They became firm friends to the point Hitler became resentful if Kubizek paid too much attention to anyone else. Thus the two friends were reunited and sharing a room in Vienna. So ashamed of his failure that for a while Hitler managed to keep it hidden from his friend. In , Kubizek returned to Vienna after a brief visit back to Linz to find Hitler had moved out and had left no forwarding address. He was not to see Hitler again until thirty years later, in
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When Hitler left the Realschule at 16, after plummeting grades and failures in German and maths — he used his final school report as toilet paper — he felt nothing but hatred for the school, his schoolmates and his teachers. They were to blame for his failure, not him. His loathing of authority also embraced the Catholic Church in which he was raised, probably the result of the fury he felt towards a school priest who had offended him.
Of Hitler's confirmation in Linz Cathedral in , his godfather, Johann Prinz, would recall the most "gruff and obstinate" of boys: "I had the impression that he found the whole confirmation disgusting. In , Hitler reflected on his adolescence: "At thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, I no longer believed in anything, certainly none of my friends believed in the so-called communion … [A]t the time I thought everything should be blown up.
Actor Noah Taylor as the young Hitler in a scene from the film "Max" The teenage Adolf hated authority and dreamed of having the power to change the world. Whence arose his juvenile rage at the world? Hitler had not had a "difficult childhood". He was not born into poverty, or a loveless or broken family. The answer has eluded the powers of psychiatrists.
If Hitler had a problem it was an over-abundance rather than a paucity of motherly love. Hitler justified the decision to end his education by claiming he was sick.
He persuaded his mother to hope that, as the only "man" in the family [his father Alois Hitler, a petty tyrant, had died in January, , when Hitler was 13], he would be able to help her around the house.
Klara relented, but in both respects he deceived her: he was not ill enough to terminate his education; and in the ensuing two years he would prove a useless "man about the house", given to loafing, drawing, long walks and little housework. Household tasks he thought beneath the dignity of the radical bohemian he aspired to be, and he simply refused to do any.
At this time, the Hitlers were living in a small apartment on the third floor of a tenement building at Humboldtstrasse 31 in Linz. To augment her pension, Klara let out the main bedroom to lodgers, so she and [Hitler's sister] Paula slept in the living room while Adolf occupied the spare room or closet. Hitler continued to pursue a "life of leisure", as he called it, with painting, writing and reading — chiefly stories from German mythology about the heroic feats of Teutonic tribes — and affecting a dandyish indifference to his future prospects.
Everyone who knew him at the time would recall how the year-old threw himself at drawing, usually buildings, museums or bridges, with a manic fervour, late into the night, to the exclusion of any other person or concern.
During these creative bursts, Hitler would retreat into a fantasy in which he would redesign Linz and fashion new cities, imagining himself a genius with the power to change the world 35 years later, he would in fact order a new bridge over the Danube based on his youthful designs. Adolf Hitler as a child.
The German dictator did not have a "difficult childhood" that might have sparked his juvenile rage against the world. The slightest knock to this dream-made-real threw him into fits of rage and despair, such as when he failed to win a lottery in which he had convinced himself he was destined to triumph. His winnings were supposed to finance his design of a grand house on the Danube.
In Hitler's mind, bad luck had nothing to do with it. Dark forces were to blame. Earlier, in , behind the colonnades inside the Linz opera house, from where it was possible to watch the performance with a cheap "standing-room" ticket, Hitler, then aged 15 and still at the Realschule in Steyr, had first met August Kubizek "Gustl" , who was nine months older and destined to become his only boyhood friend. Gustl was a shy, thoughtful young man and a talented musician.
His first impression of Adolf was of "a remarkably pale, skinny youth … who was following the performance with glistening eyes. I surmised that he came from a better-class home, for he was always dressed with meticulous care and was very reserved.
Thus began their odd friendship, as described in Kubizek's recollections The Young Hitler I Knew , an authentic memoir of Hitler's boyhood. It was a strangely lopsided relationship, in which Hitler always ran the show, berating Gustl for his lack of punctuality, shouting down his friend's conventional middle-class ideas, and generally dominating the quiet and inoffensive music-lover.
August Kubizek was the teenaged Hitler's only friend and became an audience for the future German leader's tireless tirades about art, architecture and politics. Delyse Phillips. The relationship worked because each young man found his role and stuck to it: Hitler the braggart and poseur; Kubizek the self-effacing acolyte and patient listener. Gustl's passivity and wry sense of humour proved perfect foils to Hitler's bossiness, self-importance and aggression.
They performed a sort of double act. And while Hitler's braggadocio compensated for his academic inadequacy, Kubizek's quiet confidence reflected a genuine ability; when they met he was working in his father's upholstery business and studying music, and he would later become an accomplished musician and minor conductor.
Kubizek saw Hitler as a curiosity, a character to be studied, as well as a friend; Hitler revelled in Kubizek's deference and admiration. Neither youth showed much interest in girls, though Hitler's swagger seems to have drawn the eyes of some of the opera-going ladies.
Their relationship was not homosexual, as has been suggested. They shared a love of opera, chiefly the works of Richard Wagner, and regularly attended performances. At the time, Hitler was of average height, skinny, with sunken cheeks.
He already wore his black hair straight down over his forehead. He dressed in the pointedly bohemian style his father would have loathed: a broad-brimmed hat, black kid gloves, white shirts and black, silk-lined overcoats. He neither played nor took any interest in sport though he occasionally skied. Those who met him often remarked on Hitler's extraordinary eyes.
They were "shining", "blank" and "cruel", Kubizek's mother would recall. Adolf Hitler in The shouty young Hitler already displayed the future fascist leader's love of fiery oratory and alarming way with words. Sharp and defiant, Hitler's eyes outshone his unappealing facial features — a thin-lipped mouth, straight nose with fleshy nostrils, and faint suggestions of facial hair his toothbrush moustache would not appear until after the war.
Communication between Hitler and Kubizek was entirely one-sided. Hitler showed little interest in anyone but himself and his own ambitions, and furiously attacked those who, he believed, failed to understand him or obstructed his plans.
In fact, he had an audience of one: Kubizek listened and nodded, later observing with a weary shrug, "My work was to [Hitler] nothing but a tiresome hindrance to our personal relationship. Impatiently he would twirl the small black cane which he always carried" a precursor to the whip he would wield in Munich after the First World War. When Adolf dropped out of education and Gustl innocently asked whether he would get a job, Hitler gruffly replied, "Of course not", as if jobs were for lesser beings.
On their daily walks around Linz, Hitler would launch into long, angry speeches on any subject that seized him. He delivered these tempestuous bursts with a verbal dexterity that astonished Kubizek: great gusts of unbroken verbiage issued forth, about art, the city's design, the bridge over the Danube, a new underground railway system and, of course, the latest Wagner performance.
Stefanie Isak was the object of the teenaged Hitler's passion. He was convinced she would be his wife but never got further than observing her from afar. He would swamp his companion with waves of rising fury, as if imagining he were addressing a great crowd and not his only friend. Spellbound, Gustl decided that Adolf had a primal need to shout: "These speeches, usually delivered somewhere in the open, seemed to be like a volcano erupting. It was as though something quite apart from him was bursting out of him.
Such rapture I had only witnessed so far in the theatre, when an actor had to express some violent emotions, and at first, confronted by such eruptions, I could only stand gaping and passive, forgetting to applaud.
No, this was not acting, not exaggeration, this was really felt, and I saw that he was in dead earnest … Not what he said impressed me first, but how he said it. This to me was something new, magnificent. I had never imagined that a man could produce such an effect with mere words. All he wanted from me, however, was one thing — agreement. And if he dissented? He would bang on for hours about the flaws in the urban design of Linz and sketch how the city should be rebuilt many years later, the year-old would ruthlessly try to execute what the year-old had so precociously conceived.
Echoing the standard Pan-German line of the time, he disdained what he knew of the Habsburg rule as ineffectual, and dismissed as unworkable the racial melting pot of the Viennese Parliament, which, at any time, consisted of representatives of many of the empire's different nationalities, including Germans, Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Italians.
He yearned for the day when Austria's German minority would merge with their kinsmen to create a new German Reich that would dominate Europe. Kubizek, who had little interest in politics, would never forget his friend's incessant use of the word "Reich". Hitler's contempt for the Austrian regime deepened in direct proportion to his admiration for all things German, an infatuation ingrained in him by growing up in the German-speaking community in Austria, and by the rich tales of German conquest he'd read about at school.
Of the greatest Germans on whom he would lavish admiration — Martin Luther, Frederick the Great, Bismarck and Friedrich Nietszche — none was dearer to him than his beloved Wagner. On their long walks, Hitler would suddenly seize Kubizek and recite a passage from one of his idol's letters, or hum an aria.
Adolf Hitler in , aged The young Hitler was always fastidious about his dress and appearance. During these garrulous outbursts Hitler showed no compassion, humility or wit — a characteristic he would carry into manhood.
Other people seemed to exist for him only insofar as they could help him to realise his plans. And if the residents of Linz considered him a loudmouth and a misfit, Kubizek patiently suspended disbelief in his friend's soaring ambition, of which Hitler talked as if its accomplishment were not merely feasible but also a fait accompli. At this point in Hitler's life, when a firm and loving hand might have guided him in a more promising direction, a series of misfortunes, which had already started with the death of his father, would cast him into the world as an unloved and homeless failure.
Hitler showed few signs of anti-Semitism or racial hatred at this time, partly because he simply gave the matter little thought. His speeches to Gustl barely mentioned the Jews. His father had not tolerated racial prejudice at home, as Hitler would recall in Mein Kampf : "Today it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to say when the word 'Jew' first gave me ground for special thought This must be set beside the fact that Hitler's father associated with extreme German nationalists, who were well known for their anti-Jewish feelings.
The whole tenor of the Pan-German mind was casually anti-Semitic … Kubizek recalled Hitler remarking one day, as they passed a synagogue, "That doesn't belong in Linz".
Not too much should be made of this though: in any case, there were few Jews in Linz and only one Jewish boy at the Realschule — Ludwig Wittgenstein, the future philosopher, and a year ahead of his age group Hitler was a year behind. It seems they barely knew each other. In the spring of , Hitler announced to Gustl that he was in love. The object of his desire was a girl, slightly older than him, tall and blonde, called Stefanie Isak, whom he would see walking with her mother on the Landstrasse, the main street in Linz.
Her Jewish surname compounds the evidence that Hitler felt little, or only passing, hostility to the Jewish residents of Linz. Love would conquer all. Yet Hitler's presumption that Stefanie reciprocated his feelings faced an immediate hurdle: he failed to make them known to her. The relationship existed purely in his mind. Of his existence, she was virtually unaware.
If Stefanie deigned to bestow a fleeting glance on him during her daily outings, however, Hitler excitedly imagined that she adored him. Every day, with Gustl wearily in tow, Adolf would position himself across the street and gaze longingly at the passing target of his affection.
The Young Hitler I Knew
The young man, clean-cut and dressed in a sweatshirt bearing the skull and crossbones of the Curry College Rugby Football Club, explained that he knew this fact only because his sister shared a birthday with the Nazi leader. On this particular Friday April 20, , Adolf Hitler's th birthday the rare-book reading room of the Library of Congress—a high-ceilinged space elegantly appointed with brass lamps, heavy wooden tables, and thick carpet—hummed with subdued activity. A smartly dressed black woman with cropped hair and large hoop earrings studied a book on slavery in Barbados. Across from her a stocky man with a laptop clattered away as he typed extracts from a book cradled in a velvet-lined wooden stand. At another table a young man in a suit stared into an oversized volume of black-and-white photographs of graphic sex—leather, chains, sprawled limbs—with SEX embossed on the silver-metal cover. The rare-book collection is home to more than , volumes. It contains the personal libraries of Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, and first editions of contemporary "authors" such as Andy Warhol and Madonna.
'The Hidden Hitler'
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Her Jewish-sounding maiden name, Isak, has been subject to speculation in this context. However, there is no evidence apart from Kubizek that Hitler ever had such an attachment. Kubizek, a childhood friend and later biographer of his childhood experience with Hitler, wrote about Stefanie in his book, Adolf Hitler, My Childhood Friend. He alleges that Hitler fell in love with her after she passed by him during her daily daughter-mother stroll in Linz , glancing at him. In Kubizek's account, although in love with her to the point of suicide, Hitler never once spoke with her, and she later married an Austrian army officer. Stefanie stated in interviews that she was unaware of Hitler's feelings towards her, and little is known about her life.
Young Hitler - ranting, bullying and in love
In his youth Hitler imagined himself destined for higher things: he aspired to be an artist, not a civil servant or clerk. Despite this firm resolve, however, he drifted along aimlessly between his sixteenth and twenty-fifth years between and and could at best be described as a pseudobohemian. Our knowledge of this period in his life is sketchy. Although it is possible to reconstruct certain contexts and events, Hitler's early life remains singularly obscure.