Adolf Hitler is one of the most famous names you will ever hear. While worldwide he is known for his actions during World War II and the way which he treated people during this period, there is plenty that you probably never knew about this man.
Here are nine unknown facts that you’ve probably never heard before – along with your chance to brush up on your history knowledge.
- Adolf Hitler wasn’t born in Germany.
Since we associate Hitler with his leadership of Germany during the Second World War and the way which he fought so adamantly for the “pure bred” German people, it’s easy to think without consideration that he himself was born in Germany.
However, he was actually born in Austria to an Austrian couple – father Alois Hitler and mother Klara Hitler. Born on April 20th, 1889, Adolf had five other siblings, although four of them died before making it to adulthood.
- He sustained serious injuries during World War I.
He is so heavily associated with World War II that we don’t often stop to think about Hitler’s association with the First World War as well.
In a bid to avoid joining the Austrian military, he fled to Germany but ended up fighting there for the German army instead. In 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, he was wounded by shrapnel and spent several weeks in hospital.
Furthermore, he survived a mustard gas attack in 1918 but partially lost his sight and spent a long time trying to fully recover from both these injuries.
- Hitler’s dream was to be an artist.
A far cry from the life he ended up leading, but Adolf Hitler had dreamed of becoming an artist early on in life.
In both 1907 and 1908 he applied to the Vienna Academy of Art but was turned down on both occasions. Towards the end of 1908, not long after his second application had been rejected, his mother Klara died after suffering from breast cancer.
This was something which Adolf Hitler struggled to deal with, and he spent four years on the streets of Vienna, using his artistic skills to get by as he attempted to sell his artwork to passers-by.
- He created the Nazi party after Germany lost World War I.
The Nazi party wasn’t in existence until Hitler came along, but the political party that he initially joined was called the German Workers’ Party. This was a small political party mainly made up of those who were disillusioned by the fact Germany had lost the war.
The harsh consequences of the Treaty of Versailles for Germany did not help appease the anger which many right-wing Germans felt. With their anti-Semitic tendencies and strong right-wing beliefs, Adolf Hitler soon became leader of the party and created the famous Swastika symbol.
In 1920, just two years after the war had ended, the party’s name was changed to the Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party. Under this name and with a stronger and larger following, the “Nazi” party grew from strength to strength as Hitler toured the country giving speeches and talks.
- Hitler did not have a nationality between 1925-1932.
Due to the fact that Hitler hated the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he decided to renounce his Austrian nationality in 1925, a few years after becoming leader of the new Nazi party and deciding to spend a large portion of his life fighting for a German empire.
After giving up his citizenship, this meant that unless he found citizenship elsewhere he would risk being deported and also could not run for office. In 1932, the interior minister of Brunswick state made Hitler an administrator and citizen of Germany.
- Adolf Hitler enjoyed whistling.
One of his favorite tunes to whistle was the very popular, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” Hitler had started to become known as “The Wolf” which is likely to be the haunting reason why he enjoyed this tune above others.
During the small German victories of the Second World War led by Hitler, he would whistle Walt Disney’s “When You Wish upon a Star” for dinner guests and friends.
- Experts suggest Hitler was very ill.
Many people argue that nobody could do what Adolf Hitler did without having severe health issues, and experts are inclined to agree with this viewpoint.
Apart from possible memory loss and dementia which Hitler may have been suffering towards the later part of his life, he is also likely to have suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
This condition not only affects the patient in a physical manner, such as shaking, but it can also make the patient become forgetful and affect decision-making skills, thinking patterns and behavioral habits.
- He wanted to become a priest.
During his younger years, even before he aspired to become an artist, Adolf Hitler dreamed about becoming a priest.
As a boy, he would regularly attend the Catholic Church, and was a part of the choir. Hitler attended vocal lessons in order to improve his singing voice so that he could better serve the church choir.
This influence was mainly down to the fact that his parents were rather religious and Catholicism was a central part of Hitler’s life growing up. However, as he grew into adulthood, he became to hate the Catholic Church, and although he admired Martin Luther and some aspects of Protestantism, it is quite clear that Hitler wanted to abolish the whole of the Christian church.
- Hitler was an animal rights activist.
People are often surprised to hear about this interesting fact, since Hitler didn’t seem to care much for the lives of others. He ate a vegetarian diet for all of his life, and even fought strongly to implement laws relating to animal rights and protection for animals.
It is believed that Hitler intended to pass laws which would heavily reduce the amount of meat consumption once the Second World War was over and people in Germany resumed their normal lives.