Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 - April 30, 1945) was an Austrian-born German and leader of Germany. He along with his wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide rather than allow themselves to be captured by the Soviet Bolsheviks.
In Mein Kampf (his autobiography), Hitler described his childhood as a "joyous time." his father was Alois Hitler, who was a hard and stubborn man, while his mother Klara, was more soft.
Hitler described himself as "an outdoors boy." he was an adventurous youth, one for getting into fights. However, Hitler also had a softer side. He dreamed about becoming a priest and admired the priesthood greatly.
A medieval monastery was nearby the village where Hitler grew up. The monastery had swastikas adorned on it, possibly later inspiring Hitler to use it as a symbol for the German Workers' Party
Leaving home and his life in Vienna
At an early age, Hitler got in several fights with his father. Alois wanted the young Adolf to become a government official but Hitler loathed the idea. Eventually, he had it in mind to become an artist, something Alois found shocking.
After Alois died, the teenage Hitler went to Vienna in the hopes of becoming an artist. However, his mother soon passed away as well. In Hitler's own words, "I had respected my father, but I had loved my mother."
When he applied for the Vienna Art Academy, Hitler was denied two times, and instead turned his mind to architecture.
During World War One
When Hitler was 25 years old in 1914, both Austria-Hungary and the German Empire became involved in the First World War. Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich where he earned money as a painter. Historians believe he left Vienna to evade conscription into the Austrian army. Hitler later claimed that he did not wish to serve the Habsburg Empire because of the mixture of "races" in its army. After he was deemed unfit for service – he failed his physical exam in Salzburg on 5 February 1914 – he returned to Munich.
Despite the fact that Hitler was still holding Austrian citizenship, he asked for permission to serve in the Bavarian Army in August 1914. Hitler was granted the permission to join, even though he was not a German citizen. During his time serving in the army, Hitler began to put forth his German nationalist ideas which he developed from a young age.
The German army at the time was a collection of regional forces organized by the various German states with the Prussian army being the dominant part. The German General Staff were mostly German nobility and, years later, Hitler expressed his distaste for the "generals with 'vons' in front of their names".
During the war, Hitler served in France and Belgium in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment (called Regiment List after its first commander); Hitler originally enlisted as a Schütze and was promoted once to the rank of Gefreiter (PFC or Lance Corporal).
Hitler's primary duty was as a message runner on the Western Front, "a relatively safe job" based at regimental headquarters, several miles from the Front. According to research by Dr Thomas Weber of the University of Aberdeen, earlier historians of the period had not distinguished between regimental runners, who were based away from the front "in relative comfort", and company, or battalion runners, who moved among the trenches and were often subjected to machine gun fire.
After World War One
After Hitler became the leader of the German Workers' Party, he quickly began acquiring paramilitary-like titles and using his party's paramilitary uniforms to denote his position. Hitler's main title within the workers' party was simply that of Führer and there was never any special uniform designed for Hitler's position, although a rank pin for a civilian lapel (used by Hitler until 1934) was known as the "Eagle of Sovereignty Pin". Hitler ceased wearing this pin after the Night of Long Knives due to widespread issuance of the Golden Party Badge and Hitler's preference for this decoration.
The brown Party uniform that Hitler is most often associated with was a paramilitary uniform of the SA and denoted Hitler's position as Oberste SA-Führer. In the late 1920s, Hitler occasionally wore a black uniform, but this was during a period when Hitler was emulating Benito Mussolini. Hitler's admiration for the Italian dictator later faded as Germany became more powerful than her Italian ally and Mussolini was, in the end, looked down upon by Hitler as a puppet-dictator under German control.
From 1933 to 1934, Hitler held the political position as Chancellor of Germany and it is during this period that Hitler is most often seen in newsreels and photographs as wearing civilian clothes. After the death of the President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler declared himself Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Reich Chancellor) by combining the offices of the President, and of that of Chancellor, and adopted a brown uniform, similar to his earlier SA uniform, but with a much cleaner cut.
Hitler was, by default as Führer, the supreme commander of every party paramilitary organization but Hitler never adopted extra ranks in these organizations nor did he have special uniforms to denote his position (for instance, there was no special SS uniform or insignia for Hitler, even though he was considered SS member #1 and outranked Heinrich Himmler). Hitler also technically qualified for every German political decoration, but in practice only wore his World War I Iron Cross, the Golden National Socialist Party Pin, and the Wound badge in Black. During National Socialist party rallies at Nuremberg in the early 1930s, Hitler temporarily wore the 1929 Nuremberg Party Day Badge, but discontinued this after about 1935.