World War II
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was the dictatorial leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi Party, commanding German forces throughout World War II. A fanatic nationalist, miltarist, racist, and anti-Semite, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and quickly transformed Germany into a totalitarian fascist state. His efforts to build a territorially larger and ethnically purer fatherland for the German people ended in world war and Holocaust. Hitler retained power in Germany until his suicide just before Germany's surrender in 1945.
In September 1938, leaders of France and Great Britain met Adolf Hitler to discuss his demands, ultimately granting the German leader control over the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. In return, Hitler promised to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone, and to abandon all further ambitions of territorial expansion. When Hitler broke his pledge and took the rest of Czechoslovakia and then invaded Poland in 1939, France and Great Britain declared war. Hitler's forces invaded Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg, and defeated France within the first year of war. Ultimately, however, Nazi Germany would fall to Allied forces, surrendering on 2 May 1945, one day after Adolf Hitler's suicide.