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September 28, 1918: The Day That Could Have Changed The History

Updated on December 5, 2014

The Great War

The World Wars mark themselves as the most dark days in the history. Nations fighting nations, soldiers killing soldiers, human blood spilled on the ground, the First World War or the Great War was a global war centered in Europe that began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. With 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians dead, it proves to be one of the most deadliest conflicts in history.

The Great War saw some excellent soldiers like George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur rise to greatness, great leaders like Delano Roosevelt and some with an ambition of world domination. one such man who wanted to rule the world was Adolf Hitler.

Army in World War 1
Army in World War 1

Adolf Hitler

It is well known that Hitler was a German dictator, but many people may be unaware of the fact that he was born in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary (present Austria). He was the fourth of the six children of Alois Hitler. When he was three years old, his family moved to Passau, Germany. There he acquired the distinctive Lower Baverian Dialect rather than Austrian German which marked his speech throughout his lifeIn 1894 the family relocated to Leonding(near Linz), and in June 1895, Alois retired to a small landholding at Hafeld, nearLambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended Volksschule (a state-owned school) in nearby .

The move to Hafeld coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts caused by Hitler's refusal to conform to the strict discipline of his school. Alois Hitler'sfarming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure, and in 1897 the family moved toLambach. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered becoming a priest. In 1898 the family returned permanently to Leonding. The death of his younger brother Edmund, who died from measles in 1900, deeply affected Hitler. He changed from a confident, outgoing, conscientious student to a morose, detached, sullen boy who constantly fought with his father and teacher.

From his early childhood he showed a taste in arts and becoming an artist was his dream. But ignoring his son's desire, Alois wanted Adolf to follow his footsteps as Alois made a successful career in customs bureau. Alois sent Hitler to the Realschule in Linz in September 1900. Hitler rebelled against this decision, and inMein Kampf revealed that he intentionally did poorly in school, hoping that once his father saw "what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to my dream".

After Alois' sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler's performance at school deteriorated and his mother allowed him to leave. He enrolled at the Realschule inSteyr in September 1904, where his behavior and performance showed some improvement. In 1905, after passing a repeat of the final exam, Hitler left the school without any ambitions for further education or clear plans for a career.

From 1905, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna, financed by orphan's benefits and support from his mother. He worked as a casual labourer and eventually as a painter, selling watercolors of Vienna's sights. Vienna's Academy Of Fine Artsrejected him in 1907 and again 1908, citing "unfitness for painting". The director recommended that Hitler study architecture, which was also an interest, but he lacked academic credentials. On 21 December 1907, his mother died of breast cancer at the age of 47. After the academy's second rejection, Hitler ran out of money and was forced to live in homeless shelters and men's hostels. With no other options, he made his earnings by selling his paintings.

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

Hitler In The War

The First World War brought the opportunity Hitler needed. This was the one opportunity which was going to change his life and the world forever. He was rejected by the Austrian army in the physical as he was not considered fit for carrying a rifle. Though rejected by his own country, he was accepted to join the German army. The army trained him into a determined German soldier and war gave him a purpose.

Hitler was seen as an outcast by the other soldiers. He was regarded as a loner, an introvert who kept to himself. But no one would have thought what this man is going to make.

The Trenches of Western Front

Trench warfare was an effective way to fight. Both the fighting sides realized that if they dug the ground and fired from the trenches, the opposite side won't be able to move them. the trenches were a very complex network which didn't move much in both the directions. They were approximately 25000 miles long and laid end to end, they would encircle the globe. Hitler's role in the trenches was that of a runner. Running from trench to trench, his job was considered perhaps the most dangerous one as he has to come in line of enemy fire. The area between the trenches was so deadly that it's called as a "no man's land".

Trench Warfare
Trench Warfare

Marcoing, France

Two large armies are fighting on the french border. The Allies seem to dominate after a long fight. Heavy bombing and gunfire from the Allies is destroying the German army. And here comes this day, September 28, 1918, when finally the Germans are retreating. The attack from the Allies has wounded Hitler. And then Hitler has this encounter with a British Private Henry Tandey. Henry has Hitler in his sights and though he is a trained soldier, he can't bring himself to pull the trigger. He let wounded and defenseless German soldier go. Hitler nobbed his head in thanks and disappeared.

What If?

This moment turned out to be the biggest "what if" in history. Had Tandey pulled the trigger, the following course of history would have changed. Had Tandey pulled the trigger, Hitler's rise to a German Dictator resulting in the loss of about 60 million lives in the Second World War and approximately six million Jewish genocide ( The Holocaust ) could have all been avoided.

And for the British Private Henry Tandey, he had to live with the stigma of " The Man Who Didn't Shoot Hitler".

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