Perhaps the most notorious figure of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler was the leader of the German Nazi (National Socialist German Workers') party and eventually became dictator over all of Germany. Shortly after assuming the title of German führer, or leader, in 1934, Hitler moved to consolidate his rule by controlling the German people through carefully orchestrated propaganda campaigns. He abolished freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and began a systematic program of persecutions climaxed by the murder of millions of Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents.
Repudiating the conditions of the Versailles treaty that ended World War I, Hitler sought to expand the German empire. Beginning with the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, Hitler made bold military moves, and cunningly manipulated European leaders into accepting his advances. On September 1, 1939, determined to eventually conquer all of Europe and the Soviet Union, he ordered the invasion of Poland, thereby setting off World War II.
For the first two years of the war, Hitler's dream of domination of Europe seemed within his grasp. As the Allies began to rebound in 1943, however, Hitler became more desperate in his decision-making. His reign of terror came to an end in April 1945. With Soviet troops bearing down on Berlin, and American forces routing what remained of the German army in the surrounding areas, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker.
For more on Adolf Hitler, visit the website of another AMERICAN EXPERIENCE program, America and the Holocaust.
Joseph Goebbels, the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, was the mastermind behind Adolf Hitler's success.
In 1960, Francis Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.
Winner, 2010 Peabody Award --- The 1968 My Lai massacre, its subsequent cover-up, and the soldiers who broke ranks to bring the atrocity to light.
After notorious revolutionary leader Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico, General John Pershing and his 150,000 man cavalry set out to get Villa.
On June 6, 1944, Allied troops invaded Normandy, fighting to free Europe from Nazi occupation and end World War II.
The story of a Vietnamese mother, the Amerasian daughter she sent away for adoption, and their reunion 22 years after the Vietnam War.
A look at five real-life "Rosies," the reality of working in defense plants during World War II and then having to give up those jobs for returning GIs.
In the early 1830s, Texas, ruled by Mexico, held 20,000 U.S. settlers and 4,000 Mexican Tejanos, forcing residents to pick sides.