Few names evoke such strong emotions and reactions as Adolf Hitler. As the leader of the Nazi party and the Fuhrer of Germany from 1934 to 1945, he started a war that would engulf the globe and ordered the slaughter of six million Jewish men, women, and children.
Hitler served during WWI and was a decorated soldier. However, in 1923 he attempted to lead a coup that failed and was imprisoned for a year during which time he wrote "Mein Kampf", or "My Struggle". His leanings gained in popularity and he was gradually appointed as the chancellor of the Weimar Republic in 1933. He quickly changed it into the Third Reich, and from there began his conquest as well as his atrocities.
Hitler had a long history of anti-Semitism and in 1922 told a reporter that his ultimate goal was the public annihilation of every Jew in Germany. Once he gained power, he set about making his dreams a reality.
He ordered the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and sparked World War II. By 1941 Germany occupied the majority of Europe as well as most of North Africa. However, the tide began to turn and by 1943 Germany began to lose the war.
Up until the end of the war Hitler's soldiers practiced systematic murder of tens of thousands of soldiers and killed eleven million people that he deemed undesirable. Hitler's ultimate goal was to create a master race from Aryan blood, and believed all non-Aryans to be inferior.
While his scathing racism was well known, Hitler's other views are often murkier. For example, many biographers and historians believe he was a Christian while others claim that those were only his public views and that privately he felt negatively about Christianity. He also had a strong interest in the occult, and had several expert officers who focused on various occult legends and uncovering artifacts he believed may help him. However, the extent of his belief in these items is also debatable and most scholars claim that it was other leaders like Himmler and Hess who are primarily responsible for the Nazi party's occult research.
In 1945, as Berlin was overrun by the soviet army, Hitler hid in his underground bunker with several close high ranking officials. He married Eva Braun in a civil ceremony on April 29. Two days later both he and Braun committed suicide. They were carried outside and burned in the garden above.