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10 Best Adolf Hitler Movies of All Time

Shuvrajit Das Biswas of 10 Best Adolf Hitler Movies of All Time

Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Third Reich and the Nazi Party, was single-handedly responsible for World War II and its atrocities. A mostly hated character in history because of his systematic genocide against Jews, Hitler remains a figure of interest even today in cultural and philosophical studies. The life of Hitler, his meteoric rise, and equally visible fall have been documented in many films.  Here’s the list of some of the top Adolf Hitler movies ever made. You can watch some of these best Nazi Hitler movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.

10. Look Who’s Back (2015)

biography movie of hitler

The film originally titled Er Ist Weider da, is a 2015 dramatic comedy film. Directed by David Wnendt, the film follows Hitler’s resurrection in 2014 and a comic sequence that follows. The film parodies the Nazi perspective in the modern world but shows a somber aspect of the existence of hyper-nationalist sentiments, which would continue its support for Hitler. The interactions between Hitler and the common public serve as the primary fodder for humor, and the director intersperses scenes where Oliver Masucci dressed as Hitler and in character actually interacts with the public. The film overall creates a humorous effect and is a good take on how Hitler would be received in today’s world.

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9. Valkyrie (2008)

biography movie of hitler

Directed by Bryan Singer, this film stars Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. Claus came closest to assassinating Hitler and arranging a coup to overthrow the Nazi party. The film received lukewarm appreciation and acceptance. However, the film focuses on the number of assassination attempts on Hitler’s life and how he managed to overcome them. A fast-paced and tense film, it holds the tension even though the audience is painfully aware of the result beforehand – that in itself speaks to Singer’s directorial talent. The actors deliver powerful performances and make the film a thoroughly enjoyable one.

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8. Man Hunt (1941)

biography movie of hitler

Directed by Fritz Lang, this film starts and ends with direct references to Hitler. The plot of the film, however, focuses mostly on a British big-game hunter as he attempts to evade the authorities on a suspected charge of him wanting to kill Hitler. The movie starts with a chilling scene where the hunter has Hitler in his scope and pulls the trigger and waves. He then enters a live round into the chamber and decides to take another shot but is interrupted. The film’s ending shows the hunter having joined the RAF undertaking a similar mission to presumably finish the job. The film portrays the intense desire and toying of minds with Hitler’s death- an aspect that was common during the WWII era in European cinema. Fritz Lang directs the movie wonderfully, and the events are set against the backdrop of the escalating situation in Europe and the rise of Nazi power.

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7. The Bunker (1981)

biography movie of hitler

This film, directed by George Schaefer, is borrowed from James P. O’ Donnell’s book The Bunker. The film makes use of shifting points of view and uses the creative license to bring forth views of characters who weren’t interviewed, including Hitler’s cook and Dr. Werner Haase. Furthermore, the film controversially undercuts the relationship between Hitler and Speer, slightly likening it with the Jesus Judas betrayal. Despite the controversies, the film itself is a thorough invigorating watch and provides a different perspective to the oft reproduced last days of Hitler.

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6. Triumph of the Will (1935)

biography movie of hitler

This film, also known as Triumph des Willens, is perhaps the greatest propaganda film made. The movie is also Leni Riefenstahl’s best work. The cinematic techniques used in The Victory of Faith and this film are remarkably similar. Recording the 1934 Nazi Congress in Nuremberg, the film juxtaposes scenes of the military marches with speeches from high officials of the Nazi party. Leni makes use of various cinematic techniques like long focus lenses and aerial photography, techniques which would go on to become foundational for the making of documentaries and also played an important role in shaping cinematic shot techniques as a whole. Her revolutionary approach to music and cinematography is evident in this movie as Leni effortlessly portrays the Nazi propaganda of Germany emerging as a powerful nation under Hitler.

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5. The Victory of Faith (1933)

biography movie of hitler

Better known as Der Sieg des Glaubens, this film is the first propaganda film to be directed by Leni Riefenstahl. The propaganda films serve as an interesting contrast to the films made about Hitler since most films that came after his demise demonized the man and showed him in the terrifying capacity of power. The propaganda films, on the contrary, which show Hitler’s rise to power peppered with fond adoration and awe of the man himself. Leni’s film, which follows the chronological order of sequences of the 1933 Nuremberg rally of the Nazi Party, is purely a propaganda movie, which was funded by the Nazis. However, the value of this film is evident in the fact that it shows Hitler to be on close terms with Ernst Rohm, a man who would later be assassinated on Hitler’s orders. The only copy of the film turned up in 1990 in the UK after Hitler had ordered the destruction of all copies. Leni’s propaganda film cannot be doubted on the grounds of authenticity and provides a refreshing take on a man who enjoyed tremendous support from different quarters of his country.

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4. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

biography movie of hitler

Directed by Quentin Tarantino, this movie delivered on its promise – it was unlike any war movie we’d ever seen. While the plot itself does not deal directly with Hitler – it focuses on the fight against Nazi occupation in Paris. The film, however, borrows on the trope of fascination with Hitler’s death and a culture of anti-propaganda films where Hitler would be killed off in the most imaginative ways possible. Tarantino indulges in this where the climax of the film occurs in the burning movie theater where Hitler is gunned down and burned. A modern-day film by all means, it harkens back to the time of Hitler’s power and gives a brilliant portrayal of the man’s sense of grandness and the rage and fear with which the public looked to him.

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3. The Last Ten Days (1955)

biography movie of hitler

Directed by George Wilhelm Pabst, this Austrian German film follows a simple enough plot. It recounts the last ten days of Hitler’s life- from his birthday to his suicide. The plot, which is similar to a lot of movies made about Hitler, is in itself not unique. However, what sets this film apart is the role played by Albin Skoda. Skoda plays Hitler, making this 1955 film the first movie in post-WWII Germany to feature the character of Adolf Hitler. Der Letze Akt, as the film is also known, presents a terrifyingly realistic portrait of Hitler’s last few days and, in the process, becomes the first film in a long chain of films that would express fascination with the dictator’s life.

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2. The Great Dictator (1940)

biography movie of hitler

Movies about Hitler aren’t usually supposed to be funny, but trust Charlie Chaplin to take up the task. In a scathing satire which is perhaps Chaplin’s best work, he criticizes fascism, characters of both Hitler and Mussolini, and the persecution of Jews. This is Chaplin’s first major sound film contrary to his previous silent movies. Chaplin’s portrayal of the Jewish barber persecuted by Adenoid Hynkel (Adolf Hitler) is powerful and reverberates in his last speech when the barber, who is ironically Hynkel’s lookalike, gets up on the podium to make a speech. The speech is satirized by Chaplin, and contrary to Hitler’s divisive and polarizing speeches, Chaplin calls for democracy, unity and brotherhood. The Great Dictator serves as a valuable example of satire and remains one of the most daring takes on Hitler.

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1. Downfall (2004)

biography movie of hitler

The film titled Der Untergang was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel and happened to be nominated for the Academy Award for the best foreign picture. The film itself focuses on the last ten days of Hitler’s life and the fall of the Third Reich. Bruno Ganz delivers a powerful performance as Adolf Hitler in his last days, adamant in the face of potential defeat. The narrative pace effectively captures the delusions of grandeur that Hitler holds on till the very end and undercuts it at the same time with the tension of the advancement of the Red Army. Desertion, rage, defeat all culminate in Hitler’s bunker towards a powerful cinematic conclusion.

Read More: Best Holocaust Movies of All Time


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biography movie of hitler

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Your answer to “Why Adolf Hitler , still?” might depend on your overall view of the world, and whether you think humanity is inherently good or inherently bad, and if you consider modern society a scourge upon the earth, or the only thing that can save it. Has the Internet been a great equalizer or an irredeemably flawed cesspool? Does free speech cover hate speech? Have we, as an international collective, been effective enough in educating people about what Hitler did, and about the devastating impact of Nazi Germany’s actions? Or will Hitler linger as a specter of fascination (and even inspiration) for generations to come, even as time takes us further away from the atrocities of World War II? 

Inspired by the 1978 nonfiction book  The Meaning of Hitler  by German journalist Raimund Pretzel (writing under the pseudonym Sebastian Haffner ), Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker ’s same-named documentary parses through these questions to unravel the cultural captivation still swirling around Hitler. Why do we continue to make movies, TV shows, and documentaries about him? (looking at you, History Channel!) How do TikTok stars in their 20s and 30s decide to use to Hitler to shock (and draw in) viewers? Why do far-right movements in the United States and Europe still use the iconography mythologized in Leni Riefenstahl ’s 1935 propaganda film, “ Triumph of the Will ”? What possibly new facts about Hitler could be revealed in the dozens of books that are published about him each year? And even when we analyze Hitler’s words by reassessing them from a contemporary perspective , are we responsible if someone reads Mein Kampf  and is radicalized instead of enraged?  

There are numerous ways to investigate the myriad industries that have built up around Hitler, and the shortcoming of “The Meaning of Hitler” is that it tries to tackle them all. Epperlein, who appears onscreen reading Haffner’s book, acknowledges in her narration that the existence of this documentary might help feed the phenomenon it is attempting to criticize. But “The Meaning of Hitler” then throws too wide of a net, jumping from subject to subject to understand the various ways Hitler’s toxicity has continued to spread after his death. History, social media, Hollywood, art, contemporary politics—“The Meaning of Hitler” scrutinizes each of these areas before switching focus to something else, and the rapidity by which it does so is a mistake. 

Like Pretzel’s book, the documentary is divided into various segments that examine aspects of Hitler’s aura, image, and ego. But Epperlein and Tucker’s “chapter” titles indicate the extremely dry humor they bring to this project: “Antisemitism” stands alongside “Hitler Had No Friends” and “The Good Nazi Years.” The filmmakers are summarily direct in their use of visual flourishes (onscreen text like “RADICAL LOSER” in blocky, blood-red letters), certain quotes (“As an artist, he was not that good,” U.S. Army Center of Military History Chief of Art Sarah Forgey says of Hitler), and their own narrated questions. “Why does Hollywood grant Hitler the kind of honorable death that is never given to his victims?” Epperlein wonders after a montage of death scenes from forgotten films about Hitler, including Anthony Hopkins ’ Emmy-winning turn in the 1981 film “The Bunker”—but it feels a bit like a missed opportunity to not call to the carpet anyone from the industry about why these movies keep getting made. Overall, the filmmakers’ freewheeling approach covers a fair amount of ground, if somewhat superficially. Instead, it is the array of voices assembled here who often crystallize in their individual interviews what “The Meaning of Hitler” might not achieve in a holistic way. 

Novelist Martin Amis says Hitler “resists understanding”; Israeli historian and professor Yehuda Bauer scoffs at the attempt to even do so (“You cannot put Hitler on a psychologist’s couch”); psychiatrist Dr. Peter Theiss-Abendroth warily lists all the diagnoses numerous people have, with no evidence, linked to Hitler as explanations for his actions. Historian and professor Saul Friedlander, whose parents were killed at Auschwitz, speaks of Hitler’s performative quality and warns of “propaganda ... repackaged as reality.” Novelist Francine Prose says of “Triumph of the Will,” “It makes your flesh curl,” and Berlin Story Bunker museum curator Enno Lenze, can’t hide the bewilderment in his voice when he says that many American visitors ask him during the tour, “But are you sure that he is dead?” 

The tension between reality and “fake news” is omnipresent in “The Meaning of Hitler” not just because the documentary repeatedly compares Hitler with former President Donald J. Trump, but also because of the inclusion of various Holocaust deniers, from online social media stars and personalities like PewDiePie to disgraced English historian David Irving. One of the great joys of “The Meaning of Hitler” is Friedlander’s dismissive delivery of “David Irving, please,” when asked about him, while one of the documentary’s most curdling moments is Irving, caught on a hot mic outside of the Treblinka extermination camp, saying to a laughing audience: “Jews … they don’t like any kind of manual work. They just like writing receipts.” 

Irving’s presence shifts “The Meaning of Hitler” from looking backward, which it does by touring formative locations for Hitler in Austria and Germany and relying on archival footage of his speeches and rallies, to looking around now and wondering if we can ever shake free of his grasp. In discussing nationalism, the filmmakers cut from a World Cup celebration in France to a far-right demonstration in Poland; when introducing the chapter “The Hitler Cult,” audio from one of Trump’s speeches plays. These connections help drive home the filmmakers’ central idea that we’re still living under the shadow of the kind of authoritarianism and hate that Hitler championed. However: What can we do about it? Documentaries don’t have to be directive, but “The Meaning of Hitler” ends on a feeling of incompletion. Perhaps that’s thematically purposeful. As Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld says, “History has no precise direction,” and maybe hoping that everyone would take the same lessons from the past is a fool’s errand. But “The Meaning of Hitler” never quite reconciles its central concern of whether continuing to talk about Hitler is an inherently compromised pursuit, and that uneasiness feels like an unintentional capitulation for an otherwise well-intentioned project. 

Now available in theaters and available for digital rental.

Roxana Hadadi

Roxana Hadadi

Roxana Hadadi is a film, television, and pop culture critic. She holds an MA in literature and lives outside Baltimore, Maryland.

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The Meaning of Hitler (2021)

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The Best Movies About Hitler

Ranker Film

The films on this list of the best movies about Hitler have been ranked by the community as the greatest. Hitler lived from 1889 to 1945 and was responsible for the Nazi era in Germany. One of the most hated historical figures, many films have been made based on his life and his period of dictatorship. What are the best movies about Hitler and his life?

This list features the best movies about Hitler, either from a historical viewpoint or with the inclusion of fictional events. Some of these films about Hitler star famous celebrities like Tom Cruise, while others are foreign films that take an international look at Adolf Hitler. But you'll see that this is fare more than a "top 10 hilter movies" list.

The films on this list are the best movies about Hitler and include titles such as The Devil with Hitler, Hitler: The Rise of Evil, Valkyrie, Downfall, Gandhi to Hitler, The Holcroft Covenant, and Angels of the Universe . Vote up the best movies about Adolf Hitler. Be sure to check back for new Hitler movies as they are added as they are released.


This gripping German drama, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, chronicles Adolf Hitler's final days in his Berlin bunker during the end of World War II. Featuring an astounding performance by Bruno Ganz as the Nazi leader, the film masterfully depicts the paranoia, desperation, and chaos that engulfed Hitler and his inner circle in the face of defeat. Based on meticulous historical research, with chilling realism and intense psychological insights, Downfall offers a harrowing portrait of a tyrant unraveled and the collapse of a brutal regime.

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Triumph of the Will

Triumph of the Will

An infamous piece of propaganda, this documentary directed by Leni Riefenstahl showcases the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, Germany. The film exemplifies the power of visual storytelling to manipulate and seduce, as it glorifies Hitler and his zeal for Aryan supremacy. Though controversial due to its subject matter, Triumph of the Will nonetheless remains an important study in both the art of filmmaking and the frightening sway that cinema can hold over an audience.

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Hitler: The Rise of Evil

Hitler: The Rise of Evil

This television miniseries tackles the monumental task of portraying Hitler's life from his failures as an artist in Vienna to the brink of World War II. Starring Robert Carlyle, who delivers an eerily convincing performance, the series delves into the circumstances and relationships that shaped Hitler's ascent to power and his descent into madness. Hitler: The Rise of Evil provides a sweeping, dramatic look at the man behind the monster and the chilling consequences of an unchecked quest for power.


Directed by Bryan Singer, this suspenseful historical thriller stars Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a key player in the plot to assassinate Hitler. The film is based on the true story of Operation Valkyrie, a plan devised by disillusioned officers to remove Hitler from power and restore peace to their beloved Germany. With a star-studded cast and high-stakes tension, Valkyrie is a riveting account of the near-miss attempt on one of history's most ruthless leaders.

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Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit

In this daring satirical take on the Third Reich, director Taika Waititi tells the story of a young boy, Jojo, whose imaginary friend happens to be Hitler himself. As the plot unfolds, Jojo discovers a Jewish girl hidden in his home, challenging his belief in the Nazi ideology and Hitler's omnipotent place in his world. Seamlessly blending comedy with heartache, Jojo Rabbit is both a stirring coming-of-age tale and a powerful lampooning of history's most infamous dictator.

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Look Who's Back

Look Who's Back

This darkly comedic film, based on Timur Vermes' novel of the same name, imagines Hitler waking up in modern-day Berlin, bewildered by his surroundings but quickly adapting to become a media sensation. Mixing scripted scenes with unscripted encounters, the film exposes the unsettling fascination that contemporary culture has with Hitler's persona. Look Who's Back cleverly uses humor to provoke thought about society's continued obsession with this polarizing figure.

Hitler: The Last Ten Days

Hitler: The Last Ten Days

Alec Guinness stars as Adolf Hitler in this dramatization of the final, chaotic days in the dictator's bunker. The film paints a harrowing portrait of a megalomaniac leader on the brink of self-destruction, surrounded by sycophants and rapidly disintegrating circumstances. Through its stark realism and powerful performances, Hitler: The Last Ten Days stands as a chilling reminder of the human toll exacted by one man's twisted vision.

The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin's brilliant satire takes aim at Hitler and Mussolini as he portrays a meek Jewish barber and the ruthless dictator Adenoid Hynkel. Released during World War II, the film was one of the first major American productions to openly criticize Hitler, providing a scathing and poignant commentary on the danger of fascism. With its sharp wit and undeniable humanity, The Great Dictator remains an enduring cinematic treasure that both mocks the tyrants of the past and cautions against their return.

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Hitler: A Film from Germany

Hitler: A Film from Germany

This avant-garde, seven-hour epic directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg explores the nature of evil through a series of surreal and abstract vignettes that capture the essence of Hitler's life and atrocities. Composed of monologues, reenactments, and symbolic imagery, the film delves into the cultural and psychological roots of the man behind the Holocaust. Both a visual poem and historical meditation, Hitler: A Film from Germany offers a distinctly unique perspective on the infamous dictator.

The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel

The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel

This biographical war film centers on the life of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, a military tactician who earned the nickname "Desert Fox" for his exploits during the North African campaigns in World War II. Portrayed by James Mason, Rommel is depicted as an honorable soldier caught between his loyalty to his country and his growing disillusionment with Hitler's leadership. The Desert Fox provides a thoughtful exploration of the complex relationships and moral dilemmas faced by those serving under Hitler's regime.

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The Bunker

Anthony Hopkins gives a chilling performance as Adolf Hitler in this television film, set during the dictator's last days in his Berlin bunker. Based on the book by James O'Donnell, the film offers a claustrophobic and tense portrayal of a crumbling regime, with a compelling focus on the relationships between Hitler and his closest confidants. Through its nuanced character studies and attention to historical detail, The Bunker provides an unsettling account of the end of an era.

Hitler Lives!

Hitler Lives!

In this Academy Award-winning short documentary, director Don Hartman examines the potential consequences of Hitler's ideology outliving his death. Utilizing newsreel footage and animated sequences, it highlights the necessity of remaining vigilant against the spread of hate and the erosion of democracy. Though released in 1945, Hitler Lives remains a timely and important warning about the dangerous allure of hate-filled rhetoric.


This German war film depicts the brutal Battle of Stalingrad, one of the deadliest and most pivotal conflicts of World War II, showcasing both the valiance and futility of the soldiers caught in Hitler's war machine. Told from the perspective of a small group of German soldiers, the film portrays the senselessness of war and the toll it takes on those trapped within it. With its stark realism and haunting performances, Stalingrad is an unforgettable exploration of the human cost of Hitler's insatiable ambition.

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Kenneth Branagh and Stanley Tucci lead an all-star cast in this chilling dramatization of the Wannsee Conference, where high-ranking Nazi officials gathered to devise the "Final Solution" to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The film showcases the banality of evil, exposing the dispassionate discussions that sealed the fate of millions. Conspiracy is a haunting exploration of the bureaucratic mechanism behind the Holocaust, humanizing its architects while shedding light on their unspeakable crimes.

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This 1962 documentary, directed by Stuart Schulberg, combines newsreel footage and interviews with survivors of the concentration camps to construct a damning portrait of the man responsible for the Holocaust. By juxtaposing Nazi propaganda with horrifying images of carnage and oppression, the film unveils the cruel reality of Hitler's reign. The sobering examination of one of history's darkest chapters makes Hitler a powerful reminder of humanity's capacity for evil.

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's audacious reimagining of history follows a group of Jewish-American commandos on a mission to kill Nazis and the young Frenchwoman who plots to assassinate Hitler. With its stylized dialogue, brutal violence, and satirical edge, the film offers a cathartic alternative to the historical reality of Hitler's reign. Inglourious Basterds takes an unapologetically vengeful approach to one of history's darkest chapters, boldly rewriting the past as it entertains and shocks.

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The Producers

The Producers

Mel Brooks' irreverent comedy revolves around a pair of hapless Broadway producers who conceive the worst musical ever: Springtime for Hitler, an outrageous salute to the Third Reich. Through their farcical attempt at artistic failure, the duo inadvertently create a hit, serving as a biting commentary on society's fascination and discomfort with representations of Hitler. The Producers remains a classic comedic masterpiece that dares to lampoon the horrors of history while exposing the absurdity of human nature.

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The Last Ten Days

The Last Ten Days

This harrowing adaptation of Gerhardt Boldt's memoirs provides an inside look at the final days of Adolf Hitler and his closest confidants, as they are sequestered within the confines of their Berlin bunker. With chilling attention to detail, it delves into the paranoia, desperation, and despair plaguing the crumbling Nazi regime. Through its stark portrayal of these grim moments, The Last Ten Days offers a haunting glimpse into the final downfall of one of history's most notorious figures.

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot

In this bizarre genre mashup, Sam Elliott plays a World War II veteran who secretly assassinated Adolf Hitler and is later recruited to hunt down the legendary Bigfoot. Blending elements of action, adventure, and fantasy, the film offers a unique take on the legacy of the dictator by placing him among the pantheon of history's greatest monsters. With its unforgettable premise and larger-than-life characters, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot provides a highly original spin on the enduring fascination with one of history's most notorious figures.

Jackboots on Whitehall

Jackboots on Whitehall

This British satirical puppet film offers an alternate history in which Nazi Germany successfully invades Britain, placing a small group of unlikely heroes in the position of saving their homeland. With its irreverent humor, inspired vocal performances, and biting satire, Jackboots on Whitehall uses its fantastical plot to expose the absurdity of Hitler's megalomania. The result is a rollicking adventure that lampoons history's most infamous villains while celebrating the indomitable human spirit.


In this alternate history film based on Robert Harris' novel, the premise centers on a world in which Hitler's Germany has won World War II and now seeks to consolidate power through internal purges and diplomatic subterfuge. With its gripping narrative and chilling vision of a dystopian world ruled by Nazis, Fatherland provides a sobering reminder of what could have been. Through the eyes of a police detective caught up in the machinations of the regime, the movie delivers an intriguing blend of film noir and historical speculation.

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The Death of Adolf Hitler

The Death of Adolf Hitler

This television film, also known as The Last Ten Days , explores the final moments of Hitler's life as he descends into madness within his Berlin bunker. With a riveting performance by Frank Finlay as the dictator, the production captures the intense desperation of a man unable to face the consequences of his actions. As the walls close in around its protagonist, The Death of Adolf Hitler provides a sobering insight into the psyche of one of history's most heinous villains.

To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not to Be

Ernst Lubitsch's classic screwball comedy is set in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, where a troupe of Polish actors must use their theatrical talents to outwit the occupying forces and protect their fellow citizens. The film cleverly skewers Hitler's regime, using humor and wit to undermine the authority of the Nazis. With its blend of farce, satire, and charm, To Be or Not to Be remains a timeless treasure that celebrates the power of art to resist tyranny.

Mein Kampf

Based on Adolf Hitler's notorious autobiography, this film examines the dictator's early life and his rise to power, weaving fact and fiction in a provocative exploration of his twisted ideology. Using dramatic reenactments, archival footage, and expert analysis, the film invites viewers into the mind of one of history's most reviled leaders. While undeniably controversial, Mein Kampf serves as an important reminder of the diabolical ideas and actions that once held sway over an entire nation.

Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil

Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil

This television miniseries follows the lives of two German brothers swept up in the rise of the Nazi Party, one joining the SS while the other becomes embroiled in the resistance movement. The film offers a unique perspective on the conflicting loyalties and moral ambiguities faced by ordinary Germans under Hitler's rule. By tracing the dangerous paths of its protagonists, Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil lays bare the devastating impact of the dictator's reign on both family and nation.

Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler

Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler

In this gruesome exploitation film, a sadistic Nazi officer begins to believe he is the reincarnation of Rome's infamous Emperor Caligula. Drawing parallels between the depravities of the ancient world and the horrors perpetrated by the Third Reich, the film revels in its extreme violence and visceral shock value. While certainly not for the faint of heart, Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler serves as a macabre reminder of the depths of human cruelty.

The Night of the Generals

The Night of the Generals

This murder mystery set during World War II revolves around the investigation of a series of brutal homicides, implicating three high-ranking German generals. As the story unfolds, viewers are given a glimpse into the inner workings of the Nazi hierarchy and the chilling ruthlessness required to maintain power within it. With its intriguing premise, standout performances, and atmospheric setting, The Night of the Generals offers a suspenseful exploration of the darker corners of Hitler's regime.

The Fall of Berlin

The Fall of Berlin

This Soviet-era propaganda film documents the collapse of Hitler's Germany and the triumphant entry of the Red Army into Berlin. Presented through the lens of a star-crossed romance, the movie showcases the extreme hardships endured by the citizens on both sides of the conflict. With its sweeping scope, extravagant battles sequences, and overtly political message, The Fall of Berlin remains a fascinating artifact of the era in which it was produced.

Countdown to War

Countdown to War

This dramatized retelling of the events leading up to the outbreak of World War II provides an intimate look at the political machinations and personal motivations behind Hitler's rapid rise to power. Focusing on key historical figures, the film offers a fascinating glimpse into the geopolitical chess match that set the stage for global conflict. Countdown to War serves as a compelling exploration of the forces that enabled one man's dangerous ideas to spark a world at war.

Battle of Britain

Battle of Britain

This classic British war film focuses on the eponymous conflict between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe, highlighting the heroic efforts of the pilots who fought to defend their country against Hitler's forces. With its thrilling aerial combat sequences and authentic period detail, Battle of Britain offers a rousing tribute to the men and women who stood up to the Nazi threat. The movie's stirring depiction of courage and sacrifice provides a lasting testament to the perils and triumphs of the human spirit in times of adversity.

  • # 54 of 263 on The 200+ Best War Movies Of All Time
  • # 764 of 772 on The Most Rewatchable Movies
  • # 91 of 167 on The Greatest '60s Movies, Ranked
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Lists about the Hitler's Germany, which Der Führer ruled through fascism from 1933 to 1945.

Startling Facts About Adolf Hitler

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‘the meaning of hitler’: film review | doc nyc 2020.

Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker's documentary 'The Meaning of Hitler' delves into decades' worth of cultural fascination with the Nazi leader and its political ramifications today .

By Sheri Linden

Sheri Linden

Senior Copy Editor/Film Critic

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The Meaning of Hitler

An intellectual inquiry with burning present-day resonance, The Meaning of Hitler is also a road trip through some of the darkest chapters of European history. In one of the artfully constructed film’s visual motifs, we watch the road itself through a windshield, a not-to-be-ignored Mercedes-Benz hood ornament positioned prominently in the frame. In this context it’s no status symbol, not when the route leads to such places as the Führer’s bunker and the Sobibór death camp.

The complicity of Daimler-Benz and countless other German companies in the Nazi war effort is not the subject of the film, but it is one of the many subtexts coursing through its rich synthesis of history and psychology. Through an exceptional collection of interview subjects, Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s dynamic documentary examines the ways we think about the Holocaust — and the ways we choose not to. As one of those interviewees, novelist Martin Amis, observes, “Our understanding of Hitler is central to our self-understanding. It’s a reckoning you have to make if you’re a serious person.”

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Taking its title, and its cues, from a 1978 book by German journalist Sebastian Haffner, the new film from husband-and-wife team Tucker and Epperlein (whose docs include Gunner Palace and Karl Marx City ) aims to pierce the aura of legend that has built up around Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime. The filmmakers acknowledge a certain trepidation: Are they merely contributing to the cult of personality with yet another piece of work about the Führer?

The answer is a resounding no. Through thoughtful analysis and searching questions — all of it sharply edited by the directors — The Meaning of Hitler shines a cleansing light on a mythology that stretches across a century, from a beer-hall uprising in 1923 Munich to a white supremacist rally in 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia. And beyond.

Haffner, who was born in 1907 Berlin, witnessed the rise of the Nazis firsthand, as did some of the doc’s interviewees. The filmmakers spoke mostly with historians, but their talking heads also include a psychiatrist, a sociologist, a forensic biologist, an archaeologist, a pair of Nazi hunters and, for good measure, a “microphone guru.” The latter, drawing a thought-provoking analogy to the Beatles at Shea Stadium, discusses the importance of technology in the literal and figurative amplification of Hitler’s message.

Epperlein and Tucker are interested in how that message was shaped and received. Hitler’s personal photographer was instrumental in helping him cultivate the image of a man of nature: After posing against scenic vistas of the Bavarian Alps, the Führer ducked out of the bracing mountain air for a car ride home. But nothing burnished his profile like Leni Riefenstahl’s agitprop landmark Triumph of the Will ; novelist Francine Prose deflates that film’s souped-up vision of political spectacle with a few words about its kitsch sensibility.

Yet while “history is not propaganda,” as historian Richard Evans points out, the reality is that “you can pretend anything,” as Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld ruefully reminds us. Enter Holocaust denier David Irving, who famously lost his libel suit against historian Deborah Lipstadt. They’re both interviewed for the film, and Irving, leading some of his followers on a tour of Treblinka, is caught on a hot mic, spewing anti-Semitic “jokes” as he walks through one of the key extermination camps of the Final Solution.

Epperlein and Tucker’s travels also take them to Hitler’s ancestral village in Austria, where a vaguely worded stone marker in front of his place of birth doesn’t mention him by name (the filmmakers note in voiceover, with a touch of triumphant paradox, that “two doors down from the Hitler house is an Arab grocery store”). They visit the apartment complex that occupies the site of his final, subterranean headquarters. At Wolf’s Lair, the Third Reich’s military headquarters on the Eastern Front and now a tourist destination, a guide sings a “funny” insult song about Hitler and his henchmen; her audience includes Irving and some of his fellow doubters, and the number goes over like a lead balloon.

One of the strangest stops on the Hitler world tour is a U.S. Army storehouse of confiscated Nazi art, which includes pieces made in tribute to Hitler as well as his own work. It’s a collection whose existence poses many questions, and which stands as a hauntingly weird analog to the Nazis’ Degenerate Art Exhibition, unmentioned here.

But by far the most haunting aspect of the film is its exploration of the beginnings of the Nazi movement, with historians noting the way most Germans went about their business, thankful for an economic turnaround, while an authoritarian government and its genocidal policies took root. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots to present-day nationalist movements in Europe and the United States, scenes that also figure on the filmmakers’ itinerary. When they note that “We are the people” was a rallying cry 30 years ago for Germans advocating the end of the Berlin Wall and is now a slogan of anti-immigration protesters, the paradox they express is the opposite of triumphant.

In terms of xenophobia, rabble-rousing and psychological profile (“personality” seems too strong a word), the parallels between Hitler and Donald Trump are obvious, and explored at key points in the film. But whatever their similarities — lying, undermining state institutions and aggrandizing oneself are three biggies that Amis ticks off — to stop there would be simplistic.

Today, in the era of Trump, Bolsonaro and Duda, to name just a few authoritarian demagogues, the technology of amplification has changed, and lies spread with the speed of a click. Social media clips included in the doc make chillingly clear that Irving is hardly alone in his assertion that “Hitler did nothing wrong,” as one would-be influencer cheerily asserts. Hitler is just another meme, and the atrocities committed against Jews, Roma, homosexuals and disabled people are easily ignored.

At the heart of The Meaning of Hitler — which arrives as an American president openly attempts to overturn election results — is an urgent warning about the blind spots that have led us to the present moment, and the need to understand the dynamic at work in Hitler’s ascent. In his brilliant 2018 book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century , Yuval Noah Harari warns that “when people talk of the ills of fascism they often do a poor job, because they tend to depict fascism as a hideous monster while failing to explain what is so seductive about it.”

To focus on Hitler as some freakish aberration is to ignore that seduction, and the crucial role of mass psychology in the Nazis’ popularity. Much as the work of forensic psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis shows that murderers are made, not born , Epperlein and Tucker’s elegant and incisive film insists that there are lessons for all of us in Hitler’s story.

Venue: DOC NYC (Viewfinders) Production companies: Uwaga Film, Play/Action Pictures, Means of Production Directors: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker Screenwriters: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker Based on the book The Meaning of Hitler by Sebastian Haffner Producers: Dana O’Keefe, Mike Lerner, Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker Executive producers: Jeffrey Lurie, Marie Therese Guirgis, Anthony K. Dobkin Director of photography: Michael Tucker Editors: Michael Tucker, Petra Epperlein Music: Alexander Kliment 92 minutes

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‘The Meaning of Hitler’ Review: Understanding Fascism

This docu-essay inspired by Sebastian Haffner’s 1978 book of the same title argues that Hitler was disturbingly ordinary.

biography movie of hitler

By Ben Kenigsberg

The docu-essay “The Meaning of Hitler” proceeds with caution. The film, inspired by the historian and journalist Sebastian Haffner’s 1978 book of the same title, seeks to understand the combination of personal pathology, political shrewdness and mass complicity that allowed Hitler to create the Nazi regime. It also finds disturbing 21st-century echoes.

But the filmmakers, the wife-husband directorial team of Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker ( “Gunner Palace” ), are wary of contributing to any mystique that surrounds Hitler, not least because they find little in Hitler’s background that makes him unique. Early on, a narrator expresses concern about the project: “Is it possible to make a film like this without contributing to the expansion of the Nazi cinematic universe?”

Although the film features Holocaust historians like Saul Friedländer, Yehuda Bauer and Deborah Lipstadt and the authors Martin Amis and Francine Prose, it approaches Hitler from a variety of disciplines. The psychiatrist Peter Theiss-Abendroth says that Hitler has been assigned almost any diagnosis available, but he suggests that such speculation invariably creates excuses for culpability. Bauer notes that Hitler’s psychological problems were no different from those of millions of others. The movie delves into technology to explain how advances in microphones enabled Hitler’s theatrical style of oration. An archaeologist discusses the excavation of the Sobibor death camp.

So is “The Meaning of Hitler” really playing with fire? It is when it trails the Holocaust denier David Irving on a visit to Treblinka. Irving makes offhand anti-Semitic remarks so flagrantly offensive it’s difficult to see what’s edifying about including him.

But that misstep aside, “The Meaning of Hitler” takes a multifaceted, often counterintuitive approach to examining the underpinnings of fascism.

The Meaning of Hitler Not rated. In English and German with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Google Play , Apple TV and other streaming services.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)

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Adolf Hitler

  • Self - Führer und Reichskanzler

The Battle of Russia (1943)

  • Self (archive footage)

War Comes to America (1945)

  • TV Mini Series
  • Post-production

Hitler: The Making of a Monster (2023)

  • Self (uncredited)

Der Fuhrer und Sein Volk (1942)

  • Self - Führer und Reichskanzler (uncredited)

Schichlegruber - Doing the Lambeth Walk (1941)

Personal details

  • 5′ 9″ (1.75 m)
  • April 20 , 1889
  • Braunau am Inn, Upper Austria, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
  • April 30 , 1945
  • Berlin, Germany (suicide by gunshot)
  • Eva Braun April 29, 1945 - April 30, 1945 (mutual suicide)
  • Parents Alois Hitler
  • Relatives Paula Wolf (Sibling)
  • Other works Music video: Featured (archive footage) in Incubus video "Megalomaniac".
  • 30 Biographical Movies
  • 29 Print Biographies
  • 218 Portrayals
  • 11 Articles
  • 3 Pictorials
  • 39 Magazine Cover Photos

Did you know

  • Trivia Almost froze to death while sleeping on the streets in Austria. He was saved, ironically enough, by a Jewish charity group.
  • Quotes What luck for the rulers that men don't think.
  • Trademarks His frequently parodied toothbrush mustache
  • Mein Führer
  • When did Adolf Hitler die?
  • How did Adolf Hitler die?
  • How old was Adolf Hitler when he died?

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Adolf Hitler

By: Editors

Updated: June 29, 2023 | Original: October 29, 2009

Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945) in Munich in the spring of 1932. (Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany’s Nazi Party , was one of the most powerful and notorious dictators of the 20th century. After serving with the German military in World War I , Hitler capitalized on economic woes, popular discontent and political infighting during the Weimar Republic to rise through the ranks of the Nazi Party.

In a series of ruthless and violent actions—including the Reichstag Fire and the Night of Long Knives—Hitler took absolute power in Germany by 1933. Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 led to the outbreak of World War II , and by 1941, Nazi forces had used “blitzkrieg” military tactics to occupy much of Europe. Hitler’s virulent anti-Semitism and obsessive pursuit of Aryan supremacy fueled the murder of some 6 million Jews, along with other victims of the Holocaust . After the tide of war turned against him, Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker in April 1945.

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, a small Austrian town near the Austro-German frontier. 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. Alois died in 1903, and Adolf pursued his dream of being an artist, though he was rejected from Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts.

After his mother, Klara, died in 1908, Hitler moved to Vienna, where he pieced together a living painting scenery and monuments and selling the images. Lonely, isolated and a voracious reader, Hitler became interested in politics during his years in Vienna, and developed many of the ideas that would shape Nazi ideology.

Military Career of Adolf Hitler

In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich, in the German state of Bavaria. When World War I broke out the following summer, he successfully petitioned the Bavarian king to be allowed to volunteer in a reserve infantry regiment.

Deployed in October 1914 to Belgium, Hitler served throughout the Great War and won two decorations for bravery, including the rare Iron Cross First Class, which he wore to the end of his life.

Hitler was wounded twice during the conflict: He was hit in the leg during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and temporarily blinded by a British gas attack near Ypres in 1918. A month later, he was recuperating in a hospital at Pasewalk, northeast of Berlin, when news arrived of the armistice and Germany’s defeat in World War I .

Like many Germans, Hitler came to believe the country’s devastating defeat could be attributed not to the Allies, but to insufficiently patriotic “traitors” at home—a myth that would undermine the post-war Weimar Republic and set the stage for Hitler’s rise.

After Hitler returned to Munich in late 1918, he joined the small German Workers’ Party, which aimed to unite the interests of the working class with a strong German nationalism. His skilled oratory and charismatic energy helped propel him in the party’s ranks, and in 1920 he left the army and took charge of its propaganda efforts.

In one of Hitler’s strokes of propaganda genius, the newly renamed National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi Party , adopted a version of the swastika—an ancient sacred symbol of Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism —as its emblem. Printed in a white circle on a red background, Hitler’s swastika would take on terrifying symbolic power in the years to come.

By the end of 1921, Hitler led the growing Nazi Party, capitalizing on widespread discontent with the Weimar Republic and the punishing terms of the Versailles Treaty . Many dissatisfied former army officers in Munich would join the Nazis, notably Ernst Röhm, who recruited the “strong arm” squads—known as the Sturmabteilung (SA)—which Hitler used to protect party meetings and attack opponents.

Beer Hall Putsch 

On the evening of November 8, 1923, members of the SA and others forced their way into a large beer hall where another right-wing leader was addressing the crowd. Wielding a revolver, Hitler proclaimed the beginning of a national revolution and led marchers to the center of Munich, where they got into a gun battle with police.

Hitler fled quickly, but he and other rebel leaders were later arrested. Even though it failed spectacularly, the Beer Hall Putsch established Hitler as a national figure, and (in the eyes of many) a hero of right-wing nationalism.

'Mein Kampf' 

Tried for treason, Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison, but would serve only nine months in the relative comfort of Landsberg Castle. During this period, he began to dictate the book that would become " Mein Kampf " (“My Struggle”), the first volume of which was published in 1925.

In it, Hitler expanded on the nationalistic, anti-Semitic views he had begun to develop in Vienna in his early twenties, and laid out plans for the Germany—and the world—he sought to create when he came to power.

Hitler would finish the second volume of "Mein Kampf" after his release, while relaxing in the mountain village of Berchtesgaden. It sold modestly at first, but with Hitler’s rise it became Germany’s best-selling book after the Bible. By 1940, it had sold some 6 million copies there.

Hitler’s second book, “The Zweites Buch,” was written in 1928 and contained his thoughts on foreign policy. It was not published in his lifetime due to the poor initial sales of “Mein Kampf.” The first English translations of “The Zweites Buch” did not appear until 1962 and was published under the title “Hitler's Secret Book.” 

Obsessed with race and the idea of ethnic “purity,” Hitler saw a natural order that placed the so-called “Aryan race” at the top.

For him, the unity of the Volk (the German people) would find its truest incarnation not in democratic or parliamentary government, but in one supreme leader, or Führer.

" Mein Kampf " also addressed the need for Lebensraum (or living space): In order to fulfill its destiny, Germany should take over lands to the east that were now occupied by “inferior” Slavic peoples—including Austria, the Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia), Poland and Russia.

The Schutzstaffel (SS) 

By the time Hitler left prison, economic recovery had restored some popular support for the Weimar Republic, and support for right-wing causes like Nazism appeared to be waning.

Over the next few years, Hitler laid low and worked on reorganizing and reshaping the Nazi Party. He established the Hitler Youth  to organize youngsters, and created the Schutzstaffel (SS) as a more reliable alternative to the SA.

Members of the SS wore black uniforms and swore a personal oath of loyalty to Hitler. (After 1929, under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler , the SS would develop from a group of some 200 men into a force that would dominate Germany and terrorize the rest of occupied Europe during World War II .)

Hitler spent much of his time at Berchtesgaden during these years, and his half-sister, Angela Raubal, and her two daughters often joined him. After Hitler became infatuated with his beautiful blonde niece, Geli Raubal, his possessive jealousy apparently led her to commit suicide in 1931.

Devastated by the loss, Hitler would consider Geli the only true love affair of his life. He soon began a long relationship with Eva Braun , a shop assistant from Munich, but refused to marry her.

The worldwide Great Depression that began in 1929 again threatened the stability of the Weimar Republic. Determined to achieve political power in order to affect his revolution, Hitler built up Nazi support among German conservatives, including army, business and industrial leaders.

The Third Reich

In 1932, Hitler ran against the war hero Paul von Hindenburg for president, and received 36.8 percent of the vote. With the government in chaos, three successive chancellors failed to maintain control, and in late January 1933 Hindenburg named the 43-year-old Hitler as chancellor, capping the stunning rise of an unlikely leader.

January 30, 1933 marked the birth of the Third Reich, or as the Nazis called it, the “Thousand-Year Reich” (after Hitler’s boast that it would endure for a millennium).

biography movie of hitler

HISTORY Vault: Third Reich: The Rise

Rare and never-before-seen amateur films offer a unique perspective on the rise of Nazi Germany from Germans who experienced it. How were millions of people so vulnerable to fascism?

Reichstag Fire 

Though the Nazis never attained more than 37 percent of the vote at the height of their popularity in 1932, Hitler was able to grab absolute power in Germany largely due to divisions and inaction among the majority who opposed Nazism.

After a devastating fire at Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, in February 1933—possibly the work of a Dutch communist, though later evidence suggested Nazis set the  Reichstag fire  themselves—Hitler had an excuse to step up the political oppression and violence against his opponents.

On March 23, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, giving full powers to Hitler and celebrating the union of National Socialism with the old German establishment (i.e., Hindenburg ).

That July, the government passed a law stating that the Nazi Party “constitutes the only political party in Germany,” and within months all non-Nazi parties, trade unions and other organizations had ceased to exist.

His autocratic power now secure within Germany, Hitler turned his eyes toward the rest of Europe.

In 1933, Germany was diplomatically isolated, with a weak military and hostile neighbors (France and Poland). In a famous speech in May 1933, Hitler struck a surprisingly conciliatory tone, claiming Germany supported disarmament and peace.

But behind this appeasement strategy, the domination and expansion of the Volk remained Hitler’s overriding aim.

By early the following year, he had withdrawn Germany from the League of Nations and begun to militarize the nation in anticipation of his plans for territorial conquest.

Night of the Long Knives

On June 29, 1934, the infamous Night of the Long Knives , Hitler had Röhm, former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and hundreds of other problematic members of his own party murdered, in particular troublesome members of the SA.

When the 86-year-old Hindenburg died on August 2, military leaders agreed to combine the presidency and chancellorship into one position, meaning Hitler would command all the armed forces of the Reich.

Persecution of Jews

On September 15, 1935, passage of the Nuremberg Laws deprived Jews of German citizenship, and barred them from marrying or having relations with persons of “German or related blood.”

Though the Nazis attempted to downplay its persecution of Jews in order to placate the international community during the 1936 Berlin Olympics (in which German-Jewish athletes were not allowed to compete), additional decrees over the next few years disenfranchised Jews and took away their political and civil rights.

In addition to its pervasive anti-Semitism, Hitler’s government also sought to establish the cultural dominance of Nazism by burning books, forcing newspapers out of business, using radio and movies for propaganda purposes and forcing teachers throughout Germany’s educational system to join the party.

Much of the Nazi persecution of Jews and other targets occurred at the hands of the Geheime Staatspolizei (GESTAPO), or Secret State Police, an arm of the SS that expanded during this period.

Outbreak of World War II

In March 1936, against the advice of his generals, Hitler ordered German troops to reoccupy the demilitarized left bank of the Rhine.

Over the next two years, Germany concluded alliances with Italy and Japan, annexed Austria and moved against Czechoslovakia—all essentially without resistance from Great Britain, France or the rest of the international community.

Once he confirmed the alliance with Italy in the so-called “Pact of Steel” in May 1939, Hitler then signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union . On September 1, 1939, Nazi troops invaded Poland, finally prompting Britain and France to declare war on Germany.


After ordering the occupation of Norway and Denmark in April 1940, Hitler adopted a plan proposed by one of his generals to attack France through the Ardennes Forest. The blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) attack began on May 10; Holland quickly surrendered, followed by Belgium.

German troops made it all the way to the English Channel, forcing British and French forces to evacuate en masse from Dunkirk in late May. On June 22, France was forced to sign an armistice with Germany.

Hitler had hoped to force Britain to seek peace as well, but when that failed he went ahead with his attacks on that country, followed by an invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor that December, the United States declared war on Japan, and Germany’s alliance with Japan demanded that Hitler declare war on the United States as well.

At that point in the conflict, Hitler shifted his central strategy to focus on breaking the alliance of his main opponents (Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union) by forcing one of them to make peace with him.


Concentration Camps

Beginning in 1933, the SS had operated a network of concentration camps, including a notorious camp at Dachau , near Munich, to hold Jews and other targets of the Nazi regime.

After war broke out, the Nazis shifted from expelling Jews from German-controlled territories to exterminating them. Einsatzgruppen, or mobile death squads, executed entire Jewish communities during the Soviet invasion, while the existing concentration-camp network expanded to include death camps like Auschwitz -Birkenau in occupied Poland.

In addition to forced labor and mass execution, certain Jews at Auschwitz were targeted as the subjects of horrific medical experiments carried out by eugenicist Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death.” Mengele’s experiments focused on twins and exposed 3,000 child prisoners to disease, disfigurement and torture under the guise of medical research.

Though the Nazis also imprisoned and killed Catholics, homosexuals, political dissidents, Roma (gypsies) and the disabled, above all they targeted Jews—some 6 million of whom were killed in German-occupied Europe by war’s end.

End of World War II

With defeats at El-Alamein and Stalingrad , as well as the landing of U.S. troops in North Africa by the end of 1942, the tide of the war turned against Germany.

As the conflict continued, Hitler became increasingly unwell, isolated and dependent on medications administered by his personal physician.

Several attempts were made on his life, including one that came close to succeeding in July 1944, when Col. Claus von Stauffenberg planted a bomb that exploded during a conference at Hitler’s headquarters in East Prussia.

Within a few months of the successful Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944, the Allies had begun liberating cities across Europe. That December, Hitler attempted to direct another offensive through the Ardennes, trying to split British and American forces.

But after January 1945, he holed up in a bunker beneath the Chancellery in Berlin. With Soviet forces closing in, Hitler made plans for a last-ditch resistance before finally abandoning that plan.

How Did Adolf Hitler Die?

At midnight on the night of April 28-29, Hitler married Eva Braun in the Berlin bunker. After dictating his political testament,  Hitler shot himself  in his suite on April 30; Braun took poison. Their bodies were burned according to Hitler’s instructions.

With Soviet troops occupying Berlin, Germany surrendered unconditionally on all fronts on May 7, 1945, bringing the war in Europe to a close.

In the end, Hitler’s planned “Thousand-Year Reich” lasted just over 12 years, but wreaked unfathomable destruction and devastation during that time, forever transforming the history of Germany, Europe and the world.

William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich iWonder – Adolf Hitler: Man and Monster, BBC . The Holocaust : A Learning Site for Students, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum .

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Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany. His fascist agenda led to World War II and the deaths of at least 11 million people, including some six million Jews.

adolf hitler


Who Was Adolf Hitler?

Hitler’s fascist policies precipitated World War II and led to the genocide known as the Holocaust , which resulted in the deaths of some six million Jews and another five million noncombatants.

The fourth of six children, Hitler was born to Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl . As a child, Hitler clashed frequently with his emotionally harsh father, who also didn't approve of his son's later interest in fine art as a career.

Following the death of his younger brother, Edmund, in 1900, Hitler became detached and introverted.

Young Hitler

Hitler showed an early interest in German nationalism, rejecting the authority of Austria-Hungary. This nationalism would become the motivating force of Hitler's life.

In 1903, Hitler’s father died suddenly. Two years later, Hitler's mother allowed her son to drop out of school. After her death in December 1907, Hitler moved to Vienna and worked as a casual laborer and watercolor painter. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts twice and was rejected both times.

Lacking money outside of an orphan's pension and funds from selling postcards, he stayed in homeless shelters. Hitler later pointed to these years as the time when he first cultivated his anti-Semitism, though there is some debate about this account.

In 1913, Hitler relocated to Munich. At the outbreak of World War I , he applied to serve in the German army. He was accepted in August 1914, though he was still an Austrian citizen.

Although Hitler spent much of his time away from the front lines (with some reports that his recollections of his time on the field were generally exaggerated), he was present at a number of significant battles and was wounded at the Battle of the Somme . He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross First Class and the Black Wound Badge.

Hitler became embittered over the collapse of the war effort. The experience reinforced his passionate German patriotism, and he was shocked by Germany's surrender in 1918. Like other German nationalists, he purportedly believed that the German army had been betrayed by civilian leaders and Marxists.

He found the Treaty of Versailles degrading, particularly the demilitarization of the Rhineland and the stipulation that Germany accepts responsibility for starting the war.


Adolf Hitler Fact Card

Nazi Germany and Speeches

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich and continued to work for the German military. As an intelligence officer, he monitored the activities of the German Workers’ Party (DAP) and adopted many of the anti-Semitic, nationalist and anti-Marxist ideas of party founder Anton Drexler.

In September 1919, Hitler joined the DAP, which changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) — often abbreviated to Nazi.

Hitler personally designed the Nazi party banner, appropriating the swastika symbol and placing it in a white circle on a red background. He soon gained notoriety for his vitriolic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, Marxists and Jews. In 1921, Hitler replaced Drexler as the Nazi party chairman.

Hitler's fervid beer-hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. Early followers included army captain Ernst Rohm, the head of the Nazi paramilitary organization the Sturmabteilung (SA), which protected meetings and frequently attacked political opponents.

Beer Hall Putsch

On November 8, 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting featuring Bavarian prime minister Gustav Kahr at a large beer hall in Munich. Hitler announced that the national revolution had begun and declared the formation of a new government.

After a short struggle that led to several deaths, the coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch failed. Hitler was arrested and tried for high treason and sentenced to nine months in prison.

'Mein Kampf'

During Hitler’s nine months in prison in 1924, he dictated most of the first volume of his autobiographical book and political manifesto, Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), to his deputy, Rudolf Hess.

The first volume was published in 1925, and a second volume came out in 1927. It was abridged and translated into 11 languages, selling more than five million copies by 1939. A work of propaganda and falsehoods, the book laid out Hitler's plans for transforming German society into one based on race.

In the first volume, Hitler shared his Anti-Semitic, pro-Aryan worldview along with his sense of “betrayal” at the outcome of World War I, calling for revenge against France and expansion eastward into Russia.

The second volume outlined his plan to gain and maintain power. While often illogical and full of grammatical errors, Mein Kampf was provocative and subversive, making it appealing to the many Germans who felt displaced at the end of World War I.

Rise to Power

With millions unemployed, the Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent to the parliamentary republic and increasingly open to extremist options. In 1932, Hitler ran against 84-year-old Paul von Hindenburg for the presidency.

Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 36 percent of the vote in the final count. The results established Hitler as a strong force in German politics. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor in order to promote political balance.

Hitler as Führer

Hitler used his position as chancellor to form a de facto legal dictatorship. The Reichstag Fire Decree, announced after a suspicious fire at Germany's parliament building, suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial.

Hitler also engineered the passage of the Enabling Act, which gave his cabinet full legislative powers for a period of four years and allowed for deviations from the constitution.

Anointing himself as Führer ("leader") and having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies embarked on a systematic suppression of the remaining political opposition.

By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. On July 14, 1933, Hitler's Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany. In October of that year, Hitler ordered Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations .

Night of the Long Knives

Military opposition was also punished. The demands of the SA for more political and military power led to the infamous Night of the Long Knives , a series of assassinations that took place from June 30 to July 2, 1934.

Rohm, a perceived rival, and other SA leaders, along with a number of Hitler's political enemies, were hunted down and murdered at locations across Germany.

The day before Hindenburg's death in August 1934, the cabinet had enacted a law abolishing the office of president, combining its powers with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government and was formally named leader and chancellor. As the undisputed head of state, Hitler became supreme commander of the armed forces.

Hitler the Vegetarian

Hitler’s self-imposed dietary restrictions towards the end of his life included abstinence from alcohol and meat.

Fueled by fanaticism over what he believed was a superior Aryan race, he encouraged Germans to keep their bodies pure of any intoxicating or unclean substances and promoted anti-smoking campaigns across the country.

Hitler’s Laws and Regulations Against Jews

From 1933 until the start of the war in 1939, Hitler and his Nazi regime instituted hundreds of laws and regulations to restrict and exclude Jews in society. These anti-Semitic laws were issued throughout all levels of government, making good on the Nazis’ pledge to persecute Jews.

On April 1, 1933, Hitler implemented a national boycott of Jewish businesses. This was followed by the “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" of April 7, 1933, which excluded Jews from state service.

The law was a Nazi implementation of the Aryan Paragraph, which called for the exclusion of Jews and non-Aryans from organizations, employment and eventually all aspects of public life.

Berlin Nazi Boycott of Jews 1933 Photo

Additional legislation restricted the number of Jewish students at schools and universities, limited Jews working in medical and legal professions, and revoked the licenses of Jewish tax consultants.

The Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union also called for "Action Against the Un-German Spirit,” prompting students to burn more than 25,000 “Un-German” books, ushering in an era of censorship and Nazi propaganda. By 1934, Jewish actors were forbidden from performing in film or in the theater.

On September 15, 1935, the Reichstag introduced the Nuremberg Laws, which defined a "Jew" as anyone with three or four grandparents who were Jewish, regardless of whether the person considered themselves Jewish or observed the religion.

The Nuremberg Laws also set forth the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour," which banned marriage between non-Jewish and Jewish Germans; and the Reich Citizenship Law, which deprived "non-Aryans" of the benefits of German citizenship.

In 1936, Hitler and his regime muted their Anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions when Germany hosted the Winter and Summer Olympic Games , in an effort to avoid criticism on the world stage and a negative impact on tourism.

After the Olympics, the Nazi persecution of Jews intensified with the continued "Aryanization" of Jewish businesses, which involved the firing of Jewish workers and takeover by non-Jewish owners. The Nazis continued to segregate Jews from German society, banning them from public school, universities, theaters, sports events and "Aryan" zones.

Jewish doctors were also barred from treating "Aryan" patients. Jews were required to carry identity cards and, in the fall of 1938, Jewish people had to have their passports stamped with a "J."


On November 9 and 10, 1938, a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms swept Germany, Austria and parts of the Sudetenland. Nazis destroyed synagogues and vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses. Close to 100 Jews were murdered.

Called Kristallnacht , the "Night of Crystal" or the "Night of Broken Glass," referring to the broken window glass left in the wake of the destruction, it escalated the Nazi persecution of Jews to another level of brutality and violence. Almost 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, signaling more horrors to come.

Persecution of Homosexuals and People with Disabilities

Hitler's eugenic policies also targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities, later authorizing a euthanasia program for disabled adults.

His regime also persecuted homosexuals, arresting an estimated 100,000 men from 1933 to 1945, some of whom were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. At the camps, gay prisoners were forced to wear pink triangles to identify their homosexuality, which Nazis considered a crime and a disease.

The Holocaust and Concentration Camps

Between the start of World War II, in 1939, and its end, in 1945, Nazis and their collaborators were responsible for the deaths of at least 11 million noncombatants, including about six million Jews, representing two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe.

As part of Hitler's "Final Solution," the genocide enacted by the regime would come to be known as the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Einsatzgruppe Shooting Photo

Deaths and mass executions took place in concentration and extermination camps including Auschwitz -Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and Treblinka, among many others. Other persecuted groups included Poles, communists, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and trade unionists.

Prisoners were used as forced laborers for SS construction projects, and in some instances they were forced to build and expand concentration camps. They were subject to starvation, torture and horrific brutalities, including gruesome and painful medical experiments.

Hitler probably never visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the mass killings. However, Germans documented the atrocities committed at the camps on paper and in films.

  • World War II

In 1938, Hitler, along with several other European leaders, signed the Munich Pact. The treaty ceded the Sudetenland districts to Germany, reversing part of the Versailles Treaty. As a result of the summit, Hitler was named Time magazine's Man of the Year for 1938.

This diplomatic win only whetted his appetite for a renewed German dominance. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, sparking the beginning of World War II. In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later.

In 1940 Hitler escalated his military activities, invading Norway, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium. By July, Hitler ordered bombing raids on the United Kingdom, with the goal of invasion.

Germany’s formal alliance with Japan and Italy, known collectively as the Axis powers, was agreed upon toward the end of September to deter the United States from supporting and protecting the British.

On June 22, 1941, Hitler violated the 1939 non-aggression pact with Joseph Stalin , sending a massive army of German troops into the Soviet Union . The invading force seized a huge area of Russia before Hitler temporarily halted the invasion and diverted forces to encircle Leningrad and Kiev.

The pause allowed the Red Army to regroup and conduct a counter-offensive attack, and the German advance was stopped outside Moscow in December 1941.

On December 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Honoring the alliance with Japan, Hitler was now at war against the Allied powers, a coalition that included Britain, the world's largest empire, led by Prime Minister Winston Churchill ; the United States, the world's greatest financial power, led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt ; and the Soviet Union, which had the world's largest army, commanded by Stalin.

Stumbling Toward Defeat

Initially hoping that he could play the Allies off of one another, Hitler's military judgment became increasingly erratic, and the Axis powers could not sustain his aggressive and expansive war.

In late 1942, German forces failed to seize the Suez Canal , leading to the loss of German control over North Africa. The German army also suffered defeats at the Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43), seen as a turning point in the war, and the Battle of Kursk (1943).

On June 6, 1944, on what would come to be known as D-Day , the Western Allied armies landed in northern France. As a result of these significant setbacks, many German officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that Hitler's continued rule would result in the destruction of the country.

Organized efforts to assassinate the dictator gained traction, and opponents came close in 1944 with the notorious July Plot , though it ultimately proved unsuccessful.

Hitler's Bunker

By early 1945, Hitler realized that Germany was going to lose the war. The Soviets had driven the German army back into Western Europe, their Red Army had surrounded Berlin and the Allies were advancing into Germany from the west.

On January 16, 1945, Hitler moved his center of command to an underground air-raid shelter near the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. Known as the Führerbunker, the reinforced concrete shelter had about 30 rooms spread out over some 2,700 square feet.

Hitler's bunker was furnished with framed oil paintings and upholstered furniture, fresh drinking water from a well, pumps to remove groundwater, a diesel electricity generator and other amenities.

At midnight, going into April 29, 1945, Hitler married his girlfriend, Eva Braun , in a small civil ceremony in his underground bunker. Around this time, Hitler was informed of the execution of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini . He reportedly feared the same fate could befall him.

Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, fearful of being captured by enemy troops. Hitler took a dose of cyanide and then shot himself in the head. Eva Braun is believed to have poisoned herself with cyanide at around the same time.

Their bodies were carried to a bomb crater near the Reich Chancellery, where their remains were doused with gasoline and burned. Hitler was 56 years old at the time of his death.

Berlin fell to Soviet troops on May 2, 1945. Five days later, on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.

A 2018 analysis of the exhumed remains of Hitler's teeth and skull , secretly preserved for decades by Russian intelligence agencies, have confirmed that the Führer was killed by means of cyanide and a gunshot wound.

Hitler's political programs brought about a horribly destructive world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe, including Germany.

His policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale and resulted in the death of tens of millions of people, including more than 20 million in the Soviet Union and six million Jews in Europe.

Hitler's defeat marked the end of Germany's dominance in European history and the defeat of fascism. A new ideological global conflict, the Cold War , emerged in the aftermath of the devastating violence of World War II.

Winston Churchill

Benito Mussolini

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Joseph Stalin


  • Name: Adolf Hitler
  • Birth Year: 1889
  • Birth date: April 20, 1889
  • Birth City: Braunau am Inn
  • Birth Country: Austria
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany. His fascist agenda led to World War II and the deaths of at least 11 million people, including some six million Jews.
  • World Politics
  • Astrological Sign: Taurus
  • Nacionalities
  • Interesting Facts
  • Adolf Hitler wanted to be a painter in his youth, but his applications to obtain proper schooling were rejected.
  • Hitler personally designed the Nazi party banner, appropriating the swastika symbol and placing it in a white circle on a red background.
  • Hitler avoided multiple assassination attempts by chance.
  • Death Year: 1945
  • Death date: April 30, 1945
  • Death City: Berlin
  • Death Country: Germany

We strive for accuracy and fairness.If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us !


  • Article Title: Adolf Hitler Biography
  • Author: Editors
  • Website Name: The website
  • Url:
  • Access Date:
  • Publisher: A&E Television Networks
  • Last Updated: March 26, 2021
  • Original Published Date: April 3, 2014
  • Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.
  • We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was 'legal.'” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
  • It is not truth that matters, but victory.
  • History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.
  • Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless.
  • All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.
  • We will meet propaganda with propaganda, terror with terror, and violence with violence.
  • By shrewd and constant application of propaganda, heaven can be presented to the people as hell and, vice versa, the wretchedest existence as a paradise.
  • And what nonsense it is to aspire to a Heaven to which, according to the Church's own teaching, only those have entry who have made a complete failure of life on earth!
  • But there's one thing I can predict to eaters of meat, that the world of the future will be vegetarian!
  • Strength lies not in defense but in attack.
  • I don't see much future for the Americans. In my view, it's a decayed country.
  • Germany will either be a world power or will not be at all.
  • I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.
  • If you want to shine like sun first you have to burn like it.

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    1. Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003) TV-14 | 186 min | Biography, Drama, History. A profile of the life of Adolf Hitler with a unique slant, as a child and his rise through the ranks of the National Socialist German Workers Party prior to World War II. Stars: Peter Stormare, Friedrich von Thun, Peter O'Toole, Zoe Telford.

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