but far from Nazified Catholic Centrists never even seriously attempted? Given that Hitler had repeatedly vowed to use the democratic process in order to destroy democracy, why did the people committed to democracy let him do it?

Many historians have jousted with this question, but perhaps the most piercing account remains an early one, written less than a decade after the war by the émigré German scholar Lewis Edinger, who had known the leaders of the Social Democrats well and consulted them directly—the ones who had survived, that is—for his study. His conclusion was that they simply “trusted that constitutional processes and the return of reason and fair play would assure the survival of the Weimar Republic and its chief supporters.” The Social Democratic leadership had become a gerontocracy, out of touch with the generational changes beneath them. The top Social Democratic leaders were, on average, two decades older than their Nazi counterparts.

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Worse, the Social Democrats remained in the grip of a long struggle with Bismarckian nationalism, which, however oppressive it might have been, still operated with a broad idea of legitimacy and the rule of law. The institutional procedures of parliamentarianism had always seen the Social Democrats through—why would those procedures not continue to protect them? In a battle between demagoguery and democracy, surely democracy had the advantage. Edinger writes that Karl Kautsky, among the most eminent of the Party’s theorists, believed that after the election Hitler’s supporters would realize he was incapable of fulfilling his promises and drift away.

The Social Democrats may have been hobbled, too, by their commitment to team leadership—which meant that no single charismatic individual represented them. Proceduralists and institutionalists by temperament and training, they were, as Edinger demonstrates, unable to imagine the nature of their adversary. They acceded to Hitler’s ascent with the belief that by respecting the rules themselves they would encourage the other side to play by them as well. Even after Hitler consolidated his power, he was seen to have secured the Chancellorship by constitutional means. Edinger quotes Arnold Brecht, a fellow exiled statesman: “To rise against him on the first night would make the rebels the technical violators of the Constitution that they wanted to defend.”

Meanwhile, the centrist Catholics—whom Hitler shrewdly recognized as his most formidable potential adversaries—were handicapped in any desire to join with the Democratic Socialists by their fear of the Communists. Though the Communists had previously made various alliances of convenience with the Social Democrats, by 1932 they were tightly controlled by Stalin, who had ordered them to depict the Social Democrats as being as great a threat to the working class as Hitler.

And, when a rumor spread that Hitler had once spat out a Communion Host, it only made him more popular among Catholics, since it called attention to his Catholic upbringing. Indeed, most attempts to highlight Hitler’s personal depravities (including his possibly sexual relationship with his niece Geli, which was no secret in the press of the time; her apparent suicide, less than a year before the election, had been a tabloid scandal) made him more popular. In any case, Hitler was skilled at reassuring the Catholic center, promising to be “the strong protector of Christianity as the basis of our common moral order.”

Hitler’s hatred of parliamentary democracy, even more than his hatred of Jews, was central to his identity, Ryback emphasizes. Antisemitism was a regular feature of populist politics in the region: Hitler had learned much of it in his youth from the Vienna mayor Karl Lueger. But Lueger was a genuine populist democrat, who brought universal male suffrage to the city. Hitler’s originality lay elsewhere. “Unlike Hitler’s anti-Semitism, a toxic brew of pseudoscientific readings and malignant mentoring, Hitler’s hatred of the Weimar Republic was the result of personal observation of political processes,” Ryback writes. “He hated the haggling and compromise of coalition politics inherent in multiparty political systems.”

Second only to Schleicher in Ryback’s accounting of Hitler’s establishment enablers is the media magnate Alfred Hugenberg. The owner of the country’s leading film studio and of the national news service, which supplied some sixteen hundred newspapers, he was far from an admirer. He regarded Hitler as manic and unreliable but found him essential for the furtherance of their common program, and was in and out of political alliance with him during the crucial year.

Hugenberg had begun constructing his media empire in the late nineteen-teens, in response to what he saw as the bias against conservatives in much of the German press, and he shared Hitler’s hatred of democracy and of the Jews. But he thought of himself as a much more sophisticated player, and intended to use his control of modern media in pursuit of what he called a Katastrophenpolitik —a “catastrophe politics” of cultural warfare, in which the strategy, Ryback says, was to “flood the public space with inflammatory news stories, half-truths, rumors, and outright lies.” The aim was to polarize the public, and to crater anything like consensus. Hugenberg gave Hitler money as well as publicity, but Hugenberg had his own political ambitions (somewhat undermined by a personal aura described by his nickname, der Hamster) and his own party, and Hitler was furiously jealous of the spotlight. While giving Hitler support in his media—a support sometimes interrupted by impatience—Hugenberg urged him to act rationally and settle for Nazi positions in the cabinet if he could not have the Chancellorship.

What strengthened the Nazis throughout the conspiratorial maneuverings of the period was certainly not any great display of discipline. The Nazi movement was a chaotic mess of struggling in-groups who feared and despised one another. Hitler rightly mistrusted the loyalty even of his chief lieutenant, Gregor Strasser, who fell on the “socialist” side of the National Socialists label. The members of the S.A., the Storm Troopers, meanwhile, were loyal mainly to their own leader, Ernst Röhm, and embarrassed Hitler with their run of sexual scandals. The N.S.D.A.P. was a hive of internal antipathies that could resolve only in violence—a condition that would endure to the last weeks of the war, when, standing amid the ruins of Germany, Hitler was enraged to discover that Heinrich Himmler was trying to negotiate a separate peace with the Western Allies.

The strength of the Nazis lay, rather, in the curiously enclosed and benumbed character of their leader. Hitler was impossible to discourage, not because he ran an efficient machine but because he was immune to the normal human impediments to absolute power: shame, calculation, or even a desire to see a particular political program put in place. Hindenburg, knowing of Hitler’s genuinely courageous military service in the Great War, appealed in their meetings to his patriotism, his love of the Fatherland. But Hitler, an Austrian who did not receive German citizenship until shortly before the 1932 election, did not love the Fatherland. He ran on the hydrogen fuel of pure hatred. He did not want power in order to implement a program; he wanted power in order to realize his pain. A fascinating and once classified document, prepared for the precursor of the C.I.A. , the O.S.S., by the psychoanalyst Walter Langer, used first-person accounts to gauge the scale of Hitler’s narcissism: “It may be of interest to note at this time that of all the titles that Hitler might have chosen for himself he is content with the simple one of ‘Fuehrer.’ To him this title is the greatest of them all. He has spent his life searching for a person worthy of the role but was unable to find one until he discovered himself.” Or, as the acute Hungarian American historian John Lukacs, who spent a lifetime studying Hitler’s psychology, observed, “His hatred for his opponents was both stronger and less abstract than was his love for his people. That was (and remains) a distinguishing mark of the mind of every extreme nationalist.”

In November of 1932, one more Reichstag election was held. Once again, it was a bitter disappointment to Hitler and Goebbels—“a disaster,” as Goebbels declared on Election Night. (An earlier Presidential election had also reaffirmed Hindenburg over the Hitler movement.) The Nazi wave that everyone had expected failed to materialize. The Nazis lost seats, and, once again, they could not crack fifty per cent. The Times explained that the Hitler movement had passed its high-water mark, and that “the country is getting tired of the Nazis.” Everywhere, Ryback says, the cartoonists and editorialists delighted in Hitler’s discomfiture. One cartoonist showed him presiding over a graveyard of swastikas. In December of 1932, having lost three elections in a row, Hitler seemed to be finished.

The subsequent maneuverings are as dispiriting to read about as they are exhausting to follow. Basically, Schleicher conspired to have Papen fired as Chancellor by Hindenburg and replaced by himself. He calculated that he could cleave Gregor Strasser and the more respectable elements of the Nazis from Hitler, form a coalition with them, and leave Hitler on the outside looking in. But Papen, a small man in everything except his taste for revenge, turned on Schleicher in a rage and went directly to Hitler, proposing, despite his earlier never-Hitler views, that they form their own coalition. Schleicher’s plan to spirit Strasser away from Hitler and break the Nazi Party in two then stumbled on the reality that the real base of the Party was fanatically loyal only to its leader—and Strasser, knowing this, refused to leave the Party, even as he conspired with Schleicher to undermine it.

Then, in mid-January, a small regional election in Lipperland took place. Though the results were again disappointing for Hitler and Goebbels—the National Socialist German Workers’ Party still hadn’t surmounted the fifty-per-cent mark—they managed to sell the election as a kind of triumph. At Party meetings, Hitler denounced Strasser. The idea, much beloved by Schleicher and his allies, of breaking a Strasser wing of the Party off from Hitler became obviously impossible.

Hindenburg, in his mid-eighties and growing weak, became fed up with Schleicher’s Machiavellian stratagems and dispensed with him as Chancellor. Papen, dismissed not long before, was received by the President. He promised that he could form a working majority in the Reichstag by simple means: Hindenburg should go ahead and appoint Hitler Chancellor. Hitler, he explained, had made significant “concessions,” and could be controlled. He would want only the Chancellorship, and not more seats in the cabinet. What could go wrong? “You mean to tell me I have the unpleasant task of appointing this Hitler as the next Chancellor?” Hindenburg reportedly asked. He did. The conservative strategists celebrated their victory. “So, we box Hitler in,” Hugenberg said confidently. Papen crowed, “Within two months, we will have pressed Hitler into a corner so tight that he’ll squeak!”

“The big joke on democracy is that it gives its mortal enemies the tools to its own destruction,” Goebbels said as the Nazis rose to power—one of those quotes that sound apocryphal but are not. The ultimate fates of Ryback’s players are varied, and instructive. Schleicher, the conservative who saw right through Hitler’s weakness—who had found a way to entrap him, and then use him against the left—was killed by the S.A. during the Night of the Long Knives, in 1934, when Hitler consolidated his hold over his own movement by murdering his less loyal lieutenants. Strasser and Röhm were murdered then, too. Hitler and Goebbels, of course, died by their own hands in defeat, having left tens of millions of Europeans dead and their country in ruins. But Hugenberg, sidelined during the Third Reich, was exonerated by a denazification court in the years after the war. And Papen, who had ushered Hitler directly into power, was acquitted at Nuremberg ; in the nineteen-fifties, he was awarded the highest honorary order of the Catholic Church.

Does history have patterns or merely circumstances and unique contingencies? Certainly, the Germany of 1932 was a place unto itself. The truth, that some cycles may recur but inexactly, is best captured in that fine aphorism “History does not repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes.” Appropriately, no historian is exactly sure who said this: widely credited to Mark Twain , it was more likely first said long after his death.

We see through a glass darkly, as patterns of authoritarian ambition seem to flash before our eyes: the demagogue made strong not by conviction but by being numb to normal human encouragements and admonitions; the aging center left; the media lords who want something like what the demagogue wants but in the end are controlled by him; the political maneuverers who think they can outwit the demagogue; the resistance and sudden surrender. Democracy doesn’t die in darkness. It dies in bright midafternoon light, where politicians fall back on familiarities and make faint offers to authoritarians and say a firm and final no—and then wake up a few days later and say, Well, maybe this time, it might all work out, and look at the other side! Precise circumstances never repeat, yet shapes and patterns so often recur. In history, it’s true, the same thing never happens twice. But the same things do. ♦

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