II EARLY YEARS
Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary, in 1889, the fourth child of Klara and Alois Hitler. Hitler's father worked his way up in the Austrian customs service to a position of considerable status, and as a result Hitler had a comfortable childhood. Hitler began school in 1900, and his grades were above average. It was decided that he would attend Realschule, a secondary school that prepared students for further study and emphasized modern languages and technical subjects. However, Hitler and his father strongly differed about career plans. His father wanted him to enter the civil service; Hitler insisted on becoming an artist. As a result, Hitler did poorly in Realschule, having to repeat the first year and improving little thereafter.
During this time, Hitler began to form his political views: a strong sense of German nationalism, the beginnings of anti-Semitism, and a distaste for the ruling family and political structure of Austria-Hungary. Like many German-speaking citizens of Austria-Hungary, Hitler considered himself first and foremost a German.
The death of Hitler's father in January 1903 changed the family. The survivors' income was adequate to support Hitler, his mother, and his... [continues]
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