Hitler came from a very ordinary Austrian family. His father is generally considered to have been a petty bureaucrat. However, it is important to understand what this really means in terms of the society of the time. Alois Hitler, Hitler’s father, was not wealthy, but was considerably successful by the standards of Austria at the time. Although he was inflexible, stubborn, and not very imaginative, his abilities were sufficient to ensure that his family probably had much of what they would have wanted.
Alois Hitler’s original surname was Schicklgruber, but it is likely that Adolf Hitler himself never answered to this name. This is because Alois changed his name relatively early on in his career. Interpretations as to why this was done vary widely, but many historians believe that his “step-father” may have been his biological father, and he wished to take on the man’s surname, which was Heidler. There is no current explanation for how the name came to be spelled as it was when Hitler rose to power in Germany.
Hitler had a stormy and turbulent family life and was strongly in opposition to his father’s plans for him. He was considered a disobedient young man, and left the family home at an early age in order to avoid following in his father’s footsteps. It is now well known that Hitler wandered the countryside for some time and that, during this period, he sought admission into the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.
Whatever the case, it is clear that his home life was not a supportive one. Perhaps this is part of the reason why he grew to be a cold, distant man with a tremendous lack of empathy, traits that were key to his leadership of the terribly destructive Nazi movement.
There are probably many reasons why Hitler did not have children. His own childhood likely has some bearing on the matter. However, that does not mean that Hitler did not have other relatives. In fact, the Hitler family was widely distributed across Germany at the time of the Nazi Third Reich.
After Hitler’s demise, the truth of the Holocaust began to spread far and wide among the people of Germany and elsewhere. At this time, even those “Hitlers” who were not closely related to Adolf began to change their names, just as Alois had. To this day, there are only a few people still bearing the Hitler surname.
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