Many of the worlds’ most tyrannical leaders and dictators experienced childhood traumas; many of these catastrophic traumas affected their decisions throughout their lives. People wonder why Adolph Hitler did the appalling things he did. Many believe that it primarily resulted from his violent upbringing. However, it is more likely that it was a combination of a variety of factors, and not just one that contributed to Hitler’s actions. These factors include the combination of his genetics, up-bringing, and the time in which he lived that made Hitler one of the most feared dictators in history.

Adolph Hitler’s upbringing involved a great deal of violence. Records tell us that his father was extremely abusive. Due to recent discoveries regarding childhood development, we know that if parents demonstrate violence in front of their children, the children will have a tendency to mimic that behavior. The children do this because they do not have a mature sense of values and lack the ability to judge right and wrong. They grow up thinking that violence is the only way to channel their anger and frustration (Miller, 2-3). Evidence suggests that Hitler internalized his fathers’ abuse,

“Alois beat his son mercilessly every day. In an attempt to exorcise his childhood fears, his son nurtured the manic delusion that it was up to him to free not only himself of Jewish blood but also all Germany and later the whole world.” (Miller, 6)

In Hitler’s family, education was considered to be necessary and very important. Unfortunately for Adolph, his educational goals and the goals his family set for him proved to be very different. While his parents wanted him to succeed and enter into business, like his father, Adolph Hitler aspired to be a free lance artist. It is assumed that those aspiring to be the head of a business will have a good education. Hitler’s choice not to continue school had painful consequences for him later in life.

Information gathered from Hitler’s medical records suggests that Hitler suffered from many physical and psychological disabilities. Growing up, Hitler was subjected to ridicule by fellow classmates and acquaintances due to his disabilities. Hitler attempted to avoid such ridicule at all costs and tried to hide his weaknesses by tormenting others.

The time during which Hitler was born was violent, ruthless, and the politics deceiving, all of which affected his personality deeply. The parents of the time were being told that physical punishment (what we would consider abuse) was the only way to teach their children obedience. There was strong anti-Semitic feeling in the area where Hitler grew up and went to school, and his family had its own internal struggles around their Jewish connection.

Hitler was brought up with an abusive father. His father would leave for days on end and then return only to beat Adolph senseless. Hitler had no idea if his father even cared that he was alive, let alone if he loved him. Hitler’s father was a strict man bent on doing what was good for the family name. He justified his abuse of Hitler with the idea that fear was the only way to gain obedience. He was seldom there for Hitler’s crucial development years, and when he was there he was abusive. This hatred in place of affection led Hitler to resort to do to others what was done to him. The psychologist, Alice Miller, described the effects of early childhood abuse as,

“…a nightmarish horror, a record of continued lies and humiliations, which upon the attainment of adulthood impelled them to acts of merciless revenge on society. These vengeful acts were always garbed in the hypocritical ideologies, purporting that the dictator’s exclusive and overriding wish was the happiness of his people. In this way, he unconsciously emulated his own parents who, in earlier days, had insisted that their blows were inflicted on the child for his own good.” (Miller, 7-8)

Looking at the childhood of any tyrannical leader, their parents and up bringing should be examined. From the studies of Hitler’s youth it has been confirmed that his father’s abuse and neglect had a great impact on his son. Hitler’s mental capabilities were hindered as well as his ability to trust or sympathize with anyone. Hitler was raised in an environment of constant fear and threats,