Hitler, Adolf (1889–1945) By Pecora, Vincent P.
Adolf Hitler was the dominant political figure in German Nazism. He became chairman of the Nazionalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei [the National Socialist German Workers’ Party or NSDAP] in 1921, and was appointed chancellor of Germany in 1933. Between 1934 and 1945 he ruled as führer [leader, but in this case absolute dictator]. Hitler guided Germany to rearmament in the 1930s, and triggered World War II with the invasion of Poland in 1939. He inspired a quest for German racial purity, and elevated anti-Semitism and xenophobia from a cultural prejudice to an all-encompassing state policy of genocide.