Timeline of Major Events
(1919 - 1945)
(1889-1945) was the founder and leader of the Nazi Party
and the most influential voice in the implementation and execution of the Holocaust
- the systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing of six million European Jews and millions of others. Hitler was the Head of State, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and guiding spirit, or Fuhrer
, of Germany's Third Reich from 1933 to 1945.
In a letter to Herr Adolf Gemlich, Hitler appears anxious to establish his credentials as a knowledgeable and sober anti-Semite. Compared to the inflammatory massmeeting oratory that was soon to be his specialty, Hitler's rhetoric here is actually quite tame. Some historians have interpreted the letter's call for the "irrevocable removal [Entfernung]" of the Jews from German life as a prefiguring of the Holocaust. The letter, Hitler's first explicitly political and anti-Semitic writing, may thus be seen as the launching of his political career.
READ HITLER'S LETTER
"Jewry is unqualifiedly a racial association and not a religious association ... Its influence will bring about the racial tuberculosis of the people. Hence it follows: Anti-Semitism on purely emotional grounds will find its ultimate expression in the form of pogroms. Rational anti-semitism, however, must lead to a systematic legal opposition and elimination of the special privileges which Jews hold, in contrast to the other aliens living among us. Its final objective must unswervingly be the removal of the Jews altogether. Only a government of national vitality is capable of doing both, and never a government of national impotence."
Letter to Adolf Gemlich
During a speech delivered in Munich, Hitler - already leader of Germany's Nazi Party - tells his thoughts on the power Jewish bankers have and how Jewish influence is adversely affecting German nationalism. Hitler's demands that all Jews who entered Germany after 1914 be expelled from the country.
READ HITLER"S SPEECH
"The ultimate germ of this disease of the race is the Jew - the German-National movement may recognize this, but it will not be able to help and cannot do so, until it leaves the field of theoretical knowledge and replaces it with the decision to transform understanding into political power: to replace long-suffering scholarly study with the willingness to apply the organization of power."
Speech in Munich
"The internal expurgation of the Jewish spirit is not possible in any platonic way. For the Jewish spirit is the product of the Jewish person. Unless we expel the Jewish people. Unless we expel the Jewish people soon, they will have judaized our people within a very short time."
Speech in Nuremburg
In the early 1920s, with the German economy suffering, Hitler saw an opportunity to steal power and led his 'army' to a beer hall in Bavaria where local government leaders were holding a meeting. The Nazis captured the politicians and then marched on the former Bavarian War Ministry building before the police opened fire. During the riot, Hitler's friend was killed as he pulled his leader to the ground. Despite the takeover's failure, the "Beer Hall Putsch" brought Hitler his first national publicity.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PUTSCH
"Clear away the Jews! Our own people has genius enough - we need no Hebrews. If we were to put in their place intelligences drawn from the great body of our people, then we should have recovered the bridge which leads to the community of the people."
Speech in Munich
Hitler publishes what will become his seminal work, Mein Kampf. Combining elements of his autobiography with an exposition of his political ideology, Mein Kampf's main thesis revolved around the "Jewish peril," which speaks of an alleged Jewish conspiracy to gain world leadership. Hitler also announces his hatred of what he believed to be the world's twin evils: Communism and Judaism.
READ EXCERPTS FROM MEIN KAMPF
"From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, where as in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. Schopenhauer called the Jew 'The Great Master of Lies.' Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail."
Page 134, Mein Kampf
"We want, too, to restore to the German intelligentsia the freedom of which it has been robbed by the system which has hitherto ruled. In parliamentarianism they did not possess this freedom. We want to liberate Germany from the fetters of an impossible parliamentary democracy - not because we are terrorists, not because we intend to gag the free spirit. On the contrary, the spirit has never had more violence done to it than when mere numbers made themselves its master."
Speech in Stuttgart
"As to the Jews, why should there be such a fuss when they are thrown out of places, when hundreds of thousands of Aryan Germans are out on the streets. No, the world has no ground for complaint. Germany is not fighting merely the battle of Germany. It is fighting the battle of the world."
Meeting with James McDonald
In 1933, Reich President Paul von Hindenburg sent Hitler a letter voicing his concern and frustration over a law that called for the dismissal of Jews from the German Army, even those who had served during World War I. Hitler's response to Hindenburg is yet another proof as to the Nazi leaders political and racial ideology toward the Jews.
READ THE EXCHANGED LETTERS
The Zionist Federation of Germany submits a position paper to Hitler regarding the Jews of Germany. The paper reviewed German-Jewish relations and formally offered Zionist support in "solving" the vexing "Jewish question." Chairman of the Federation Kurt Blumenfeld submitted a request to meet with Hitler and discuss the proposal. Hitler declined.
READ BLUMENFELD'S REQUEST
Hitler, accompanied by the SS, personally arrest Nazi leader Ersnt Rohm on fabricated evidence that he had been paid by the French to help overthrow Hitler. Over the course of the night, the SS arrest nearly 200 other senior officers, killing many of them as soon as they were captured. Hitler kept the purge secret for nearly a month, before announcing what had occured in a speech on July 13.
LEARN ABOUT THE "NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES"
"The German people are happy in the knowledge that the constantly changing leadership has now been replaced by a fixed pole; a force which considers itself the representative of the best blood, and, knowing this, has elevated themselves to the leadership of this Nation and is determined to keep this leadership, to use it to the best advantage and never to relinquish it again."
Speech at Nazi Congress in Nuremberg
Following the death of Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler took over absolute power of Germany. Hitler would henceforth be known as the 'Fuhrer' and made himself both Head of State and Chief Commander of the Armed Forces. On this day, Hitler enacted a new oath that German army officers and soldiers as well as civil servants would have to pledge allegiance and loyalty to him alone, scrubbing reference to the German constitution.
SEE THE FUHRER OATH
Hitler oversaw the passage of a series of anti-Semitic laws officially introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. The first law - The Law for Protection of German Blood and German Honor - prohibited marriages between Jews and Germans. The second law - The Reich Citizenship Law - stripped Jews of German citizenship.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NUREMBERG LAWS
"The only way to deal with the problem which remains open is that of legislative action. The German Government is in this controlled by the thought that through a single secular solution it may be possible still to create a level ground on which the German people may find a tolerable relation towards the Jewish people. Should this hope not be fulfilled and the Jewish agitation both within Germany and in the international sphere should continue, then the position must be examined afresh ... The third [law] is an attempt to regulate by law [the Jewish] problem ... Behind all three laws there stands the National-Socialist Party and with it and supporting it stands the German nation."
Speech to Reichstag on Nuremberg Laws
"[The German National Socialist Party] had to make war relentlessly on a world filled with prejudices of class and social standing. It had to assure that each German of willpower and ability could make his way to the top in disregard of his birth and origin. It had to cleanse Germany of all those parasites who drank at the well of the despair of Vaterland and Volk. It had to acknowledge the eternal values of blood and earth, and it had to elevate these principles to become the leading imperatives in our lives. It had to begin the fight against the greatest enemy which threatens to destroy our Volk: the international Jewish world enemy!"
Proclamation to Nazi Party
In response to a telegram from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt urging for need to find a peaceful resolution to German threats to invade the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia, Hitler writes the President that the responsibility for war or peace in Europe rests with the Czech government and not him. Hitler writes that the German Reich has a responsibility to provide justice and help to the 3.5 million Germans living in Sudetenland and that this area must be ceded peacefully to Germany or it would be taken by force.
READ HITLER'S LETTER TO FDR
"[On] the Jewish question I have this to say: it is a shameful spectacle to see how the whole democratic world is oozing sympathy for the poor tormented Jewish people, but remains hard-hearted and obdurate when it comes to helping them ... They say, 'We,' that is the democracies, 'are not in a position to take in the Jews.' ... Germany ... is supposed to have room for them! ... For hundreds of years Germany was good enough to receive these elements, although they possessed nothing except infectious political and physical diseases"
Speech to the German Reichstag
"For I believe that all States will have to face the same problems that we once had to face. State after State will either succumb to the Jewish Bolshevik pest or will ward it off. We have done so, and we have now erected a national German People's State ... I believe in a conclusive understanding among peoples which will come sooner or later. There is no point in bringing about co-operation among nations, based upon permanent understanding, until this Jewish fission-fungus of peoples has been removed."
Speech in Wilhelmshaven
U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt pens a letter to Hitler and Benito Mussolini requesting that the leaders promise to not attack a list of approximately 30 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East for a period of at least ten years. Roosevelt stresses that the fate of hundreds of millions of people rest in Hitlers hands and that if he truly desired for there to be no war then there was no need for war. The nations of the world desire peace, said Roosevelt, but an atmosphere of peace cannot exist if negotiations are overshadowed by the threat of force or by the fear of war.
READ FDR'S LETTER TO HITLER
Germany had been the site of an increasing number of measures taken in the name of "racial purity" since the Nazis assumed power in 1933, including forced sterilization of those with physical and/or mental handicaps, and the murder of infants with similar handicaps. Now, under the cover of war, the program was expanded to include murdering handicapped adults. Hitler issued the law legalizing such forced "euthanasia" on his personal stationery instructing assistants Philipp Bouhler and Dr. Karl Brandt to initiate the program.
SEE HITLER'S ORDER
"Today I will once more be a prophet. If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the bolshevization of the earth and this the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!"
Speech to the Reichstag on the Jewish Question
"This criminal race has the two million dead of the (First) World War on their conscience, and now hundreds of thousands. Let no one say to me: we cannot send them into the mire. Who concerns themselves about our men? It is good if preceding us is the terror that we are exterminating the Jews. The attempt to found a Jewish state will fail."
To Himmler/Heydrich at Command Headquarters
In a speech to the German people, Hitler declares war against the Soviet Union and officially launches Operation Barbarossa, sending nearly 3 million soldiers and thousands of tanks into Russian territory. Britian signs a pact of mutual assistance with Stalin and the USA extends a 'lend-lease' agreement to the USSR.
READ HITLER'S DECLARATION OF WAR
Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Joachim Von Ribbentrop meet with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in regards to the latters request that the Nazis extend their anti-Jewish program to the Arab world. Hitler, though supportive of the Mufti's desire, rebuffed his requests for a declaration in support of the Arabs, telling the Mufti that the time was not right.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HITLER & THE MUFTI
"Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine ... Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle ... Germany's objective [is] ... solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere."
Meeting with Haj Amin al-Husseini
A week after the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor by his Japanese allies, Hitler officially declares war on the United States, bringing America out its neutral stance and into the war in Europe. The failure of the New Deal, argued Hitler, was the real cause of the US entering the war, as President Roosevelt, supported by plutocrats and Jews, attempted to cover up for the collapse of his economic agenda.
READ HITLER'S DECLARATION OF WAR
Hitler attends the high-level conference meeting at Wannsee called by the Head of Reich Security Reinhard Heydrich. At the meeting, the Fuhrer approved Heydrich's plan for the 'Final Solution to the Jewish Question,' namely the deportation of Jews to German-occupied areas in eastern Europe, the use of Jews fit for labor on building projects and the eventual annihilation of Jews unfit for work or who completed labor tasks.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 'FINAL SOLUTION'
"Since we are forced into war, neither the threat of weapons nor a period of transition shall conquer us; second, if world Jewry launches another war in order to destroy the Aryan nations of Europe, it will not be the Aryan nations that will be destroyed, but the Jews...Once the Germans Jews laughed at my prophecy. I do not know whether they are still laughing, or whether they are laughing on the other side of their faces. I can simply repeat - they will stop laughing altogether, and I will fulfill my prophecy in this field too."
Speech in the Berlin Sportpalast
"[The National Socialist revolution] can wake up people, open their eyes to the fate that would await all of us in the present and our children in the future-and beyond this, all European people-if we do not succeed in bringing about the failure of the devilish plan of the Jewish international criminals ... We will break and crush the power of the Jewish international coalition. Mankind in its struggle for its freedom, life, and daily bread, will gain the final victory in this struggle."
Proclamation on 23rd Anniversary of Nazi Party
Three years after occupying Denmark, Hitler officially orders the arrest and deportation of the approximately 8,000 Danish Jews to concentration camps on the European mainland. Over the course of the month, Jews were removed from all positions in public life in order to "prevent them from continuing to poison the atmosphere."
LEARN MORE ABOUT JEWS IN DENMARK
Following the Battle of Stalingrad, Hitler was eager to prove that the Germany army was still a formidable fighting force. After months of delay, Hitler decided to put his troops to the test in one great offensive aimed at eliminating the Soviet amry at Kursk that Hitler said "will shine like a beacon around the world." Though the town was of minor strategic importance, Hitler believed its capture would allow the Germans to stop the Red Army from further advancement and allow the Nazis to direct more resources to the Mediterranean front.
"[Before the National Socialist revolution] Germany was ... so weakened by the spreading Jewish infection ... The economic ruin brought about by the Jews as in other countries, the unemployment of millions of Germans, the destruction of peasantry, trade, and industry."
German National Radio Broadcast
German commander Claus von Stauffenberg attempts to assassinate Hitler while the fuhrer was attending a high level military meeting. The plan called for Stauffenberg, Ludwig Beck, Erwin von Witzleben and Friedrich Fromm to take control of the Germany army after Hitler's death and make peace with the Allies. Stauffenberg's plot, however, fails to murder Hitler and their operation is discovered. The four men are all killed.
READ MORE ABOUT OPERATION VALKYRIE
Noticably agitated only a few weeks after the Allied invasion at Normandy, Hitler fires Field Marshals Erwin Rommel and Gerd von Rundstedt over their insistence that Germany sue for peace. Rommell, who had devoted himself full time for the first half of 1944 to improving the German defenses in France, had actually recommended that Germany withdraw from France in order to establish a more stable line closer to Germany but was rebuffed multiple times by Hitler.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ALLIED INVASION
"Jewry has not allowed any opportunity to pass since the year 1933, as at the time of the struggle for power, in order to express its satanic will to persecute and destroy this new concept of a state as such and its young state ... the Jew is always behind the stupidity and weakness of man, his lack of character on the one hand, and his deficiencies on the other. The Jew is the wire-puller in the democracies, as well as the creator and driving force of the Bolshevik international beast of the world."
Proclamation to German Nazi Party
"[Germany] will therefore not lose this war ... what our enemies are fighting for, they do not know themselves, aside from their Jews. Yet what we are fighting for is clear to all of us. It is the preservation of the German human being, it is our homeland, it is our two-thousand-year-old culture ... It is, in short, everything that makes life worth living."
New Years Proclamation to Nazi Party
"What this Jewish plague does to our women, children, and men in these areas represents the cruelest fate that a human brain is capable of concocting. There is only one way of opposing these Jewish-Bolshevik annihilators of mankind and their west European and American pimps: the deployment, with utmost zeal and dogged steadfastness, of all the strength a merciful God allows man to find."
Proclamation to German Nazi Supprters
Hitler agrees to withdraw all German forces - including SS panzer tank division - from the Ardennes forest in Belgium, officially bringing to a close all offensive operations in the Battle of the Bulge. Winston Churchill, addressing the British House of Commons following the battle said, "This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory".
MORE ON THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE
"Centuries will pass, but from the rubble of our city, our hatred of those who are to blame, international Jewry and its lackeys ... I have made it clear that if they treat the nations of Europe as tools that may be bought and sold ... then that race, the Jewish race ... shall bear the consquences ... Above all, I oblige the national leadership and its followers to observe the racial laws scrupulously and subject the poisoner of all nations - international Jewry - to merciless resistance"
Last Will & Political Testament
In a declaration to the German military stationed on the eastern front against the Soviet Union, Hitler orders a final stand against all odds. Claiming that the "Jewish-Bolshevik arch-enemy" wanted to eradicate their nation, Hitler defied military realities and maintained his stubbornness to not give up the fight. This same month he orders arms minister Albert Speer to destroy what remained of German industry, saying that Germany's failure to win the war forfeited its right to survive.
READ HITLER'S CALL FOR A LAST STAND
Hitler marries his mistress Eva Braun, dictates his political testament and last will on the night of April 29 and, the following morning, committs suicide in his bunker by shooting himself in the face. Hitler's aides remove his body, douse it with gasoline and burn it in the garden.
READ HITLER'S POLITICAL TESTAMENT