Like father, like son: Hitler’s dad passed down more than handwriting, new letters reveal

Both men shared supremely high opinions of themselves.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Adolf Hitler’s father, Alois Hitler, played a major role in shaping the psychology of his son, writes Austrian historian Roman Sandgruber in his new book, Hitler’s Father: How the Son Became a Dictator.

The book, published last month and currently only available in German, is a result of Sandgruber’s examination of 31 letters written by Alois to Josef Radlegger, who sold a farm to the Hitlers in 1895 when Adolf was 6 years old.

Radlegger’s great-granddaughter, Anneliese Smigielski, discovered the letters a few years ago while cleaning out her attic.

Sandgruber noted that Adolf’s handwriting was strikingly similar to that of Alois. They both wrote in an old form of German cursive known as Kurrentschrift, and their signatures were nearly impossible to distinguish from each other.

But the similarities did not end there.

Sandgruber said that both men shared supremely high opinions of themselves, thinking that they were better and smarter than everyone else around them.

He attributed this shared worldview to the very strong influence of being self-taught.

“The result of that is as with the father, the son despised all those who had been through a regular school career — academics, notaries, judges, and later even military officers,” Sandgruber told AFP.

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“He thinks that he alone is the genius,” he said.

“With the knowledge he had acquired through reading and courses, Alois Hitler felt superior not only to the farmhands and maid-servants and the neighboring farmers, but also to many academics with university degrees,” Sandgruber told the Washington Post.

He said that Adolf was also self-taught, having dropped out of school voluntarily.

“Like his father, he felt superior through the knowledge he had acquired in self-study. He saw himself as a military, technical, and artistic genius. As an artist, he saw himself as a universal genius: not only as a painter, but also as an architect, writer, composer, and actor,” Sandgruber said.