Adolf Hitler, c. 1933.
Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in the small Austrian town of Braunau. He rose to power in German politics as leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, also known as the Nazi Party. On July 14, 1933, Hitler's Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany. Hitler was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and served as dictator from 1934 to 1945. His policies precipitated World War II and the Holocaust. Hitler committed suicide with wife Eva Braun on April 30, 1945, in his Berlin bunker.
In December 1941, Hitler was at a full-fledged war against a coalition that included the world's largest empire (Britain), the world's greatest financial power (the U.S.) and the world's largest army (the Soviet Union). By early 1945, Hitler realized that Germany was going to lose the war. The Soviets had driven the German army back into Western Europe, and the Allies were advancing into Germany. On April 29, 1945, Hitler married his girlfriend, Eva Braun, in a small civil ceremony in his Berlin bunker. Around this time, Hitler was informed of the assassination of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Afraid of falling into the hands of enemy troops, Hitler and Braun committed suicide the day after their wedding, on April 30, 1945. Their bodies were carried to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were burned. Berlin fell on May 2, 1945. Five days later, on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.
According to Adolf Hitler Biography, Hitler's world war left behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe, including Germany. His policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale and resulted in the death of an estimated 40 million people, including about 27 million in the Soviet Union. Hitler's defeat marked the end of a phase of European history dominated by Germany, and the defeat of fascism.