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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Adolf Hitler's Childhood

Adolf Hitler's Childhood
If you're looking for information on Adolf Hitler, you've probably referred to excerpts from the 'Mein Kampf' already. A quick glance at his childhood and his stemming into an extremely fierce patriotic bigot and a major protagonist of the 'Holocaust' and 'World War II'.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Birth Of Adolf Hitler
Alöis Hitler had two kids from his previous marriage, Alöis Hitler Jr. and Angela Hitler who were Adolf Hitler's step-brother and step-sister. Klara Pölzl, initially, had two sons and a daughter with Alöis Hitler named Otto, Ida and Gustav. In three years of her marriage, ironically, all her children passed away. A few years later, she conceived Adolf, Edmund and Paula Hitler.

Born on 20 April, 1889, at a tavern called 'Gasthof zum Pommer in Ranshofen' to a family of 8 members, Adolf Hitler was the fourth of the six children born to Klara Pölzl and Alöis Hitler, who was a self-made man and a civil servant working for the Austrian government. Alöis Hitler was believed to have a bad temper and would often come home drunk and beat his wife and kids. He also had the reputation of being a womanizer and had a series of treacherous affairs.
Hitler Household
Death loomed over the Hitler household with only Adolf and his sister Paula out of the 6 children surviving into adulthood, apart from his step-brother and step-sister. Following the demise of three of his older siblings, the family moved to Passau, a town in lower Bavaria, where Adolf picked up the Bavarian dialect which would remain prominent in his many speeches to come. He was three years old then. Adolf was nick-named 'Adi'.

In 1895, Alöis Hitler, with his family, retired to Hafeld, a village near Lambach, where he practiced agriculture and apiculture (beekeeping) unsuccessfully. Adolf was enrolled in a nearby local school. Alöis Hitler nursed the old-school of thought about seeing his son go through hardships the way he did, in a much milder contrast though, and go on to become an established civil servant like him.
Hitler's Childhood Days
A day-dreamer right from his early days, Adolf would dwell on profound thoughts about everything that surrounded him. Since his childhood, Adolf kept company with the local ruffians of the village, much to the despair of his mother. Back at home, he spent his time rummaging through his father's library and voraciously read patriotic military editions on the Franco-German war, and was immensely inspired by the martyr's, often pondering over their struggles.

His arguments and verbal spats amongst his classmates in school triggered his rhetoric skills as an orator, and he was popular amongst his fellow-mates. The early traits of his ethos were working their way into his personality bit by bit. Alöis frowned upon his son's cantankerous manners. Adolf found a peculiar interest in music, and found himself drawn to the pantomimes at church, and was enrolled in the choir at the cloister (a Catholic monastery).

During this time, Adolf was very inspired by the happenings of the church and the sculpture of 'Theoderich von Hagen', a former abbot who bore an emblem of the 'Swastika' on his arm. He flirted with the idea of turning into a priest at this age of 8, and became a part of the church choir. He continued his singing lessons religiously, only to leave them shortly on the behest of his father who didn't approve of his son pursuing his career as a singer.

The family then relocated to Leonding in 1898. The demise of Adolf's younger brother Edmund, left him totally grief-stricken, and he relapsed from the bold and confident demeanor to become very reticent and perturbed. This stage marked a rebellious streak in young Hitler, and he opposed his father's decision of him making it as a civil servant. Disagreements and conflicts regarding this became prominent in the Hitler household. Alöis wanted him to study in the technical gymnasium and follow the prospect of becoming a civil servant. The more Alöis dominated him, the harder Adolf clung to his hopes of becoming an artist.

Then in September 1900, Alöis enrolled his son in a high school known as 'Realschule' (the same school that Adolf Eichmann, another protagonist of the Holocaust, would attend in 1917). Adolf excelled at the art of drawing and sketching, an object of admiration for his father. He found the syllabus in school to be very elementary and effortlessly easy. However, he ignored his studies to prove a point to his father, by opposing him and deliberately performing poorly in school.

He spent most of his time outdoors whilst his classmates studied away fervently. During his time, through books and knowledge of national events, Hitler enlightened himself with the ironical situation that his country faced with the gradually declining prowess of the Hasburg monarchy.

The area where Hitler stayed was on the German border, and the people living there recognized themselves as German-Austrians. However, the area was governed by the Austrian Hamburg monarchy, but the people pledged their loyalty towards the German Imperial House of Hohenzollern. Hitler, meanwhile, enlightened himself with reading about popular German figures, and developed a strong sense of nationalism for his country.

Accompanied with his friends, he behaved like an outlaw by using German greetings and reciting the German national anthem 'Deutschland über alles' instead of the Austrian Imperial anthem. He regained his zeal to take up studies and performed exceptionally at it. His favorite subjects in school were History and Geography, at which he consistently trumped over the others. His history teacher 'Dr. Leopold Potsch' was an object of inspiration for him. He also attended operas and was mesmerized with the compositions of 'Richard Wagner'. Adolf engaged his time in learning about German folk stories and splendid ancient tales of kings and their battles.

He turned into an unwavering nationalist, and history was witnessing a young Hitler in the making. He imbibed in himself, a sense of fiery patriotism only towards his country and despised the opposition rule. He gradually found out the difference between being a common nationalist and a patriot. There reigned vulnerable situations between the Austria-Germany union to form a unifying homeland of Germany.

Alöis Hitler's death on the 3rd of January in 1903 due to pleural hemorrhage totally disturbed Adolf who was 13 years of age then, and resulted in his unsatisfactory performances at school. His health deteriorated considerably as he suffered from a serious lung problem. After countless disputes with his mother, she withdrew him from Realschule and admitted him to the Academy in Setyr, where he gradually improved.

During this time, he whiled away his time wandering about the place and visiting the museum and operas. He befriended a guy at the opera called 'August Kubizek', a fellow day-dreamer who wanted to make it as a famous musician. Hitler would discuss a series of his hopes and expectations from life with Kubizek and went on for hours about it. Hitler, however, was not open about criticism, to which August Kubizek, years later, recollected his personality as 'violent and high strung'. During this time, he feigned an interest for a blond girl named 'Stephanie', but never voiced his thoughts out to her.

On 24th December, 1907, came the second blow in Hitler's life, with the death of Klara Pölzl. She had succumbed to breast cancer. On a wintry December day, she was buried next to her husband and son Edmund at a cemetery in Leonding. Adolf was totally devastated by this unfortunate incident, and it left him completely shattered. An excerpt from Mein Kampf states that he had honored his father but he loved his mother all his life. Everything went downhill from here, at least for a certain while.
Hitler's Time in Vienna
With a suitcase in his hand and a measly orphan pension, Adolf Hitler then found his calling in Vienna, a flourishing city which was home to about 4 million Jews. His application previously into the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna was blatantly rejected twice, and he was advised to try his hand at architectural sketching. He survived on the streets with the company of vagabonds, beggars and social outcasts. Soon enough, his finances ran out and he stayed at random places throughout the city, one including a mental hostel. He often went hungry and begged for alms on the streets.

He painted and sold his sketches to make ends meet, and also took up odd jobs as a painter and a laborer at the railway station. He experienced consistent distress at the thought of his mother, who had pampered him till she was alive. During his stay in Vienna, Hitler gradually became aware of his surroundings and noticed the prejudices prevailing in society, and grew thoughts of 'antisemitism'. He loathed the city for what it was. However, his closest friends were two Jewish men during this time. The life he lived in Vienna shaped the principles and ideals for his life that followed later.

After leaving Vienna, he would embark further on his journey towards becoming one of the most powerful and cynical dictators that the world had ever witnessed.