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A Jewish State
Theodor Herzl proposes a solution to the 'Jewish Question' and to anti-Semitism: a separate and independent ...
My Father's Girl
Jane Addams, whose Hull-House became a symbol of progressive reform, here remembers her father who helped ...
Paris Goes to War
As the World War engulfs Europe in August 1914, Edith Wharton reports from Paris on the ...
Lord Charnwood recounts the development and importance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, a signal event in American ...
Darwin Changes His Mind
Here is Darwin’s account of his visit to the Galapagos Islands with its myriad species, which ...
A Grand Way to Chronicle a War
A fascinating glimpse of World War II journalism behind the front lines at Paris’s Hotel Scribe, ...
The Genius and the Jerk
Walter Vatter explores the early years of Steve Jobs--was he a genius, or simply an expert ...
The Story of a Photograph
The story behind Walker Evans’s iconic photograph of Ellie Mae ...
Portrait of the Monster as a Young Man - Preview
The Formative Years of Adolf Hitler
by Alan Bullock
PORTRAIT OF THE MONSTER AS A YOUNG MAN
ADOLF HITLER was born at half past six on the evening of 20 April 1889, in the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in the small town of Braunau on the River Inn which forms the frontier between Austria and Bavaria.
The Europe into which he was born and which he was to destroy gave an unusual impression of stability and permanence at the time of his birth. The Hapsburg Empire, of which his father was a minor official, had survived the storms of the 1860s, the loss of the Italian provinces, defeat by Prussia, even the transformation of the old Empire into the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The Hapsburgs, the oldest of the great ruling houses, who had outlived the Turks, the French Revolution, and Napoleon, were a visible guarantee of continuity. The Emperor Franz Joseph had already celebrated the fortieth anniversary of his accession, and had still more than a quarter of a century left to reign.
The three republics Hitler was to destroy, the Austria of the Treaty of St. Germain, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, were not yet in existence. Four great empires—the Hapsburg, the Hohenzollern, the Romanov, and the Ottoman—ruled over Central and Eastern Europe. The Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet Union were not yet imagined: Russia was still the Holy Russia of the Tsars. In the summer of this same year, 1889, Lenin, a student of nineteen in trouble with the authorities, moved with his mother from Kazan to Samara. Stalin was a poor cobbler’s son in Tiflis, Mussolini the six-year-old child of a blacksmith in the bleak Romagna.