The Hardest School – Part I

Adolf Hitler predictably failed his entrance exams for the second time, but it did not discourage him at all. He was still firmly committed to pursuing his dream of becoming a great artist (and thus of enrolling in the painting school in the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna) so he decided to stay in Austrian capital for the foreseeable future. As usual, he ignored all the signs that screamed that he was pursuing a completely wrong objective.

But as he now completely ran out of money, or the first time in his life he had to figure out how to make a living. He does not explicitly mention it in Mein Kampf, but most likely he first tried to make money by using the only trade he knew – painting.

But it did not sell, so he had to do it as a casual laborer (hired to work for a day or even an hour at a time). And thus ending up at the very bottom of a social ladder.

Fifteen years later he wrote in Mein Kampf:

I had to earn my daily bread. And a meagre morsel indeed it was, not even sufficient to still the hunger which I constantly felt. That hunger was the faithful guardian which never left me but took part in everything I did.”

This perpetual hunger and the constant humiliation of being at the very bottom of the food chain (especially compared with the comfortable and respectable middle-class life that he enjoyed during the previous 18 years of his life) lasted for several years and had a profoundly negative impact on young Adolf.

More specifically, he has developed a powerful subconscious fear (as it was just as easy to lose a job and thus his food as to find it) and virulent hatred for those whom he (incorrectly) blamed for his pain and suffering – the Austrian state, the bourgeois society and, of course, the Jews (more on that later). And his severely wounded pride (as it happens more often than not) grew bigger and bigger and bigger. As did his desire for revenge. Three mortal sins.

In addition, he experienced an extremely powerful culture shock (actually, “environmental shock” is a much better term). From a mono-ethnic, thoroughly German and quiet Linz he suddenly was transferred to a huge (about 15 times larger than Linz), fast-paced, fast-growing multicultural Vienna where ethnic Germans were actually a minority.

 

 

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