Feeling that all was lost, Hitler shot himself on April 30, 1945. By orders formally given by him before his death, SS officers immersed Hitler’s body in gasoline and burned it in the garden of the Chancellery. Soon after the suicide of Hitler, the German forces surrendered. The war was officially over; however, the world was only beginning to realize the extent of its horror. The rise and sudden fall of Hitler had a sensational effect on people and nations around the world.
On Easter Sunday April 20, 1889, at an inn called the Gasth of Zum Pommer, the wife of an Austrian Customs official gave birth to a son, Adolf Hitler. He was the fourth child to the parents of Alois and Klara Hitler of Austria. Hitler was a good student. He took singing lessons and sang in the church choir. When he hit an adolescent age, he began to rebel. When Hitler’s dad acquired a top ranking job in the military, he wanted his son to work hard so that he might become a civil servant. Hitler wanted nothing of it. He wanted to become an artist like he always dreamed.
One of the teachers in his high school classified young Hitler as “notorious, cantankerous, willful, arrogant, and irascible. He has an obvious difficulty in fitting in at school.” He did well enough to get by in some of his courses but had no time for subjects that did not interest him. Years later, his former school mates would remember how Adolf would taunt his teachers and draw sketches of them in his school notebooks. Forty years later, in the sessions at his headquarters which produced the record of his table talk, Hitler recalled several times the teachers of his school days with contempt. “They had no sympathy with youth. Their one object was to stuff our brains and turn us into erudite apes themselves. If any pupil showed the slightest trace of originality, they persecuted him relentlessly”.
Adolf saw no real reason to stay in high school. He left school at age sixteen without a leaving certificate. In September 1907, Hitler left home taking with him all the money left to him by his father, who had died a few years earlier. The money would be enough for tuition and board at the art school in Vienna. The Vienna School of Fine Arts had strict entrance requirements. After taking the
preliminary examination, the applicant was asked to submit drawings. Biblical drawings were most preferred. Hitler’s drawings were returned saying they were “too wooden and too lifeless.” He was rejected. He tried three months later and did not get past the preliminary exam. His artist career was over. His mother died two months later on December 21st 1907.
Hitler moved into an apartment with his friend in Vienna. He pretended to be a student living off his relatives money. He read many books and sat in on the Austrian government sessions . Hitler speaks of his life in Vienna as “five years in which I had to earn my daily bread, first as a casual laborer, then as a painter of little trifles.” He loitered about the streets and was hungry. He painted water postcards and peddled them on the streets. He drew several advertising posters for such things as soap, cigarettes, and deodorant.
In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich. Life was not much better there until the First World War started in 1914. While many people were frightened and sad at the thought of a world war, Hitler was delighted. He held the rank of corporal, and in forty-seven battles he served on the Western Front as a dispatch runner, delivering messages back and forth between the front lines and the officers in the rear. His courage during one of these missions earned him the Iron Cross, a highly prized medal for bravery that was rarely awarded to a mere corporal .
On October 13th 1918, a month before Germany surrendered to the Allies, his good luck ran out. When Hitler and his fellow dispatch runners were waiting in line for their food rations, British troops began lobbing high explosive shells nearby. Some