hitler, adolf

Cultural Dictionary

Hitler, Adolf definition


A German political leader of the twentieth century, born in Austria. Hitler's early program for Germany is contained in his book Mein Kampf. He dreamed of creating a master race of pure Aryans, who would rule for a thousand years as the third German Empire, or Third Reich. Hitler led the Nazi party, and began to rule Germany in 1933 as a fascist (see fascism) dictator with the title der Führer (“the leader”). He supervised the murder of six million Jews and other supposed enemies of the Reich (see Holocaust). Hitler began World War II by invading Poland in 1939. He committed suicide in 1945 when Germany's defeat was imminent.

Note: The official greeting between Nazis was “heil (“hail”) Hitler.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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