AKA ‘Angel of Death’.
Kill tally: Directly responsible for the deaths of thousands at Auschwitz concentration camp.
Background: Following the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles penalises the defeated Germany, annexing land, imposing large war reparations, limiting the size of the German Army and blaming Germany and Austria-Hungary for starting the conflict. The new German Government, a coalition of left-leaning and centrist parties, attempts to rebuild the country but faces opposition from the right and extreme left. The instability is exacerbated by the failure of the domestic and global economies.
Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) Party exploits the situation, advocating national pride, blaming the Treaty of Versailles, the left, and Jews for the political turmoil and claiming to have a solution to the economic crisis. The Nazis reach a position from which they can seize power on 30 January 1933 when Hitler is appointed chancellor. More background.
Mini biography: Born on 16 March 1911 in Günzburg, Germany. His upper middle-class family are the proprietors of machine tools business. He is the eldest of three sons.
1930 – After finishing his schooling he studies philosophy at the University Munich, obtaining his degree in 1935, before going on to study medicine at the University of Frankfurt am Main, where he concentrates on physical anthropology and genetics. In 1931 he joins the Stahlhelm (Steel Helmets), an extreme right-wing and antisemitic organisation.
1933 – The Nazis reach a position from which they can seize power on 30 January when Hitler is appointed chancellor. Germany’s last election until after the Second World War is held on 5 March. Though the Nazis win only 44% of the vote Hitler persuades the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Law, allowing him to govern independently of the parliament for four years.
Hitler is now the Führer, the dictator of the fascist Third Reich, an empire where the individual belongs to the state, and where the state is fully controlled by the Nazis. Read the rest of this entry »