Hitler's other main interest at school was art. His father was incensed when Hitler told him that instead of joining the civil service he was going to become an artist. The relationship between Hitler and his father deteriorated and the conflict only ended with the death of Alois Hitler in 1903. Hitler was thirteen when his father died. His death did not cause the family financial hardships. The Hitler family owned their own home and they also received a lump sum and a generous civil service pension.
Klara Hitler, a kind and gentle woman, tended to spoil her son. Like her husband she was keen for Adolf to do well at school. Her attempts at persuasion achieved no more success than her husband's threats and he continued to obtain poor grades.
At the age of fifteen he did so badly in his examinations that he was told he would have to repeat the whole year's work again. Hitler hated the idea and managed to persuade his mother to allow him to leave school without a secondary education qualification. He celebrated by getting drunk. However, he found it an humiliating experience and vowed never to get drunk again. He kept his promise and by the time he reached his thirties he had given up alcohol completely.
When he was eighteen Hitler received an inheritance from his father's will. With the money he moved to Vienna where he planned to become an art student. Hitler had a high opinion of his artistic abilities and was shattered when the Vienna Academy of Art rejected his application. He also applied to the Vienna School of Architecture but was not admitted because he did not have a school leaving certificate.
Hitler was humiliated by these two rejections and could not bring himself to tell his mother what had happened. Instead he continued to live in Vienna pretending he was an art student.
In 1907 Klara Hitler died from cancer. Her death affected him far more deeply than the death of his father. He had fond memories of his mother, carried her photograph wherever he...