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Founder and leader of the Nazi Party Reich Chancellor and guiding spirit of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945 Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn Austria on 20 April 1889 The son of a fifty-two-year-old Austrian customs official Alois Schickelgruber Hitler and his third wife a young peasant girl Klara Poelzl both from the backwoods of lower Austria the young Hitler was a resentful discontented child Moody lazy of unstable temperament he was deeply hostile towards his strict authoritarian father and strongly attached to his indulgent hard-working mother whose death from cancer in December 1908 was a shattering blow to the adolescent Hitler After spending four years in the Realschule in Linz he left school at the age of sixteen with dreams of becoming a painter In October 1907 the provincial middle-class boy left home for Vienna where he was to remain until 1913 leading a bohemian vagabond existence Embittered at his rejection by the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts he was to spend five years of misery and woe in Vienna as he later recalled adopting a view of life which changed very little in the ensuing years shaped as it was by a pathological hatred of Jews and Marxists liberalism and the cosmopolitan Habsburg monarchy In May 1913 Hitler left Vienna for Munich and when war broke out in August 1914 he joined the Sixteenth Bavarian Infantry Regiment serving as a despatch runner Hitler proved an able courageous soldier receiving the Iron Cross First Class for bravery but did not rise above the rank of Lance Corporal Twice wounded he was badly gassed four weeks before the end of the war and spent three months recuperating in a hospital in Pomerania Temporarily blinded and driven to impotent rage by the abortive November 1918 revolution in Germany as well as the military defeat Hitler once restored was convinced that fate
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