Devil’s advocate: Can you paint a historical picture (without lying) showing Hitler as a “good” guy?

The date was April 20th and the year was 1889. On that warm spring evening in the picturesque town of Braunau am Inn, there was born a little boy called Adolf Hitler.
 
Though his mother thought him to be a normal little boy, he was someone special. Someone greater. Someone who would grow to become the most influential and memorable leader of the 20th century.
 
This is his story.

Adolf Hitler as a 1 year old (1890)
 
Young Adolf would have a tough and difficult childhood. His father, Alois, was not the kindest of men and would beat young Adolf on an almost daily basis.
 
But young Adolf would be struck with many tragedies throughout his youth. Though he was originally one of six children, illness would take away four of them into God’s embrace. The death of his younger brother Edmund in 1900 was particularly heartbreaking for the growing boy.
 
But even through such tragedy and abuse, Adolf would persevere. He would continue studying his first love, Art. His perservance would be rewarded when, on leaving school in 1905 at the age of 16, his final report card would label his Free-hand drawing as “Laudable” and “Excellent.” [1]
 
However, on leaving school he made a mistake that many teenagers would make in his stead. He got drunk.
 
However, he found it an humiliating experience and vowed never to get drunk again. He kept his promise and by the time he reached his thirties he had given up alcohol completely. [2]
 
From 1905 Adolf would live in the capital of European art, Vienna. He worked his primarly as a painter, selling watercolours of his hard work to tourists. However his work would be rejected as he applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

A few examples of Adolf’s work (Approx 1908) [3] [4]
 
However, the strong minded soul that he was, he would not give up and tried again for a place. But alas he was rejected for a second time.
 
It was at this point that the ultimate tragedy would hit young Adolf. His mother, Klara, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. According to Klara’s doctor, Dr Eduard Bloch, he considered Adolf to be:

“A dutiful son (who) slept in the tiny bedroom adjoining that of his mother so that he could be summoned at any time during the night.” [5]

But unfortunately fate would be against Adolf and his mother would pass away at the age of 47.
 
Returning to Vienna, Adolf would be forced to live through a very dark part of his life. Due to his poverty he would be forced to live on the streets and in a variety of homeless shelters.
 
In 1914 Adolf tried to join the Austrian army. Sadly his many years of living on the streets had caused his health to become untenable and he was rejected from military service. [6]
 
Not to be defeated and determined to join to defend his homeland, Adolf would cross over to Austria’s ally, Germany, and attempted to join their army. He was successful and was allow to enter the Bavarian army in August 1914. [7]
 

Adolf in 1915
 
Adolf  would go on to particpate in several WW1 battles  including the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras, and the Battle of Passchendaele.
 
During the Battle of the Somme, Adolf was wounded in the thigh due to an exploding shell and was forced to spend 2 months in hospital. But this situation was unacceptable to Adolf. He wrote to his commanding officer, Captain Fritz Wiedemann, asking that he be reinstated in his regiment because he could not stay there while he knew his comrades were at the Front. [8]
 
He would return to the army and continued to serve until the end of the war. Due to his service he would be awarded a total of six medals for his performance during the war, which are:

  • Iron Cross, Second Class
  • Bavarian Cross of Military Merit, Third Class with Swords
  • Regimental Diploma (Regiment “List”)
  • Wound Badge in Black
  • Iron Cross, First Class
  • Bavarian Medal of Military Service, Third Class [9]

The various terms that the Treaty of Versailles imposed on the nation of Germany were devestating. Millions of people were forced to lose their jobs and entire towns of people were forced to renounce their German citizenship and ordered to become citizens of surrounding nations. For his nation to be humilated like this was unacceptable to Adolf and, determined to do something about it, he threw himself into the world of politics.
 
Over the next few years, young Adolf would hone his skills in oratory and leadership; and by 1923 he was the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

Adolf in 1923
 
However, Adolf’s attempts to try and improve the lives of his fellow Germans were harshly looked down upon by those in power. He would be arrested and eventually sentenced to prison for five years.
 
While there he would hit upon the idea of writing a book in order to better present his ideas and goals to the German people. This book would eventually be published as Mein Kampf.

This book would be widely distributed at the time and still achieves high sales in recent times with 50,000 sold in Turkey in the first 3 months of 2005. [10]
 
On release from Prison Adolf would return to politics with the utmost zeal. Though the Bavarian authorties would attempt to stop him from speaking, he continued in his quest to improve the lives of German citizens and would redouble his efforts after the devastation the 1929 American Stock Market Crash caused throughout Germany.
 
Eventually, through much perservance, Adolf would ascend to the post of Chancellor of Germany and would introduce new efforts to improve Germany’s economy.
 
It was at this point he would also meet his future wife, Eva Braun. A woman who would stay loyal to him for years to come.

Adolf and Eva, 1932
 
In 1933 German unemployment stood at 30%. Adolf, along with his economic advisers, introduced large public works such as dams, railroads and the Autobahn network. These intense efforts resulted in unemployment falling from six million in 1932 to one million in 1936. By 1938 it was practically non-existent. [11]
 
Such achievements would not go unnoticed by the world as Adolf would go on to become Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1938 [12] and be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1939 [13]
 
One of Adolf’s goals after coming to power was to invite back all German citizens that were forced to leave German due to the Treaty of Versailles. To this end, Adolf decided to invite the people of Austria to rejoin the bosom of Germany. This was the people’s response:

The unification with Germany was almost universally beloved by the Austrian people with a 99.7% vote in favour when a plebiscite was held. [14]
 
Adolf’s goal was not only to return the people, but also the land stolen away by the allies after WW1.

However, the attempt to reunite with the land taken by Poland was highly disapproved by the British and, as a result, war was declared between the nations of Britain and Germany.
 
Even after his beloved country was drawn into war, Adolf continued with his goal in improving the lives of German people and would spend much time associating with the average citizen.

However, even the best of men needs a loyal following to be successful and Adolf would be beset by assassination attempts. From 1933 to his death in 1945 there would be over 45 assassination attempts, some of them even by traitors from his inner circle. [15] 
 
Over time German forces would be beaten back and Allied forces would soon surround Germany, determined to destroy almost everything in their path. While many of Adolf’s friends and colleagues would abandon him in the face of the approaching Red Army, he refused to abandon the country he loved and purposely remained in Berlin.
 
Eventually he had to accept that the war was lost and because he was aware of the brutal treatment he would recieve at the hands of the Russians, he was forced into the most hopeless of situations.
 
On 29th April 1945, Adolf would marry his long term partner, Eva, in a small civil ceremony. After dictating his will, they both would retire to a private room where the two lovers commited suicide.
 
And there ends the life of the most memorable, historic and lasting leaders of the 20th century.

 
SOURCES
[1] Page on wa.edu.au
[2] Adolf Hitler
[3] Rare Adolf Hitler paintings could fetch £150,000 at auction
[4] Hitler’s paintings sell for 95k
[5] Eduard Bloch
[6] Adolf Hitler
[7] Military career of Adolf Hitler
[8] people/h/hitler.adolf/oss-papers/images/gif/00010128.gif
[9] Military career of Adolf Hitler
[10] Hitler book bestseller in Turkey
[11] Economy of Nazi Germany
[12] Time Person of the Year
[13] Facts on the Nobel Peace Prize
[14] Page on loc.gov
[15] the failed attacks on Hitler’s life

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