We can pinpoint the exact day when Adolf Hitler finally discovered his genuine Mission. When he abandoned his delusional idea of becoming a great artist and made a firm commitment to become a great politician. The great leader. The hero. The Savior. The Messiah. The Führer of Germany.
That day was Sunday, June 29th, 1919. On that day all newspapers in all European nations listed the key terms of the Treaty of Versailles that was signed in Paris on the previous day.
Adolf Hitler who not so long ago turned thirty (a major milestone in man’s life) experienced a shock of his lifetime. However, he was not devastated – not at all. On the contrary, now he had a crystal clear vision of what he had to accomplish. What his great and glorious Mission was.
Being a genuine patriot of Greater Germany – the country that he bravely fought and shed his blood for (in October 1916, he was badly wounded in the left thigh when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners’ dugout) – he immediately knew that he had to right the wrongs of the Treaty of Versailles, bring justice to the German people, restore their honor and exact revenge on those who have wronged them.
This day transformed the outcast, the misfit, the failed artist, the nobody into a fearless, daring, determined, disciplined, passionate and committed crusader, the freedom fighter (i.e. fighter for freedom from humiliating shackles of the Versailles treaty), the avenger, the enforcer of justice; the noble knight in shining armor. The genuine German hero.
This day threw wide open the gates to the road that will lead him to becoming the leader of the largest party in Germany, the Reichstag deputy, the Reich Chancellor, the Führer of Germany, one of the most powerful individuals on the planet. And one of the worst criminals in the history of mankind who committed arguably the most horrible mass murders known to man.
This road will lead him to Reichstag and Reich Chancellery; to the miraculous and enormously successful reengineering of Germany; to creating the unique and radically new civilization – the Third Reich; to global fame and glory; to genuine love, admiration and even adoration of tens of millions at home and millions abroad; to no less miraculous military victories – and to devastating defeat in World War II and to his suicide in Führerbunker.
The key reason why he obstinately stuck to his dream of becoming a great artist (stubbornly ignoring all signs that screamed that he was dead wrong) was that it was a clear and a very simple dream.
In other words, he had a very simple vision of whom he wanted to become and how to achieve greatness as a painter. Just paint the next “Water Lilies” or “Impression, Sunrise” (Hitler was notoriously bad at painting people) – and you get your place in Global Artists’ Hall of Fame. Achieving greatness as an architect was a bit more complicated, but still rather simple (compared to other alternatives).
Prior to June 28th, 1919 achieving greatness as a politician (or even becoming a more or less well-known politician) was not just difficult for Adolf Hitler – it was downright impossible.
To become a great national leader, the individual in question must solve enormous, vital and crucial (ideally – existential) problems of the nation in question. Ideally when no one else is capable of solving them.
And, obviously, unite the nation around the grand project aimed at solving these problems. It is very important, of course, that the nation is aware of these problems, of their magnitude and of their existential nature.
Prior to the Great War, Germany simply did not have such problems. Between the Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles, it had just one such problem – the existential threat of being invaded, conquered and destroyed by the Soviet Russia.
However, not that many Germans were aware of this existential threat. More than that, millions of Germans sincerely believed that Bolshevism was not the problem, but the solution to their existential problems. And as Germany was arguably the least Judeophobic nation in Europe, anti-Semitic ideas also were not very popular there.
Consequently, anti-Bolshevist sermons preached by German nationalists, actually divided the nation, not united it. And so did their anti-Semitic homilies.
The Treaty of Versailles changed everything. And changed it radically. Now all Germans faced existential problems and thus solutions to these problems could (and actually did) unite the nation.
Which opened for Adolf Hitler a clear path to becoming the political leader, the Führer, the national hero, the Savior, the Messiah. Right the wrongs committed by the Treaty of Versailles. Get back German territories ceded to other nations at gunpoint. Remove the demeaning shackles imposed by the Treaty. Unite all Germans into Ein Reich where all of them will be genuinely secure, prosperous and happy.
Make Germany a global political, economic and military superpower – again. Make sure that the horrors of the blockade and hunger never happen again. Restore the German pride and honor. And, obviously, make all those who offended, robbed and humiliated Germany pay dearly for these crimes against his Fatherland.
Now he had a clear vision what he wanted and needed to do. And a burning desire, ruthless determination, iron discipline (acquired in the Army) and astonishing dare to make it a reality.
All he needed was a little bit of Divine Guidance. An opportunity, a chance for a radical breakthrough, a quantum leap. He needed a bootstrap, a springboard that will launch his political career and help him make the first – and crucial – step to his ultimate triumph.
He did not have to wait very long.