Adolf Hitler is a name, which instills terror into human beings now, 65 years after Fuehrer’s mysterious death. As defined by BBC Historic Figures, Hitler, “military and political leader of Germany 1933 – 1945, launched World War Two and bears responsibility for the deaths of millions, including six million Jewish people in the Nazi genocide.” Born to become an artist, this man eventually turned into the curse of the 20st century. These days, looking back at the deeds of German Nazi Party leader, one can only wonder how one man could bring so much evil and terror into being. Whether he was a madman, a fanatic, a genius or a living embodiment of devil is still to ask. It is obvious, however, that his triumph was not due to who he was solely, but rather to how the circumstances were, since, as Conrad Adenauer once said, “history is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided.”
Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in 1889, in the family of a customs official. Having failed to succeed as an artist in Vienna, young man moved to Munich in 1913. As the World War I broke out, he enlisted in the German army, where he was injured and consequently decorated. He became the leader of the Nazi Party in 1921. Hitler’s interest number one had always been an establishment of a pure race of German people through a policy of nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism and anti-communism.
“Against a background of economic depression and political turmoil, the Nazis grew stronger and in the 1932 elections became the largest party in the German parliament.” (BBC Histroy) In 1933, Hitler was elected as a chancellor of a coalition government. He took his chance immediately, established himself as a dictator and started off with instituting the anti-Jewish laws. The course of action he took implied the process of German militarization and territorial expansion that eventually resulted into World War Two, started in 1939 by Hitler’s commanding his armies to enter Poland. He eventually committed suicide in 1945, just before Germany lost the war, in order to avoid capture by Soviet forces.
“The world has come to know Adolph Hitler for his insatiable greed for power, his ruthlessness, cruelty and utter lack of feeling, his contempt for established institutions and his lack of moral restraints.” (Langer) The question is not, however, whether he was a madman or not, but rather is what influenced his psychological development to make him what he was. Hitler’s early life, when his basic mentality and mindset were obviously formed, is believed to have the most profound impact on his adult character.
“Freud’s earliest and greatest contribution to psychiatry in particular and to an understanding of human conduct in general was his discovery of the importance of the first years of a child’s life in shaping his future character.” (Langer) It is, however, questionable whether Freud’s theory of psychosexual development can be applied when discussing Hitler’s case. Attempting to relate Hitler’s behavior to a diversity of unproven sexual oddities attributed to future dictator seems far-fetched.
It is true, nevertheless, that during early years, when a child’s view of life is still immature, there is a serious threat of misinterpreting the nature of the world around him. The intellect of a child is not enough adequate to comprehend the complex requirements of society he is supposed to meet, as well as a perplexing experience to which he is constantly exposed. As a result, the child’s personality may turn out to be composed of wrong ideas about the world he lives in.
Close analyses of Hitler’s personal statements and the available information about his background, family in particular, allows for an assumption that Hitler’s ill nature was indeed formed at very young age. His view of reality was deeply affected by family issues. Even though he claims himself to be growing up in a normal middle class family, with “father a faithful civil servant, the mother devoting herself to the cares of the household and looking after her children with eternally the same loving care”, the actual state of affairs appears to be somewhat different (Hitler, 1925). Hitler seems to conceal very carefully his true family environment. Nowhere else in the whole book any of his family members are mentioned. Never did he as well refer to any of his brothers or sisters to his associate, with the only exception of his half-sister, Angela. His mentions of own beloved mother are met not quite more often.