Who was Adolf Hitler?

Kimberly Jane Tan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2016 08:55 PM

Adolf Hitler was the founder and leader of the Nazi Party, known for executing the systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing of at least six million Jews (not 3 million as stated by President Duterte on Friday) in the 1940s, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.

Hitler began as a promising young student who dreamed of being an artist. But after being rejected by art schools, Hitler volunteered for the German military and acted as a spy inside the nationalist group German Worker's Party, according to History.

However, he found himself being swayed by the group's nationalistic and anti-semitist beliefs, which are deeply rooted in German society. He rose to power in the party after delivering an impassioned speech on the alleged injustices being suffered by Germany because of a peace treaty that ended World War I.

In the 1930s, the group was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi) and started gaining hordes of followers. Hitler promised people civil peace and radical changes, blaming the Jews for Germany's loss in the war and dire economic situation.

“The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew," Hitler had said in his autobiography "Mein Kampf."

Because of widespread support for him, Germany's president was forced to appoint Hitler as chancellor in 1933.

With his newfound power, he passed laws which enabled him to get rid of any opposition and make alliances with other countries. When he invaded Poland in 1939, he sparked World War II and conquered much of Western Europe.

Still believing that the Jews were the enemies of Germany, he ordered their mass execution in concentration camps. Some were gassed to death while others died from slave labor, a genocide now known as the Holocaust. Aside from the Jews, around five million non-Jewish people were also reportedly killed.

While some countries refused to take in refugees, the Philippines took in at least 1,200 European Jews between 1937 to 1941 with the help of President Manuel Quezon.

Hitler was eventually defeated by Russia and Western allies, cornering him and forcing him to take his own life.