- Hitler, Adolf
- (1889-1945)German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born in Austria. After serving in the army in World War I, he joined the right-wing National Socialist German Workers’ Party in 1919 and quickly assumed leadership. Jailed following a failed putsch in Munich in 1923, he and the Nazi Party later rose to prominence when Germany was hit by the effects of the Great Depression. On 30 January 1933, he was appointed chancellor of Germany and was able to establish a one-party state. On 2 August 1934, Hitler was proclaimed führer. His regime was marked by virulent anti-Semitism and racism that led to the persecution and eventual attempted extermination of the Jews, Gypsies, and other groups regarded as inferior. Intent on overturning the Versailles Treaty of 1919, Hitler built up the German armed forces, established an Axis with Mussolini’s fascist Italy, and in 1938 began a policy of territorial expansion. German forces occupied Austria followed by Czechoslovakia. His attack on Poland led to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939. Easily victorious in the west, with only Great Britain remaining undefeated, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in June 1940. When the United States declared war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on the United States on 11 December 1941. By 1945, Germany was under attack on two fronts, and as the Allies closed in on Berlin, on 30 April 1945 Hitler shot and killed himself. Only with his defeat did the full horror of Nazi rule and the Holocaust become known. Some of Hitler’s closest associates stood trial and were executed following the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials after the war.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.