20 April – HITLER was Born 

Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn (a town located in present-day Austria), close to the border of the then German Empire. He was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and his wife, Klara Pölzl

The world knows Hitler as one of the most ruthless or rather demonic dictators of the twentieth century who was responsible for the Holocaust, one of the most inhuman chapters in human history, which was the genocide of more than six million Jews and millions of victims from other communities.

 Hitler was also primarily responsible for the initiation of World War II by invading Poland on 1st September 1939, a war which took some 70-75 million lives in six years; almost 3 percent of the world’s population in 1940, making it the deadliest military conflict in human history.

Rise of the Dictator

The unquestionable leader of the then notorious and ultra-racist Nazi Party rose to power in Germany in 1933 by exploiting the severe economic hardships of the common Germans who were suffering through the Great Depression and the setbacks of the First World War through Treaty of Versailles, and the prevailing political instability of the Weimar democracy. 

Through his brilliant oratory skills Hitler sold the promise of a great future to the people of Germany and of restoring Germany to its former glory, and the gullible people were impressed by the man. Frustrated and dejected people of Germany were perhaps then desperately looking for a messiah to take them to a better tomorrow and Hitler used that opportunity to position himself as such a hero and gained emergence to power. Hitler led Nazi Party to power on 30th January 1933 and was appointed as the Chancelor of Germany.

Anti Semitism and Expansionism  

But soon his heinous acts against humanity in general and Jews in particular amply revealed that he was far from being a hero but rather one of the worst villains of the last century. The dictator first made Germany into a one-party nation as Nazi Party outlawed all its competing parties through bringing in Law Against the Formation of Parties, in July 1933.

Soon after attaining power, Hitler’s anti Semitism began to surface in ugly forms. It began with a call of boycott of Jewish tradesmen, craftsmen, doctors and lawyers by the Nazi regime in April 1933 only. Soon systematic efforts were unleashed by Nazi Party to force Jews out of other professions too. 

In 1935, Hitler introduced Nuremberg Laws. The laws prohibited sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and Jews. This prohibition was later extended to include gypsies, negroes or their offspring too. The laws also took away German citizenship from non-Aryans Germans and made the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households illegal. Hitler’s regime also initiated a nationwide pogrom against Jews in 1938.

Within six years of his rule, Hitler began his aggressive expansionist policy through invading and annexing Poland(1939),  which was quickly followed by conquests of Denmark (April 1940), Norway (April 1940), Belgium (May 1940), the Netherlands (May 1940), Luxembourg (May 1940), France (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941), and Greece (April 1941). When German forces invaded Russia in June 1941, Hitler and Germany’s fortunes began to change for the worse. 

Russia, together with the UK and the US turned the tables in the World War II(in which Sir Winston Churchill’s inspiring statesmanship and vision played a crucial role) and the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy and Japan were eventually given a crushing defeat. Hitler committed suicide on 30th April 1945 when Germany’s defeat in the Second World War became a writing on the wall.

Perpetrating Ghastly Crimes 

History knows that Hitler was responsible for one of the most ghastly crimes against humanity in the 10000-year-old recorded history of humankind. During 1941 to 1945, Hitler-led Nazi officials in Germany and their collaborators were responsible for murdering more than six million Jews in German occupied Europe in a bone chillingly systematic way. Those unfortunate people were killed in mass shootings or through poison gas in extermination camps, the mostly deadly of which was Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many more jews being held in concentration camps were subjected to inhuman living conditions and torture. 

According to https://www.auschwitz.org/en/, KL Auschwitz was the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centers. More than 1.1 million individuals, including men, women, and children, perished there.

The reason for Hitler’s burning hatred against Jews and when it surfaced are difficult to understand but many historians have tried to decipher it. According to www.annefrank.org, supposedly, his aversion to everything Jewish came to fruition when he was living and working as a painter in Vienna (1908-1913). 

The defeat of Germany in the First World War may be one of the chief reasons for Hitler’s hatred against the Jews or antisemitism taking a radical, frightening stance as he was influenced by the false propaganda that Jews were responsible for the German defeat at the war.

Ruined the Economy

However, he not only decimated two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population but also was responsible for Germany’s economic ruination after the Second World War. In fact, Hitler’s regime introduced price controls and food rations to finance the several war efforts of Germany.

The industrial output of Germany just after the war was a third of the industrial output of the country before the Second World War; Germany’s agricultural output had dwindled to just 35 percent of its pre-war levels.

Almost 6.9 to 7.5 million German, many of whom included their prime human resource, were killed in the war, many of the cities of Germany were lying in a severely damaged state after the war due to incessant bombings. Shortages and black market became rampant and Germany’s currency plummeted pathetically, which even paved the way for the ancient practice of bartering for goods and services temporarily.Germans however, did an economic miracle of sorts in rebuilding their nation and making Germany a global economic power to reckon with within a short span of three decades. Ludwig Erhard, who was the Chancelor of West Germany during 1963-66, is largely credited for leading West Germany’s postwar economic reforms and economic recovery during 1949-63 as the Minister of Economic Affairs.

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