An Essay on Adolf Hitler

There are few figures from the 20th century who have attracted as much attention as Adolf Hitler. The first and only Führer of the Third Reich has gone down in history as one of the most evil and deranged mass murderers of all time. His atrocities and the deeply flawed personality that caused them make him a natural subject for essays. If you have to write an essay on him here are a few tips.

Expectations

  • First, establish what the word limit is for the essay. With such a big topic you could easily write well over the expected limit and still have more to say, but this could get you marked down. Set a realistic target.
  • Are you expected to summarize just a few sources (or even one) or are you expected to summarise what you know about Adolf Hitler, using a variety of sources?
  • A summary essay is a useful way to gauge how much students understand of material already taught. In that case, you may not be required to provide references for the sources you use.  References may still be required however, especially if more of the learning has been independent. If in doubt, ask. 

Preparation

  • Make sure you understand what you are writing about. If you don’t understand a word or phrase, find out and when you’ve found out, make a note of it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself looking it up again.
  • Having a German-English dictionary and an atlas handy is a good idea. If the atlas is rather old, so much the better. Many names have changed since 1945, and even Europe’s borders are very different once you go east of Berlin.
  • Making rough notes, not in full sentences, for each paragraph is a good idea. Use 50 words or so to lay out a framework for the essay you plan to write.

What to Include

So what do you include? The exact title of the essay is crucial here. If the essay is about Hitler’s rise to power, the Munich Beer Hall Putsch might get a paragraph to itself and you wouldn’t mention Operation Barbarossa. In either case, whether Hitler was vegetarian or not should be left out and speculation about his religious beliefs probably won’t be helpful either. In any case it’s very difficult to be sure about things like that. Hitler wasn’t exactly the most honest person and both those who say he was an atheist and those who claim he was a devout Catholic can find plenty of quotes from him to support their position. You will have to exclude insignificant events to make room for the more important ones. Do be accurate about dates, names and places; getting these wrong will hurt your credibility.