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Hitler, Adolf (1889-1945), German dictator, who launched World War II in 1939. Making anti-Semitism a keystone of his propaganda and policies, he built the Nazi Party (see National Socialism) into a mass movement. For a time he dominated most of Europe and North Africa. He caused the slaughter of millions of Jews and others whom he considered inferior. Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria. In 1919 he joined the nationalist German Workers' Party, which was …

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…and Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) before Soviet armies counterattacked in December, helping to turn the momentum of the war against Germany. Throughout this period Hitler continued the campaign to destroy world Jewry. The Germans built extermination camps, in which six million Jews were murdered. (see Holocaust). As the war continued, the defeat of Germany became more likely, but Hitler refused to surrender. In April 1945, with all of Germany overrun by Allied invaders, Hitler committed suicide.