Adolf Hitler

Official portrait 1938

Adolf Hitler

Chandler Sullivan

His Childhood

Adolf had a rough childhood. After his father, Alois, retired as a state customs official, young Adolf spent most of his childhood in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. Not wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps as a civil servant, he began struggling in secondary school and eventually dropped out.

Dangerous Book

In 1924, while in prison for high treason, Hitler began writing what would later be considered one of the world’s most dangerous books. In Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”), which was initially published in two volumes (1925, 1927), Hitler chronicled his life and presented his racist ideology; he claimed to have become “a fanatical anti-Semite” while living in Vienna. Although it initially had only limited success, Mein Kampf’s popularity grew as did that of Hitler and the Nazis. A bible of National Socialism, it was required reading in Germany, and by 1939 more than five million copies had been sold. After Hitler’s death, the work was banned in Germany and other countries, and the German state of Bavaria, which held the copyright, refused to grant publishing rights. However, some foreign publishers continued to print the work, and in 2016 it entered the public domain after the copyright expired. Days later a heavily annotated Mein Kampf was published in Germany for the first time since 1945. It became a bestseller.


Perhaps spurred by his earlier poverty, Hitler seemed determined to amass a personal fortune. Much of his money came from predictable sources—siphoning off government money and accepting “donations” from corporations. However, he also undertook more creative schemes. After becoming chancellor, he notably ordered the government to buy copies of his Mein Kampf to give as state wedding gifts to newlyweds, leading to hefty royalties for Hitler. In addition, he refused to pay income tax. He used his vast wealth—which some estimated was about $5 billion—to amass an extensive art collection, purchase fine furnishings, and acquire various properties. After the war, his estate was given to Bavaria.

His Pets

He had a German Shepard named Blondi (1941-29 April 1945) given to him from Martin Bormann. Adolf Hitler’s favorite dogs were German shepherds, a breed of dog that is very obedient — which is why they were used as guard dogs in the concentration camps — and that resembles the ancestral wolf. 

Cool Facts

  • Hitler spied on the Nazi party before joining them.
  • Hitler admired wolves.
  • Hitler allegedly had a son.