Hitler was born in Austria on the 20th April 1889, the fourth child of six; His older siblings, Gustav, Ida and Otto all died as infants. At the age of three, Hitler and his family moved to Munich, and then several more times, before settling in Lambach after his father’s bee-keeping business failed. Hitler was quite close to his younger brother Edmund who died in 1900 from Measles, leaving Adolf and his youngest sibling, his sister Paula. His death affected Adolf quite profoundly and he changed from a confident outgoing boy into a quiet sullen introverted child who rejected the strict discipline at his state school and argued often with his father.
Alois Hitler was the illegitimate son of Maria Anne Schicklgruber, who later married Johann Georg Heidler when her son was five years old. His mother died when he was ten and his step-father when he was 19. The Heidlers took Alois in, and had him legitimated by declaring him as Heidler’s son, at which point he adopted the variation Hitler as his surname. Some years later, Nazi Officer Hans Frank would claim that Maria worked for a Jewish family as a housekeeper, and that her son’s father was the 19 Year old son of her employer, Leopold Frankenberger. However sources claim that no Frankenberger was registered in Graz at that time, and no proof ever produced that such a person existed, historians discredit the claim.
Alois wished Adolf to follow him into the Customs Office as a career, but Hitler entertained the hope of being an artist and so (as he later claimed in his biography, Mein Kampf) deliberately did poorly at the technical school his father chose for him. Alois died suddenly in 1903, and 18 months later, Adolf’s mother Klara allowed her son to leave the school, and enrol in an alternative, where his schoolwork improved substantially. Although he had to re-sit his final exams, Hitler finally passed and left the school without any career prospects, in 1905, moving back to Vienna to live in a homeless shelter, and worked as a casual labourer and sold the occasionally watercolour painting. He applied twice to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1907 and 1908 but was rejected on both occasions. Hitler’s mother died of breast cancer in December 1907.
Sources disagree as to when Hitler’s anti-Semitism became apparent. Some argue that it was during his years in Vienna, when a wave of anti-Semitism took hold, exaggerated by local Austrian newspapers with a Pan-Germanic, anti-Slavic bias, fuelling a rumour of a pending influx of eastern Jews in the run up to the Great War. Hitler was apparently inspired by German Nationalist Georg Ritter von Schonerer and greatly admired Martin Luther’s teachings which had some anti-Semitic tone.
Hitler moved back to Munich as the Great War broke out, to avoid conscription into the Austro-Hungarian army. Some say this was a result of the possibility of Slavic comrades, which would indicate a measure of racism at that point, and in Mein Kampf he does state that his anti-Semitic feelings took root in Vienna, confirmed by his close friend at the time, however other sources state Hitler had several Jewish friends both at the Hostel, and in other areas of Vienna. Many Historians claim it was his rage at Germany’s defeat and the subsequent humiliation of the Versailles Treaty, which formed the basis of his contempt for Jews, as he felt that they were responsible for Germany’s disgrace as their part in a Jewish/Marxist plot to take over the world. This hatred was the driving force in Hitler’s subsequent plan to take the world for Germany, cleanse it of inferior races, and re-populate it with his Aryan master race…..