On February 25, 1932, Adolf Hitler became a citizen
of Germany. Hitler, who was born in Austria, had immigrate
d to Germany in 1913, and renounced his Austrian citizenship in 1925. After years of being stateless, a fellow member of the Nazi
Party appointed Hitler to a low-level government
job that came with automatic citizenship.
Hitler’s new status allowed him to achieve
his political goals. As a citizen, he could run for office, and by the middle of 1934, power in Germany was entirely his as Führer und Reichskanzler
(leader and chancellor). As Führer, Hitler redefined citizenship to serve his beliefs. He used race
and pan-German heritage
to give citizenship to, and take it from, large groups of people. By the time World War II
was under way, Hitler’s views on German supremacy were fueling a military
campaign that destroyed border
s and entire populations all across Europe.