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Patrick Chovanec

Patrick Chovanec

Jan 17
12 tweets

1. How and when did Hitler become a German citizen? Because he wasn't born as one. This is an interesting question.

2. Hitler was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In fact, he moved to Germany in 1913 mainly to evade mandatory conscription service in the Austrian military.
3. When World War I broke out, he eagerly signed up for service in a German regiment, and served the duration of the war. However, this did not make him a German citizen.
4. When Hitler led the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, he was still officially an Austrian citizen living in Germany. After he was convicted and sent (briefly) to prison, he was afraid Germany might deport him - one reason he delayed publishing "Mein Kampf".
5. To avoid deportation, Hitler renounced his Austrian citizenship, effectively making him stateless. When Bavarian authorities approach the Austrians about deporting him, the Austrians refused - effectively deporting him themselves to Germany.
6. Hitler's stateless status hung over his head like a sword of Damocles for years. In theory, he could be ejected from Germany at any time, for stirring up trouble. In practice, for a while they largely ignored him.
7. By 1930, however, this situation was becoming more and more bizarre. Hitler was leading what by then was the second-highest polling political party in Germany, yet he was not a German citizen and could not hold (or even run for) political office.
8. Over 100 other Nazis held elected positions in Parliament. But Hitler could not, and in theory he could be thrown out of Germany at any moment - though politically that would spark a firestorm.
9. Finally, in 1932, locked out of power by the other parties, Hitler decided to run for President of Germany. The only problem? He wasn't a citizen.
10. So the Nazi-friendly government in the city of Braunschweig staged a quick ceremony to swear him in as a Regierungsrat, a kind of municipal civil servant.
11. This lowly position had no real duties or authority. But it did bestow citizenship on the recipient. Hitler was now a German citizen, and could run for President - 19 years after he first arrived in Germany and 11 years after he became leader of the Nazi Party.
12. Talk about not having your paperwork in order.
Patrick Chovanec

Patrick Chovanec

Private sector economic advisor. Author of the upcoming book “Cleared for the Option: A Year Learning to Fly”. Soon to be found on #avgeek
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