Why on Earth did he decide to become an artist and why did he so stubbornly pursue this dream for eighteen years? Hitler himself provided no explanation, simply stating in Mein Kampf:
“How it came about I cannot exactly say now; but one day it became clear to me that I would be a painter – I mean an artist”
The most obvious explanation is the simplest one. Young Adolf demonstrated an uncanny aptitude for drawing and painting at an early age. Most likely (I would say, definitely) by the age of eleven he was far better at drawing and painting than anyone in his school and showed the potential of becoming an accomplished professional painter one day.
He felt that he was destined for greatness and his mother felt it, too (mothers do feel that). He wanted to be a celebrity one day and she wanted him to become a celebrity one day, too. And her desire to see him become truly great was most likely far stronger than his desire to become great (happens all the time).
Consequently, it was most likely his mother that inspired and encouraged him to become a great artist (his sister confirmed that in her interview in 1946). And because he loved his mother so much and was so attached to her, her inspiration and encouragement meant a world to him.
Parents naturally want their children to have a better life than they had, but Adolf Hitler did not want an easy road. He wanted to be a self-made man – just like his father. Only in a totally different path.
His very pragmatic, down-to-earth father could not offer him greatness and his mother could. Therefore, it is no wonder that he resented so much his father’s visions for his professional career – and so resolutely rejected it.
Which took a lot of courage as invited a lot of verbal and physical abuse from his father (including, according to his sister, frequent severe beatings). Still young Adolf held his ground and did not bulge an inch:
“No matter how hard and determined my father might be about putting his own plans and opinions into action, his son was no less obstinate in refusing to accept ideas on which he set little or no value”
His father tried both ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ but both failed to make his son change his mind:
“No amount of persuasion and no amount of ‘grave’ warnings could break down that opposition… All the attempts which my father made to arouse in me a love or liking for that profession, by picturing his own career for me, had only the opposite effect”
On the one hand, this battle of wills with his father helped him develop an iron will, without which he would have never achieved what he has achieved in his life. On the other hand, his stubborn refusal to even consider the possibility that his father could have been right made Adolf waste fifteen years of his life (four years have been consumed by the Great War).
His father was right (and Hitler was wrong) on both counts. First, to pursue the career of an artist was a really bad idea – and a total waste of a highly valuable time. Second, the ultimate Destiny and Mission of Adolf Hitler was, indeed, to become a government official – and he should have spent his most vital and valuable years to prepare for this Mission in the most efficient way.
By stubbornly pursuing his delusional dream of becoming a great artist (or a great architect). Adolf Hitler wasted the crucial fifteen years of his life and did not acquire the absolutely vital knowledge base and skills of critical thinking, analysis and structuring and processing vast amounts of information. Which ultimately cost him his dream of a thousand-year Third Reich, his war and ultimately his life.
The job of a political leader, a statesman, a high-ranking government official is, first and foremost, making the right strategic decisions. Each strategic decision is ultimately a revelation (in a natural, psychological – not supernatural – sense).
A revelation that has two sources – intuition and the rational, logical analysis of a ‘critical mass’ of a relevant information. Information that must be acquired, properly structured and efficiently processed (analyzed).
Adolf Hitler was incredibly, unbelievably gifted in political intuition – a genuine “intuition genius”. This is the only reason why he managed to continuously make the best strategic decisions during the first twenty years (1919 – 1939) of his political career, although he had a very limited knowledge base an equally very limited information processing skills (unlike Stalin who was a true information processing genius).
However, when by summer of 1940 decades of permanent stress began to seriously weaken Hitler’s body and mind and the system that he had to managed got critically vast and complex even his incredibly powerful intuition began to fail him. He started to make horrible strategic mistakes (starting with the infamous Dunkirk blunder).
After the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 (some historians claim 24 hours before the Soviet Union was to invade Germany) the system that Hitler had to manage got so vast and complex that he could no longer manage it using only his intuition and limited knowledge base and information processing skills.
He needed much more extensive and deep knowledge base and much more powerful skills for information acquisition, structuring and analysis. Which he did not acquire because he wasted the most valuable years (12-26) on stubbornly pursuing the delusional dream of becoming a great artist or architect.
So he started making one strategic blunder after another until the ‘critical mass’ of these blunders killed him and destroyed his creation – the Third Reich. The real tragedy of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany is that their adversaries (the Allies) did not win the Second World War – Adolf Hitler lost it.
He really should have listened to his wise, genuinely loving and truly caring father.