For Adolf Hitler in World War I, his mentality and views as regards humans and the real world became increasing illusion due to his one too many negative thinking about other races. The outbreak of World War I in 1914 came as an opportunity for Hitler, as his money was running out. He volunteered for a Bavarian unit in the German army and served the whole war. Though repeatedly decorated for bravery, he was never promoted beyond the rank of corporal. In a war of very high casualties, this is difficult to explain. Perhaps officers considered him a loner who could carry messages and perform other dangerous duties but who was unsuited to command men.
Hitler saw trench warfare as a form of the struggle for survival among races, a struggle that he was coming to see as the essence of existence. At the same time, his anti-Semitic feelings were growing extreme. When Germany was defeated in 1918, Hitler was lying in a military hospital, temporarily blinded by mustard gas. He decided Jews had caused Germany’s defeat and that he would enter politics to save the country.
Hitler returned to Munich after the war. He was selected to be a political speaker by the local army headquarters, given special training, and provided with opportunities to practice his public speaking before returning prisoners of war. His speaking successes led to his selection as an observer of political groups in the Munich area. In this capacity, he investigated the German Workers’ Party—one of the many nationalist, racist groups that developed in Munich in the postwar years.