The making of Adolf Hitler: How a bad-tempered bully with no friends lied about his past and became the world's most ruthless dictator

14:28 • 09.06.18



Adolf Hitler went to extraordinary lengths to suppress the secrets of his youth and family, an extraordinary book on the dictator's childhood has revealed. 


At the age of 12 he was an angry bully who had no friends, failed math and history, and only liked to draw. 


As a teen he had believed "dark forces" ruled his life, and as a young man he became a dirty, disheveled tramp with an unruly beard, shoulder-length hair and the soles of his shoes so thin, he replaced them with paper.


Adolf Hitler said himself in Mein Kampf, he had to alter the disturbing details of his adolescence, his depraved youth, and life as a homeless crank before serving in the military in WWI.

 

All those angry years as a ranting, solitary young man needed to be amended in order to transform him into a legend and messiah-like figure.


"After he was elected chancellor, Hitler went to extraordinary lengths to suppress the facts about his youth – even ordering the execution of an "art dealer" who had befriended him as a young man and who threatened to reveal unsavory details of his early life in Vienna', writes Paul Ham in Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer, published by Pegasus Books.


Adolf Hitler's father, Alois, was born to an unmarried farmer's daughter, Maria Schicklgruber who was impregnated possibly by a blood relative.

He was born to Alois Schicklgruber - whose father changed his last name to Hitler to distance himself from his impoverished past

The Schicklgrubers were poor farmers who had so little money that they sometimes slept in a cattle trough for lack of a bed.


Maria later married a poor miller's assistant, Johann Hiedler and at age 39, Alois adopted the surname of "Hitler" – a variant of Hiedler – to distance himself from his impoverished past and the name Schicklgruber.


He then claimed he was the son of Johann Hitler – and not a Schicklgruber.


This was the first lie that was made official in the parish directory. Legitimizing Adolf's father erased the greatest impediment to his prospects as a politician.

 

Hitler (left) with Hess (second from the right) in Landsberg Prison, 1925. Lederhosen were one of many privileges granted to Nazi inmates


Alois married his housemaid Klara, his third wife who was 24 years younger. He was a brute and a boor who spent more time in the local tavern than at home, where he regularly beat their son, Adolf, Ham writes. 


The family constantly changed homes and villages before settling in Bavaria, on the German side of the Austrian border in 1892.

 

Klara coddled her son and took care of Alois's two children from his second marriage but it was Adolf she smothered with love.


Adolf hated his father - feelings which manifested in temper tantrums well into adulthood.

Hitler (left) with Hess (second from the right) in Landsberg Prison, 1925. Lederhosen were one of many privileges granted to Nazi inmates

 

Klara gave birth to a second son, Edmund in 1894 and two years later, a little girl, Paula. Adolf was nine years old and resented not being the only child.


The family moved to just outside of Linz, Austria in 1898, where Adolf's younger brother died of measles, restoring Adolf's status as his mother's only son.  


However, that did not abate his hatred for his father that he expressed in his attitude toward teachers and classmates.


He turned to the western novels of German Karl May and stories of cowboys and Indians, and recruited younger boys into playing shoot 'em up games with him. 


Now he became even more imperious and heartless with no friends and listened to no one. He'd fly into a rage over any triviality.

 

As a teen, Hitler had fallen in love with a tall, blonde named Stefanie Isak he often saw walking in Linz. He had never spoken to her and she did not know he existed 


The only teacher he liked was Dr Leopold Poetsch, who taught history with 'stirring tales of Germany's heroic past'.


It was Poetsch who 'activated his nascent pride in a Greater Germany and seeded the idea of Jews and Slavs as not only undesirable aliens but also as inferior races'.


Adolf's dream was to be a "great artist", a worthless future criticized by his father.


When Alois died at his local cafe in 1903, the family was relieved.


 Hitler's mother Klara Polzl - who is said to be the only person he truly loved

 

 





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