Adolf Hitler Timeline

Adolf Hitler

: The man who has become known to many as the worst warmonger in history had humble, even bohemian beginnings. Believe it or not, Adolf Hitler was once a struggling artist, selling watercolor paintings of Viennese landmarks to keep him out of the poor house.
How did Hitler go from this penny-pinching life to leading the Nazi Party and eventually Germany itself?
There are three pages in this timeline: this one deals with Hitler's early life and military career, the second looks at his rise to power with the Nazi Party and the third page outlines his role in World War II.
Remember you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them, and don't forget to leave your questions and comments and the bottom of the page.

A troubled childhood

baby hitler Baby Hitler. The only Adolf Hitler
baby photo known to exist.

@ Adolf Hitler Timeline
Born (1889, April 20) – Adolf Hitler is born in an inn in the Austrian village of Braunau-am-Inn. He is the third child of Alois Hitler and his third wife Klara, but the other two children had died in infancy. Adolf has a half-brother, Alois Jr, and a half sister, Angela, from Alois' previous marraige.
Adolf's younger brother, Edmund, would be born in 1896. Another sister, Paula, would be born in 1896 and would outlive Adolf, dying in 1960.

Childhood games (1895) – Hitler's family moves closer to the city of Linz and Hitler starts school in the village of Fischlham. Adolf quickly becomes the leader of his group of boys. He enjoys games like “Cowboys and Indians” and organizes reenactments of the Franco-Prussian War.

Swastika (1897) – Hitler attends a Benedictine monastry school in Lambach where he sang in the choir and had allusions of joining the priesthood. He probably first sees the swastika there engraved into crests in the building’s walls. This “crooked cross” was an an ancient religious symbol and was to become a symbol of right-wing parties in Germany, including, of course, the Nazi Party.

klara hitleralois-hitler Hitler's parents Klara and Alois. Whereas
Klara was kind and loving, Alois was
a petty tyrant who yelled at and beat his
children. @ Adolf Hitler Timeline
Brother dies (1900, February 2) –
Edmund dies of measles and the family is distraught, no-one more than Adolf, who is torn between his parents. The overwhelming love and affection Adolf receives from his mother is offset by the physical beatings and emotional distance he gets from his father.
Alois wants his son to aim for a steady job in the civil service, but young Adolf refuses to set himself on a career path. He dreams of becoming an artist.
Alois sends Adolf to a technical high school in Linz where his grades and behavior take a sharp turn for the worse. Adolf grows a love of Germany and stories of heroic German men.

Father dies (January 3, 1903) – Alois dies suddenly of a lung hemorrhage at an inn wheere he had gone to drink his morning glass of wine. Adolf is forced to change schools because of disruptive behavior.

Poverty, war and the pains of growing up

boy-hitler Young Adolf Hitler in a class
photo from his Linz school
in 1901. He was 12.
@ Adolf Hitler Timeline
Leaves school (1905 - 1907) – Hitler uses a lung ailment as an excuse to take time off from school and eventually drops out altogether. He spends his time going for walks, attending the opera in Linz, reading, drawing and dreaming. Hitler makes no effort to get a job, he considers himself far beyond that.

Rejected (1907) - Hitler tries and fails the admission exam at the Vienna School of Fine Arts, and the proctor says he should focus on architecture instead.

Mother dies (December 21, 1907) – Klara Hitler dies from breast cancer and Adolf is overcome with grief. He decides to move to Vienna and live off his inheritance and orphan’s allotment until he can sit the entrance exam for the art school again. But Hitler makes little progress with his art and after seeing his sketch pad the school's board refuse to let him even sit the test.

Just scrapes by (1909) – Hitler runs out of money and moves into a homeless shelter in Vienna. There He becomes friends with another resident, Reinhold Hanish, who suggests the two can make money by selling Hitler's paintings.

art-by-hitler A painting by Hitler of Vienna's Karlsdom
(Carl's Cathederal) @ Adolf Hitler Timeline
Hitler starts to paint scenes of Vienna's landmarks, copied from postcards, and the smooth-talking Hanish sells them to shops and tourists. They sell enough to be able to move into Männerheim, a kind of flop house for men. But the partners eventually have a falling out over money and Hitler later has Hanish killed in 1938.
Hitler comes to despise Bolsheviks (old-school communists) and Jews, who he sees as a power and money hungry race.

Visits Great Britain (1912) Hitler visits his half brother, Alois Jr, who is living in Liverpool. Hitler is fascinated by Britain's industrial strengh and wants to keep living there, at one point renting an appartment of his own. But with only a few words of English, Hitler fails to get a job and is forced to return to Vienna.

Munich (1913) – Hitler moves to the Bavarian capital of Munich, Germany, to avoid enlistment in the Austrian Army. The Austrian authorities demand he joins up in 1914, but Hitler fails the physical and is allowed to return to Munich.

War (1914) – Hitler joins a Bavarian regiment of the German Army after World War I breaks out. He serves in Belgium and France as a private. Hitler wins several awards for bravery including the Iron Cross First Class for saving his unit from being mistakenly shelled from behind by German artillery.

hitler-in-world-war-1Hitler, sitting on the right, with
fellow soldiers during World
War I. @ Adolf Hitler Timeline
Wounded (October 7, 1916) – Hitler suffers a serious thigh wound at the Battle of the Somme. This was one of the bloodiest battle of the war and it left over one million dead. Hitler is sent back to Munich to recover and this is when he clips his moustache into its familiar form.

Rejoins his unit (March 1, 1917) - Hitler volunteers to go back to the front and lives through rat-infested trenches and gas attacks.

Blinded (October, 1918) – Hitler is blinded in a British clorine gas attack near Ypres soon before the end of the war. He is dismayed when Germany surrenders on November 11 with the Treaty of Versailles.
The treaty imposes harsh sanctions on Germany and Hitler, along with other nationalists, sees it as a "stab in the back" by influential German Jews and Marxists.

Watch a documentary

The video below is the first part of an excellent documentary about Hitler called Mein Kampf. Though the documentary was originally released in 1960 it still provides one of the best insights into Hitler's early life, his motivations and the machinations that brought him to power. Fascinating viewing.

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The page Adolf Hitler Timeline was written by S. Anderson, 2010. Last updated 2011.

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References for Adolf Hitler Timeline

• Mein Kampf, 1960, (TV series)

• Ruins of the Reich, R.J. Adams, 2007 (TV series)

The Nazis: A Warning From History, Laurence Rees, 1998

Hitler: A Biography, Ian Kershaw, 2010

Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography, John Toland, 1991



Photo sources for Adolf Hitler Timeline

• Adolf Hitler

• Baby Hitler German Federal Archive

• Alois Hitler WikiCommons

• Klara Hitler WikiCommons

• Painting by Hitler

• Hitler World War I

Unless otherwise stated, all photos used on the page Adolf Hitler Timeline are, to our knowledge, in the public domain. If you think otherwise, please let us know.