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Hitler's Violent Youth

AS A RESULT of the terrible tragedy which befell the Jewish people of Europe, the
name Adolf Hitler will forever be synonymous with the creed of extreme anti-
Semitism. Due to the inhuman scale of the suffering endured by the Jewish population,
genocide is commonly assumed to have been his primary goal and the overriding concern
of Adolf Hitler. However, the sobering truth is that, although anti-Semitism was a potent
factor in the mix of ideas that shaped Hitler’s weltanschauung (or world view), it was not
the key to his life’s work. From his own account as published in the pages of ‘Mein
Kampf’ we can be certain that, in his own eyes at least, Hitler’s life’s work was in fact the
accomplishment of his pan-German nationalist vision. From a surprisingly early age this
political goal was his overwhelming priority and we can be certain that nationalism was
the key stimulus on the formation of Hitler’s political outlook. Nonetheless, it is the
terrible human cost of the Hitlerian regime which continues to demand an explanation
today. How did a civilised nation, so much like our own in so many respects, allow itself
to be dragged into such an abyss of barbarism?