Interestingly enough, Adolf Hitler was not born in Germany, but in a small village in Austria, Braunau am Inn. The building where he was born has been used as a workshop, school, library, home for the disabled and a bank through the years, but as of 2014 there are plans to turn it into a “House of Responsibility” museum.

Hitler Could Have Had a Different Surname

Another interesting piece of trivia relating to Hitler’s ancestry is that his surname would have been “Schicklgruber,” had his father, Alois, not decided to have a name change. Alois was an illegitimate child and went by his mother’s name until he changed it to “Hiedler” later in life. The spelling was somehow changed to “Hitler” in the record book. Today, it is very hard to imagine crowds of people yelling “Heil Schicklgruber” instead of “Heil Hitler.”

Childhood Years

Hitler’s childhood years were not particularly happy. He was Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl’s fourth child, but all of his older siblings died during infancy. The family moved to Germany when Adolf was three years old, and this is where he got his Bavarian accent. Adolf Hitler clashed a lot with his father, who wanted him to become a customs officer, while he was more interested in the arts. Hitler did not do very well in school and left school early. He also drifted between jobs, unable to settle and was rejected from the arts academy in Vienna as well as the School of Architecture.

An Interest in Politics

He discovered an interest in politics and the anti-Semitic climate in Austria at that time heavily influenced his views. Hitler volunteered for the German army in 1914 and his bravery in battle on the Western Front earned him the Iron Cross award. In 1918 he had to stop fighting due to temporary blindness caused by a gas attack and was very disappointed when Germany lost the war. Hitler hated the Treaty of Versailles and despised the Weimar Government for signing it in the first place. In his eyes, Germany needed a Kaiser again.

This article is part of our larger selection of posts about Adolph Hitler. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to the life of Adolph Hitler.