My historical review will be on Adolph Hitler’s speech from October 6, 1939 in which he addressed the Reichstag, the German capital building. This speech is in response to the German invasion of Poland and thus the initial start of World War two. Many in the world at this time saw the issues that Hitler and the country of Germany proposed, and as many had feared, Germany began to take action.
The exigencies which lead up to this speech are many. Hitler was born on April 20TH 1889 and grew up as a child in Braunau am Inn, . His childhood had a large effect on his psyche and his beliefs. When he was a child, he was beat by his father on a regular basis, which possibly led to his volatile and angry personality. He was a decent student, but he had some issues with other students including several Jews. This may have led to his anti-Semitic views. “As a young adult, Hitler spent a lot of time in Austria trying to develop his passion as an artist; however, he was denied entry to the Arts Academy” (Kershaw, 4)With World War one encompassing all of Germany, Hitler enlisted in the German military. After many months of front line combat in the trenches, Hitler was hit by the shrapnel of an exploding artillery shell. This incident helped him realize that “fate had chosen him to rescue a humiliated nation” (Fest 5). He became interested in anti-Semitic teachings and soon came to believe strongly that it was the Jews who were the cause of Germany’s woes. During the time period in between the cease fire in November 1918 and the signing Treaty of Versailles the country of Germany was in ruin. Communists, Socialists and even innocent bystanders were rounded up and murdered in January 1919, in Berlin, and in May in Munich. The armistice that ended World War I put Germany into a massive debt. The government was forced to pay billions of dollars in reparations for the damages caused by the war. The German parliament’s solution to this issue was to print off extremely large amounts of money, which caused inflation to skyrocket. Hitler was still in the German military at the time, and in the summer of 1919, he was assigned to become an internal military spy, to search for communists, and liberals. The German army then sent young Corporal Hitler to political indoctrination school. “One day I asked for the floor. One of the participants felt obliged to break a lance for the Jews and began to defend them in lengthy arguments. This aroused me to an answer. The overwhelming majority of the students present took my standpoint. The result was that a few days later I was sent into a Munich regiment as a so-called educational officer." (Hitler 24) Hitler’s official pre- Nazi military record notes that he was considered a “born orator. (Goebbels 18) The series of events as they played out in the long run seem to have a sense of irony, as Hitler’s next military assignment was to infiltrate and expose the little known Nazi party. The Nazi party, which was a workers’ party that was very anti-capitalist and had anti-Semitic undertones, quickly gained ground in such a tumultuous atmosphere. Now there are many reasons in why Hitler aligned himself with the party, but more so the party found him. After hearing a speech, Hitler began to leave when a man rose up and spoke in favor of the German state of Bavaria breaking away from Germany and forming a new South German nation with Austria. This enraged Hitler and he spoke out forcefully against the man for the next fifteen minutes uninterrupted, to the astonishment of everyone. One of the founders of the German Workers' Party, Anton Drexler, reportedly whispered: "He's got the gift of the gab. We could use him." (Evans,67) After attending the meeting, he was hooked into politics. He liked what the party stood for, to build a strong nationalist, pro-military, anti-Semitic party made up of working class people.(Hitler 13) In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlines the overall political structure in which he feels the...
Cited: 1 Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (New York-London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998),
2 Joachim C. Fest, Hitler (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1973)
3 Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil (New York: Random House, 1998),
4 Robert G. L. Waite, The Pychopathic God: Adolf Hitler (New York: DaCapo Press, 1993),
6 Klaus Fisher, Nazi Germany: A New History (New York: Continuum, 1995)
7 William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960)
11 Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939 (New York: The Penguin Press, 2005)
12 Joseph Goebbels, The Goebbels Diaries, ed. Louis P. Lochner (New York: Universal Publishers & Distributors, 1971)
13 Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1943)
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