Pictures of Adolph Hitler

In the annals of history, few people are more notorious than Adolph Hitler, who led Germany from 1932 to 1945. Seven decades after Hitler died in the closing days of World War II, pictures of the Nazi Party leader still fascinate for many people. Learn more about Adolph Hitler, his rise to power, and how his actions led to the Holocaust and World War II.

Close-ups

Preview Of A Signed Copy Of Mein Kampf To Auction
Daniel Berehulak / Staff/ Getty Images News/ Getty Images

Adolph Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany in 1932, but he had been active in politics since 1920. As the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, he quickly developed a reputation as an emotional speaker whose vitriolic tirades against communists, Jews, and others. Hitler cultivated a cult of personality and often would give signed photos of himself to friends and supporters.

The Nazi Salute

Adolf Hitler salutes the ranks of German youth from his car.
Adolf Hitler salutes the ranks of German youth from his car during a Reichsparteitag (Reich Party Day) parade. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of Richard Freimark.

One of the ways Hitler and the Nazi Party attracted followers and built their reputation was through the staging of elaborate public rallies, both before and after they came to power. These events would feature military parades, athletic demonstrations, dramatic events, speeches, and appearances by Adolph Hitler and other German leaders. In this image, Hitler salutes attendees at a Reichsparteitag (Reich Party Day) in Nuremberg, Germany.

World War I

A group portrait of Hitler and other German soldiers during World War I.
A group portrait of Hitler and other German soldiers during World War I. Picture from the National Archives.

During World War I, Adolph Hitler served in the German Army as a corporal. In 1916 and again in 1918, he was wounded in gas attacks in Belgium, and he was twice awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. Hitler later said that he relished his time in the service, but that Germany's defeat left him feeling humiliated and angry. Here, Hitler (first row, far left) poses with fellow soldiers.

During Weimar Republic

Hitler poses holding the "blood flag" from the Beer Hall Putsch.
Hitler poses holding the "blood flag" from the Beer Hall Putsch. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of William O. McWorkman.

After being discharged from the army in 1920, Hitler because involved in radical politics. He joined the Nazi Party, a staunchly nationalist organization that was strongly anti-communist and anti-Jewish, and soon because it's leader. On Nov. 8, 1923, Hitler and several other Nazis took over a beer hall in Munich, Germany, and vowed to overthrow the government. After a failed march on the city hall where more than a dozen people died, Hitler and several of his followers were arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. Pardoned the following year, Hitler soon resumed his Nazi activities. In this image, he displays a Nazi flag used during the notorious "beer hall putsch."

As the New German Chancellor

Adolf Hitler listens to a radio broadcast of the results of German parliamentary elections.
Adolf Hitler listens to a radio broadcast of the results of German parliamentary elections. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of the National Archives.

By 1930, Germany's government was in disarray and the economy in shambles. Led by the charismatic Adolph Hitler, the Nazi Party had become a political force to be reckoned with in Germany. After elections in 1932 failed to produce a majority for a single party, the Nazis entered into a coalition government and Hitler was appointed chancellor. During elections the following year, the Nazis consolidated their political majority and Hitler was firmly in control of Germany. Here, he listens to election returns that will bring the Nazis to power.

Before World War II

Adolf Hitler speaks to the widow of a Nazi party member
Adolf Hitler speaks to the widow of a Nazi party member who died during the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of Richard Freimark.

Once in power, Hitler and his allies wasted little time seizing the levers of power. Opposition political parties and social organizations were violently suppressed or outlawed, and dissidents were arrested or killed. Hitler rebuilt the German military, withdrew from the League of Nations, and began openly agitating for expanding the nation's borders. As the Nazis openly celebrated their political glories (including this rally commemorating the Beer Hall Putsch), they systematically began arresting and killing Jews, homosexuals, and others considered enemies of the state.

During World War II

A smiling Adolf Hitler greets a soldier.
A smiling Adolf Hitler greets a soldier. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of James Blevins.

After securing alliances with Japan and Italy, Hitler struck a secret deal with the U.S.S.R.'s Joseph Stalin to divide Poland. On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, overwhelming the nation with its military might. Two days later, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, though there would be little military conflict until Germany invaded first Denmark and Norway, then Holland, Belgium, and France in April and May of 1940. World War II would eventually draw both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. and last until 1945.

Hitler and Other Nazi Officials

Hitler and other top Nazi officials attend the opening ceremonies of the 1938 Party congress.
Hitler and other top Nazi officials attend the opening ceremonies of the 1938 Party congress in Nuremberg. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of Patricia Geroux.

Adolph Hitler was the leader of the Nazis, but he wasn't the only German who held a position of power during their years in power. Joseph Goebbels, far left, had been a Nazi member since 1924 and was Hitler's minister of propaganda. Rudolph Hess, to Hitler's right, was another long-time Nazi official who was Hitler's deputy until 1941, when he flew a plane to Scotland in a bizarre attempt to secure a peace treaty. Hess was arrested and jailed, dying in prison in 1987.

Hitler and Foreign Dignitaries

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini ride in an open automobile.
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini ride in an open automobile through the streets of Munich during the Italian dictator's visit to Germany. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of the National Archives.

During Hitler's rise to power, he courted many of the world's leaders. One of his closest allies was the Italian leader Benito Mussolini, shown in this photo with Hitler during a visit to Munich, Germany. Mussolini, the leader of the radical Fascist Party, had seized power in 1922 and established a dictatorship that would last until his death in 1945. 

Meeting Roman Catholic Dignitaries

Adolf Hitler converses with the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo.
Adolf Hitler converses with the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, at a New Year's reception in Berlin. Picture from the USHMM, courtesy of William O. McWorkman.

Hitler courted the Vatican and the leaders of the Catholic Church from his earliest days in power. Vatican and Nazi officials signed a number of agreements that allowed the Catholic Church to practice in Germany in exchange for a promise not to interfere in German national affairs. 

More Resources

Sources:

Bullock, Allan; Bullock, Baron; Knapp, Wilfrid F.; and Lukacs, John. "Adolph Hitler, Dictator of Germany." Brittanica.com. Accessed 28 February 2018.

Cowley, Robert, and Parker, Geoffrey. "Adolph Hitler" (excerpted from "The Reader's Companion to Military History." History.com. 1996.

Staff writers. "Adolph Hitler: Man and Monster." BBC.com. Accessed 28 February 2018.

 

 

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Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Pictures of Adolph Hitler." ThoughtCo, Feb. 28, 2018, thoughtco.com/hitler-pictures-1779647. Rosenberg, Jennifer. (2018, February 28). Pictures of Adolph Hitler. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/hitler-pictures-1779647 Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Pictures of Adolph Hitler." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/hitler-pictures-1779647 (accessed April 24, 2018).