German dictator Adolf Hitler is recorded as the most famous and infamous person in history. As the leader of Nazi Germany, he perpetrated both World War II and the Holocaust, events that resulted in the death of at least 40,000,000 people. He became the subject of discussion in books, documentaries, and periodicals for decades to come. Here we will introduce you to 9 unknown facts related to Hitler that you were unaware of till now.
Heel Schicklgruber? Heel Schicklgruber?
Adolf Hitler was almost Adolf Schicklgruber. Or Adolf Hiddler. His father, Alois, was born out of wedlock to Maria Anna Schicklgruber and was given her surname. However, when he was about 40 years old, Alois decided to adopt the last name of his stepfather, Johann Georg Hidler, who some speculated was actually his biological father.
On legal documents, Hitler was given as the new surname, although the reason for the spelling change is unknown. Alois Hitler was married twice and had several children before taking Klara Pölzl as his third wife. The couple had six children, although only Adolf and a sister reached adulthood. Adolf had a bitter relationship with his father, who died in 1903, but he loved his mother dearly and was reportedly saddened by her death from breast cancer in 1907.
World War I Service | First World War Service
When Hitler committed suicide in 1945, Hitler was wearing the Iron Cross First Class Medal, earned for his service in World War I. Respect was especially important for Hitler, who had portrayed himself as a hero during the conflict.
Although he was wounded during the First Battle of the Somme (1916), recent research challenges Hitler’s record of war experience. Some believe that he saw little front-line action and was instead a runner at the relatively secure regiment headquarters. This would counter his claims that he was in danger “probably every day”. Furthermore, while he said he was temporarily blinded during a mustard-gas attack in 1918, purported medical documents said he was suffering from “hysterical blindness”.
He was recovering when Germany surrendered. Oddly, his quote for the Iron Cross First Class fails to mention a specific incident of bravery, leading some researchers to speculate that it was to honor Hitler’s length of service and his general choice with officers. In particular, Hugo Gutmann, a Jewish lieutenant recommended that Hitler receive the prize.
Mein Kampf: Bain Best Seller
In 1924, while in prison for high treason, Hitler began writing what would later be considered one of the most dangerous books in the world. In Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”), which was initially published in two volumes (1925, 1927), Hitler described his life and presented his racist ideology; He claimed to have become “a staunch anti-Semitic” during his stay in Vienna. Although it initially had only limited success, Mein Kampf grew in popularity like Hitler and the Nazis.
A Bible of National Socialism (Mein Kampf), was a compulsory reading in Germany, and by 1939 had sold over five million copies. After Hitler’s death, the work was banned in Germany and other countries, and the German state of Bavaria, which owned the copyright, refused to grant publication rights. However, some foreign publishers continued to print the work, and it entered the public domain in 2016 after the copyright expired. A few days later a heavily explanatory Mein Kampf was published in Germany for the first time since 1945. It became a best seller.
From the fire to the Führer
After a series of maneuvers and intrigues, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. However, he aspired for even greater power, and this was achieved when the parliamentary building of Germany caught fire and was severely damaged on February 27, 1933. While Hitler’s involvement (conspiracy) in the Reichstag fire remains uncertain—a lone communist was later convicted of the crime—he used the incident to bolster his authority.
The day after the fire, he oversaw the suspension of all civil liberties, and in the following month’s election, the Nazis and their allies won a majority in the Reichstag. On March 23, 1933, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which approved Hitler’s dictatorship. Then, in August 1934, shortly after the president’s death. Paul von Hindenburg, the German people voted to give Hitler absolute authority, combined the offices of chancellor and president to create the designation “Führer und Reichskanzler” (“Leader and Chancellor”).
Hitler as Art Critic
While much has been said about Hitler’s unsuccessful career as an artist – he was rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and lived in poverty trying to sell his work – his interest in art was only the Führer’s. It grew only after it was made. While Hitler favored the ideal works of classical Greece and Rome, he was highly critical of contemporary movements such as Impressionism, Cubism, and Dada.
In the 1930s the Nazis began removing such “degenerative art” from German museums. Modern works by Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, Wilhelm Lehmbrück, and Emil Nolde were later shown at the 1937 Multi-City Exhibition and described as “cultural documents of the decadent works of the Bolsheviks and Jews”. Throughout the war, Hitler ordered the systematic looting of artifacts on an unprecedented scale; Reportedly his most iconic stolen item was the Ghent Altarpiece. This and other works were intended to fill a planned “super museum” in Linz, Austria, known as the Fuhrermuseum.
Teetotalers, Vegetarians, and Drug Users?
In an effort to create a master “Aryan” caste, the Nazis were known to promote health-conscious policies. So, perhaps it is not surprising that Hitler was reportedly a drinker, non-smoker, and vegetarian. However, his healthy habits were undermined by his alleged opium use.
According to recent research, in 1941 his personal physician, Theodore Morrell, began injecting him with various drugs including oxycodone, methamphetamine, morphine, and even cocaine.
In fact, alleged drug use was rampant in the Nazi Party, and soldiers were often given meth before the war. Near the end of his life, Hitler was prone to tremors, and, while some have attributed this to Parkinson’s disease, others have speculated that it was a withdrawal from the drugs, which until then was difficult to achieve.
Perhaps inspired by his earlier poverty, Hitler was determined to amass a personal fortune. Most of their money came from predictable sources – siphoning off government money and accepting “donations” from corporations. However, he embarked on even more creative plans.
After becoming chancellor, he specifically ordered the government to buy copies of his Mein Kampf to be given to the newlyweds as state wedding gifts, earning Hitler huge royalties. He also refused to pay income tax. He used his vast wealth—estimated to be around $5 billion—to amass an extensive art collection, purchase fine goods, and acquire a variety of properties. After the war, his estate was given to Bavaria.
Nobel Prize Conspiracy
In 1939 a Swedish legislator nominated Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize. Although they intended it as a joke, some found it amusing. Instead, it caused an uproar, and the nomination was quickly withdrawn. Not that Hitler wanted or could have accepted the award.
In 1936, German journalist Karl von Ossietzky, an outspoken critic of Hitler, was named the winner of the 1935 Peace Prize. The gesture was seen as a condemnation of Nazism and an “insult” to Germany. As a result, Hitler barred all Germans from accepting the Nobel Prize and created the German National Prize for the Arts and Sciences as a substitute.
Three Germans who later won the Nobel during the Third Reich were forced to decline their awards, although they later received diplomas and medals.
Death and conspiracy theories
On April 30, 1945, with the war lost and Soviet troops advancing, Hitler committed suicide by shooting himself in his underground bunker in Berlin. Eva Brown, whom he had recently married, also took his own life.
According to Hitler’s wishes, his body was burnt and then buried. At least, that is the widely accepted version of his death.
Conspiracy theories started pouring in almost immediately – thanks to the Soviet Union. They initially claimed they were unable to confirm that Hitler was dead and later spread rumors that he was alive and being protected by the West. When pressed by the US President.
Soviet leaders Joseph Stalin, and Harry Truman said that they did not know the fate of Hitler. According to later reports, however, the Soviet Union recovered his burnt remains, which were identified through dental records.
The body was buried secretly before burial and cremation took place, with the ashes scattered in 1970, although a fragment of the skull—a single gunshot wound and not found until 1946—was kept. However, such reports failed to dispel doubts, and they only escalated in 2009, when researchers determined that the skull fragment actually belonged to a woman.