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Mickey Rooney

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Mickey Rooney (born Joseph Yule, Jr.; September 23, 1920 – April 6, 2014) was an American film actor and entertainer whose film, television, and stage appearances spanned nearly his entire lifetime.

He received multiple awards, including a Juvenile Academy Award, an Honorary Academy Award, two Golden Globes and an Emmy Award. Working as a performer since he was a child, he was a superstar as a teenager for the films in which he played Andy Hardy, and he had one of the longest careers of any actor, spanning 92 years actively making films in ten decades, from the 1920s to the 2010s. For a younger generation of fans, he gained international fame for his leading role as Henry Dailey in The Family Channel‘s The Adventures of the Black Stallion.

Until his death in April 2014, Rooney was one of the last surviving stars who worked in the silent film era. He was also the last surviving cast member of several films in which he appeared during the 1930s and 1940s.

Early life

Rooney was born Joseph Yule, Jr. in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. His father, Joe Yule (born Ninnian Joseph Ewell), was from Glasgow, Scotland, and his mother, Nellie W. (née Carter), was from Kansas City, Missouri. Both of his parents were in vaudeville, appearing in a Brooklyn production of A Gaiety Girl when Joseph, Jr. was born. He began performing at the age of 17 months as part of his parents’ routine, wearing a specially tailored tuxedo.[2]

When he was fourteen months old, unknown to everyone, he crawled onstage wearing overalls and a little harmonica around his neck. He sneezed and his father, Joe Sr., grabbed him up, introducing him to the audience as Sonny Yule. He felt the spotlight on him and described it as his mother’s womb. From that moment on, the stage was his home.

While Joe Sr. was traveling, Joe Jr. and his mother moved from Brooklyn to Kansas City to live with his aunt. While his mother was reading the entertainment newspaper, Nellie was interested in getting Hal Roach to approach her son to participate in the Our Gang series in Hollywood. Roach offered $5 a day to Joe, Jr., while the other young stars were paid five times more.

As he was getting bit parts in films, he was working with other established film stars such as Joel McCrea, Colleen Moore, Clark Gable, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Jean Harlow. While selling newspapers around the corner, he also entered into Hollywood Professional School, where he went to school with dozens of unfamiliar students such as: Joseph A. Wapner, Nanette Fabray, Judy Garland, Lana Turner, among many others, and later Hollywood High School, where he graduated in 1938.


Mickey McGuire

The Yules separated in 1924 during a slump in vaudeville, and in 1925, Nell Yule moved with her son to Hollywood, where she managed a tourist home. Fontaine Fox had placed a newspaper ad for a dark-haired child to play the role of “Mickey McGuire” in a series of short films. Lacking the money to have her son’s hair dyed, Mrs. Yule took her son to the audition after applying burnt cork to his scalp.[3] Joe got the role and became “Mickey” for 78 of the comedies, running from 1927 to 1936, starting with Mickey’s Circus, released September 4, 1927.[4] These had been adapted from the Toonerville Trolley comic strip, which contained a character named Mickey McGuire. Joe Yule briefly became Mickey McGuire legally in order to trump an attempted copyright lawsuit (if it was his legal name, the film producer Larry Darmour did not owe the comic strip writers royalties). His mother also changed her surname to McGuire in an attempt to bolster the argument, but the film producers lost. The litigation settlement awarded damages to the owners of the cartoon character, compelling the twelve-year-old actor to refrain from calling himself Mickey McGuire on- and offscreen.[5]

Rooney later claimed that, during his Mickey McGuire days, he met cartoonist Walt Disney at the Warner Brothers studio, and that Disney was inspired to name Mickey Mouse after him,[6] although Disney always said that he had changed the name from “Mortimer Mouse” to “Mickey Mouse” on the suggestion of his wife.[7]

During an interruption in the series in 1932, Mrs. Yule made plans to take her son on a ten-week vaudeville tour as McGuire, and Fox sued successfully to stop him from using the name. Mrs. Yule suggested the stage name of Mickey Looney for her comedian son, which he altered slightly to Rooney, a less frivolous version.[3] Rooney made other films in his adolescence, including several more of the McGuire films, and signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1934. MGM cast Rooney as the teenage son of a judge in 1937′s A Family Affair, setting Rooney on the way to another successful film series.

“Andy Hardy” and Judy Garland

Rooney with Judy Garland in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)

In 1937, Rooney was selected to portray Andy Hardy in A Family Affair, which MGM had planned as a B-movie.[3] Rooney provided comic relief as the son of Judge James K. Hardy, portrayed by Lionel Barrymore (although Lewis Stone would play the role of Judge Hardy in subsequent films). The film was an unexpected success, and led to 13 more Andy Hardy films between 1937 and 1946, and a final film in 1958. Rooney also received top billing as “Shockey Carter” in Hoosier Schoolboy (1937).

Also in 1937, Rooney made his first film alongside Judy Garland with Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry. Garland and Rooney became close friends and a successful song-and-dance team. Besides three of the Andy Hardy films, where she portrayed Betsy Booth, a younger girl with a crush on Andy, they appeared together in a string of successful musicals, including the Oscar-nominated Babes in Arms (1939). During an interview in the 1992 documentary film MGM: When the Lion Roars, Rooney describes their friendship:[8]

“Judy and I were so close we could’ve come from the same womb. We weren’t like brothers or sisters but there was no love affair there; there was more than a love affair. It’s very, very difficult to explain the depths of our love for each other. It was so special. It was a forever love. Judy, as we speak, has not passed away. She’s always with me in every heartbeat of my body.”

With Carmen Miranda backstage at Babes on Broadway (1941)

Rooney’s breakthrough-role as a dramatic actor came in 1938′s Boys Town opposite Spencer Tracy as Whitey Marsh, which opened shortly before his 18th birthday. Rooney was awarded a special Juvenile Academy Award in 1939[9] and was named the biggest box-office draw in 1939, 1940 and 1941.[10] A well-known entertainer by the early 1940s, his picture appeared on the cover of the March 18, 1940 issue of Time magazine, timed to coincide with the release of Young Tom Edison;[11] the cover story began:[12]

“Hollywood’s No. 1 box office bait in 1939 was not Clark Gable, Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power, but a rope-haired, kazoo-voiced kid with a comic-strip face, who until this week had never appeared in a picture without mugging or overacting it. His name (assumed) was Mickey Rooney, and to a large part of the more articulate U. S. cinema audience, his name was becoming a frequently used synonym for brat.”

Rooney, with Garland, was one of many celebrities caricatured in Tex Avery‘s 1941 Warner Bros. cartoon Hollywood Steps Out. In 1991, Rooney was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star “Lifetime Achievement” Award recognizing his achievements within the film industry as a child actor.[13] After presenting the award to Rooney, the foundation subsequently renamed the accolade “The Mickey Rooney Award” in his honor.[14][15]

After the war

Rooney entertaining troops in 1945

In 1944, Rooney enlisted in the United States Army. He served more than 21 months, until shortly after the end of World War II. During and after the war he helped entertain the troops in America and Europe, and spent part of the time as a radio personality on the American Forces Network and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for entertaining troops in combat zones. In addition to the Bronze Star Medal, Rooney also received the Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal for his military service.

After his return to civilian life, his career slumped. He appeared in a number of films, including Words and Music in 1948, which paired him for the last time with Garland on film (he appeared with her on one episode as a guest on her CBS variety series in 1963). He briefly starred in a CBS radio series, Shorty Bell, in the summer of 1948, and reprised his role as “Andy Hardy”, with most of the original cast, in a syndicated radio version of The Hardy Family in 1949 and 1950 (repeated on Mutual during 1952).[16]

His first television series, The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan (created by Blake Edwards with Rooney as his own producer), appeared on NBC television for 32 episodes between August 28, 1954 and June 4, 1955. In 1951, he directed a feature film for Columbia Pictures, My True Story starring Helen Walker. Rooney also starred as a ragingly egomaniacal television comedian in the live 90-minute television drama The Comedian, in the Playhouse 90 series on the evening of Valentine’s Day in 1957, and as himself in a revue called The Musical Revue of 1959 based on the 1929 film The Hollywood Revue of 1929, which was edited into a film in 1960, by British International Pictures.

In 1958, Rooney joined Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra in hosting an episode of NBC’s short-lived Club Oasis comedy and variety show. In 1960, Rooney directed and starred in The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, an ambitious comedy known for its multiple flashbacks and many cameos. In the 1960s, Rooney returned to theatrical entertainment. He still accepted film roles in undistinguished films, but occasionally would appear in better works, such as Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and The Black Stallion (1979). One of Rooney’s more controversial roles came in the highly-acclaimed 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s where he played a stereotyped buck-toothed myopic Japanese character, I.Y. Yunioshi, neighbor of the main character, Holly Golightly. Despite Rooney’s protests that he was congratulated for the role by Asians, that role would later be held up as one of the most notorious examples of Hollywood’s history of stereotypical depictions of that racial group.

On December 31, 1961, he appeared on television’s What’s My Line and mentioned that he had already started enrolling students in the MRSE (Mickey Rooney School of Entertainment). His school venture never came to fruition. This was a period of professional distress for Rooney; as a childhood friend, director Richard Quine put it: “Let’s face it. It wasn’t all that easy to find roles for a 5-foot-3 man who’d passed the age of Andy Hardy.”[17] In 1962, his debts had forced him into filing for bankruptcy.[18]

In 1966, while Rooney was working on the film Ambush Bay in the Philippines, his wife Barbara Ann Thomason (akas: Tara Thomas, Carolyn Mitchell), a former pinup model and aspiring actress who had won 17 straight beauty contests in Southern California, was found dead in their bed. Beside her was her lover, Milos Milos, an actor friend of Rooney’s. Detectives ruled it murder-suicide, which was committed with Rooney’s own gun.[19]

Rooney was awarded an Academy Juvenile Award in 1938, and in 1983 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted him their Academy Honorary Award for his lifetime of achievement. He was mentioned in the 1972 song “Celluloid Heroes” by The Kinks: “If you stomped on Mickey Rooney/ He’d still turn ’round and smile…”

Character actor

Rooney on The Red Skelton Show, 1962

In addition to his movie roles, Rooney made numerous guest-starring roles as a character actor for nearly six decades, beginning with an episode of Celanese Theatre. The part led to other roles on such television series as Schlitz Playhouse, Playhouse 90, Producers’ Showcase, Alcoa Theatre, Wagon Train, General Electric Theater, Hennesey, The Dick Powell Theatre, Arrest and Trial, Burke’s Law, Combat!, The Fugitive, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, The Jean Arthur Show, The Name of the Game, Dan August, Night Gallery, The Love Boat, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, among many others.

Television, stage, Bill, and The Black Stallion

Rooney made a successful transition to television and stage work. In 1961, he guest-starred in the 13-week James Franciscus adventuredrama CBS television series The Investigators. In 1962, he was cast as himself in the episode “The Top Banana” of the CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys, starring Harry Morgan and Cara Williams.

In 1963, he entered CBS’s The Twilight Zone, giving a one-man performance in the episode “The Last Night of a Jockey“. Also in 1963, in ‘The Hunt’ episode 9, season 1 for Suspense Theater, he played the sadistic sheriff hunting the young surfer played by James Caan. In 1964, he launched another half-hour sitcom, Mickey, on ABC. The story line had “Mickey” operating a resort hotel in southern California. Son Tim Rooney appeared as Rooney’s teenaged son on this program, and Emmaline Henry starred as Rooney’s wife. It lasted 17 episodes, ending primarily due to the suicide of co-star Sammee Tong in October 1964.[20]

He won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his role in 1981′s Bill. Playing opposite Dennis Quaid, Rooney’s character was a mentally handicapped man attempting to live on his own after leaving an institution. He reprised his role in 1983′s Bill: On His Own, earning an Emmy nomination for the role.[4]

Rooney provided the voices for four Christmas TV animated/stop action specials: Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970), The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979), and A Miser Brothers’ Christmas (2008)—always playing Santa Claus.

He continued to work on stage and television through the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the acclaimed stage play Sugar Babies with Ann Miller beginning in 1979. Following this, he toured as Pseudelous in Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In the 1990s, he returned to Broadway for the final months of Will Rogers Follies, playing the ghost of Will’s father. On television, he starred in the short-lived sitcom, One of the Boys, along with two unfamiliar young stars, Dana Carvey and Nathan Lane, in 1982. He toured Canada in a dinner theatre production of The Mind with the Naughty Man in the mid-1990s. He played The Wizard in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz with Eartha Kitt at Madison Square Garden. Kitt was later replaced by Jo Anne Worley. In 1995 he starred with Charlton Heston, Peter Graves and Deborah Winters in the Warren Chaney docudrama America: A Call to Greatness.[21] He also appeared in the documentaries That’s Entertainment! and That’s Entertainment! III, in both films introducing segments paying tribute to Judy Garland.

Actor Mickey Rooney speaks at the Pentagon in 2000 during a ceremony honoring the USO

Rooney voiced Mr. Cherrywood in The Care Bears Movie (1985), and starred as the Movie Mason in a Disney Channel Original Movie family film 2000′s Phantom of the Megaplex. He had a guest-spot on an episode of The Golden Girls as Sophia’s boyfriend “Rocko”, who claimed to be a bank robber. He voiced himself in the Simpsons episode “Radioactive Man” of 1995. In 1996–97, Rooney played Talbut on the TV series, Kleo The Misfit Unicorn. He costarred in Night at the Museum in 2006 with Dick Van Dyke and Ben Stiller; Rooney filmed a cameo with Van Dyke for the 2009 sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which was cut from the film but included as an extra on the DVD release.[citation needed]

After starring in one unsuccessful TV series and turning down an offer for a huge TV series, Rooney finally hit the jackpot, at 70, when he was offered a starring role on The Family Channel’s The Adventures of the Black Stallion, where he reprised his role as Henry Dailey in the film of the same name, eleven years earlier. The show was based on a novel by Walter Farley. For this role, he had to travel to Vancouver. The show became an immediate hit with teenagers, young adults and people all over the world, being seen in 70 countries.

Rooney appeared in television commercials for Garden State Life Insurance Company in 1999, alongside his wife Jan Rooney. In commercials shown in 2007, he can be seen in the background washing imaginary dishes.

Final work

In 2003, Rooney and his wife began their association with Rainbow Puppet Productions, providing their voices to the 100th Anniversary production of Toyland!, an adaptation of Victor Herbert‘s Babes in Toyland. He created the voice for the Master Toymaker while Jan provided the voice for Mother Goose. Since that time, they have created voices for additional Rainbow Puppet Productions including Pirate Party, which also features vocal performances by Carol Channing.

On May 26, 2007, he was grand marshal at the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. Rooney made his British pantomime debut, playing Baron Hardup in Cinderella, at the Sunderland Empire Theatre over the 2007 Christmas period,[22][23] a role he reprised at Bristol Hippodrome in 2008 and at the Milton Keynes theatre in 2009.[24]

In 2008, Rooney starred as Chief, a wise old ranch owner, in the independent family feature film Lost Stallions: The Journey Home, marking a return to starring in equestrian-themed productions for the first time since the 1990s TV show Adventures of the Black Stallion. Even though they acted together before, Lost Stallions: The Journey Home was the sole film in which Rooney and Jan portrayed a married couple on screen.

In December 2009, he appeared as a guest at a dinner-party hosted by David Gest on Come Dine With Me.[25]

In 2011, Rooney made a brief cameo appearance in The Muppets and appeared in an episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories, recounting how, during a down period in his career, his deceased father appeared to him one night, telling him not to give up on his career. He claimed that the experience bolstered his resolve and soon afterwards his career experienced a resurgence. In 2014, Rooney returned to film scenes to reprise his role as “Gus” in Night at the Museum 3[26]. It is currently unknown whether he completed his scenes and whether his death will affect the film’s production.

Personal life

Rooney was married eight times. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was often the subject of comedians’ jokes for his alleged inability to stay married. At the time of his death, he was married to Jan Chamberlin, although they were then separated. He had a total of nine children, as well as 19 grandchildren[27] and several great-grandchildren.

Mickey Rooney in 1986

In 1942, he married future Hollywood starlet Ava Gardner, but the two were divorced well before she became a star in her own right. While stationed in the military in Alabama in 1944, Rooney met and married local beauty-queen Betty Jane Phillips. This marriage ended in divorce after he returned from Europe at the end of World War II. His subsequent marriages to Martha Vickers (1949) and Elaine Mahnken (1952) were also short-lived and ended in divorce. In 1958, Rooney married Barbara Ann Thomason (stage name Carolyn Mitchell), but tragedy struck when she was murdered in 1966. Falling into deep depression, he married Barbara’s friend, Marge Lane, who helped him take care of his young children. The marriage lasted only 100 days. He was married to Carolyn Hockett from 1969 to 1974, but financial instability ended the relationship. Finally, in 1978, Rooney married Jan Chamberlin, his eighth wife; the union would endure for over 35 years, longer than all of Mickey’s previous marriages combined. They both were outspoken advocates for veterans and animal rights.[28] and Rooney was an outspoken advocate for veterans and senior rights.[citation needed]

After the deaths of his wife Barbara Ann Thomason and his mother, problems with alcohol and drugs, and various financial problems that included a bankruptcy,[29] Rooney had a religious experience with a busboy in a casino coffee shop.[6][30][31] In 1975, Rooney was an active member of the Church of Religious Science, a New Thought group founded by Ernest Holmes.[32]

Rooney’s oldest child, Mickey Rooney, Jr., is a born-again Christian, and has an evangelical ministry in Hemet, California.[33] He and several of Rooney’s other eight children have worked at various times in show business. One of them, actor Tim Rooney, died in 2006, aged 59.

On September 23, 2010, Rooney celebrated his 90th birthday at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency in the Upper East Side of New York City. Among those who attended the fete were; Donald Trump, Regis Philbin, Nathan Lane and Tony Bennett.[34] In December 2010 he was honored as Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month.[35]

On February 16, 2011, Rooney was granted a temporary restraining order against Christopher Aber, one of Jan Rooney’s two sons from a previous marriage.[36] On March 2, 2011 Rooney appeared before a special U.S. Senate committee that was considering legislation to curb elder abuse. Rooney stated that he was financially abused by unnamed family members. On March 27, 2011, all of Rooney’s finances were permanently handed over to lawyers over the claim of missing money.[37]

In April 2011, the temporary restraining order that Rooney was previously granted was replaced by a confidential settlement between Rooney and his stepson.[38] Christopher Aber and Jan Rooney have denied all the allegations.[39][40]

In May 2013, Rooney sold his house of many years, separated from his wife Jan Rooney and split the proceeds.[41]


Rooney died surrounded by his family at his home in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California[42] on April 6, 2014, at the age of 93.[43][44][45] Rooney was survived by his wife of 37 years, Jan Chamberlain, as well as eight surviving children, two stepchildren, nineteen grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.[46]


Always get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.
—Mickey Rooney[47]
Wife Years Children
Ava Gardner 1942–1943
Betty Jane Rase 1944–1949 Mickey Rooney, Jr. (born July 3, 1945)
Tim Rooney (January 4, 1947 – September 23, 2006)
Martha Vickers 1949–1951 Theodore Michael Rooney (born April 13, 1950)
Elaine Devry 1952–1958
Barbara Ann Thomason
(a.k.a.: Tara Thomas, Carolyn Mitchell)
1958–1966 Kelly Ann Rooney (born September 13, 1959)
Kerry Rooney (born December 30, 1960)
Michael Joseph Rooney (born April 2, 1962)
Kimmy Sue Rooney (born September 13, 1963)
Marge Lane 1966–1967
Carolyn Hockett 1969–1975 Jimmy Rooney (adopted from Carolyn’s previous marriage) (born in 1966)
Jonelle Rooney (born January 11, 1970)
Jan Chamberlin 1978–2014 (Separated May 2013)


Selected films

This is a selected list of Rooney’s full-length films, both theatrical and made for television.

Year Title
1927 Orchids and Ermine
1932 The Beast of the City
Sin’s Pay Day
High Speed
Fast Companions
My Pal, the King
Officer Thirteen
1933 The Big Cage
The Life of Jimmy Dolan
The Big Chance
Broadway to Hollywood
The Chief
The World Changes
1934 Beloved
The Lost Jungle
I Like It That Way
Manhattan Melodrama
Love Birds
Half a Sinner
Blind Date
Death on the Diamond
1935 The County Chairman
The Healer
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Ah, Wilderness!
1936 Riffraff
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Down the Stretch
The Devil is a Sissy
1937 A Family Affair
Captains Courageous
Slave Ship
Hoosier Schoolboy
Live, Love and Learn
Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry
You’re Only Young Once
1938 Love Is a Headache
Judge Hardy’s Children
Hold That Kiss
Lord Jeff
Love Finds Andy Hardy
Boys Town
Out West with the Hardys
1939 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Hardys Ride High
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
Babes in Arms
Judge Hardy and Son
1940 Young Tom Edison
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante
Strike Up the Band
1941 Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary
Men of Boys Town
Life Begins for Andy Hardy
Babes on Broadway
1942 The Courtship of Andy Hardy
A Yank at Eton
Andy Hardy’s Double Life
Year Title
1943 The Human Comedy
Thousands Cheer
Girl Crazy
1944 Andy Hardy’s Blonde Trouble
National Velvet
1946 Love Laughs at Andy Hardy
1947 Killer McCoy
1948 Summer Holiday
Words and Music
1949 The Big Wheel
1950 Quicksand
The Fireball
He’s a Cockeyed Wonder
1951 My Outlaw Brother
The Strip
1952 Sound Off
1953 Off Limits
All Ashore
A Slight Case of Larceny
1954 Drive a Crooked Road
The Atomic Kid
1955 The Bridges at Toko-Ri
The Twinkle in God’s Eye
1956 The Bold and the Brave
Francis in the Haunted House
Magnificent Roughnecks
1957 Operation Mad Ball
Baby Face Nelson
1958 A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed
Andy Hardy Comes Home
1959 The Big Operator
The Last Mile
1960 Platinum High School
The Private Lives of Adam and Eve
1961 King of the Roaring 20′s – The Story of Arnold Rothstein
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Everything’s Ducky
1962 Requiem for a Heavyweight
1963 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
1964 The Secret Invasion
1965 Twenty-Four Hours to Kill
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
1966 The Devil In Love
Ambush Bay
1968 Skidoo
1969 The Extraordinary Seaman
The Comic
80 Steps to Jonah
1970 Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (voice)
1971 Mooch Goes to Hollywood
The Manipulator
1972 Evil Roy Slade
1973 The Godmothers
1974 Thunder County
Rachel’s Man
Journey Back to Oz (voice)
The Year Without a Santa Claus (voice)
1975 Ace of Hearts
From Hong Kong with Love
1976 Find the Lady
Year Title
1977 The Domino Principle
Pete’s Dragon
1978 The Magic of Lassie
1979 The Black Stallion
Arabian Adventure
Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (voice)
1981 The Fox and the Hound (voice)
1982 The Emperor of Peru/Odyssey of the Pacific
1983 Bill: On His Own
1984 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
1985 The Care Bears Movie (voice)
1986 Lightning, the White Stallion
1988 Bluegrass
1989 Erik the Viking
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (voice)
1990 Home For Christmas
1991 My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
1992 The Milky Life
Sweet Justice
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker
Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland
Maximum Force
1993 The Legend of Wolf Mountain
The Magic Voyage (voice)
1994 Revenge of the Red Baron
The Outlaws: The Legend of O.B. Taggart
Making Waves
1995 America: A Call to Greatness
1997 Killing Midnight
1998 The Face on the Barroom Floor
Animals and the Tollkeeper
Michael Kael vs. the World News Company
The Snow Queen (voice)
Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights
Babe: Pig in the City
1999 Holy Hollywood
The First of May
2000 Internet Love
Phantom of the Megaplex
2001 Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (voice)
2002 Topa Topa Bluffs
2003 Paradise
2005 Strike the Tent
A Christmas Too Many
2006 The Thirsting
To Kill a Mockumentary
Night at the Museum
2007 The Yesterday Pool
Bamboo Shark
2008 Lost Stallions: The Journey Home
A Miser Brothers’ Christmas (voice)
2010 Gerald
2011 The Muppets
2012 Last Will and Embezzlement
2014 Night at the Museum 3

Short subjects

Year Title
1926 Not to Be Trusted
1927 Mickey’s Circus
Mickey’s Pals
Mickey’s Eleven
Mickey’s Battles
1928 Mickey’s Parade
Mickey in School
Mickey’s Nine
Mickey’s Little Eva
Mickey’s Wild West
Mickey in Love
Mickey’s Triumph
Mickey’s Babies
Mickey’s Movies
Mickey’s Rivals
Mickey the Detective
Mickey’s Athletes
Mickey’s Big Game Hunt
1929 Mickey’s Great Idea
Mickey’s Menagerie
Mickey’s Last Chance
Mickey’s Brown Derby
Mickey’s Northwest Mounted
Mickey’s Initiation
Mickey’s Midnite Follies
Mickey’s Surprise
Mickey’s Mix-Up
Mickey’s Big Moment
Mickey’s Strategy
Year Title
1930 Mickey’s Champs
Mickey’s Explorers
Mickey’s Master Mind
Mickey’s Luck
Mickey’s Whirlwinds
Mickey’s Warriors
Mickey the Romeo
Mickey’s Merry Men
Mickey’s Winners
Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 24
Mickey’s Musketeers
Mickey’s Bargain
1931 Mickey’s Stampede
Mickey’s Crusaders
Mickey’s Rebellion
Mickey’s Diplomacy
Mickey’s Wildcats
Mickey’s Thrill Hunters
Mickey’s Helping Hand
Mickey’s Sideline
1932 Mickey’s Busy Day
Mickey’s Travels
Mickey’s Holiday
Mickey’s Big Business
Mickey’s Golden Rule
Mickey’s Charity
Year Title
1933 Mickey’s Ape Man
Mickey’s Race
Mickey’s Big Broadcast
Mickey’s Disguises
Mickey’s Touchdown
Mickey’s Tent Show
Mickey’s Covered Wagon
1934 Mickey’s Minstrels
Mickey’s Rescue
Mickey’s Medicine Man
1935 Pirate Party on Catalina Isle
1937 Cinema Circus
1938 Andy Hardy’s Dilemma
1940 Rodeo Dough
1941 Meet the Stars #4: Variety Reel #2
1943 Show Business at War
1947 Screen Snapshots: Out of This World Series
1953 Screen Snapshots: Mickey Rooney – Then and Now
1958 Screen Snapshots: Glamorous Hollywood
1968 Vienna
1974 Just One More Time
1975 The Lion Roars Again
2008 Wreck the Halls


Rooney made countless appearances in TV sitcoms and television films. He also lent his voice to many animation films. Only his most important work is listed in this section.

Year(s) Title Role Notes
1954–55 The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan Mickey Mulligan Lead Role; 33 episodes
1964–65 Mickey Mickey Grady Lead Role; 17 episodes
1982 One of the Boys Oliver Nugent Lead Role; 13 episodes
1990–93 The Adventures of the Black Stallion Henry Dailey Main Role; 78 episodes

Stage work

Awards and honors

Year Award Category Nominated work / Honor Result
1938 Academy Award Academy Juvenile Award (With Deanna Durbin)
“For their significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as juvenile players setting a high standard of ability and achievement.”
1939 Academy Award Best Actor in a Leading Role Babes in Arms Nominated
1943 Academy Award Best Actor in a Leading Role The Human Comedy Nominated
1956 Academy Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role The Bold and the Brave Nominated
1957 Emmy Award Best Single Performance in a Leading or Supporting Role “The Comedian”, episode of Playhouse 90 Nominated
1957 Laurel Award Top Male Action Star Baby Face Nelson 3rd Place
1958 Emmy Award Best Single Performance Alcoa Theatre Nominated
1960 Hollywood Walk of Fame Star of Motion Picture Star at 1718 Vine Street Honored
Star of Television Star at 6372 Hollywood Boulevard Honored
Star of Radio Star at 6541 Hollywood Boulevard Honored
1961 Emmy Award Best Single Performance in a Leading or Supporting Role “Somebody’s Waiting”, episode of The Dick Powell Show Nominated
1962 Laurel Award Top Male Supporting Performance Requiem for a Heavyweight Nominated
1964 Golden Globe Best TV Star – Male Mickey Won
1980 Academy Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role The Black Stallion Nominated
1981 Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special Bill Won
1981 Golden Globe Best Actor in a TV Mini-Series or Motion Picture Bill Won
1983 Academy Award Academy Honorary Award “In recognition of his 50 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances.” Honored
1983 Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special Bill: On His Own Nominated
1991 Gemini Award Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role The Adventures of the Black Stallion Nominated
1991 Young Artist Award Former Child Star Award For lifetime achievement as a child star
(Subsequently renamed “The Mickey Rooney Award“)
1996 Giffoni Film Festival François Truffaut Award Honored
2004 Pocono Mountains Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Honored

In 1996, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[48]


  1. “Mickey Rooney obituary: women liked me because I made them laugh”. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  2. Life Is Too Short. Autobiography (1991). ISBN 978-0-679-40195-7
  3. Current Biography 1942. H.W. Wilson Co. (January 1942). pp. 704–06. ISBN 99903-960-3-5.
  4. Mickey Rooney at the Internet Movie Database
  5. Server, Lee, Ava Gardner “Love is Nothing” (2006), St. Martin’s Press
  6. Albin, Kira. Mickey Rooney: Hollywood, Religion and His Latest Show. Senior Magazine. 1995.
  7. Gabler, Neal, Walt Disney, (2006), Alfred A. Knopf
  8. Rooney, Mickey. “The Lion Reigns Supreme”, MGM: When the Lion Roars, 1992 miniseries
  9. “11th Academy Awards”. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
  10. “In 1939 [Rooney] became the top box-office star in the world, a title he held for three consecutive years.” Branagh, Kenneth (narrator). 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year. Turner Classic Movies, 2009.
  11. “Young Tom Edison (1940)”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2013-09-16. “Time put Rooney on the cover, noting that his movies had grossed a whopping $30 million for MGM the previous year and praising him for ‘his most sober and restrained performance to date’ as young Edison, ‘who (like himself) began at the bottom of the American heap, (like himself) had to struggle, (like himself) won, but a boy whose main activity (unlike Mickey’s) was investigating, inventing, thinking.’”
  12. “Cinema: Success Story”. Time. March 18, 1940. Retrieved 2013-09-16. “Hollywood’s No. 1 box office bait in 1939 was not Clark Gable, Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power, but a rope-haired, kazoo-voiced kid with a comic-strip face, who until this week had never appeared in a picture without mugging or overacting it. His name (assumed) was Mickey Rooney, and to a large part of the more articulate U. S. cinema audience, his name was becoming a frequently used synonym for brat.”
  13. “12th Annual Youth in Film Awards”. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  14. “13th Annual Youth in Film Awards”. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  15. “23rd Annual Young Artist Awards”. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  16. Dunning, John, On The Air: The Encyclopedia Of Old-Time Radio (1998), Oxford University Press
  17. Marx, Arthur (1987). The Nine Lives of Mickey Rooney. New York: Berkley. ISBN 978-0425105528.
  18. Marill, Alvin H. (2005). Mickey Rooney: His Films, Television Appearances, Radio Work, Stage Shows, And Recordings. Jefferson NC: McFarland. p. 50. ISBN 0-7864-2015-4.
  19. Brockes, Emma (October 16, 2005). “Murder in Tinseltown”. London: Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  20. Marx, Arthur, The Nine Lives Of Mickey Rooney (1986), Stein & Day
  21. America: A Call to Greatness at The Internet Movie Database, TV, 1995
  22. Mickey Rooney makes panto debut, December 7, 2007
  23. “Mickey Rooney: The Mickey show”. London: 2008-12-14. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  24. “Review – Cinderella with Mickey Rooney, Milton Keynes Theatre « West End Whingers”. 2009-12-06. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  25. “Come Dine With Me Celebrity Special”. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  27. “Mickey Rooney Grandchildren”. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  28. Mickey and Jan Rooney Show Love for Animals on YouTube
  29. Gold, Tanya. “Mickey Rooney: ‘Why retire? Inspire’”. The Guardian. December 29, 2009.
  30. Plagenz, George R. “What Mickey Rooney Knows About Life”. Nevada Daily Mail. May 23, 1991.
  31. Michel, Alex. “AT LUNCH WITH: Mickey Rooney; At 73, Still the Star, Still the Child”. The New York Times. July 7, 1993.
  32. Plagenz, George R. (June 5, 1975). “Church Attracts Rooney, Top Stars”. Pittsburgh Press-Gazette. p. 25. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  33. Sanderson, Nancy. “Legend’s Son at Home in Hemet: Mickey Rooney Jr., in Show Business Since Childhood, Is Also Involved in Ministry.”The Press-Enterprise (Hemet, California), May 22, 2001.
  34. “Actor Mickey Rooney Turns 90 With Upper East Side Style”. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  35. “Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month”. 1920-09-23. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  36. “Mickey Rooney granted restraining order against stepson”. 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  37. “Mickey Rooney lawyer to control finances”. 2011-03-27. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  38. “Mickey Rooney drops restraining order against stepson”. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  39. “Mickey Rooney Claims Elder Abuse: Actor’s testimony to Congress helps spur bill for new crackdown” by Carole Fleck and Talia Schmidt. AARP Bulletin, March 2, 2011
  40. Silverman, Stephen M. (2011-03-03). “Mickey Rooney: ‘Elder Abuse Made Me Feel Trapped’”. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  41. Hetherman, Bill (2013-03-03). “Mickey Rooney’s home to be sold for $1.3M to West Hills firm”. Daily Breeze.
  43. “Mickey Rooney, Golden Age Box Office Giant, Dies at 93″. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  44. “Reports: Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney dies”. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  46. Mickey Rooney survivors
  47. Mickey RooneyUS actor (1920 – ). “Quote Details: Mickey Rooney: Always get married early…”. The Quotations Page. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  48. “Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated” (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-16.


  • Mickey Rooney, Life Is Too Short (New York: Random House, 1991)
  • Arthur Marx, The Nine Lives Of Mickey Rooney (New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1988 reprint)
  • Rothwell-Smith, Paul. Silent Films! the Performers (2011) ISBN 9781907540325

External links

Bringing the HIV pandemic to zero will require a vaccine, expert says

Saturday, March 29th, 2014


José Esparza to deliver keynote address at upcoming meeting on overcoming vaccine development barriers

WINNIPEG, March 28, 2014 /CNW/ – With 2.3 million new cases of HIV every year globally, including 50,000 in the U.S. alone, internationally renowned vaccine expert José Esparza says the need for an HIV vaccine is imperative to complement other preventive interventions and bring HIV/AIDS under control.

“There has been a sense that we have the tools to bring the pandemic to zero, but that’s not true. We will not be able to do that without a vaccine; how soon one is developed will depend on the decisions we make today,” says Esparza, who will soon retire from his role as Senior Advisor, Vaccines at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In May, Esparza will deliver his first post-retirement speech at a Canadian meeting on HIV vaccine research and development. His presentation entitled “Do We Need a New Paradigm for HIV Vaccine Development?” will be the keynote address at the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI) Research and Development Alliance Coordinating Office (ACO) Annual Meeting, to be held May 1, 2014 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Esparza, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, has worked for decades in viral diseases and vaccine research. He says more innovative research, efficacy trials, and strong international partnerships will be the keys to successful HIV vaccine discovery.

Esparza and 12 other Canadian and international experts will address barriers to vaccine development and the innovative steps being taken to overcome them at the ACO Annual CHVI R&D Meeting.

The meeting will provide perspectives from research, regulatory affairs, pharma and international organizations – precisely the kind of multidisciplinary dialogue that Esparza has advocated for throughout his career.

“We need voices that maintain the sense of urgency regarding the search for an HIV vaccine,” he says. “Accelerating HIV vaccine discovery and development will require a concerted and collaborative effort that focuses on developing a globally relevant vaccine.”

The ACO annual meeting is being held in tandem with the 23rd Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research (CAHR 2014), where Esparza will also speak on May 2 at the CHVI – Vaccine Research Plenary. The title of his presentation for that session is “An HIV Vaccine Will be Needed to Bring the HIV Pandemic to Zero”.

The CHVI is a five-year collaborative initiative between the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and represents a significant Canadian contribution to global efforts to develop a safe, effective, affordable and globally accessible HIV vaccine. The ACO was established by the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2011 at the International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The ACO is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Tattoo clients urged to get tested for hepatitis and HIV

Saturday, March 29th, 2014


Health officials are warning anyone who received a tattoo at a downtown Edmonton home to be tested for hepatitis and HIV.

tattoosA man works on a tattoo in a picture posted on the Tazzman Tattoos Facebook page. (CBC)

Alberta Health Services is urging anyone who received a tattoo from a home business named Tazzman Tattoo or from the operator Steve Tazz Devilman to get tested.

The business at #301, 10724 – 105 Street, which was never inspected, used unsanitary tattoo procedures, said Dr. Chris Sikora, Edmonton Zone Medical Officer of Health.

“We were able to do a complete inspection and found that the sanitary conditions were unacceptable for current standards and regulations for delivery of tattoos in any situation,” he said.

AHS ordered the business closed on March 21. Clients are advised to get tested for illnesses like Hepatitis and HIV.

Areol Leason, who says she’s the fiance of the tattoo artist, says that he used sterile and there was no reason for AHS to intervene.

“Nobody’s being affected by his hobby,” she told CBC News.

Worried clients can call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 (LINK) to arrange for testing.

To confirm that a tattoo operation in the city is inspected, people can call AHS Environmental Public Health at 780-735-1800.

Iranian pop star Googoosh releases taboo-breaking video addressing homosexuality

Saturday, March 29th, 2014


AMSTERDAM – Iranian pop star Googoosh has released a video that addresses homosexual love — a major gesture by one of the country’s top cultural figures in exile — causing a stir in the Islamic republic, where the topic is taboo and being convicted of homosexuality can carry the death penalty.

The ballad’s lyrics speak of a forbidden love, and the video shows scenes of a happy young woman as seen through the eyes of her lover, contrasted with scenes of disapproval from her father and others. It withholds until the final moments the fact that her lover is another woman.

“Don’t tell me to stop loving: you can’t do that and I can’t either,” Googoosh sings in “Behesht” (Heaven).

Googoosh was Iran’s first pop diva, though the 1979 revolution interrupted her singing career for two decades until she left the country. Her music has remained popular with Persian speakers everywhere and underground in Iran, where her status is comparable to that of Madonna.

Navid Akhavan, an Iranian-born German who wrote and directed the video for the song, said it has been viewed by more than a million Iranians online or via illegal satellite channels since its Valentine’s Day release, and was clicked on half a million times in the first 24 hours.

“That shows the subject is something that, if you’re for it or against it, draws attention,” Akhavan said in an interview with The Associated Press during a visit to Amsterdam.

Government-controlled newspapers have criticized the video, and labelled Googoosh “anti-revolutionary” because of it — the equivalent of accusing her of treason.

Farinaz Aryanfar, a Dutch-based Iran expert not associated with the project, said she had viewed the video soon after it came out and was caught off-guard by the twist at the end. She said that would likely be true for all Iranians.

“In any perspective you look at it, it’s taboo-breaking,” she said.

She said that it’s impossible to know how many people in Iran have seen the video, or to make generalizations about how it has been received. But she had seen it widely shared via social media, which Iranians access remotely in order to avoid government censorship filters.

She said she thought the video’s release is on the whole “a good thing.”

“Googoosh is so famous, there are so many people who love her, that if a fan watches this video — it makes you start thinking,” she said.

Navid said he had received an outpouring of thanks from gays in Iran, who feel that affirmation of their existence by a celebrity of Googoosh’s status is a major breakthrough.

He said the video and its message were calibrated to engage with the broadest swath of Iranians possible, raising the issue of homosexuality but focusing on love rather than sex or nudity.

“I thought this would be the perfect time, with this medium of the music video, with this icon Googoosh, to open the conversation about it and to say: freedom to love for all is something that we should understand, and should be for,” he said.

CNN Presses Willie Robertson on Dad’s Stance on Homosexuality – His Simple Response Will Get Strong Reactions From Both Sides

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Willie Robertson, one of the stars of the hit TV series “Duck Dynasty,” refused to water down his faith when pressed by CNN to defend his father’s past remarks on homosexuality and the Bible.

“Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson sparked controversy when he described homosexuality as immoral and sinful in an interview with GQ. He paraphrased 1 Corinthians to help explain his beliefs.

In an interview that aired Wednesday on “New Day,” Robertson, accompanied by his wife, Korie, said GQ asked very specific questions to get the answer they wanted all along.

“(Phil) made Christmas very interesting for us,” Robertson joked about his dad. He went on to say that his father “just said what he thought, what was on his heart.”



When CNN’s Kyra Phillips pressed him on what he believes, Robertson provided a very simple answer.

“I believe what the Bible says,” he replied.

“You have to read the Bible and make up your own mind,” he continued. “You have to decide, and God will ultimately decide then. We don’t profess to be God, and we certainly don’t profess to be perfect. Because we have our own sins that we deal with.”

Korie Robertson argued that “anybody who knows (Phil) … any gay, straight, black white, anybody who knows Phil knows that he is about love and his message is about God’s love, God’s grace and his forgiveness, ultimately.”

The CNN reporter than pressed further, asking if they believe the Bible is “literal.”

“That’s how it was said,” Robertson answered.

Robertson’s candid remarks about his faith are already being framed as a new so-called “controversy” by some left-leaning outlets.

Kyrgyzstan to outlaw statements that would create ‘positive attitudes’ about homosexuality

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Kyrgyzstan has gone a step further than its former parent-state Russia to introduce a bill that not only prohibits ‘gay propaganda’ but statements that may ‘create a positive attitude’ towards ‘non-traditional sexual relations’
| By Sylvia Tan

Image: YouTube

The ex-Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan last week announced a new bill that would make any statement that creates ‘a positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation’ – whether or not it amounts to a criminal act under the law – punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine.

Although there are no laws that prohibit sexual relations between men as it was decriminalised in 1998, a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) has found that gay and bisexual men have been subjected to a range of physical, sexual, and psychological abuses at the hands of police in Kyrgyzstan.

According to a news report published by the HRW, the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code define ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ as ‘sodomy, lesbianism and other forms of non-traditional sexual behaviour.’

Anyone found ‘creating a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations, using the media or information and telecommunications networks,’ would face up to six months in prison and a fine of from 2,000 to 5,000 som (US$36 to $91).

If the person is found to ‘create a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations’ among minors, or is a repeat offender, the prison term could be as long as a year and the fine would be 3,000 to 6,000 som ($55 to $110). Fines also could be imposed under the administrative code for similar activities that do not amount to criminal acts under the proposed amendments.

The bill was published online for public discussion, but has not been officially registered for consideration.

The HRW noted that the provisions in the bill would ‘violate Kyrgyzstan’s constitution as well as international human rights law on nondiscrimination, freedom of expression, association, and assembly.’

‘This draconian bill is blatantly discriminatory against LGBT people and would deny citizens across Kyrgyzstan their fundamental rights,’ said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The group has called on the government to withdraw the proposed bill immediately, and the government and political parties to speak out against such legislation, making clear it has no place in Kyrgyzstan.

In the weeks after the HRW’s report ‘They Told Us We Deserved This: Police Violence against Gay and Bisexual Men in Kyrgyzstan‘ was released, an LGBT activist who was involved with the report received various threats from individuals on social media, including a death threat.

The New Owner of Newsweek Believes Homosexuality Can Be Cured

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Last year, IBT Media acquired Newsweek from IAC, hoping to use the magazine’s name to redeem the company’s reputation as a soulless content farm controlled, in part, by right-wing Moonie leader David Jang. In a lengthy profile of IBT founder Johnathan Davis, Guardian reporter Jon Swaine reveals that the 31-year-old entrepreneur believes in redeeming gay people, too:

In a Facebook post in February 2013, Davis described as “shockingly accurate” an op-ed article written by Christopher Doyle, the director of the International Healing Foundation (IHF), which works to convert gay people. Davis said it “cuts like a hot knife through a buttery block of lies.”

In the Christian Post article Davis linked to, ex-gay activist Christopher Boyle argues that “there is a good chance a person will experience SSA”—same-sex attraction—if that person experiences “sexual initiation and/or sexual abuse” as a child, and that “activists in the psychological and counseling communities” repeatedly silence researchers who suggest that homosexuality is harmful and can be cured. (Both assertions have been repeatedly debunked.)

When asked about the Facebook post, which he eventually deleted, Davis told the Guardian: “Whether I do or not [believe that], I’m not sure how that has any bearing on my capacity here as the founder of the company. I’m not sure how it’s relevant. People believe all sorts of weird things. But from a professional capacity, it’s unrelated.”

Heaven is real.

Update: A few hours after this story was published, Davis sent IBT employees a company-wide memo in which he states that “our company, myself included, has and always will respect diversity in our workplace.”

Kenya MP likens homosexuality to terrorism

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

A top Kenyan leader has said that homosexuality in the country is as bad a problem as terrorism – but claimed that existing laws are tough enough.

Aden Duale, from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition, said in response to MPs demanding harsher laws that legal sanctions did not need to be stepped up. Legislator Alois Lentoimaga  asked: “Can’t we just be brave enough, seeing that we are a sovereign state, and outlaw gayism and lesbianism, the way Uganda has done?” In February, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill criminalising homosexuality in the country, prompting some international donors to suspend aid. The bill will see those found guilty of “homosexuality” sentenced to 14 years in jail. Duale, who speaks on behalf of the Kenyan government in the assembly, said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism. “It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other social evil,” he said. He was referring in particular to a recent spate of attacks, which were carried out by al Qa’ida-linked Somali Islamist militants in retaliation for Kenya’s intervention in neighbouring Somalia. But Duale said the Kenyan constitution and the penal code already had sufficient anti-gay provisions, denying the government was reluctant to tighten such laws for fear of losing international aid. He said 595 cases of homosexuality had been investigated in Kenya since 2010, when a new constitution was adopted, and courts had convicted or acquitted the accused, while police had found no organisations openly championing homosexuality in violation of the law. “We do not need to go the Uganda way, we have the constitution and the penal code to deal with homosexuality, and so this debate is finished, we will not be enacting any new tougher laws,” Duale told Reuters. Homosexuality is broadly taboo in Africa and illegal in 37 countries. Fear of violence, imprisonment and loss of jobs means few gays in Africa are open about their sexuality. Kenya’s penal code says any person “who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” is guilty of a felony and can be jailed for 14 years. Anti-gay groups have emerged in Kenya after Nigeria and Uganda toughened up laws against homosexuals. One of these groups, The Save Our Men Initiative, has said it is launching a “Zuia Sodom Kabisa” campaign, meaning “prevent Sodom completely” in Swahili, to “save the family, save youth, save Kenya”. Nigeria has outlawed same-sex relationships. Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has said homosexuals are “vermin” and must be fought like malaria-causing mosquitoes.

Francoise David

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Françoise David, CQ (born January 13, 1948) is the spokesperson of Québec solidaire — a left-wing, feminist and sovereigntist political party in the province of Quebec, Canada. She was elected to serve as the Member of the National Assembly in the riding of Gouin in the 2012 Quebec election. Quebec Solidaire was born from the merger of Option Citoyenne with l’Union des Forces Progressistes. She is the author of the book/manifesto Bien commun recherché – une option citoyenne (over 7,000 copies sold in Quebec) which combines the concepts of “common good”, social justice, ecology and economic democracy into a coherent political doctrine.


In 1987, Françoise David became coordinator for the Regroupement des centres de femmes du Québec. Seven years later, she was named president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ). In this capacity, she ensured that women’s issues, including poverty and violence against women, remained at the forefront in Canada. She is the daughter of cardiologist Paul David. She is also the sister of teacher and director of Raould Dandurand Chair, Charles-Philippe David.

Two of her best-recognised public successes have been the 1995 Women’s March against Poverty and the 2000 World March of Women against Poverty and Violence.

In addition to her work experience, Françoise David is a member of numerous community organizations. In January 2000, she participated in the non-governmental observation mission to Iraq, and in December 2001 she traveled to Mali with the Canadian University Service Overseas.

In 1999, she was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.

David ran in the riding of Gouin in central Montreal in the 2007 Quebec election, finishing second to the PQ incumbent Nicolas Girard. David received 7913 votes, amounting to 26% of the vote in her riding, behind Girard’s 11,318 votes (37%). Quebec Solidaire received 3.7% of the vote provincewide.

David ran in Gouin a second time in the 2008 Quebec election, receiving 7987 votes, or approximately 32% of the total, but again losing out to Girard, who received 10,276 votes (41%). Quebec Solidaire received 3.8% of the vote provincewide and David’s co-leader Amir Khadir won the party’s first seat in the National Assembly of Quebec in the neighbouring riding of Mercier.

In the 2012 Quebec election, David was elected for the first time.

Francois Legault

Friday, March 21st, 2014

François Legault (pronounced: [fʁɑ̃swa ləɡo]; born May 26, 1957) is a politician in Quebec, Canada and leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec party since its foundation in 2011.

He was a member of the National Assembly of Quebec from 1998 to 2009, serving in the government of Quebec as Minister of Education from 1998 to 2002 and as Minister of Health from 2002 to 2003. As a member of the Parti Québécois (PQ), he was first elected in the 1998 Quebec election in the riding of Rousseau in the Lanaudière region. He was re-elected in 2003, 2007 and 2008 but resigned his seat on June 25, 2009. He was elected as the MNA for L’Assomption, a suburb of Montreal, at the 2012 Quebec provincial election

Early life and education

Legault was born in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from the HEC Montreal. He also became a Chartered Accountant.[2]

Business career

He worked as an administrator for Provigo, a finance director for Nationair and an auditor for Ernst & Young.

He co-founded Air Transat in 1986 after being the director of marketing at Quebecair. He was the Chief Executive Officer of that company until 1997, with a turnover of C$1.3 billion and 4000 employees. He also managed the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Museum for a year.

Political career

Parti Québécois

After his 1998 election, he was appointed by Lucien Bouchard as Minister for Industry and Commerce. He was later named the Minister of Education.

When Bouchard resigned, it was said that Legault would support Pauline Marois against Bernard Landry. He later clarified his position as being in favour of Landry’s candidacy.

Landry appointed Legault as State Minister of Education and later as Minister of Health and Social Services. He was re-elected in 2003 while the PQ lost to the Quebec Liberal Party. He was named during the mandate the critic for economics, economic development and finances.

He endorsed Richard Legendre in the 2005 PQ leadership election, which was won by André Boisclair. After his re-election in 2007, he was renamed the PQ critic in economic development and finances.

Legault was re-elected in the 2008 elections but announced on June 25, 2009 that would retire from politics.[3] He was seen by some political analysts at the time as a potential contender in a future leadership election.[4]

Coalition Avenir Québec

In February 2011, Legault co-founded with Charles Sirois a new political movement called the “Coalition pour l’avenir du Québec (“Coalition for the Future of Quebec”); in November 2011 it became an official party under the name Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ). The CAQ aims to bring together like-minded voters in a single party regardless of their views on Quebec nationalism, Quebec federalism and Quebec autonomism. It is contesting the September 2012 general election.

Philippe Couillard

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Philippe Couillard, PC (born June 26, 1957) is the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party and former university professor and neurosurgeon in Quebec, Canada. He was elected MNA of Outremont with 55% of votes in the Outremont’s by-election on December 9, 2013.In the 2014 election he is running in Roberval where he resides.Until June 25, 2008, he served as the Quebec Minister for Health and Social Services and was also MNA of Mont-Royal until he resigned in 2008 under Jean Charest’s liberal government.

Life and career

Couillard was born in Montreal, Quebec. He holds a medical degree and a certification in neurosurgery from the Université de Montréal. He was the head of the department of neurosurgery at St-Luc hospital from 1989 to 1992 and again at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke from 1996 to 2003. From 1992 to 1996, he practised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. In 2003, he left the medical profession to run for a seat in the National Assembly representing the Quebec Liberal Party. He was elected MNA for Mont-Royal in the 2003 election and was appointed Minister of Health and Social Services on April 29, 2003.

Since taking office, he proved skillful in the handling of his department’s public relations and was regarded by some as the most popular minister in the Charest government.[1] His accomplishments during his tenure included a $4.2 billion increase in the Quebec health budget, the prohibition of smoking in public places, and a reduction in the number of union local accreditations in the health sector.

In 2006 and 2007, there were rumours that Couillard would jump to federal politics and become a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada in a future federal election, but Couillard denied it.[2] Meanwhile, Couillard announced his candidacy for the Jean-Talon riding in the Quebec City area, replacing Margaret Delisle who did not seek re-election due to health reasons. Couillard won the 2007 elections despite the Action democratique du Quebec‘s (ADQ) strong performance in the region in which the party gained the majority of the seats. Pierre Arcand succeeded Couillard in the Mont-Royal riding. Couillard was renamed the Health and Social Services Minister as well as the minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale (Quebec) region.

On June 25, 2008, Couillard officially announced his resignation as Minister and MNA. He was succeeded as Minister and Jean-Talon MNA by locally-known Alma doctor Yves Bolduc.[3][4]

On June 23, 2010, Couillard was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and consequently was appointed to the Privy Council.[5]

On October 3, 2012, Couillard became the third person to enter the race to succeed Jean Charest as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. When asked why he was re-entering politics, he said, “I feel the need to serve.”[6]

On March 17, 2013, Couillard became the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, beating ex-cabinet ministers Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau.

On December 9, 2013, he was elected MNA for the riding of Outremont in a by-election.[7]

Electoral record

Quebec provincial by-election, December 9, 2013
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp
Liberal Philippe Couillard 5,582 55.11 +13.59
Québec solidaire Édith Laperle 3,264 32.23 +14.21
Option nationale Julie Surprenant 677 6.68 +4.97
Green Alex Tyrrell 384 3.79
Conservative Pierre Ennio Crespi 145 1.43
Parti nul Mathieu Marcil 59 0.58 -0.34
Autonomist Team Guy Boivin 17 0.17
Total valid votes 10,128 99.13
Total rejected ballots 89 0.87
Turnout 10,217 26.42 -41.79
Electors on the lists 38,671
Liberal hold Swing -0.41
Quebec general election, 2007: Jean-Talon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 13,732 41.96 -4.64
Parti québécois Véronique Hivon 9,859 30.13 -5.23
Action démocratique Luc de la Sablonnière 6,056 18.51 +3.34
Green Ali Dahan 1,518 4.64 +3.23
Québec solidaire Bill Clennett 1,463 4.47 +2.95*
Christian Democracy Francis Denis 95 0.29 -

* Increase is from UFP


Quebec general election, 2003: Mont-Royal
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp
Liberal Philippe Couillard 21,021 80.91 +0.67
Parti Québécois Vincent Gagnon 3,465 13.34 +0.60
Action démocratique Nour-Eddine Hajibi 1,240 4.77 +1.23
Equality Frank Kiss 256 0.99 -0.90


Pauline Marois

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Pauline Marois (French: [pɔlin maʁwa]; born March 29, 1949) is the 30th and current Premier of Quebec and leader of the Parti Québécois, representing the riding of Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré in the National Assembly of Quebec. On September 4, 2012, Marois led her party to victory in the Quebec general election, thus becoming the first female premier in the province’s history.[3]

Born in a working class family, Marois studied social work at Université Laval, married businessman Claude Blanchet and became an activist in grassroots organizations and in the Parti Québécois (a social democratic party advocating Quebec’s independence).[4][5][6][7][8] After accepting political jobs in ministerial offices, she was first elected as a member of the National Assembly in 1981. At age 32, she was appointed to the cabinet for the first time as a junior minister in the René Lévesque government.

After being defeated as a PQ candidate in La Peltrie in the 1985 general election and in a by-election in 1988, she was elected as the member for Taillon in the 1989 general election. With the return of the PQ to government in 1994, Premiers Parizeau, Bouchard and Landry appointed Marois to senior positions in the Quebec cabinet. She was instrumental in crafting policies to end confessional school boards in the public education system, she restructured the tuition system in post-secondary education, implemented Canada’s first subsidized daycare program, and slashed the Quebec deficit under Premier Bouchard’s “deficit zero” agenda. In 2001, Premier Landry appointed her Deputy Premier of Quebec, becoming the third woman after Lise Bacon and Monique Gagnon-Tremblay to assume the second-highest role in the provincial government.

Following two failed leadership runs in 1985 and 2005, Marois briefly left political life in 2006. A year later, she stood unopposed to become the seventh leader of the Parti Québécois on June 26, 2007. From 2008 to 2012, she served as Leader of the Official Opposition of the National Assembly of Quebec. In spite of internal strife in 2011 and early 2012, where she survived several challenges to her leadership from prominent members of her caucus – earning her the nickname Dame de béton,[9] “Concrete Lady” – she led the Parti Québécois to victory with a minority government in the 2012 Quebec general election.

Youth and early career

Early life

Marois was born at Saint-François d’Assise Hospital, in Limoilou, a working-class neighborhood of Quebec City. Daughter of Marie-Paule (born Gingras) and Grégoire Marois, a heavy machinery mechanic, she is the oldest of five children.[10][11] She was raised in a small two-story brick house built by his father in Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon – a village now amalgamated with the city of Lévis—, facing the provincial capital on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River.[10]

According to Marois, her parents were nationalists and devout Catholics, but remained rather uninvolved politically. Her mother’s efforts to have the family recite the Holy Rosary at night generally lasted for two or three days. Marois has recalled that her father was sympathetic to the ideas of the Social Credit and the Union Nationale party; he kept current with the news and even bought the family a television set in the early 1950s.[12]

During her youth, Marois recalls in her autobiography, published in 2008, her parents had “profound intuitions”, and although her father regretted his own lack of status and education, he was ready to sacrifice in order to get a decent education for his children.[13] Her three brothers, Denis, Robert and Marc, and her sister, Jeannine, would all graduate with university degrees.[12][14]

She first attended the small parish school in nearby Saint-Rédempteur, where Marois recalls that she excelled in French, History and Geography, developed an interest for reading and received numerous books as prizes for her academic achievements. At the age of 12, she was enrolled at Collège Jésus-Marie de Sillery, an exclusive, all-girl, Catholic private school attended by the offspring of the local bourgeoisie, an episode she describes as a “culture shock”, leaving an permanent mark on her outlook and future choices.[14][15]

According to her autobiography, Marois became aware of her lower social status in school and in the affluent houses of Sillery, where she sometimes gave a hand to her mother, who did housecleaning jobs in order to pay tuition. She was active in school clubs and describes herself as a good student, although she failed her English and Latin classes, momentarily putting her place in school in jeopardy.[14][15]


In 1968, she enrolled in the social work undergraduate program at Quebec City‘s Université Laval. At the time, Marois recalls, she was more interested in the condition of the poor and in international issues than other issues such as the status of the French language or the Quebec independence movement. According to her autobiography, she participated in a study on housing in the city’s Lower Town and demonstrated against the Vietnam War.[16]

The construction of federal office buildings in Hull in the early 1970s.

The next year, she married Claude Blanchet, a young man from a nearby village and her high school sweetheart. Despite their differences — Blanchet was a budding entrepreneur who bought his first gas station at the age of 17, while a student in business administration — the young couple began a lifelong relationship.[17]

In September 1970, she got an internship in Hull, where she helped with the creation of a local chapter of the Association coopérative d’économie familiale (ACEF) — a consumer advocacy group —, while her husband was hired by Campeau Corporation, a real estate developer part of Power Corporation.[18] At the time, the region was rapidly expanding due to the growth of the federal bureaucracy and the construction of administrative buildings on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River was met with opposition, according to Marois, because it did not take “into account the needs and the housing conditions of the local population.”[19]

This internship, which coincided with the October Crisis and her return to Quebec City to graduate at the spring of 1971, had a profound impact on Marois. “I arrived in the Outaouais as a French Canadian. I left the region identifying forever as a Quebecer“, she declared in her 2008 autobiography, Québécoise!.[20]

Early career

While gaining experience with several community organizations including launching CFVO-TV, a community television station in the Outaouais region, she lectured for some time in social work at the Cégep de Hull, and took a job as CEO of a CLSC.[21] She also volunteered with the Parti Québécois, delivering barbecue chicken to election workers on election day in 1973.[22] After moving to Montreal in July, she pursued a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from HEC Montréal, where she took two classes with economist Jacques Parizeau. After graduating, she was hired as the head of the childhood services division at the Centre des services sociaux du Montréal Métropolitain.[21][23]

In the fall of 1978, Marois left her public service job to join her former professor’s office at the Department of Finance, but she left her press job after 6 months, feeling Parizeau wasn’t “utilizing her to her full potential”,[24] she told the former Premier’s biographer, journalist Pierre Duchesne, a future minister in her own 2012 cabinet.

In November 1979, Lise Payette, the minister responsible for the condition of women, got Marois to join her office as chief of staff. According to René Lévesque’s biographer, Pierre Godin, she hesitated before taking the job because she felt she was not feminist enough. “With me, you’ll become one”, Payette answered back.[25]

First political career

Minister in the René Lévesque government

Seven months pregnant, Marois hesitated before entering politics. After some support, her husband and René Lévesque convinced her to run for the PQ in the 1981 general election.[26] After winning a contested nomination,[27] she ran in the La Peltrie electoral district and won with a 5,337-vote majority on her Liberal opponent,[28] as one of only eight women being elected that year.[note 1][29][30] Only 11 days after becoming a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec, she gave birth to her second child, Félix, on April 24.[31][32]

Less than a week later, she joined the René Lévesque government as Minister for the Status of Women, where the 32-year-old replaced her former boss, Lise Payette, who was not running in 1981. She was appointed as vice-chair of the Treasury Board in September 1982 and was promoted to Minister of Labour and Income Security and Minister responsible for the Outaouais region at the end of 1983.[33]

Marois played a minor role in the turmoil and infighting that shook the Lévesque cabinet after the election of Brian Mulroney as the new Canadian Prime Minister, in the fall of 1984. She was first approached by Pierre Marc Johnson, the leader of the kangaroo faction — favourable to reaching some accommodations with the new Conservative government —, but finally joined the more hardline group — the caribou —, who oppose the affirmation nationale agenda and call for the respect of PQ orthodoxy.[34]

On November 9, 1984, she was one of the 12 signatories of a letter in which half of René Lévesque ministers disavowed the beau risque strategy advocated by the Premier and called upon him to put sovereignty at the heart of the next election campaign. However, she did not resign from her position as seven of her co-signatories did by the end of the month.[35]

After Lévesque’s resignation in June 1985, Marois entered the leadership race despite unfavourable polls.[note 2] Running on a full-employment and sovereignty platform,[36] Marois finished in second place with 19,471 (19.7%) votes, a far cry from the 56,925 (58.7%) cast for the new leader, Pierre Marc Johnson.[37]

Opposition MNA

After being defeated in the 1985 general election by Liberal candidate Lawrence Cannon,[38] she joined the feminist movement and became treasurer of the Fédération des femmes du Québec and a consultant with the Elizabeth Fry Society, while lecturing at Université du Québec à Hull.[21]

Marois remained in the party’s executive until the end of her term, in the spring of 1987.[39] After Johnson left a party in shambles six months later,[note 3] she decided not to run for party leader mainly for personal reasons. In an interview she gave Le Devoir in late January 1988, she took shots at the front runner and former colleague, Jacques Parizeau, criticizing his “unacceptable attitude towards women and his outdated conception of social democracy”.[40][41]

Less than 10 days later, Parizeau met Marois and convinced her to return to the PQ national executive as the person in charge of the party platform[42] and asked her to run in the Anjou district, left vacant by the Johnson’s resignation. On June 20, 1988, Marois came second with 44.8%.[43]

Marois ran again as a candidate in the Longueuil-based Taillon district, where she was elected in September 1989 general election.[44] She entered Parizeau’s Shadow Cabinet as the Official opposition critic for industry and trade in 1989 and became Treasury Board and public administration critic in 1991.[33] She was also a PQ representative on the Bélanger-Campeau Commission set up by Premier Robert Bourassa after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.[45]

“Minister of Everything”

Re-elected for a second term in 1994, Marois became one of the most important ministers in the successive PQ governments of Premiers Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry. In nine years, she dominated over the Quebec political scene. She became the only politician in Quebec history to hold the “three pillars of government” — the Finance, Education and Health portfolios.[46]

She was first appointed as Chair of the Treasury Board and Minister of Family in the Jacques Parizeau government. After the narrow defeat in the 1995 sovereignty referendum, she briefly held the Finance portfolio before being reassigned to head the department of Education by the new Premier Lucien Bouchard.[33]

During her tenure as Minister of Education, she proposed lifting the two-decades-long tuition freeze on higher education in Quebec. This proposal was met with fierce resistance from students’ federations who initiated the 1996 Quebec student protests. In the end, the PQ government reinstated the tuition freeze, but Marois introduced policies that would charge an out-of-province fee to non-Quebec Canadian students, and a fee for failing CEGEP courses.[citation needed] She also successfully piloted Bill 109, replacing of confessional school boards by language-based ones implementing a bilateral amendment to the Canadian constitution with the Jean Chrétien Liberal government in Ottawa in 1997.[47]

Although Marois was widely perceived as a staunch supporter of the centre-right direction of the PQ under Lucien Bouchard who promised “zero deficit” in order to gain winning conditions for a future referendum on Quebec sovereignty, the government’s capitulation in the student protests was seen as a political move to ensure student support in the upcoming general election. Historically, students had been a key voting bloc for the PQ.[citation needed]

She also introduced a 7-dollar-a-day subsidized daycare program in 1997, which proved popular with working families.[48][49]

In the Parti Québécois’s second term, Marois became Minister of Health between 1998 and 2001. Bernard Landry named her Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, positions she held for two years. By 2003, she had occupied 15 different ministries and was instrumental in the legacy of the second PQ government (1994-2003).[citation needed]

During her years as cabinet minister, Marois’ husband, Claude Blanchet, was named president of the Société générale de financement (SGF), the investment arm of the Quebec government. His substantial personal investments in public companies doing business with the government have put Marois into an uncomfortable position as a political figure, especially during the years she was Minister of Finance and vice-premier.[50]

Second leadership race

The Quebec City candidates debate during the 2005 PQ leadership campaign.

She quickly started to organize her leadership bid following the PQ electoral defeat of 2003. Her close supporters founded Groupe réflexion Québec, which served as a think tank. Her key organizers were Danielle Rioux, Nicole Léger, Nicolas Girard, Nicole Stafford, Joseph Facal and Pierre Langlois.

Marois announced her candidacy in the election for the leadership of the PQ following the sudden resignation of Landry in June 2005. She won 30.6% of the vote, placing second to André Boisclair.

Although many in the PQ saw her as one of the most influential ministers ever to serve in Quebec’s history, raising expectations that she would one day lead the party back to victory, Marois retired from the National Assembly in March 2006, stating that after 25 years in elected politics, it was time for her to pursue other interests. She vowed to remain active in the PQ, and reaffirmed her confidence in Boisclair’s leadership. She was succeeded as MNA for Taillon by Marie Malavoy.

Leader of the Parti Québécois

Third leadership race

Pauline Marois, August 30, 2011

In the March 26, 2007, Quebec provincial election, the Parti Québécois was reduced to third place in the National Assembly, behind both the governing Quebec Liberal Party and the opposition Action démocratique du Québec. Following this disappointing result, PQ leader André Boisclair announced his resignation as leader on May 8, 2007. Marois was considered a leading candidate to replace Boisclair, especially following federal Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe‘s withdrawal from the race.[51]

On May 11, 2007, Marois announced that she would run again for leader of the PQ for the third time.[52]

No other candidate stepped forward to contest the election, and Marois was acclaimed leader on June 27, 2007. She led the party from outside the National Assembly until winning the Charlevoix by-election on September 24.

2007 by-election

On August 13, 2007, Marois announced her candidacy for the riding of Charlevoix, after the incumbent, Rosaire Bertrand, retired from politics after 13 years as the MNA.[53] The by-election was held on September 24, 2007. Marois did not compete against a candidate from the minority governing Liberal party, which chose not to present an opposing candidate,[54] but did face Action démocratique du Québec candidate Conrad Harvey, who had been a candidate in the same riding against Bertrand in the 2007 general elections, and won with 58.2% of the popular vote.[55]

Marois’s campaign signs displayed her image on a blue-green background along with the slogan “Chez nous, c’est Pauline” in an effort to claim a return to the PQ’s nationalist beginnings.[56] This attempt to present a populist image clashed with Marois’s affluent lifestyle, epitomized for many voters in the 12,000-square-foot mansion that Marois then occupied on Île-Bizard, and later sold in January 2012 for nearly seven million dollars.[57]

Canadian tradition holds that, in a by-election, a party leader without a seat is allowed to run unopposed by other major parties. Also, the leaders of other parties are expected not to campaign in the riding where the seatless leader is seeking election. This principle was respected by the other Quebec parties during Marois’s 2007 campaign. Marois herself, however, broke with tradition when she campaigned for a PQ candidate in a by-election against Liberal party leader Robert Bourassa in 1985, as did also PQ leader René Lévesque.[58][59]

As in most by-elections, voter turnout in the riding won by Marois was low, with only 13.18 per cent of the 33,156 Charlevoix voters turning up at the advance poll and an overall turnout of about 58%.[60][61]

Immediately after being named the new leader of the PQ, Marois conducted a major shuffle of the shadow cabinet. François Gendron was named the new house leader, replacing Diane Lemieux. Lemieux was offered the position of caucus chair by Marois, but refused to indicate her disagreement and furthermore stated her intention to resign her seat in Bourget.[62]

Marois stated that the project of holding a referendum on sovereignty would be put on hold indefinitely, indicating that this would not be her main objective.[63]

In September 2007, she proposed a strategic plan for helping the forestry sector, which has been hard hit in recent years by the closure of several mills in western and central Quebec. Measures proposed included an increase in protected forest space, an increase of productivity by developing the second and third transformation of wood and incentives to encourage the usage of wood from Quebec for construction projects.[64]

In November 2007, when Mario Dumont suggested the elimination of school boards and proposed a motion to topple the government in the wake of poor voting turnouts during the school elections on November 4, 2007, the PQ and the Liberals both disagreed, stating that this reflected a lack of judgment by the ADQ leader. Marois nevertheless added that she was open to the idea of structural changes to the school boards.[65]

Leader of the Opposition

Not long after the re-election of the federal Conservatives to a second minority government, and with the global financial crisis increasingly coming to the foreground of current events, Jean Charest precipitated the fall of his own minority government, arguing before the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec that the National Assembly was no longer functional. Obtaining the right to dissolve the parliament, an election was called in Quebec.

The PQ campaign was largely seen as lacking momentum until Marois’ performance in the televised debate against Charest and Mario Dumont brought new enthusiasm to the party. Benefiting from the collapse the Action démocratique du Québec, Marois increased the PQ representation in the National Assembly by 15 seats and increased her party’s share of the popular vote by almost 7 points to 35.2% in the 2008. While the PQ did not win the election or prevent the Liberals from obtaining a majority, their return to the status of official opposition, the unexpectedly large number of seats obtained (51), and the ADQ’s effective marginalization were seen as a moral victory by supporters. Marois thus became the first elected woman Leader of the Official Opposition in Quebec.

Marois and her caucus aggressively pursued the Liberal government over allegations surfacing in the media of corruption, collusion and illegal political financing related to provincial and municipal contracts; at one point her caucus donned white scarves to demand an inquiry,[66] forcing the government to set up a public inquiry in the fall of 2011, the Charbonneau Commission. This commission has revealed a pattern of illegal payments dating back several decades and involving all political parties.

In another scandal, after weeks of pointed questioning by PQ critic Nicolas Girard, Family minister Tony Tomassi resigned in May 2010 over allegations of improperly receiving and using a private company credit card to pay for expenses in exchanges for daycare licences.[67]

On the French language, Marois resisted restricting admission to English-language CEGEPs, but endorsed such a measure before a leadership confidence ballot. (She later withdrew the promise after she became premier.[68])

But soon after winning a confidence vote of 93.6% of the delegates at the April 2011 party convention, two crises shook the PQ leader. Two weeks after her confidence vote, the Bloc Québécois lost all but four of its seats in the Canadian House of Commons in the May 2 federal election, soon followed by a confidence crisis caused by a private bill introduced by Marois loyalist Agnès Maltais facilitating the construction of a publicly funded multipurpose amphitheatre to replace the aging Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City. Marois` insistence on maintaining the party line caused a revolt. Marois had previously resisted popular initiative referendums, but supported them to retain her leadership during this crisis (but not after she won power.[68]) One result was the resignation of four heavyweights in her caucus: Louise Beaudoin, Pierre Curzi, Lisette Lapointe and Jean-Martin Aussant.[69]

Premier of Quebec

2012 general election

Pauline Marois addresses a crowd of supporters in Quebec City on the eve of the 2012 general election.

On September 4, 2012, Pauline Marois won the election and became Quebec’s first woman Premier at a swearing-in ceremony on September 17.[1] She is the sixth woman to serve as the premier of a Canadian province, and the oldest currently serving premier.

Her party won 54 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly, as a minority government. Marois plans to abolish the increase in student tuition fees which had paralyzed the previous government for 8 months. She also wants to abolish Hydro Quebec’s 3.9% increase in electricity rates, the 200 dollar medical fee for all individuals living in Quebec, and the increase in daycare centre fees.

Metropolis shooting

While Pauline Marois was giving her victory speech, a man named as Richard Henry Bain attempted to enter from the side door of the Métropolis. A technician at the venue, Denis Blanchette, 48, attempted to prevent him from entering and was shot and killed by Richard Bain. Another technician was injured from the bullet that ricocheted off Blanchette. Richard Henry Bain, from Mont-Tremblant, had a semi-automatic rifle, type CZ-858[70] and a pistol. Bain’s rifle became jammed, preventing further violence.

Following the shots fired, two Quebec Security guards took Mrs. Marois away from centre stage to the immediate hallway, and away from television cameras. A few minutes later, Pauline Marois returned to calm down the crowd and ask them to leave quietly.

On September 10, 2012, a civic funeral was held for Denis Blanchette where Pauline Marois attended along with other important political leaders from Quebec.


Heading the third minority government in the history of Quebec — and the second in the last decade – Marois took two weeks to craft her cabinet, naming 25 ministers on September 19. At its first meeting, the new Marois government was quick to honour campaign commitments and cancelled a slew of decisions of the outgoing Charest administration. The Marois government suspended most sections of Bill 78, an emergency bill aimed at stopping the 2012 Quebec student protests, cancelled a loan guarantee to restart the Jeffrey asbestos mine in Thetford Mines and abandoned the Gentilly-2 Nuclear Generating Station refurbishment project.

As Premier, she has laid out an agenda designed to promote “sovereigntist governance” in relations with the rest of Canada, to return Quebec to balanced budgets through higher taxes and debt reduction, to increase the use of French in public services, and to address resource development in Northern Quebec. Many aspects of these policies, such as restrictions on the use of English and on access to higher Education in English at a time when the use of French in commerce, education and the workforce is increasing in Quebec[71], are widely viewed as an affront to immigrants and to citizens whose mother tongue is not French.[72][73] Such measures have also been questioned by native speakers of French, who recognize the benefits of a knowledge of other languages, including English, and the fact that the knowledge of other languages will not cause them to abandon French as their primary language.

Marois then called the National Assembly into sessions at the end of October. Soon after, her Democratic Reform minister, Bernard Drainville, introduced Bills 1 and 2 to strengthen rules on contracts and banish unreputable government contractors from doing business with the Quebec government and affiliated entities. The second one establishes a new political financing framework financed almost entirely on public funding. The bill also limits political contributions to provincial parties at C$100 a year ($200 in election years).[note 4] The new system finances from the cancellation of the political donations tax credit.

Finance and Economy minister Nicolas Marceau introduced his 2013/14 budget in the fall. The budget laid out revenues, without specifying expenditures. These were presented later, after the budget had passed. The budget projects a break-even operating balance by the end of fiscal year 2013/14 mainly by slowing down the rate of growth of public spending. The budget implements higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol and modifies – but doesn’t cancel outright – the $200 health tax passed in Raymond Bachand‘s 2010 budget, adding an element of progressiveness to it. The Marceau budget also changes the planned increase to the low-cost heritage pool electricity sold by Hydro-Québec to every Quebecer. Instead of raising the heritage pool price from 2.79 to 3.79¢/kWh from 2014 to 2018 as set by the previous government in 2010, the PQ government chose to let the rate increase with inflation while asking government-owned Hydro-Québec to increase its dividend. The budget narrowly passed on November 30, 2012, in spite of objections by the Liberals and CAQ.[74] Subsequent to passage of the budget, the PQ government announced increased expenditures in the area of subsidized child care, while cutting payments to universities. The latter cuts to university funding included a retroactive cut of $124 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, an action criticized by both university rectors and student leaders.[75]


Identity and language

On October 18, 2007, Marois proposed Bill 195, the Quebec Identity Act, which included a requirement that immigrants must learn French in order to obtain rights, including a putative Quebec citizenship and the right to run in elections at all levels. The bill also proposed the fundamental values of Quebec should be taken into account in a future constitution, including equality between sexes and the predominance of French.[76][77]

The idea was met with criticism amongst various minority groups. The Quebec Liberal Party also dismissed some of the measures as divisive and harmful. House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier also made a parallel between the proposed bill and Jacques Parizeau‘s “Money and the ethnic vote” speech following the 1995 referendum, while Cabinet Minister Benoit Pelletier added that it would violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Many current and past members of the Parti Québécois also rejected this proposal, including Bernard Landry.[78][79]

Outside Quebec, several newspapers described the bill as racist.[80] Don Martin, columnist for the National Post, wrote that the population should try to stop the racism taking place in Quebec.[81] While the vast majority of Quebec non-francophones were opposed, it was supported by a bare majority of francophones. However, the Liberals and the ADQ stated that they would defeat Bill 195.[82][83]

In April 2008, Marois proposed a major rewrite of Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language, in light of concerns of a purported decline of French language in the province—particularly in the Montreal region. Her proposals included more French courses in elementary and secondary schools, a requirement for new arrivals to learn French and for the extension of French language requirements to be applied to small businesses as well as for more power for the Office québécois de la langue française.[84]

In June 2013, Marois announced her support of the Quebec Soccer Federation’s ban on turbans. This ban has led to the Quebec Soccer Federation being suspended by the Canadian Soccer Federation, which resulted in Marois suggesting that the CSF has no authority over provincial organizations. Marois’s stance has received significant criticism for its use of identity politics.[85]

International affairs

Marois involved herself in international affairs in her first months of office. In mid-October 2012, she participated at the Francophonie Summit in Kinshasa, but declined to meet with host, Democratic Republic of the Congo‘s President Joseph Kabila, who was reelected in a contested general election in 2011.[86] Marois also expressed her concerns with the withdrawal of Canadian aid agencies and funding of Africa among other places,[87] consistent with her party agenda to increase Quebec’s participation in international aid and maintain a “pacifist army” in an independent Quebec.[88]

In December, she visited New York City and a month later attended the World Economic Forum in Davos to meet investors and political leaders, including African Union president Thomas Boni Yayi, Mexico’s Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso, European commissioner Michel Barnier, French Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici and the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hannelore Kraft.[89]

Personal life

She is married to Claude Blanchet, former head of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Quebec’s Société générale de financement, and is the mother of four children: Catherine (born June 1979),[90] Félix (born April 1981),[32] François-Christophe (born October 1983)[91] and Jean-Sébastien (born July 1985).[92]


  1. Five PQs and three Liberals were elected as MNAs in 1981.
  2. PQ pollster Michel Lepage polled party faithful in June 1985. Pierre Marc Johnson finished first with 67%, Bernard Landry ran a distant second at 14% and Marois ended up third with only 4.2% of support, notes Godin (2005, p. 494).
  3. The PQ lost 100,000 members from 1981 to 1987, according to Duchesne (2004, p. 79).
  4. The previous limit of $1,000 was adopted under the previous Liberal government, and is much less than the $3,000 limit established in the original legislation passed by the Lévesque government in the 1970s

The Queen praises gay rights charity’s ‘special anniversary’ in royal surprise

Sunday, March 9th, 2014


Queen Elizabeth II has congratulated one of Britain’s oldest LGBT charities in a rare moment of acknowledgement for LGBT people.

In her 62-year reign of the UK and the Commonwealth, the 87-year-old monarch has never once visited or become a patron of an LGBT charity.

She is a patron of over 600 charities – but none of them are for LGBT rights and the monarch has never publicly voiced her support of equal rights.

However, the Queen appeared to break with her own self-imposed protocol after it was revealed last night that she had congratulated the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard as part of its 40th anniversary.

In her message the Queen said: “Best wishes and congratulations to all concerned on this most special anniversary.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard on reaching its 40th anniversary.

“Since 1974 there has been real progress towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Voluntary organisations, such as the Switchboard, have made a vital contribution to that progress. The government continues to work to create a fairer and more equal society by removing the barriers to equality that LGBT people face.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also congratulated the Switchboard along with London Mayor Johnson and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

New York mayor out of step with St Patrick’s Day march over anti-gay ban

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Bill de Blasio is the first New York mayor for 21 years to boycott the St Patrick’s Day parade over its ban on gay participants – but is he doing enough?
Young marchers at 2013's St Patrick's Day parade in New York.

Young marchers at 2013′s St Patrick’s Day parade in New York. Photograph: Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

For the last 10 weeks, Bill de Blasio, the fledgling mayor of New York, has been painting a fresh face on this endlessly changing city. Under the banner “a tale of two cities”, he has pledged to overcome the growing gulf between rich and poor and re-establish New York as a global hub of progressive politics.

But in the last few days he has been embroiled in a tale of two cities of a different order. Not rich versus poor, but tolerant and modern versus bigoted and antiquated.

The focal point is the St Patrick’s Day parade, the oldest Irish tradition in America, that has been held every year since 1762, more than a decade before the declaration of independence. On 17 March, 200,000 marchers, many in city uniform, will strut up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street in front of a million-strong crowd in celebration of all things Irish. Well, not all things Irish. Not gay or lesbian Irish. In 1991 a gay group that gained an invitation to march was showered with abuse from spectators, prompting organisers to institute a ban the following year. Since 1993, when the federal courts sanctioned the ban, the parade’s organisers have blocked the attendance of gay individuals or groups who openly display their sexual identity.

A similar prohibition has existed in the St Patrick’s Day parade in Boston since 1995, when the US supreme court ruled it was the organisers’ first amendment right to dictate who they allowed to march.

This perennial sore, which has provoked protests every year for more than two decades, has now erupted into the public glare, partly as a result of the stance taken by De Blasio, who has broken with tradition and vowed to boycott the proceedings.

The move is in tune with the mayor’s actions in his first two months in office, in which he has attempted to kick the city, sometimes squealing, in a liberal direction.

He has waged a very public fight with the governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, over raising taxes on wealthy New Yorkers; pushed his plan for universal pre-kindergarten education; put a stop to the controversial policing tactic of stop-and-frisk; and appointed a slew of progressive activists to top city hall jobs.

With all that under way, De Blasio could hardly stand by and watch impassively as the St Patrick’s Day parade went ahead, anti-gay ban stubbornly in place. As a result, on 17 March the parade will go ahead without the mayor of New York in attendance for the first time in more than 20 years. De Blasio will earn himself the distinction of being the first mayor since David Dinkins in 1993 to boycott the event.

Last weekend De Blasio underscored his decision by turning up at a counter-event called the St Pat’s For All parade in Queens. “This parade is what New York City is all about,” he said sparingly, without alluding directly to the spat with the official parade.

For seasoned observers of New York, such as Tom Finkel, editor-in-chief of Village Voice, the surprising element of De Blasio’s stand is how long it has been in coming. “He clearly feels the climate is ripe for this – his predecessors [Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani] didn’t judge it expedient to cross this line in the past.”

Finkel believes the fact the ban still exists in 2014 underlines the multifariousness of New York, or as Walt Whitman famously said about himself, that it “contains multitudes”. “When New Yorkers look outward we are tempted to see the world as a very progressive place, but if you look a little closer – even inside the city – you find it’s not so simple.”

And yet a wind of change is blowing forcefully across America. Seventeen states, including New York, have incorporated gay marriages, and even the most conservative states such as Arizona and Kansas have held back from enacting overtly discriminatory anti-gay legislation, for fear of damaging the local economy.

Which leaves the New York parade looking all the more retrograde and anomalous, bizarrely so for a city that lays claim to being the progressive capital of America. So what has the parade committee to say about all this?

The organisers did not respond to a request for comment from the Observer. It is perhaps a sign of the times that a prominent supporter would defend the ban only on the basis of anonymity. The individual, who works for one of the parade’s big sponsors, said that the story was far more nuanced than LGBT campaigners had suggested. “This is a parade that celebrates the Irish Catholic community in America. We want to be tolerant and accepting,” he said.

So why wasn’t the parade tolerant and accepting?

“The parade committee has been guarded about keeping politics out of the parade. It is not anti-homosexual, it merely wants to prevent people carrying signs that affirm homosexuality.”

The sponsor went on to suggest that gay and lesbian groups were actively avoiding applying to march because that suited their political purposes. He recommended they set up a group in honour of Fr Mychal Judge, chaplain to the New York City fire department who died in 9/11 and who was revealed after his death to have been a non-practising gay man. “They could march under his name and avoid words like ‘pride’ or ‘homosexuality’, and that might be fine,” he said.

A similar approach has been taken in Boston this year where parade organisers have been in groundbreaking, but so far fruitless, discussions with gay rights group MassEquality. The sticking point was the insistence by the parade committee that marchers not wear anything that signalled their sexual orientation.

“We made it clear that we would only march if LGBT people are able to march openly and honestly,” said MassEquality’s director Kara Coredini. To which the head of the parade committee, Philip Wuschke, replied: “We gave them what we figured was reasonable. They wanted it all.”

Emmaia Gelman, whose ancestors came from Co Cavan in Ireland, runs the blog of the New York-based LGBT group Irish Queers. She explained why she hadn’t applied to march: “Why would I want to? I don’t want to march with guys who hate me.”

Her only objective, she said, was to put an end to the homophobia that the parade enshrined. In that regard, she and her fellow campaigners were disappointed that in their view De Blasio had not gone far enough. The mayor might be boycotting the event himself, but, ignoring the demands of protesters, he has made clear he will allow officers of the NYPD and fire department, who make up a large proportion of the marchers, to attend if they wish.

That has given Bill Bratton, the media-savvy new police commissioner of New York, space to announce that he will attend. “My sister is gay,” Bratton said, a remark that failed to impress LGBT campaigners.

“City officials, whose salaries are paid for by the people of New York, absolutely do not have the right to march in a homophobic parade. That’s a hard message for De Blasio to give to police officers about their favourite parade, but it’s still the right thing to do,” Gelman said.

So the 2014 St Patrick’s Day parade promises to be another lively affair, and not just because of the copious amounts of alcohol that will flow throughout the city. For De Blasio, the dispute threatens to become a persistent headache that could run throughout his term in office, dragging on him as he struggles to revive New York‘s reputation as the world’s greatest liberal city.

New Look bans gay staff from discount that straight employees can use

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

New Look has now said its policy is 'under review'
New Look has now said its policy is ‘under review’

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37 reader comments

PinkNews Exclusive
A leading high street clothing retailer has put its staff discount policy “under review”, after a PinkNews investigation revealed that it may be “indirectly discriminating” against gay and lesbian staff members in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

PinkNews was approached by a group of several New Look employees, who forwarded a document detailing the staff discount policy, but who wished to remain anonymous.

As it stands, New Look’s staff discount policy allows all employees a 50% discount for themselves, and 50% for one other person. The catch is that the other person has to be of the opposite sex.

The discount also allows any staff member give away the discount to any two people, one male and one female, should they choose not to use it themselves.

PinkNews spoke to several staff members at a number branches of the retailer, all of whom were under the impression that the discount would allow a gay or lesbian partner of a staff member to use the discount.

Despite this, there is no way for an employee in a same-sex relationship to offer the discount to their partner.

When approached by PinkNews, a spokesperson for the company initially pointed to the policy document, stating: “New Look does not base this staff privilege around couples, the policy is focused on our employees having the benefit of discount across both menswear and womenswear clothing – they can use this how they choose to.”

The representative also said the discount was “based on margins and stock levels… in order to spread spend across the stock options, protect profit and be able to more easily identify misuse of staff discount.

“It is absolutely not designed to be a couples benefit and is primarily a benefit to be used by the person employed by New Look.”

New Look stated that there was no requirement to be in any kind of relationship including civil partners, and that the only stipulation was that the discount was only available to one male and one female.

It stated there was “no requirement that you are co-habiting, in a partnership (civil or otherwise), or married.”

Straight couples currently cannot enter civil partnerships in the UK, so it is unclear why civil partnerships are included in the policy description. New look did not respond to a question regarding this.

On seeking legal advice, PinkNews pointed out that the benefit was possibly in breach of the Equality Act 2010, through “indirect discrimination”, by allowing all straight employees the choice to use the discount for their opposite-sex partner, but denying the same choice to gay, bisexual or lesbian staff.

A New Look spokesperson has now responded to say: “At New Look we are committed to listening to our employees to make sure they are being treated fairly and we continually review policies to make sure they match this. In light of recent feedback from our employees on our staff discount privileges we are reviewing our current policy in its entirety and ask for sufficient time to complete this.”

Mark Bramwell, a Solicitor at MyLawyer, a firm providing legal services for Barclays, Natwest and RBS, The AA and Admiral, had advised PinkNews that in his opinion, the policy was in breach of the Equality Act through “indirect discrimination”.

He said: “This is clearly indirect discrimination of gay staff and a breach of the Equality Act 2010.

“The opposite sex criterion New Look has applied to the nominated friend 50% staff discount places gay staff at a particular disadvantage as they are precluded from nominating their partner unlike straight staff. Giving the discount to their mum, dad, sibling or friend would not put them in the same position as straight staff. Equally, it would be difficult for New Look to justify this policy if a claim was made as it is hard to see what genuine business reasons they could put forward for this rule.

“It seems that not much (if any) consideration was given of the implications of such a criterion or the fact that someone of a particular sexual orientation would be less likely to meet it.”

Since this article was published, Labour Shadow Equalities Minister Gloria De Piero told PinkNews: “New Look should think about the message this may send to staff in same sex relationships who want to take advantage of the offer for their partner just as opposite sex couples do.”

Conservative Party Vice Chairman Michael Fabricant said: “I am surprised and slightly alarmed that a trendy clothing chain like New Look can be so old fashioned in their treatment of gay employees. Their HR department should have spotted this.”

Acting Stonewall Chief Executive Ruth Hunt, told PinkNews: “Lesbian, gay and bisexual people play a rather important role in Britain’s fashion industry. If New Look wants to attract the very best staff they might want to revisit this particular policy.”

Roger-Luc Chayer

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Roger-Luc Chayer is a canadian lyrical french horn player and symphony conductor naturalized french citizen in 1995. On November 11th 2012, he received, by order of Queen Elizabeth II, the Diamond Jubilee Medal for is career in Canada and abroad in music and journalism(1). Roger-Luc Chayer sutidues at the Nice National Conservatory of Music in southern France from 1983 to 1991 and finished with a first prize in french horn and a first prize in chamber music orchestra(2) In 1991, he became conductor for the Mediteranean soloists Symphony Orchestra in Nice (3) IN 1992, he was invited by theToulouse National Capitole Orchestra in France (as french horn and special tuben musician) for the production of Strauss’s Elektra (4) His symphonic career spans on two continents fron the Nice Opera Orchestra, Cannes Symphony Orchestra, Nice Philharmonic Orchestra, Nice Conservatory Orchestra, St-Léonard Symphony Orchestra, Bastia (Corsica) Opera House Orchestra to the Montreal Urbain Orchestra and the National Quintet. In 1992, he founded the record label Disques A Tempo that is since very active in recording and promoting exceptionnal artists on CD (5)

Adolf Hitler

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] ( ); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the centre of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust.

Hitler was a decorated veteran of World War I. He joined the German Workers’ Party (precursor of the NSDAP) in 1919, and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted a coup d’état in Munich, known as the Beer Hall Putsch. The failed coup resulted in Hitler’s imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, antisemitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. After his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism.

Hitler’s aim was to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe. To this end, his foreign and domestic policies had the aim of seizing Lebensraum (“living space”) for the Germanic people. He directed the rearmament of Germany and the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in September 1939, resulting in the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Under Hitler’s rule, in 1941 German forces and their European allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. Although initially successful, the Russian campaign turned disastrous. By 1943, Germany was forced onto the defensive and suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time lover, Eva Braun. On 30 April 1945, less than two days later, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned.

Hitler’s aggressive foreign policy is considered to be the primary cause of the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Under Hitler’s leadership and racially motivated ideology, the regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews, and millions of other people whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior.

Early years


Hitler’s father, Alois Hitler (1837–1903), was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. Because the baptismal register did not show the name of his father, Alois initially bore his mother’s surname, Schicklgruber. In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Alois’s mother, Maria Anna. After she died in 1847 and Johann Georg Hiedler in 1856, Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedler’s brother, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler.[2] In 1876, Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Alois’s father (recorded as Georg Hitler).[3][4] Alois then assumed the surname Hitler,[4] also spelled as Hiedler, Hüttler, or Huettler. The Hitler surname is probably based on “one who lives in a hut” (Standard German Hütte for hut) or on “shepherd” (Standard German hüten for to guard); alternatively, it might be derived from the Slavic words Hidlar or Hidlarcek.[5]

Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Alois’s mother had been employed as a housekeeper for a Jewish family in Graz and that the family’s 19-year-old son, Leopold Frankenberger, had fathered Alois.[6] Because no Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, and no record of Leopold Frankenberger’s existence has been produced,[7] historians dismiss the claim that Alois’s father was Jewish.[8][9]

Childhood and education

Adolf Hitler as an infant (c. 1889–1890)

Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn located at Salzburger Vorstadt 15, Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary, a town on the border with Bavaria, Germany.[10] He was the fourth of six children to Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl (1860–1907). Hitler’s older siblings—Gustav, Ida, and Otto—died in infancy.[11] When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau, Germany.[12] There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian German, which marked his speech throughout his life.[13][14][15] In 1894 the family relocated to Leonding (near Linz), and in June 1895, Alois retired to a small landholding at Hafeld, near Lambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended Volksschule (a state-supported school) in nearby Fischlham. He became fixated on warfare after finding a picture book about the Franco-Prussian War among his father’s belongings.[16][17]

The move to Hafeld coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts caused by Hitler’s refusal to conform to the strict discipline of his school.[18] Alois Hitler’s farming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure, and in 1897 the family moved to Lambach. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered becoming a priest.[19] In 1898 the family returned permanently to Leonding. The death of his younger brother, Edmund, from measles on 2 February 1900 deeply affected Hitler. He changed from a confident, outgoing, conscientious student to a morose, detached, sullen boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers.[20]

Hitler’s mother, Klara

Alois had made a successful career in the customs bureau and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps.[21] Hitler later dramatised an episode from this period when his father took him to visit a customs office, depicting it as an event that gave rise to an unforgiving antagonism between father and son, who were both strong-willed.[22][23][24] Ignoring his son’s desire to attend a classical high school and become an artist, in September 1900 Alois sent Hitler to the Realschule in Linz.[25] Hitler rebelled against this decision, and in Mein Kampf revealed that he intentionally did poorly in school, hoping that once his father saw “what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to my dream”.[26]

Like many Austrian Germans, Hitler began to develop German nationalist ideas from a young age.[27] He expressed loyalty only to Germany, despising the declining Habsburg Monarchy and its rule over an ethnically variegated empire.[28][29] Hitler and his friends used the German greeting “Heil”, and sang the “Deutschlandlied” instead of the Austrian Imperial anthem.[30]

After Alois’s sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler’s performance at school deteriorated and his mother allowed him to leave.[31] He enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in September 1904; his behaviour and performance showed some improvement.[32] In 1905, after passing a repeat of the final exam, Hitler left the school without any ambitions for further education or clear plans for a career.[33]

Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich

The house in Leonding where Hitler spent his early adolescence (c. 1984)

From 1905, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna, financed by orphan’s benefits and support from his mother. He worked as a casual labourer and eventually as a painter, selling watercolours. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna rejected him twice, in 1907 and 1908, because of his “unfitness for painting”. The director recommended that Hitler study architecture,[34] but he lacked the academic credentials.[35] On 21 December 1907, his mother died at the age of 47. After the Academy’s second rejection, Hitler ran out of money. In 1909 he lived in a homeless shelter, and by 1910, he had settled into a house for poor working men on Meldemannstraße.[36] At the time Hitler lived there, Vienna was a hotbed of religious prejudice and racism.[37] Fears of being overrun by immigrants from the East were widespread, and the populist mayor, Karl Lueger, exploited the rhetoric of virulent antisemitism for political effect. Georg Schönerer‘s pan-Germanic antisemitism had a strong following in the Mariahilf district, where Hitler lived.[38] Hitler read local newspapers, such as the Deutsches Volksblatt, that fanned prejudice and played on Christian fears of being swamped by an influx of eastern Jews.[39] Hostile to what he saw as Catholic “Germanophobia”, he developed an admiration for Martin Luther.[40]

The Alter Hof in Munich. Watercolour by Adolf Hitler, 1914

The origin and first expression of Hitler’s antisemitism have been difficult to locate.[41] Hitler states in Mein Kampf that he first became an antisemite in Vienna.[42] His close friend, August Kubizek, claimed that Hitler was a “confirmed antisemite” before he left Linz.[43] Kubizek’s account has been challenged by historian Brigitte Hamann, who writes that Kubizek is the only person to have said that the young Hitler was an antisemite.[44] Hamann also notes that no antisemitic remark has been documented from Hitler during this period.[45] Historian Sir Ian Kershaw suggests that if Hitler had made such remarks, they may have gone unnoticed because of the prevailing antisemitism in Vienna at that time.[46] Several sources provide strong evidence that Hitler had Jewish friends in his hostel and in other places in Vienna.[47][48] Historian Richard J. Evans states that “historians now generally agree that his notorious, murderous anti-Semitism emerged well after Germany’s defeat [in World War I], as a product of the paranoid ‘stab-in-the-back’ explanation for the catastrophe”.[49]

Hitler received the final part of his father’s estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich.[50] Historians believe he left Vienna to evade conscription into the Austrian army.[51] Hitler later claimed that he did not wish to serve the Austro-Hungarian Empire because of the mixture of races in its army.[50] After he was deemed unfit for service—he failed his physical exam in Salzburg on 5 February 1914—he returned to Munich.[52]

World War I

Hitler (far right, seated) with his army comrades of the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (c. 1914–1918)

At the outbreak of World War I, Hitler was living in Munich and volunteered to serve in the Bavarian Army as an Austrian citizen.[53] Posted to the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st Company of the List Regiment),[54][53] he served as a dispatch runner on the Western Front in France and Belgium,[55] spending nearly half his time well behind the front lines.[56][57] He was present at the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras, and the Battle of Passchendaele, and was wounded at the Somme.[58] He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914.[58] Recommended by Hugo Gutmann, he received the Iron Cross, First Class, on 4 August 1918,[59] a decoration rarely awarded to one of Hitler’s rank (Gefreiter). Hitler’s post at regimental headquarters, providing frequent interactions with senior officers, may have helped him receive this decoration.[60] Though his rewarded actions may have been courageous, they were probably not highly exceptional.[61] He received the Black Wound Badge on 18 May 1918.[62]

Adolf Hitler as a soldier during the First World War (1914–1918)

During his service at the headquarters, Hitler pursued his artwork, drawing cartoons and instructions for an army newspaper. During the Battle of the Somme in October 1916, he was wounded in the left thigh when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners’ dugout.[63] Hitler spent almost two months in hospital at Beelitz, returning to his regiment on 5 March 1917.[64] On 15 October 1918, he was temporarily blinded in a mustard gas attack and was hospitalised in Pasewalk.[65] While there, Hitler learnt of Germany’s defeat,[66] and—by his own account—on receiving this news, he suffered a second bout of blindness.[67]

Hitler described the war as “the greatest of all experiences”, and was praised by his commanding officers for his bravery.[68] His wartime experience reinforced his German patriotism and he was shocked by Germany’s capitulation in November 1918.[69] He was embittered by the collapse of the war effort, and his ideology began to take shape.[70] Like other German nationalists, he believed in the stab-in-the-back myth (Dolchstoßlegende), which claimed that the German army, “undefeated in the field”, had been “stabbed in the back” on the home front by civilian leaders and Marxists, later dubbed the “November criminals”.[71]

The Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany must relinquish several of its territories and demilitarise the Rhineland. The treaty imposed economic sanctions and levied heavy reparations on the country. Many Germans perceived the treaty—especially Article 231, which declared Germany responsible for the war—as a humiliation.[72] The Versailles Treaty and the economic, social, and political conditions in Germany after the war were later exploited by Hitler for political gain.[73]

Entry into politics

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich.[74] Having no formal education or career prospects, he tried to remain in the army for as long as possible.[75] In July 1919 he was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, assigned to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers’ Party (DAP). While monitoring the activities of the DAP, Hitler was attracted to the founder Anton Drexler‘s antisemitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist ideas.[76] Drexler favoured a strong active government, a non-Jewish version of socialism, and solidarity among all members of society. Impressed with Hitler’s oratory skills, Drexler invited him to join the DAP. Hitler accepted on 12 September 1919,[77] becoming the party’s 55th member.[78]

A copy of Adolf Hitler’s German Workers’ Party (DAP) membership card

At the DAP, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of the party’s founders and a member of the occult Thule Society.[79] Eckart became Hitler’s mentor, exchanging ideas with him and introducing him to a wide range of people in Munich society.[80] To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party – NSDAP).[81] Hitler designed the party’s banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red background.[82]

Hitler was discharged from the army on 31 March 1920 and began working full-time for the NSDAP.[83] In February 1921—already highly effective at speaking to large audiences—he spoke to a crowd of over 6,000 in Munich.[84] To publicise the meeting, two truckloads of party supporters drove around town waving swastika flags and throwing leaflets. Hitler soon gained notoriety for his rowdy polemic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and especially against Marxists and Jews.[85] At the time, the NSDAP was centred in Munich, a major hotbed of anti-government German nationalists determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar Republic.[86]

In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in Munich. Members of its executive committee, some of whom considered Hitler to be too overbearing, wanted to merge with the rival German Socialist Party (DSP).[87] Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that his resignation would mean the end of the party.[88] Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman, and that the party headquarters would remain in Munich.[89] The committee agreed, and he rejoined the party on 26 July as member 3,680. He still faced some opposition within the NSDAP: Opponents of Hitler had Hermann Esser expelled from the party and they printed 3,000 copies of a pamphlet attacking Hitler as a traitor to the party.[89][a] In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself and Esser, to thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful: at a general membership meeting, he was granted absolute powers as party chairman, with only one nay vote cast.[90]

Hitler’s vitriolic beer hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. He became adept at using populist themes targeted at his audience, including the use of scapegoats who could be blamed for the economic hardships of his listeners.[91][92][93] Historians have noted the hypnotic effect of his rhetoric on large audiences, and of his eyes in small groups. Kessel writes, “Overwhelmingly … Germans speak with mystification of Hitler’s ‘hypnotic’ appeal. The word shows up again and again; Hitler is said to have mesmerized the nation, captured them in a trance from which they could not break loose”.[94] Psychiatrist Carl Jung speculated to journalist H. R. Knickerbocker in 1938 that Hitler “is the first man to tell every German what he has been thinking and feeling all along in his unconscious about German fate, especially since the defeat in the World War”.[95] Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper described “the fascination of those eyes, which had bewitched so many seemingly sober men”.[96] Hitler used personal magnetism and an understanding of crowd psychology to advantage while engaged in public speaking.[97][98] Alfons Heck, a former member of the Hitler Youth, describes the reaction to a speech by Hitler: “We erupted into a frenzy of nationalistic pride that bordered on hysteria. For minutes on end, we shouted at the top of our lungs, with tears streaming down our faces: Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil! From that moment on, I belonged to Adolf Hitler body and soul”.[99] Although Hitler’s oratory skills and personal traits were generally received well by large crowds and at official events, some who met Hitler privately noted that his appearance and demeanour failed to make a lasting impression;[100][101] Knickerbocker noted that non-Germans seemed immune to Hitler’s magnetism.[95]

Early followers included Rudolf Hess, former air force pilot Hermann Göring, and army captain Ernst Röhm. Röhm became head of the Nazis’ paramilitary organisation, the Sturmabteilung (SA, “Stormtroopers”), which protected meetings and attacked political opponents. A critical influence on his thinking during this period was the Aufbau Vereinigung,[102] a conspiratorial group of White Russian exiles and early National Socialists. The group, financed with funds channelled from wealthy industrialists, introduced Hitler to the idea of a Jewish conspiracy, linking international finance with Bolshevism.[103]

Beer Hall Putsch

Main article: Beer Hall Putsch

In 1923 Hitler enlisted the help of World War I General Erich Ludendorff for an attempted coup known as the “Beer Hall Putsch“. The Nazi Party used Italian Fascism as a model for their appearance and policies. Hitler wanted to emulate Benito Mussolini‘s “March on Rome” (1922) by staging his own coup in Bavaria, to be followed by a challenge to the government in Berlin. Hitler and Ludendorff sought the support of Staatskommissar (state commissioner) Gustav Ritter von Kahr, Bavaria’s de facto ruler. However, Kahr, along with Police Chief Hans Ritter von Seisser (Seißer) and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, wanted to install a nationalist dictatorship without Hitler.[104]

On 8 November 1923 Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting of 3,000 people that had been organised by Kahr in the Bürgerbräukeller, a large beer hall in Munich. He interrupted Kahr’s speech and announced that the national revolution had begun, declaring the formation of a new government with Ludendorff.[105] Retiring to a backroom, Hitler, with handgun drawn, demanded and got the support of Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow.[105] Hitler’s forces initially succeeded in occupying the local Reichswehr and police headquarters, but Kahr and his consorts quickly withdrew their support and neither the army nor the state police joined forces with Hitler.[106] The next day, Hitler and his followers marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government, but police dispersed them.[107] Sixteen NSDAP members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup.[108]

Dust jacket of Mein Kampf (1926–1927)

Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl and by some accounts contemplated suicide.[109] He was depressed but calm when arrested on 11 November 1923 for high treason.[110] His trial before the special People’s Court in Munich began in February 1924,[111] and Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the NSDAP. On 1 April, Hitler was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Landsberg Prison.[112] There, he received friendly treatment from the guards, and he was allowed mail from supporters and regular visits by party comrades. The Bavarian Supreme Court issued a pardon, and he was released from jail on 20 December 1924, against the state prosecutor’s objections.[113] Including time on remand, Hitler had served just over one year in prison.[114]

While at Landsberg, Hitler dictated most of the first volume of Mein Kampf (My Struggle; originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice) to his deputy, Rudolf Hess.[114] The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an autobiography and exposition of his ideology. Mein Kampf was influenced by The Passing of the Great Race by Madison Grant, which Hitler called “my Bible”.[115] The book laid out Hitler’s plans for transforming German society into one based on race. Some passages implied genocide.[116] Published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, it sold 228,000 copies between 1925 and 1932. One million copies were sold in 1933, Hitler’s first year in office.[117]

Rebuilding the NSDAP

At the time of Hitler’s release from prison, politics in Germany had become less combative and the economy had improved, limiting Hitler’s opportunities for political agitation. As a result of the failed Beer Hall Putsch, the NSDAP and its affiliated organisations were banned in Bavaria. In a meeting with Prime Minister of Bavaria Heinrich Held on 4 January 1925, Hitler agreed to respect the authority of the state and promised that he would seek political power only through the democratic process. The meeting paved the way for the ban on the NSDAP to be lifted.[118] Hitler was barred from public speaking,[119] a ban that remained in place until 1927.[120] To advance his political ambitions in spite of the ban, Hitler appointed Gregor Strasser, Otto Strasser, and Joseph Goebbels to organise and grow the NSDAP in northern Germany. A superb organiser, Gregor Strasser steered a more independent political course, emphasising the socialist elements of the party’s programme.[121]

The stock market in the United States crashed on 24 October 1929. The impact in Germany was dire: millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. Hitler and the NSDAP prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty, strengthen the economy, and provide jobs.[122]

Rise to power

Nazi Party election results[123]
Election Total votes  % votes Reichstag seats Notes
May 1924 1,918,300 6.5 32 Hitler in prison
December 1924 907,300 3.0 14 Hitler released from prison
1928 810,100 2.6 12
1930 6,409,600 18.3 107 After the financial crisis
July 1932 13,745,000 37.3 230 After Hitler was candidate for presidency
November 1932 11,737,000 33.1 196
1933 17,277,180 43.9 288 Only partially free; During Hitler’s term as chancellor of Germany

Brüning administration

The Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent to the parliamentary republic, which faced strong challenges from right- and left-wing extremists. The moderate political parties were increasingly unable to stem the tide of extremism, and the German referendum of 1929 had helped to elevate Nazi ideology.[124] The elections of September 1930 resulted in the break-up of a grand coalition and its replacement with a minority cabinet. Its leader, chancellor Heinrich Brüning of the Centre Party, governed through emergency decrees from President Paul von Hindenburg. Governance by decree would become the new norm and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government.[125] The NSDAP rose from obscurity to win 18.3 per cent of the vote and 107 parliamentary seats in the 1930 election, becoming the second-largest party in parliament.[126]

Hitler and NSDAP treasurer Franz Xaver Schwarz at the dedication of the renovation of the Palais Barlow on Brienner Straße in Munich into the Brown House headquarters, December 1930

Hitler made a prominent appearance at the trial of two Reichswehr officers, Lieutenants Richard Scheringer and Hans Ludin, in autumn 1930. Both were charged with membership in the NSDAP, at that time illegal for Reichswehr personnel.[127] The prosecution argued that the NSDAP was an extremist party, prompting defence lawyer Hans Frank to call on Hitler to testify in court.[128] On 25 September 1930, Hitler testified that his party would pursue political power solely through democratic elections,[129] a testimony that won him many supporters in the officer corps.[130]

Brüning’s austerity measures brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular.[131] Hitler exploited this by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been affected by the inflation of the 1920s and the Depression, such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class.[132]

Hitler had formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925, but at the time did not acquire German citizenship. For almost seven years he was stateless, unable to run for public office, and faced the risk of deportation.[133] On 25 February 1932, the interior minister of Brunswick, who was a member of the NSDAP, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state’s delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick,[134] and thus of Germany.[135]

In 1932, Hitler ran against Hindenburg in the presidential elections. The viability of his candidacy was underscored by a 27 January 1932 speech to the Industry Club in Düsseldorf, which won him support from many of Germany’s most powerful industrialists.[136] Hindenburg had support from various nationalist, monarchist, Catholic, and republican parties, and some Social Democrats. Hitler used the campaign slogan “Hitler über Deutschland” (“Hitler over Germany”), a reference to both his political ambitions and his campaigning by aircraft.[137] Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 35 per cent of the vote in the final election. Although he lost to Hindenburg, this election established Hitler as a strong force in German politics.[138]

Appointment as chancellor

The absence of an effective government prompted two influential politicians, Franz von Papen and Alfred Hugenberg, along with several other industrialists and businessmen, to write a letter to Hindenburg. The signers urged Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as leader of a government “independent from parliamentary parties”, which could turn into a movement that would “enrapture millions of people”.[139][140]

Hitler, at the window of the Reich Chancellery, receives an ovation on the evening of his inauguration as chancellor, 30 January 1933

Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after two further parliamentary elections—in July and November 1932—had not resulted in the formation of a majority government. Hitler headed a short-lived coalition government formed by the NSDAP and Hugenberg’s party, the German National People’s Party (DNVP). On 30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Hindenburg’s office. The NSDAP gained three important posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring Minister of the Interior for Prussia.[141] Hitler had insisted on the ministerial positions as a way to gain control over the police in much of Germany.[142]

Reichstag fire and March elections

As chancellor, Hitler worked against attempts by the NSDAP’s opponents to build a majority government. Because of the political stalemate, he asked President Hindenburg to again dissolve the Reichstag, and elections were scheduled for early March. On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire. Göring blamed a communist plot, because Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe was found in incriminating circumstances inside the burning building.[143] According to Kershaw, the consensus of nearly all historians is that Van der Lubbe actually set the fire.[144] Others, including William L. Shirer and Alan Bullock, are of the opinion that the NSDAP itself was responsible.[145][146] At Hitler’s urging, Hindenburg responded with the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February, which suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial. The decree was permitted under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which gave the president the power to take emergency measures to protect public safety and order.[147] Activities of the German Communist Party were suppressed, and some 4,000 communist party members were arrested.[148]

In addition to political campaigning, the NSDAP engaged in paramilitary violence and the spread of anti-communist propaganda in the days preceding the election. On election day, 6 March 1933, the NSDAP’s share of the vote increased to 43.9 per cent, and the party acquired the largest number of seats in parliament. Hitler’s party failed to secure an absolute majority, necessitating another coalition with the DNVP.[149]

Day of Potsdam and the Enabling Act

On 21 March 1933, the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening ceremony at the Garrison Church in Potsdam. This “Day of Potsdam” was held to demonstrate unity between the Nazi movement and the old Prussian elite and military. Hitler appeared in a morning coat and humbly greeted President Hindenburg.[150][151]

Paul von Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler on the Day of Potsdam, 21 March 1933

To achieve full political control despite not having an absolute majority in parliament, Hitler’s government brought the Ermächtigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) to a vote in the newly elected Reichstag. The act gave Hitler’s cabinet full legislative powers for a period of four years and (with certain exceptions) allowed deviations from the constitution.[152] The bill required a two-thirds majority to pass. Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to keep several Social Democratic deputies from attending; the Communists had already been banned.[153]

On 23 March 1933, the Reichstag assembled at the Kroll Opera House under turbulent circumstances. Ranks of SA men served as guards inside the building, while large groups outside opposing the proposed legislation shouted slogans and threats toward the arriving members of parliament.[154] The position of the Centre Party, the third largest party in the Reichstag, turned out to be decisive. After Hitler verbally promised party leader Ludwig Kaas that President Hindenburg would retain his power of veto, Kaas announced the Centre Party would support the Enabling Act. The Act passed by a vote of 441–84, with all parties except the Social Democrats voting in favour. The Enabling Act, along with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler’s government into a de facto legal dictatorship.[155] The Reichstag renewed the Enabling Act twice, each time for a four year period.[156]

Removal of remaining limits

At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! … Don’t forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!

— Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934[157]

Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies began to suppress the remaining political opposition. The Social Democratic Party was banned and all its assets seized.[158] While many trade union delegates were in Berlin for May Day activities, SA stormtroopers demolished union offices around the country. On 2 May 1933 all trade unions were forced to dissolve and their leaders were arrested. Some were sent to concentration camps.[159] The German Labour Front was formed as an umbrella organisation to represent all workers, administrators, and company owners, thus reflecting the concept of national socialism in the spirit of Hitler’s Volksgemeinschaft (German racial community; literally, “people’s community”).[160]

In 1934, Hitler became Germany’s head of state with the title of Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor of the Reich).

By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. This included the Nazis’ nominal coalition partner, the DNVP; with the SA’s help, Hitler forced its leader, Hugenberg, to resign on 29 June. On 14 July 1933, the NSDAP was declared the only legal political party in Germany, although the country had effectively been a one-party state since the passage of the Enabling Act four months earlier.[160][158] The demands of the SA for more political and military power caused much anxiety among military, industrial, and political leaders. In response, Hitler purged the entire SA leadership in the Night of the Long Knives, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934.[161] Hitler targeted Ernst Röhm and other SA leaders who, along with a number of Hitler’s political adversaries (such as Gregor Strasser and former chancellor Kurt von Schleicher), were rounded up, arrested, and shot.[162] While the international community and some Germans were shocked by the murders, many in Germany saw Hitler as restoring order.[163]

On 2 August 1934, President Hindenburg died. The previous day, the cabinet had enacted the “Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich”.[164] This law stated that upon Hindenburg’s death, the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government, and was formally named as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor).[165] This law violated the Enabling Act; although it allowed Hitler to deviate from the constitution, the Act explicitly barred him from passing any law tampering with the presidency. In 1932, the constitution had been amended to make the president of the High Court of Justice, not the chancellor, acting president pending new elections. Nonetheless, no one objected.[166] With this law, Hitler removed the last legal remedy by which he could be removed from office.

As head of state, Hitler became Supreme Commander of the armed forces. The traditional loyalty oath of servicemen was altered to affirm loyalty to Hitler personally, rather than to the office of supreme commander or the state.[167] On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by 90 per cent of the electorate voting in a plebiscite.[168]

In early 1938, Hitler used blackmail tactics to consolidate his hold over the military by instigating the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair. Hitler forced his War Minister, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, to resign by using a police dossier that showed that Blomberg’s new wife had a record for prostitution.[169][170] Army commander Colonel-General Werner von Fritsch was removed after the Schutzstaffel (SS) produced allegations that he had engaged in a homosexual relationship.[171] Both men had fallen into disfavour because they had objected to Hitler’s demand to make the Wehrmacht ready for war as early as 1938.[172] Hitler assumed Blomberg’s title of Commander-in-Chief, thus taking personal command of the armed forces. He replaced the Ministry of War with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces, or OKW), headed by General Wilhelm Keitel. On the same day, sixteen generals were stripped of their commands and 44 more were transferred; all were suspected of not being sufficiently pro-Nazi.[173] By early February 1938, twelve more generals had been removed.[174]

Third Reich

Main article: Nazi Germany

Economy and culture

Ceremony honouring the dead (Totenehrung) on the terrace in front of the Hall of Honour (Ehrenhalle) at the Nazi party rally grounds, Nuremberg, September 1934

In August 1934, Hitler appointed Reichsbank president Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics, and in the following year, as Plenipotentiary for War Economy in charge of preparing the economy for war.[175] Reconstruction and rearmament were financed through Mefo bills, printing money, and seizing the assets of people arrested as enemies of the State, including Jews.[176] Unemployment fell from six million in 1932 to one million in 1936.[177] Hitler oversaw one of the largest infrastructure improvement campaigns in German history, leading to the construction of dams, autobahns, railroads, and other civil works. Wages were slightly lower in the mid to late 1930s compared with wages during the Weimar Republic, while the cost of living increased by 25 per cent.[178] The average working week increased during the shift to a war economy; by 1939, the average German was working between 47 to 50 hours per week.[179]

Hitler’s government sponsored architecture on an immense scale. Albert Speer, instrumental in implementing Hitler’s classicist reinterpretation of German culture, was placed in charge of the proposed architectural renovations of Berlin.[180] In 1936, Hitler opened the summer Olympic games in Berlin.

Rearmament and new alliances

In a meeting with German military leaders on 3 February 1933, Hitler spoke of “conquest for Lebensraum in the East and its ruthless Germanisation” as his ultimate foreign policy objectives.[181] In March, Prince Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, secretary at the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office), issued a statement of major foreign policy aims: Anschluss with Austria, the restoration of Germany’s national borders of 1914, rejection of military restrictions under the Treaty of Versailles, the return of the former German colonies in Africa, and a German zone of influence in Eastern Europe. Hitler found Bülow’s goals to be too modest.[182] In speeches during this period, he stressed the peaceful goals of his policies and a willingness to work within international agreements.[183] At the first meeting of his Cabinet in 1933, Hitler prioritised military spending over unemployment relief.[184]

On 25 October 1936, an Axis was declared between Italy and Germany.

Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference in October 1933.[185] In March 1935, Hitler announced an expansion of the Wehrmacht to 600,000 members—six times the number permitted by the Versailles Treaty—including development of an air force (Luftwaffe) and an increase in the size of the navy (Kriegsmarine). Britain, France, Italy, and the League of Nations condemned these violations of the Treaty.[186] The Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) of 18 June 1935 allowed German tonnage to increase to 35 per cent of that of the British navy. Hitler called the signing of the AGNA “the happiest day of his life”, believing that the agreement marked the beginning of the Anglo-German alliance he had predicted in Mein Kampf.[187] France and Italy were not consulted before the signing, directly undermining the League of Nations and setting the Treaty of Versailles on the path towards irrelevance.[188]

Germany reoccupied the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland in March 1936, in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Hitler also sent troops to Spain to support General Franco after receiving an appeal for help in July 1936. At the same time, Hitler continued his efforts to create an Anglo-German alliance.[189] In August 1936, in response to a growing economic crisis caused by his rearmament efforts, Hitler ordered Göring to implement a Four Year Plan to prepare Germany for war within the next four years.[190] The plan envisaged an all-out struggle between “Judeo-Bolshevism” and German national socialism, which in Hitler’s view required a committed effort of rearmament regardless of the economic costs.[191]

Count Galeazzo Ciano, foreign minister of Mussolini’s government, declared an axis between Germany and Italy, and on 25 November, Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. Britain, China, Italy, and Poland were also invited to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, but only Italy signed in 1937. Hitler abandoned his plan of an Anglo-German alliance, blaming “inadequate” British leadership.[192] At a meeting in the Reich Chancellery with his foreign ministers and military chiefs that November, Hitler restated his intention of acquiring Lebensraum for the German people. He ordered preparations for war in the east, to begin as early as 1938 and no later than 1943. In the event of his death, the conference minutes, recorded as the Hossbach Memorandum, were to be regarded as his “political testament”.[193] He felt that a severe decline in living standards in Germany as a result of the economic crisis could only be stopped by military aggression aimed at seizing Austria and Czechoslovakia.[194][195] Hitler urged quick action before Britain and France gained a permanent lead in the arms race.[194] In early 1938, in the wake of the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair, Hitler asserted control of the military-foreign policy apparatus, dismissing Neurath as Foreign Minister and appointing himself Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht (supreme commander of the armed forces).[190] From early 1938 onwards, Hitler was carrying out a foreign policy ultimately aimed at war.[196]

World War II

Early diplomatic successes

Alliance with Japan

Hitler and the Japanese Foreign Minister, Yōsuke Matsuoka, at a meeting in Berlin in March 1941. In the background is Joachim von Ribbentrop.

In February 1938, on the advice of his newly appointed Foreign Minister, the strongly pro-Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler ended the Sino-German alliance with the Republic of China to instead enter into an alliance with the more modern and powerful Japan. Hitler announced German recognition of Manchukuo, the Japanese-occupied state in Manchuria, and renounced German claims to their former colonies in the Pacific held by Japan.[197] Hitler ordered an end to arms shipments to China and recalled all German officers working with the Chinese Army.[197] In retaliation, Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek cancelled all Sino-German economic agreements, depriving the Germans of many Chinese raw materials.[198]

Austria and Czechoslovakia

On 12 March 1938, Hitler declared unification of Austria with Nazi Germany in the Anschluss.[199][200] Hitler then turned his attention to the ethnic German population of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.[201]

On 28–29 March 1938, Hitler held a series of secret meetings in Berlin with Konrad Henlein of the Sudeten Heimfront (Home Front), the largest of the ethnic German parties of the Sudetenland. The men agreed that Henlein would demand increased autonomy for Sudeten Germans from the Czechoslovakian government, thus providing a pretext for German military action against Czechoslovakia. In April 1938 Henlein told the foreign minister of Hungary that “whatever the Czech government might offer, he would always raise still higher demands … he wanted to sabotage an understanding by any means because this was the only method to blow up Czechoslovakia quickly”.[202] In private, Hitler considered the Sudeten issue unimportant; his real intention was a war of conquest against Czechoslovakia.[203]

October 1938: Hitler (standing in the Mercedes) drives through the crowd in Cheb (German: Eger), part of the German-populated Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia, which was annexed to Nazi Germany due to the Munich Agreement

In April Hitler ordered the OKW to prepare for Fall Grün (“Case Green”), the code name for an invasion of Czechoslovakia.[204] As a result of intense French and British diplomatic pressure, on 5 September Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš unveiled the “Fourth Plan” for constitutional reorganisation of his country, which agreed to most of Henlein’s demands for Sudeten autonomy.[205] Henlein’s Heimfront responded to Beneš’ offer by instigating a series of violent clashes with the Czechoslovakian police that led to the declaration of martial law in certain Sudeten districts.[206][207]

Germany was dependent on imported oil; a confrontation with Britain over the Czechoslovakian dispute could curtail Germany’s oil supplies. Hitler called off Fall Grün, originally planned for 1 October 1938.[208] On 29 September Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, and Mussolini attended a one-day conference in Munich that led to the Munich Agreement, which handed over the Sudetenland districts to Germany.[209][210]

Chamberlain was satisfied with the Munich conference, calling the outcome “peace for our time“, while Hitler was angered about the missed opportunity for war in 1938;[211][212] he expressed his disappointment in a speech on 9 October in Saarbrücken.[213] In Hitler’s view, the British-brokered peace, although favourable to the ostensible German demands, was a diplomatic defeat which spurred his intent of limiting British power to pave the way for the eastern expansion of Germany.[214][215] As a result of the summit, Hitler was selected Time magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938.[216]

In late 1938 and early 1939, the continuing economic crisis caused by rearmament forced Hitler to make major defence cuts.[217] In his “Export or die” speech of 30 January 1939, he called for an economic offensive to increase German foreign exchange holdings to pay for raw materials such as high-grade iron needed for military weapons.[217]

On 15 March 1939, in violation of the Munich accord and possibly as a result of the deepening economic crisis requiring additional assets,[218] Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to invade Prague, and from Prague Castle he proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.[219]

Start of World War II

In private discussions in 1939, Hitler declared Britain the main enemy to be defeated and that Poland’s obliteration was a necessary prelude to that goal. The eastern flank would be secured and land would be added to Germany’s Lebensraum.[220] Offended by the British “guarantee” on 31 March 1939 of Polish independence, he said, “I shall brew them a devil’s drink”.[221] In a speech in Wilhelmshaven for the launch of the battleship Tirpitz on 1 April, he threatened to denounce the Anglo-German Naval Agreement if the British continued to guarantee Polish independence, which he perceived as an “encirclement” policy.[221] Poland was to either become a German satellite state or be neutralised to secure the Reich’s eastern flank and to prevent a possible British blockade.[222] Hitler initially favoured the idea of a satellite state, but upon its rejection by the Polish government, he decided to invade and made this the main foreign policy goal of 1939.[223] On 3 April, Hitler ordered the military to prepare for Fall Weiss (“Case White”), the plan for invading Poland on 25 August.[223] In a Reichstag speech on 28 April, he renounced both the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact. In August, Hitler told his generals that his original plan for 1939 was to “… establish an acceptable relationship with Poland in order to fight against the West”.[224] Historians such as William Carr, Gerhard Weinberg, and Ian Kershaw have argued that one reason for Hitler’s rush to war was his fear of an early death.[225][226][227]

Hitler portrayed on a 42 pfennig stamp from 1944. The term Grossdeutsches Reich (Greater German Reich) was first used in 1943 for the expanded Germany under his rule.

Hitler was concerned that a military attack against Poland could result in a premature war with Britain.[222][228] Hitler’s foreign minister and former Ambassador to London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, assured him that neither Britain nor France would honour their commitments to Poland.[229][230] Accordingly, on 22 August 1939 Hitler ordered a military mobilisation against Poland.[231]

This plan required tacit Soviet support,[232] and the non-aggression pact (the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact) between Germany and the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, included a secret agreement to partition Poland between the two countries.[233] Contrary to Ribbentrop’s prediction that Britain would sever Anglo-Polish ties, Britain and Poland signed the Anglo-Polish alliance on 25 August 1939. This, along with news from Italy that Mussolini would not honour the Pact of Steel, prompted Hitler to postpone the attack on Poland from 25 August to 1 September.[234] Hitler unsuccessfully tried to manoeuvre the British into neutrality by offering them a non-aggression guarantee on 25 August; he then instructed Ribbentrop to present a last-minute peace plan with an impossibly short time limit in an effort to blame the imminent war on British and Polish inaction.[235][236]

Despite his concerns over a British intervention, Hitler continued to pursue the planned invasion of Poland.[237] On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded western Poland under the pretext of having been denied claims to the Free City of Danzig and the right to extraterritorial roads across the Polish Corridor, which Germany had ceded under the Versailles Treaty.[238] In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September, surprising Hitler and prompting him to angrily ask Ribbentrop, “Now what?”[239] France and Britain did not act on their declarations immediately, and on 17 September, Soviet forces invaded eastern Poland.[240]

Poland never will rise again in the form of the Versailles treaty. That is guaranteed not only by Germany, but also … Russia.[241]

— Adolf Hitler, public speech in Danzig at the end of September 1939

Hitler reviews troops on the march during the campaign against Poland. September 1939

The fall of Poland was followed by what contemporary journalists dubbed the “Phoney War” or Sitzkrieg (“sitting war”). Hitler instructed the two newly appointed Gauleiters of north-western Poland, Albert Forster of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia and Arthur Greiser of Reichsgau Wartheland, to Germanise their areas, with “no questions asked” about how this was accomplished.[242] Whereas Polish citizens in Forster’s area merely had to sign forms stating that they had German blood,[243] Greiser carried out a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign on the Polish population in his purview.[242] Greiser complained that Forster was allowing thousands of Poles to be accepted as “racial” Germans and thus endangered German “racial purity”. Hitler refrained from getting involved.[242] This inaction has been advanced as an example of the theory of “working towards the Führer”: Hitler issued vague instructions and expected his subordinates to work out policies on their own.

Another dispute pitched one side represented by Himmler and Greiser, who championed ethnic cleansing in Poland, against another represented by Göring and Hans Frank, Governor-General of the General Government territory of occupied Poland, who called for turning Poland into the “granary” of the Reich.[244] On 12 February 1940, the dispute was initially settled in favour of the Göring–Frank view, which ended the economically disruptive mass expulsions.[244] On 15 May 1940, Himmler issued a memo entitled “Some Thoughts on the Treatment of Alien Population in the East”, calling for the expulsion of the entire Jewish population of Europe into Africa and reducing the Polish population to a “leaderless class of labourers”.[244] Hitler called Himmler’s memo “good and correct”,[244] and, ignoring Göring and Frank, implemented the Himmler–Greiser policy in Poland.

Hitler visits Paris with architect Albert Speer (left) and sculptor Arno Breker (right), 23 June 1940

Hitler began a military build-up on Germany’s western border, and in April 1940, German forces invaded Denmark and Norway. On 9 April, Hitler proclaimed the birth of the Greater Germanic Reich, his vision of a united empire of the Germanic nations of Europe, where the Dutch, Flemish, and Scandinavians were joined into a “racially pure” polity under German leadership.[245] In May 1940, Germany attacked France, and conquered Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. These victories prompted Mussolini to have Italy join forces with Hitler on 10 June. France surrendered on 22 June.[246] Kershaw notes that Hitler’s popularity within Germany—and German support for the war— reached its peak when he returned to Berlin on 6 July from his tour of Paris.[247] Following the unexpected swift victory, Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of field marshal during the 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony.[248][249]

Britain, whose troops were forced to evacuate France by sea from Dunkirk,[250] continued to fight alongside other British dominions in the Battle of the Atlantic. Hitler made peace overtures to the new British leader, Winston Churchill, and upon their rejection he ordered a series of aerial attacks on Royal Air Force airbases and radar stations in South-East England. The German Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force in what became known as the Battle of Britain.[251] By the end of October, Hitler realised that air superiority for the invasion of Britain—in Operation Sea Lion—could not be achieved, and he ordered nightly air raids on British cities, including London, Plymouth, and Coventry.[252]

On 27 September 1940, the Tripartite Pact was signed in Berlin by Saburō Kurusu of Imperial Japan, Hitler, and Italian foreign minister Ciano,[253] and later expanded to include Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, thus yielding the Axis powers. Hitler’s attempt to integrate the Soviet Union into the anti-British bloc failed after inconclusive talks between Hitler and Molotov in Berlin in November, and he ordered preparations for a full-scale invasion of the Soviet Union.[254]

In the Spring of 1941, German forces were deployed to North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. In February, German forces arrived in Libya to bolster the Italian presence. In April, Hitler launched the invasion of Yugoslavia, quickly followed by the invasion of Greece.[255] In May, German forces were sent to support Iraqi rebel forces fighting against the British and to invade Crete.[256]

Path to defeat

On 22 June 1941, contravening the Hitler–Stalin non-aggression pact of 1939, 5.5 million Axis troops attacked the Soviet Union. This large-scale offensive (codenamed Operation Barbarossa) was intended to destroy the Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent aggression against the Western powers.[257][258] The invasion conquered a huge area, including the Baltic republics, Belarus, and West Ukraine. After the successful Battle of Smolensk, Hitler ordered Army Group Centre to halt its advance to Moscow and temporarily diverted its Panzer groups north and south to aid in the encirclement of Leningrad and Kiev.[259] His generals disagreed with this change of targets, and his decision caused a major crisis among the military leadership.[260][261] The pause provided the Red Army with an opportunity to mobilise fresh reserves; historian Russel Stolfi considers it to be one of the major factors that caused the failure of the Moscow offensive, which was resumed only in October 1941 and ended disastrously in December.[259]

Hitler during his speech to the Reichstag attacking American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11 December 1941

On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four days later, Hitler formally declared war against the United States.[262]

On 18 December 1941, Himmler asked Hitler, “What to do with the Jews of Russia?”, to which Hitler replied, “als Partisanen auszurotten” (“exterminate them as partisans”).[263] Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer has commented that the remark is probably as close as historians will ever get to a definitive order from Hitler for the genocide carried out during the Holocaust.[263]

In late 1942, German forces were defeated in the second battle of El Alamein,[264] thwarting Hitler’s plans to seize the Suez Canal and the Middle East. Overconfident in his own military expertise following the earlier victories in 1940, Hitler became distrustful of his Army High Command and began to interfere in military and tactical planning with damaging consequences.[265] In February 1943, Hitler’s repeated refusal to allow their withdrawal at the Battle of Stalingrad led to the total destruction of the 6th Army. Over 200,000 Axis soldiers were killed and 235,000 were taken prisoner, only 6,000 of whom returned to Germany after the war.[266] Thereafter came a decisive defeat at the Battle of Kursk.[267] Hitler’s military judgment became increasingly erratic, and Germany’s military and economic position deteriorated along with Hitler’s health.[268]

The destroyed map room at the Wolf’s Lair after the 20 July plot

Following the allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Mussolini was removed from power by Victor Emmanuel III after a vote of no confidence of the Grand Council. Marshal Pietro Badoglio, placed in charge of the government, soon surrendered to the Allies.[269] Throughout 1943 and 1944, the Soviet Union steadily forced Hitler’s armies into retreat along the Eastern Front. On 6 June 1944 the Western Allied armies landed in northern France in what was one of the largest amphibious operations in history, Operation Overlord.[270] As a result of these significant setbacks for the German army, many of its officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that Hitler’s misjudgement or denial would drag out the war and result in the complete destruction of the country.[271]

Between 1939 and 1945, there were many plans to assassinate Hitler, some of which proceeded to significant degrees.[272] The most well known came from within Germany and was at least partly driven by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war.[273] In July 1944, in the 20 July plot, part of Operation Valkyrie, Claus von Stauffenberg planted a bomb in one of Hitler’s headquarters, the Wolf’s Lair at Rastenburg. Hitler narrowly survived because someone unknowingly pushed the briefcase containing the bomb behind a leg of the heavy conference table. When the bomb exploded, the table deflected much of the blast away from Hitler. Later, Hitler ordered savage reprisals resulting in the execution of more than 4,900 people.[274]

Defeat and death

Main article: Death of Adolf Hitler

By late 1944, both the Red Army and the Western Allies were advancing into Germany. Recognising the strength and determination of the Red Army, Hitler decided to use his remaining mobile reserves against the American and British troops, which he perceived as far weaker.[275] On 16 December, he launched an offensive in the Ardennes to incite disunity among the Western Allies and perhaps convince them to join his fight against the Soviets.[276] The offensive failed. Hitler’s hope to negotiate peace with the United States and Britain was buoyed by the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on 12 April 1945, but contrary to his expectations, this caused no rift among the Allies.[277][276] Acting on his view that Germany’s military failures had forfeited its right to survive as a nation, Hitler ordered the destruction of all German industrial infrastructure before it could fall into Allied hands.[278] Arms minister Albert Speer was entrusted with executing this scorched earth plan, but he quietly disobeyed the order.[278][279]

Front page of the US Armed Forces newspaper, Stars and Stripes, 2 May 1945, announcing Hitler’s death

On 20 April, his 56th birthday, Hitler made his last trip from the Führerbunker (“Führer’s shelter”) to the surface. In the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery, he awarded Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.[280] By 21 April, Georgy Zhukov‘s 1st Belorussian Front had broken through the defences of German General Gotthard Heinrici‘s Army Group Vistula during the Battle of the Seelow Heights and advanced into the outskirts of Berlin.[281] In denial about the dire situation, Hitler placed his hopes on the undermanned and under-equipped Armeeabteilung Steiner (Army Detachment Steiner), commanded by Waffen SS General Felix Steiner. Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the salient and the German Ninth Army was ordered to attack northward in a pincer attack.[282]

During a military conference on 22 April, Hitler asked about Steiner’s offensive. He was told that the attack had not been launched and that the Soviets had entered Berlin. This prompted Hitler to ask everyone except Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Hans Krebs, and Wilhelm Burgdorf to leave the room.[283] Hitler then launched a tirade against the treachery and incompetence of his commanders, culminating in his declaration—for the first time—that the war was lost. Hitler announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself.[284]

By 23 April the Red Army had completely surrounded Berlin,[285] and Goebbels made a proclamation urging its citizens to defend the city.[283] That same day, Göring sent a telegram from Berchtesgaden, arguing that since Hitler was isolated in Berlin, he, Göring, should assume leadership of Germany. Göring set a deadline after which he would consider Hitler incapacitated.[286] Hitler responded by having Göring arrested, and in his last will and testament, written on 29 April, he removed Göring from all government positions.[287][288] On 28 April Hitler discovered that Himmler, who had left Berlin on 20 April, was trying to discuss surrender terms with the Western Allies.[289][290] He ordered Himmler’s arrest and had Hermann Fegelein (Himmler’s SS representative at Hitler’s HQ in Berlin) shot.[291]

After midnight on 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in the Führerbunker. After a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife, he then took secretary Traudl Junge to another room and dictated his will.[292][b] The event was witnessed and documents signed by Krebs, Burgdorf, Goebbels, and Bormann.[293] Later that afternoon, Hitler was informed of the execution of Mussolini, which presumably increased his determination to avoid capture.[294]

On 30 April 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler and Braun committed suicide; Braun bit into a cyanide capsule[295] and Hitler shot himself.[296] Both their bodies were carried up the stairs and through the bunker’s emergency exit to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater and doused with petrol.[297] The corpses were set on fire as the Red Army shelling continued.[298][299]

Berlin surrendered on 2 May. Records in the Soviet archives, obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union, state that the remains of Hitler, Braun, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, the six Goebbels children, General Hans Krebs, and Hitler’s dogs were repeatedly buried and exhumed.[300] On 4 April 1970, a Soviet KGB team used detailed burial charts to exhume five wooden boxes at the SMERSH facility in Magdeburg. The remains from the boxes were burned, crushed, and scattered into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the nearby Elbe.[301] According to Kershaw the corpses of Braun and Hitler were fully burned when the Red Army found them, and only a lower jaw with dental work could be identified as Hitler’s remains.[302]

The Holocaust

Main article: The Holocaust

If the international Jewish financiers outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe![303]

— Adolf Hitler addressing the German Reichstag, 30 January 1939

A wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the liberated Buchenwald concentration camp (April 1945)

The Holocaust and Germany’s war in the East was based on Hitler’s long-standing view that the Jews were the great enemy of the German people and that Lebensraum was needed for the expansion of Germany. He focused on Eastern Europe for this expansion, aiming to defeat Poland and the Soviet Union and on removing or killing the Jews and Slavs.[304] The Generalplan Ost (“General Plan for the East”) called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to West Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered;[305] the conquered territories were to be colonised by German or “Germanised” settlers.[306] The goal was to implement this plan after the conquest of the Soviet Union, but when this failed, Hitler moved the plans forward.[305][307] By January 1942, it had been decided to kill the Jews, Slavs, and other deportees considered undesirable.[308][c]

Hitler’s order for Action T4, dated 1 September 1939

The Holocaust (the “Endlösung der Judenfrage” or “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”) was ordered by Hitler and organised and executed by Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. The records of the Wannsee Conference—held on 20 January 1942 and led by Heydrich, with fifteen senior Nazi officials participating—provide the clearest evidence of systematic planning for the Holocaust. On 22 February, Hitler was recorded saying, “we shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews”.[309] Although no direct order from Hitler authorising the mass killings has surfaced,[310] his public speeches, orders to his generals, and the diaries of Nazi officials demonstrate that he conceived and authorised the extermination of European Jewry.[311][312] He approved the Einsatzgruppen—killing squads that followed the German army through Poland, the Baltic, and the Soviet Union[313]—and he was well informed about their activities.[311][314] By summer 1942, Auschwitz concentration camp was rapidly expanded to accommodate large numbers of deportees for killing or enslavement.[315] Scores of other concentration camps and satellite camps were set up throughout Europe, with several camps devoted exclusively to extermination.[316]

Between 1939 and 1945, the Schutzstaffel (SS), assisted by collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied countries, was responsible for the deaths of at least eleven million people,[317][305] including 5.5 to six million Jews (representing two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe),[318][319] and between 200,000 and 1,500,000 Romani people.[320][319] Deaths took place in concentration and extermination camps, ghettos, and through mass executions. Many victims of the Holocaust were gassed to death, whereas others died of starvation or disease or while working as slave labourers.[321]

Hitler’s policies also resulted in the killing of nearly two million Poles,[322] over 3 million Soviet prisoners of war,[323] communists and other political opponents, homosexuals, the physically and mentally disabled,[324][325] Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists, and trade unionists. Hitler never appeared to have visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the killings.[326]

The Nazis also embraced the concept of racial hygiene. On 15 September 1935, Hitler presented two laws—known as the Nuremberg Laws—to the Reichstag. The laws banned sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and Jews and were later extended to include “Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring”.[327] The laws also stripped all non-Aryans of their German citizenship and forbade the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households.[328] Hitler’s early eugenic policies targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities in a programme dubbed Action Brandt, and later authorised a euthanasia programme for adults with serious mental and physical disabilities, now referred to as Action T4.[329]

Leadership style

Hitler ruled the NSDAP autocratically by asserting the Führerprinzip (“Leader principle”). The principle relied on absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors; thus he viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex. Rank in the party was not determined by elections—positions were filled through appointment by those of higher rank, who demanded unquestioning obedience to the will of the leader.[330] Hitler’s leadership style was to give contradictory orders to his subordinates and to place them into positions where their duties and responsibilities overlapped with those of others, to have “the stronger one [do] the job”.[331] In this way, Hitler fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and maximise his own power. His cabinet never met after 1938, and he discouraged his ministers from meeting independently.[332][333] Hitler typically did not give written orders; instead he communicated them verbally, or had them conveyed through his close associate, Martin Bormann.[334] He entrusted Bormann with his paperwork, appointments, and personal finances; Bormann used his position to control the flow of information and access to Hitler.[335]

Hitler personally made all major military decisions. Historians who have assessed his performance agree that after a strong start, he became so inflexible after 1941 that he squandered the military strengths Germany possessed. Historian Antony Beevor argues that at the start of the war, “Hitler was a fairly inspired leader, because his genius lay in assessing the weaknesses of others and exploiting those weaknesses”. From 1941 onward, “he became completely sclerotic. He would not allow any form of retreat or flexibility among his field commanders, and that of course was catastrophic”.[336]


Further information: Consequences of Nazism and Neo-Nazism

Outside the building in Braunau am Inn, Austria, where Hitler was born, is a memorial stone placed as a reminder of the horrors of World War II. The inscription translates as:

For peace, freedom
and democracy
never again fascism
millions of dead remind [us]

Hitler’s suicide was likened by contemporaries to a “spell” being broken.[337][338] Public support for Hitler had collapsed by the time of his death and few Germans mourned his passing; Ian Kershaw argues that most civilians and military personnel were too busy adjusting to the collapse of the country or fleeing from the fighting to take any interest.[339] According to historian John Toland National Socialism “burst like a bubble” without its leader.[340]

Hitler’s actions and Nazi ideology are almost universally regarded as gravely immoral;[341] according to historian Ian Kershaw, “Never in history has such ruination—physical and moral—been associated with the name of one man”.[342] Hitler’s political programme brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe. Germany itself suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as “Zero Hour”.[343] Hitler’s policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale;[344] according to R.J. Rummel, the Nazi regime was responsible for the democidal killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war.[317] In addition, 29 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre of World War II,[317] and Hitler’s role has been described as “… the main author of a war leaving over 50 million dead and millions more grieving their lost ones …”.[342] The total number of civilians killed during the Second World War (much of them attributable to Hitler) was an unprecedented development in the history of warfare.[345] Historians, philosophers, and politicians often use the word “evil” to describe the Nazi regime.[346] Many European countries have criminalised both the promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial.[347]

Historian Friedrich Meinecke described Hitler as “one of the great examples of the singular and incalculable power of personality in historical life”.[348] English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper saw him as “among the ‘terrible simplifiers’ of history, the most systematic, the most historical, the most philosophical, and yet the coarsest, cruelest, least magnanimous conqueror the world has ever known”.[349] For the historian John M. Roberts, Hitler’s defeat marked the end of a phase of European history dominated by Germany.[350] In its place emerged the Cold War, a global confrontation between the Western Bloc, dominated by the United States and other NATO nations, and the Eastern Bloc, dominated by the Soviet Union.[351] Historian Sebastian Haffner avows that without Hitler and the displacement of the Jews, the modern nation state of Israel would not exist. He contends that without Hitler, the de-colonization of former European spheres of influence would not have occurred as quickly and would have been postponed.[352] Further, Haffner claims that other than Alexander the Great, Hitler had a more significant impact than any other comparable historical figure, in that he too caused a wide range of worldwide changes in a relatively short time span.[353]

Religious views

Born to a practising Catholic mother and an anticlerical father, after leaving home, Hitler never again attended Mass or received the sacraments.[354][355][356] Speer states that Hitler made harsh pronouncements against the church to his political associates and though he never officially left it, he had no attachment to it.[357] He adds that Hitler felt that in the absence of the church the faithful would turn to mysticism, which he considered a step backwards.[357] Historian John S. Conway states that Hitler was fundamentally opposed to the Christian churches.[358] According to Bullock, Hitler did not believe in God, was anticlerical, and held Christian ethics in contempt because they contravened his preferred view of “survival of the fittest“.[359] He favoured aspects of Protestantism that suited his own views, and adopted some elements of the Catholic Church’s hierarchical organisation, liturgy, and phraseology in his politics.[360]

Hitler viewed the church as an important politically conservative influence on society,[361] and he adopted a strategic relationship with it “that suited his immediate political purposes”.[358] In public, Hitler often praised Christian heritage and German Christian culture, though professing a belief in an “Aryan” Jesus—one who fought against the Jews.[362] Any pro-Christian public rhetoric was at variance with his personal beliefs, which described Christianity as “absurdity”[363] and nonsense founded on lies.[364]

According to a US Office of Strategic Services report, “The Nazi Master Plan”, Hitler planned to destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Reich.[365][366] His eventual goal was the total elimination of Christianity.[367] This goal informed Hitler’s movement very early on, but he saw it as inexpedient to express this extreme position publicly.[368] According to Bullock, Hitler wanted to wait until after the war before executing this plan.[369]

Speer wrote that Hitler had a negative view of Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg‘s mystical notions and Himmler’s attempt to mythologise the SS. Hitler was more pragmatic, and his ambitions centred on more practical concerns.[370][371]


Researchers have variously suggested that Hitler suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, irregular heartbeat, coronary sclerosis,[372] Parkinson’s disease,[268][373] syphilis,[373] and tinnitus.[374] In a report prepared for the Office of Strategic Services in 1943, Walter C. Langer of Harvard University described Hitler as a “neurotic psychopath“.[375] In his 1977 book The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler, historian Robert G. L. Waite proposes that Hitler suffered from borderline personality disorder.[376] Historians Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann judge that while Hitler suffered from a number of illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, he did not experience pathological delusions and was always fully aware of, and responsible for, the decisions he was making.[377] Theories about Hitler’s medical condition are difficult to prove, and placing too much weight on them may have the effect of attributing many of the events and consequences of the Third Reich to the possibly impaired physical health of one individual.[378] Kershaw feels that it is better to take a broader view of German history by examining what social forces led to the Third Reich and its policies rather than to pursue narrow explanations for the Holocaust and World War II based on only one person.[379]

Hitler followed a vegetarian diet.[380] At social events he sometimes gave graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make his dinner guests shun meat.[381] An antivivisectionist, Hitler may have followed his selective diet out of a concern for animals.[382] Bormann had a greenhouse constructed near the Berghof (near Berchtesgaden) to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for Hitler throughout the war. Hitler despised alcohol[383] and was a non-smoker. He encouraged his close associates to quit by offering a gold watch to any who were able to break the habit.[384] Hitler began using amphetamine occasionally after 1937 and became addicted to it in the autumn of 1942.[385] Speer linked this use of amphetamines to Hitler’s increasingly inflexible decision making (for example, rarely allowing military retreats).[386]

Prescribed ninety medications during the war years, Hitler took many pills each day for chronic stomach problems and other ailments.[387] He suffered ruptured eardrums as a result of the 20 July plot bomb blast in 1944, and two hundred wood splinters had to be removed from his legs.[388] Newsreel footage of Hitler shows tremors of his hand and a shuffling walk, which began before the war and worsened towards the end of his life. Hitler’s personal physician, Theodor Morell, treated Hitler with a drug that was commonly prescribed in 1945 for Parkinson’s disease. Ernst-Günther Schenck and several other doctors who met Hitler in the last weeks of his life also formed a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.[387][389]


Hitler in 1942 with his long-time mistress, Eva Braun, whom he married on 29 April 1945

Hitler created a public image as a celibate man without a domestic life, dedicated entirely to his political mission and the nation.[133][390] He met his mistress, Eva Braun, in 1929,[391] and married her in April 1945.[392] In September 1931, his half-niece, Geli Raubal, committed suicide with Hitler’s gun in his Munich apartment. It was rumoured among contemporaries that Geli was in a romantic relationship with him, and her death was a source of deep, lasting pain.[393] Paula Hitler, the last living member of the immediate family, died in 1960.[394]

Hitler in media

Film of Hitler at Berchtesgaden (c. 1941)

Hitler used documentary films as a propaganda tool. He was involved and appeared in a series of films by the pioneering filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl via Universum Film AG (UFA):[395]

See also


  1. Jump up ^ Hitler also won settlement from a libel suit against the socialist paper the Münchener Post, which had questioned his lifestyle and income. Kershaw 2008, p. 99.
  2. Jump up ^ MI5, Hitler’s Last Days: “Hitler’s will and marriage” on the website of MI5, using the sources available to Trevor Roper (a World War II MI5 agent and historian/author of The Last Days of Hitler), records the marriage as taking place after Hitler had dictated his last will and testament.
  3. Jump up ^ For a summary of recent scholarship on Hitler’s central role in the Holocaust, see McMillan 2012.


  1. Jump up ^ NS-Archiv, 7 April 1925.
  2. Jump up ^ Maser 1973, p. 4.
  3. Jump up ^ Maser 1973, p. 15.
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b Kershaw 1999, p. 5.
  5. Jump up ^ Jetzinger 1976, p. 32.
  6. Jump up ^ Rosenbaum 1999.
  7. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, p. 50.
  8. Jump up ^ Toland 1992, pp. 246–247.
  9. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, pp. 8–9.
  10. Jump up ^ House of Responsibility.
  11. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 6–9.
  12. Jump up ^ Rosmus 2004, p. 33.
  13. Jump up ^ Keller 2010, p. 15.
  14. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, pp. 7–8.
  15. Jump up ^ Kubizek 2006, p. 37.
  16. Jump up ^ Kubizek 2006, p. 92.
  17. Jump up ^ Hitler 1999, p. 6.
  18. Jump up ^ Fromm 1977, pp. 493–498.
  19. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 10–11.
  20. Jump up ^ Payne 1990, p. 22.
  21. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 9.
  22. Jump up ^ Hitler 1999, p. 8.
  23. Jump up ^ Keller 2010, pp. 33–34.
  24. Jump up ^ Fest 1977, p. 32.
  25. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 8.
  26. Jump up ^ Hitler 1999, p. 10.
  27. Jump up ^ Evans 2003, pp. 163–164.
  28. Jump up ^ Bendersky 2000, p. 26.
  29. Jump up ^ Ryschka 2008, p. 35.
  30. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, p. 13.
  31. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 10.
  32. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 19.
  33. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 20.
  34. Jump up ^ Bullock 1962, pp. 30–31.
  35. Jump up ^ Hitler 1999, p. 20.
  36. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, pp. 30–33.
  37. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 26.
  38. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, pp. 243–246.
  39. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, pp. 341–345.
  40. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, p. 350.
  41. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, pp. 60–67.
  42. Jump up ^ Hitler 1999, p. 52.
  43. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 25.
  44. Jump up ^ Hamann 1999, p. 176.
  45. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, p. 348.
  46. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 66.
  47. Jump up ^ Hamann 2010, pp. 347–359.
  48. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 64.
  49. Jump up ^ Evans 2011.
  50. ^ Jump up to: a b Shirer 1960, p. 27.
  51. Jump up ^ Weber 2010, p. 13.
  52. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 27, footnote.
  53. ^ Jump up to: a b Kershaw 1999, p. 90.
  54. Jump up ^ Weber 2010, pp. 12–13.
  55. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 53.
  56. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 54.
  57. Jump up ^ Weber 2010, p. 100.
  58. ^ Jump up to: a b Shirer 1960, p. 30.
  59. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 59.
  60. Jump up ^ Bullock 1962, p. 52.
  61. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 96.
  62. Jump up ^ Steiner 1976, p. 392.
  63. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 57.
  64. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 58.
  65. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 59, 60.
  66. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 97.
  67. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 102.
  68. Jump up ^ Keegan 1987, pp. 238–240.
  69. Jump up ^ Bullock 1962, p. 60.
  70. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 61, 62.
  71. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 61–63.
  72. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 96.
  73. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 80, 90, 92.
  74. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, p. 61.
  75. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 109.
  76. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 82.
  77. Jump up ^ Stackelberg 2007, p. 9.
  78. Jump up ^ Mitcham 1996, p. 67.
  79. Jump up ^ Fest 1970, p. 21.
  80. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 94, 95, 100.
  81. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 87.
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  84. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 89.
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  86. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 81.
  87. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 100, 101.
  88. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 102.
  89. ^ Jump up to: a b Kershaw 2008, p. 103.
  90. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 83, 103.
  91. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, p. 376.
  92. Jump up ^ Frauenfeld 1937.
  93. Jump up ^ Goebbels 1936.
  94. Jump up ^ Kressel 2002, p. 121.
  95. ^ Jump up to: a b Knickerbocker 1941, p. 46.
  96. Jump up ^ Trevor-Roper 1987, p. 116.
  97. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 105–106.
  98. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, p. 377.
  99. Jump up ^ Heck 2001, p. 23.
  100. Jump up ^ Larson 2011, p. 157.
  101. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 367.
  102. Jump up ^ Kellogg 2005, p. 275.
  103. Jump up ^ Kellogg 2005, p. 203.
  104. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 126.
  105. ^ Jump up to: a b Kershaw 2008, p. 128.
  106. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 129.
  107. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 130–131.
  108. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 73–74.
  109. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 132.
  110. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 131.
  111. Jump up ^ Munich Court, 1924.
  112. Jump up ^ Fulda 2009, pp. 68–69.
  113. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, p. 239.
  114. ^ Jump up to: a b Bullock 1962, p. 121.
  115. Jump up ^ Spiro 2008.
  116. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 148–149.
  117. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 80–81.
  118. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 158, 161, 162.
  119. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 162, 166.
  120. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 129.
  121. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 166, 167.
  122. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 136–137.
  123. Jump up ^ Kolb 2005, pp. 224–225.
  124. Jump up ^ Kolb 1988, p. 105.
  125. Jump up ^ Halperin 1965, p. 403 et. seq.
  126. Jump up ^ Halperin 1965, pp. 434–446 et. seq.
  127. Jump up ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967, p. 218.
  128. Jump up ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967, p. 216.
  129. Jump up ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967, pp. 218–219.
  130. Jump up ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1967, p. 222.
  131. Jump up ^ Halperin 1965, p. 449 et. seq.
  132. Jump up ^ Halperin 1965, pp. 434–436, 471.
  133. ^ Jump up to: a b Shirer 1960, p. 130.
  134. Jump up ^ Hinrichs 2007.
  135. Jump up ^ Halperin 1965, p. 476.
  136. Jump up ^ Halperin 1965, pp. 468–471.
  137. Jump up ^ Bullock 1962, p. 201.
  138. Jump up ^ Halperin 1965, pp. 477–479.
  139. Jump up ^ Letter to Hindenburg, 1932.
  140. Jump up ^ Fox News, 2003.
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  142. Jump up ^ Evans 2003, p. 307.
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  144. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, pp. 456-458, 731-732.
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  146. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, p. 262.
  147. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 194, 274.
  148. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 194.
  149. Jump up ^ Bullock 1962, p. 265.
  150. Jump up ^ City of Potsdam.
  151. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 196–197.
  152. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 198.
  153. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 196.
  154. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, p. 269.
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  156. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 274.
  157. Jump up ^ Time, 1934.
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  159. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 202.
  160. ^ Jump up to: a b Evans 2003, pp. 350–374.
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  162. Jump up ^ Tames 2008, pp. 4–5.
  163. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 313–315.
  164. Jump up ^ Overy 2005, p. 63.
  165. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 226–227.
  166. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 229.
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  168. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 230.
  169. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 392, 393.
  170. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 312.
  171. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 393–397.
  172. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 308.
  173. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 318–319.
  174. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 397–398.
  175. Jump up ^ McNab 2009, p. 54.
  176. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 259–260.
  177. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 258.
  178. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 262.
  179. Jump up ^ McNab 2009, pp. 54–57.
  180. Jump up ^ Speer 1971, pp. 118–119.
  181. Jump up ^ Weinberg 1970, pp. 26–27.
  182. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, pp. 490–491.
  183. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, pp. 492, 555–556, 586–587.
  184. Jump up ^ Carr 1972, p. 23.
  185. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 297.
  186. Jump up ^ Messerschmidt 1990, pp. 601–602.
  187. Jump up ^ Hildebrand 1973, p. 39.
  188. Jump up ^ Roberts 1975.
  189. Jump up ^ Messerschmidt 1990, pp. 630–631.
  190. ^ Jump up to: a b Overy, Origins of WWII Reconsidered 1999.
  191. Jump up ^ Carr 1972, pp. 56–57.
  192. Jump up ^ Messerschmidt 1990, p. 642.
  193. Jump up ^ Aigner 1985, p. 264.
  194. ^ Jump up to: a b Messerschmidt 1990, pp. 636–637.
  195. Jump up ^ Carr 1972, pp. 73–78.
  196. Jump up ^ Messerschmidt 1990, p. 638.
  197. ^ Jump up to: a b Bloch 1992, pp. 178–179.
  198. Jump up ^ Plating 2011, p. 21.
  199. Jump up ^ Butler & Young 1989, p. 159.
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  213. Jump up ^ Messerschmidt 1990, p. 672.
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  215. Jump up ^ Rothwell 2001, pp. 90–91.
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  234. Jump up ^ Bloch 1992, pp. 252–253.
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  250. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 731–737.
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  254. Jump up ^ Roberts 2006, pp. 58–60.
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  256. Jump up ^ Kurowski 2005, pp. 141–142.
  257. Jump up ^ Glantz 2001, p. 9.
  258. Jump up ^ Koch 1988.
  259. ^ Jump up to: a b Stolfi 1982.
  260. Jump up ^ Wilt 1981.
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  262. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 900–901.
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  268. ^ Jump up to: a b BBC News, 1999.
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  272. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 544–547, 821–822, 827–828.
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  280. Jump up ^ Beevor 2002, p. 251.
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  295. Jump up ^ Linge 2009, p. 199.
  296. Jump up ^ Joachimsthaler 1999, pp. 160–180.
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  299. Jump up ^ Bullock 1962, pp. 799–800.
  300. Jump up ^ Vinogradov 2005, pp. 111, 333.
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  302. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2000b, p. 1110.
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  304. Jump up ^ Gellately 1996.
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  310. Jump up ^ Megargee 2007, p. 146.
  311. ^ Jump up to: a b Longerich, Chapter 15 2003.
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  313. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 670–675.
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  319. ^ Jump up to: a b Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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  321. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 946.
  322. Jump up ^ US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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  324. Jump up ^ Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 45.
  325. Jump up ^ Goldhagen 1996, p. 290.
  326. Jump up ^ Downing 2005, p. 33.
  327. Jump up ^ Gellately 2001, p. 216.
  328. Jump up ^ Kershaw 1999, pp. 567–568.
  329. Jump up ^ Overy 2005, p. 252.
  330. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 170, 172, 181.
  331. Jump up ^ Speer 1971, p. 281.
  332. Jump up ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 29.
  333. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 323.
  334. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 377.
  335. Jump up ^ Speer 1971, p. 333.
  336. Jump up ^ Beevor & Attar 2012.
  337. Jump up ^ Fest 1974, p. 753.
  338. Jump up ^ Speer 1971, p. 617.
  339. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2012, pp. 348–350.
  340. Jump up ^ Toland 1992, p. 892.
  341. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2000a, pp. 1–6.
  342. ^ Jump up to: a b Kershaw 2000b, p. 841.
  343. Jump up ^ Fischer 1995, p. 569.
  344. Jump up ^ Del Testa, Lemoine & Strickland 2003, p. 83.
  345. Jump up ^ Murray & Millett 2001, p. 554.
  346. Jump up ^ Welch 2001, p. 2.
  347. Jump up ^ Bazyler 2006, p. 1.
  348. Jump up ^ Shirer 1960, p. 6.
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  351. Jump up ^ Lichtheim 1974, p. 366.
  352. Jump up ^ Haffner 1979, pp. 100-101.
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  354. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 5.
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  358. ^ Jump up to: a b Conway 1968, p. 3.
  359. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, pp. 385, 389.
  360. Jump up ^ Rißmann 2001, p. 96.
  361. Jump up ^ Speer 1971, p. 141.
  362. Jump up ^ Steigmann-Gall 2003, pp. 27, 108.
  363. Jump up ^ Hitler 2000, p. 59.
  364. Jump up ^ Hitler 2000, p. 342.
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  375. Jump up ^ Langer 1972, p. 126.
  376. Jump up ^ Waite 1993, p. 356.
  377. Jump up ^ Gunkel 2010.
  378. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2000a, p. 72.
  379. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. xxxv–xxxvi.
  380. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, p. 388.
  381. Jump up ^ Wilson 1998.
  382. Jump up ^ Dietrich 2010, p. 172.
  383. Jump up ^ Dietrich 2010, p. 171.
  384. Jump up ^ Toland 1992, p. 741.
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  386. Jump up ^ Heston & Heston 1980, pp. 11–20.
  387. ^ Jump up to: a b Kershaw 2008, p. 782.
  388. Jump up ^ Linge 2009, p. 156.
  389. Jump up ^ O’Donnell 2001, p. 37.
  390. Jump up ^ Bullock 1999, p. 563.
  391. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 378.
  392. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 947–948.
  393. Jump up ^ Bullock 1962, pp. 393–394.
  394. Jump up ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 4.
  395. Jump up ^ The Daily Telegraph, 2003.



Vladimir Poutine

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин, IPA: [vɫɐˈdʲimʲɪr vɫɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪt͡ɕ ˈputʲɪn] ( ), born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician who has been the President of Russia since 7 May 2012. He previously served as President from 2000 to 2008, and as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. During that last term as Prime Minister, he was also the Chairman of the United Russia political party.

For 16 years Putin served as an officer in the KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before he retired to enter politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991. He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin‘s administration where he rose quickly, becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999 when Yeltsin resigned unexpectedly. Putin won the subsequent 2000 presidential election and was re-elected in 2004. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term in 2008. Dmitry Medvedev won the 2008 presidential election and appointed Putin as Prime Minister, beginning a period of so-called “tandemocracy”.[1] In September 2011, following a change in the law extending the presidential term from four years to six,[2] Putin announced that he would seek a third, non-consecutive term as President in the 2012 presidential election, an announcement which led to large-scale protests in many Russian cities. He won the election in March 2012 and is serving a six-year term.[3][4]

Many of Putin’s actions are regarded by the domestic opposition and foreign observers as undemocratic.[5] The 2011 Democracy Index stated that Russia was in “a long process of regression [that] culminated in a move from a hybrid to an authoritarian regime” in view of Putin’s candidacy and flawed parliamentary elections.[6]

During Putin’s first premiership and presidency (1999–2008), real incomes increased by a factor of 2.5, real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians’ self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly.[7] Putin’s first presidency was marked by high economic growth: the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, seeing GDP increase by 72% in PPP (sixfold in nominal).[7][8][9][10][11] As Russia’s president, Putin and the Federal Assembly passed into law a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes.[12][13] As Prime Minister, Putin oversaw large scale military and police reform. His energy policy has affirmed Russia’s position as an energy superpower.[14] Putin supported high-tech industries such as the nuclear and defence industries. A rise in foreign investment[15] contributed to a boom in such sectors as the automotive industry. Putin has cultivated a “he-man” and “super hero” image and is a pop cultural icon in Russia with many commercial products named after him. He is currently ranked as the world’s most powerful man according to Forbes.[16]

Ancestry, early life and education

Putin’s father, Vladimir Spiridonovich

Putin was born on 7 October 1952, in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (modern day Saint Petersburg, Russia),[17] to parents Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911–1999) and Maria Ivanovna Putina (née Shelomova; 1911–1998). His mother was a factory worker, and his father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy, where he served in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s, and later served in the NKVD during World War II.[18][19][20][21] Two elder brothers were born in the mid-1930s; one died within a few months of birth, while the second succumbed to diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad in World War II.

Vladimir Putin’s paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin (1879–1965), was employed at Vladimir Lenin‘s dacha at Gorki as a cook, and after Lenin’s death in 1924, he continued to work for Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya. He would later cook for Joseph Stalin when the Soviet leader visited one of his dachas in the Moscow region. Spiridon later was employed at a dacha belonging to the Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, at which the young Putin would visit him.[22]

The ancestry of Vladimir Putin has been described as a mystery with no records surviving of any ancestors of any people with the surname “Putin” beyond his grandfather Spiridon Ivanovich. His autobiography, Ot Pervogo Litsa (English: In the First Person),[18] which is based on Putin’s interviews, speaks of humble beginnings, including early years in a communal apartment in Leningrad.

Putin with his mother, Maria Ivanovna, in July 1958

On 1 September 1960, he started at School No. 193 at Baskov Lane, just across from his house. By fifth grade he was one of a few in a class of more than 45 pupils who was not yet a member of the Pioneers, largely because of his rowdy behavior. In sixth grade he started taking sport seriously in the form of sambo and then judo. In his youth, Putin was eager to emulate the intelligence officer characters played on the Soviet screen by actors such as Vyacheslav Tikhonov and Georgiy Zhzhonov.[23]

Putin graduated from the International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975, writing his final thesis on international law.[24] His PhD thesis was titled “The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations” and it argued that Russian economic success would depend on creating national energy champions.[25] While at university he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and remained a member until the party was dissolved in December 1991.[26] Also at the University he met Anatoly Sobchak who later played an important role in Putin’s career. Anatoly Sobchak was at the time an Assistant Professor and lectured Putin’s class on Business Law (khozyaystvennoye pravo).[27]

KGB career

Putin in KGB uniform

Putin joined the KGB in 1975 upon graduation, and underwent a year’s training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad. He then went on to work briefly in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence) before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where among his duties was the monitoring of foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad.[28][29]

From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany.[30] Following the collapse of the communist East German government, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov.[29] In his new position, Putin maintained surveillance on the student body and kept an eye out for recruits. It was during his stint at the university that Putin grew reacquainted with his former professor Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad.[31]

Putin finally resigned from the active state security services with the rank of lieutenant colonel on 20 August 1991 (with some attempts to resign made earlier),[31] on the second day of the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.[32] Putin later explained his decision: “As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on”, though he also noted that the choice was hard because he had spent the best part of his life with “the organs”.[33]

Political career

Saint Petersburg administration (1990–1996)

In May 1990, Putin was appointed as an advisor on international affairs to Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. Then, on 28 June 1991, he became head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor’s Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments.[34] That Committee headed by Putin also registered business ventures.

Less than one year later, Putin was investigated by the city legislative council, and the investigators concluded that Putin had understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93 million, in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived.[35][36] Despite the investigators’ recommendation that Putin be fired, Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996.[37][38] From 1994 to 1996, Putin held several other political and governmental positions in Saint Petersburg.[39][39]

Early Moscow career (1996–1999)

Putin as FSB director, 1 January 1998

In 1996, Mayor Anatoly Sobchak lost his bid for reelection in Saint Petersburg. Putin was called to Moscow and in June 1996 became a Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Department (other languages) headed by Pavel Borodin. He occupied this position until March 1997. During his tenure Putin was responsible for the foreign property of the state and organized transfer of the former assets of the Soviet Union and Communist Party to the Russian Federation.[27]

On 26 March 1997, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin deputy chief of Presidential Staff, which he remained until May 1998, and chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department (until June 1998). His predecessor on this position was Alexei Kudrin and the successor was Nikolai Patrushev, both future prominent politicians and Putin’s associates.[27]

On 27 June 1997, at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute, guided by rector Vladimir Litvinenko, Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics, titled “The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations”.[40] This exemplified the custom in Russia for a rising young official to write a scholarly work in midcareer.[41] When Putin later became president, the dissertation became a target of plagiarism accusations by fellows at the Brookings Institution; though the allegedly plagiarised study was referenced,[42][43] the Brookings fellows felt sure it constituted plagiarism albeit perhaps not “intentional”.[42] The dissertation committee denied the accusations.[43]

On 25 May 1998, Putin was appointed First Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff for regions, replacing Viktoriya Mitina; and, on 15 July, was appointed Head of the Commission for the preparation of agreements on the delimitation of power of regions and the federal center attached to the President, replacing Sergey Shakhray. After Putin’s appointment, the commission completed no such agreements, although during Shakhray’s term as the Head of the Commission there were 46 agreements signed.[44] Later, after becoming president, Putin canceled all those agreements.[27]

On 25 July 1998, Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin head of the FSB (one of the successor agencies to the KGB), the position Putin occupied until August 1999. He became a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on 1 October 1998 and its Secretary on 29 March 1999.

First Premiership (1999)

On 9 August 1999, Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, and later on that day was appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin.[45] Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Still later on that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency.[46]

On 16 August, the State Duma approved his appointment as Prime Minister with 233 votes in favour (vs. 84 against, 17 abstained),[47] while a simple majority of 226 was required, making him Russia’s fifth PM in fewer than eighteen months. On his appointment, few expected Putin, virtually unknown to the general public, to last any longer than his predecessors. He was initially regarded as a Yeltsin loyalist; like other prime ministers of Boris Yeltsin, Putin did not choose ministers himself, his cabinet being determined by the presidential administration.[48]

Yeltsin’s main opponents and would-be successors were already campaigning to replace the ailing president, and they fought hard to prevent Putin’s emergence as a potential successor. Putin’s law-and-order image and his unrelenting approach to the Second Chechen War, soon combined to raise Putin’s popularity and allowed him to overtake all rivals.

While not formally associated with any party, Putin pledged his support to the newly formed Unity Party,[49] which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote (23.3%) in the December 1999 Duma elections, and in turn he was supported by it.

Acting Presidency (1999–2000)

Putin landing in Grozny in a Su-27 fighter jet, 20 March 2000

On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the Constitution of Russia, Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation. On assuming this role, Putin went on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya.[citation needed]

The first Presidential Decree that Putin signed, on 31 December 1999, was titled “On guarantees for former president of the Russian Federation and members of his family”.[50][51] This ensured that “corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives” would not be pursued.[52] Later, on 12 February 2001, Putin signed a similar federal law which replaced the decree of 1999.

While his opponents had been preparing for an election in June 2000, Yeltsin’s resignation resulted in the Presidential elections being held within three months, on 26 March 2000; Putin won in the first round with 53% of the vote.[53]

First Presidential term (2000–2004)

The first major challenge to Putin’s popularity came in August 2000, when he was criticized for his alleged mishandling of the Kursk submarine disaster.[54] That criticism was largely because it was several days before he returned from vacation, and several more before he visited the scene.[54]

Taking presidential oath with Yeltsin, May 2000

Vladimir Putin was inaugurated president on 7 May 2000. He appointed Minister of Finance Mikhail Kasyanov as his Prime minister.

Between 2000 and 2004, Putin apparently won a power-struggle with the Russian oligarchs, reaching a ‘grand-bargain’ with them. This bargain allowed the oligarchs to maintain most of their powers, in exchange for their explicit support – and alignment with – his government.[55][56] A new group of business magnates, such as Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Yakunin, Yury Kovalchuk, Sergey Chemezov, with close personal ties to Putin, also emerged.

Many in the Russian press and in the international media warned that the death of some 130 hostages in the special forces’ rescue operation during the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis would severely damage President Putin’s popularity. However, shortly after the siege had ended, the Russian president was enjoying record public approval ratings – 83% of Russians declared themselves satisfied with Putin and his handling of the siege.[57]

A few months before elections, Putin fired Prime Minister Kasyanov’s cabinet and appointed Mikhail Fradkov to his place. Sergey Ivanov became the first civilian in Russia to take Defense Minister position.

In 2003, a referendum was held in Chechnya adopting a new constitution which declares the Republic as a part of Russia. Chechnya has been gradually stabilized with the establishment of the parliamentary elections and a regional government.[58][59]

Throughout the war, Russia severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement. However, sporadic violence continued to occur throughout the North Caucasus.[60]

Second Presidential term (2004–2008)

Speaking at the 2005 Victory Day Parade on Red Square

Putin with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in March 2008

With George W. Bush at a pier along the Black Sea, in Sochi, 5 April 2008

On 14 March 2004, Putin was elected to the presidency for a second term, receiving 71% of the vote.[53] The Beslan school hostage crisis took place in September 2004, in which hundreds died. In response, Putin took a variety of administrative measures.

In 2005, the National Priority Projects were launched to improve Russia’s health care, education, housing and agriculture.[61][62]

The continued criminal prosecution of Russia’s then richest man, President of YUKOS company Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for fraud and tax evasion was seen by the international press as a retaliation for Khodorkovsky’s donations to both liberal and communist opponents of the Kremlin. The government said that Khodorkovsky was corrupting a large segment of the Duma to prevent tax code changes such as taxes on windfall profits and closing offshore tax evasion vehicles. Khodorkovsky was arrested, Yukos was bankrupted and the company’s assets were auctioned at below-market value, with the largest share acquired by the state company Rosneft.[63] The fate of Yukos was seen in the West as a sign of a broader shift of Russia towards a system of state capitalism.[64][65]

A study by Bank of Finland‘s Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT) in 2008 found that state intervention had made a positive impact on the corporate governance of many companies in Russia: the governance was better in companies with state control or with a stake held by the government.[66]

Putin was criticized in the West and also by Russian liberals for what many observers considered a wide-scale crackdown on media freedom in Russia. On 7 October 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who exposed corruption in the Russian army and its conduct in Chechnya, was shot in the lobby of her apartment building. The death of Politkovskaya triggered an outcry in Western media, with accusations that, at best, Putin has failed to protect the country’s new independent media.[67][68] When asked about the Politkovskaya murder in his interview with the German TV channel ARD, Putin said that her murder brings much more harm to the Russian authorities than her writing.[69] By 2012 the performers of the murder were arrested and named Boris Berezovsky and Akhmed Zakayev as a possible clients.[70]

In 2007, “Dissenters’ Marches” were organized by the opposition group The Other Russia,[71] led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov and national-Bolshevist leader Eduard Limonov. Following prior warnings, demonstrations in several Russian cities were met by police action, which included interfering with the travel of the protesters and the arrests of as many as 150 people who attempted to break through police lines.[72] The Dissenters’ Marches have received little support among the Russian general public, according to polls.[73]

On 12 September 2007, Putin dissolved the government upon the request of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Fradkov commented that it was to give the President a “free hand” in the run-up to the parliamentary election. Viktor Zubkov was appointed the new prime minister.[74]

In December 2007, United Russia won 64.24% of the popular vote in their run for State Duma according to election preliminary results.[75] United Russia’s victory in December 2007 elections was seen by many as an indication of strong popular support of the then Russian leadership and its policies.[76][77]

In his last days in office Putin was reported to have taken a series of steps to re-align the regional bureaucracy to make the governors report to the prime minister rather than the president.[78][79] Putin’s office explained that “the changes… bear a refining nature and do not affect the essential positions of the system. The key role in estimating the effectiveness of activity of regional authority still belongs to President of the Russian Federation.”

Second Premiership (2008–2012)

Putin was barred from a third term by the Constitution. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was elected his successor. On 8 May 2008, only a day after handing the presidency to Medvedev, Putin was appointed Prime Minister of Russia, maintaining his political dominance.[80]

The Great Recession hit the Russian economy especially hard, interrupting the flow of cheap Western credit and investments. This coincided with tension in relationships with the EU and the US following the 2008 South Ossetia war, in which Russia defeated NATO ally Georgia.

However, the large financial reserves, accumulated in the Stabilization Fund of Russia in the previous period of high oil prices, alongside the strong management helped the country to cope with the crisis and resume economic growth since mid-2009. The Russian government’s anti-crisis measures have been praised by the World Bank, which said in its Russia Economic Report from November 2008: “prudent fiscal management and substantial financial reserves have protected Russia from deeper consequences of this external shock. The government’s policy response so far—swift, comprehensive, and coordinated—has helped limit the impact.”[81]

Vladimir Putin with Dmitry Medvedev, March 2008

Putin has named the overcoming of consequences of the world economic crisis one of the two main achievements of his 2nd Premiership.[62] The other named achievement was the stabilisation of the size of Russia’s population between 2008–2011 following the long period of demographic collapse started in the 1990s.[62]

At the United Russia Congress in Moscow on 24 September 2011, Medvedev officially proposed that Putin stand for the Presidency in 2012, an offer which Putin accepted. Given United Russia’s near-total dominance of Russian politics, many observers believed that Putin was all but assured of a third term. The move was expected to see Medvedev stand on the United Russia ticket in the parliamentary elections in December, with a goal of becoming Prime Minister at the end of his presidential term.[82] During the 2012 presidential campaign, Putin published 7 articles to present his vision for the future.[83]

After the parliamentary elections on 4 December 2011, tens of thousands Russians engaged in protests against alleged electoral fraud, the largest protests in Putin’s time; protesters criticized Putin and United Russia and demanded annulment of the election results.[84] However, those protests, organized by the leaders of the Russian “non-systemic opposition”, sparked the fear of a colour revolution in society, and a number of “anti-Orange” counter-protests (the name alludes to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine) and rallies of Putin supporters were carried out, surpassing in scale the opposition protests.[85][86][87]

Third Presidential term (2012–present)

Putin taking the presidential oath at his 3rd inauguration ceremony, 7 May 2012

On 4 March 2012, Putin won the 2012 Russian presidential elections in the first round, with 63.6% of the vote.[53] While extraordinary measures were taken to make the elections transparent, including the usage of webcams on the vast majority of polling stations, the vote was criticized by Russian opposition and some international bodies for perceived irregularities.[citation needed]

Anti-Putin protests took place during and directly after the presidential campaign. The most notorious protest was 21 February Pussy Riot performance, and subsequent trial.[88] Also, an estimated 8,000–20,000 protesters gathered in Moscow on 6 May,[89][90] when eighty people were injured in confrontations with police,[91] and 450 were arrested, with another 120 arrests taking place the following day.[92]

Putin’s presidency was inaugurated in the Kremlin on 7 May 2012. [93] On his first day as President, Putin issued 14 Presidential decrees, sometimes called in the media “May Decrees”, including a lengthy one stating wide-ranging goals for the Russian economy. Other decrees concerned education, housing, skilled-labor training, relations with the European Union, the defense industry, inter-ethnic relations, and other policy areas dealt with in Putin’s programme articles issued during the Presidential campaign.[94][95]

In 2012 and 2013, Putin and the United Russia party backed stricter legislation against the LGBT community, in Saint Petersburg, Archangelsk and Novosibirsk; a law against “homosexual propaganda” (which prohibits such symbols as the rainbow flag as well as published works containing homosexual content) was adopted by State Duma in June 2013.[96][97][98][99][100] Responding to international concerns about Russia’s legislation, Putin asked critics to note the law was a “ban on the propaganda of pedophilia and homosexuality” and he stated that homosexual visitors to the 2014 Winter Olympics should “leave the children in peace” but denied there was any “professional, career or social discrimination” against homosexuals in Russia.[101] He publicly hugged openly bisexual iceskater Ireen Wust during the games.[102]

Also in June 2013, Putin attended a televised rally of the All-Russia People’s Front where he was elected head of the movement,[103] which was set up in 2011.[104] According to journalist Steve Rosenberg, the movement is intended to “reconnect the Kremlin to the Russian people” and one day, if necessary, replace the increasingly unpopular United Russia party that currently backs Putin.[105]

Domestic policies

Putin’s domestic policies, especially early in his first presidency, were aimed at creating a vertical power structure. On 13 May 2000, he issued a decree putting the 89 federal subjects of Russia into seven administrative federal districts and appointed a presidential envoy responsible for each of those districts (whose official title is Plenipotentiary Representative).[citation needed]

On 13 May 2000, Putin introduced seven federal districts for administrative purposes. On 19 January 2010, the new 8th North Caucasian Federal District (shown here in purple) was split from Southern Federal District.

According to Stephen White, Russia under the presidency of Putin made it clear that it had no intention of establishing a “second edition” of the American or British political system, but rather a system that was closer to Russia’s own traditions and circumstances.[106] Putin’s administration has often been described as a “sovereign democracy“.[107] According to the proponents of that description, the government’s actions and policies ought above all to enjoy popular support within Russia itself and not be determined from outside the country.[108][109]

In July 2000, according to a law proposed by him and approved by the Federal Assembly of Russia, Putin gained the right to dismiss heads of the 89 federal subjects (there are presently several fewer federal subjects in Russia than there were in 2000). In 2004, the direct election of those heads (usually called “governors”) by popular vote was replaced with a system whereby they would be nominated by the President and approved or disapproved by regional legislatures.[110][111] This was seen by Putin as a necessary move to stop separatist tendencies and get rid of those governors who were connected with organised crime.[112] This and other government actions effected under Putin’s presidency have been criticised by many independent Russian media outlets and Western commentators as anti-democratic.[113][114] In 2012, as proposed by Putin’s successor Dmitry Medvedev, the direct election of governors was re-introduced.[115]

During his first term in office, Putin moved to curb the political ambitions of some of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs, resulting in the exile or imprisonment of such people as Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky; other oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich and Arkady Rotenberg[116] soon joined Putin’s camp.[citation needed] Putin presided over an intensified fight with organised crime and terrorism that resulted in two times lower murder rates by 2011,[117] as well as significant reduction in the numbers of terrorist acts by the late 2000s (decade).[118]

Putin succeeded in codifying land law and tax law and promulgated new codes on labour, administrative, criminal, commercial and civil procedural law.[13] Under Medvedev’s presidency, Putin’s government implemented some key reforms in the area of state security, the Russian police reform and the Russian military reform.

Economic, industrial, and energy policies

Russian GDP since the end of the Soviet Union

Under the Putin administration from 2001 to 2007, the economy made real gains of an average 7% per year,[119] making it the 7th largest economy in the world in purchasing power. Russia’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 6 fold, climbing from 22nd to 10th largest in the world. In 2007, Russia’s GDP exceeded that of Russian SFSR in 1990, meaning it overcame the devastating consequences of the 1998 financial crisis and preceding recession in the 1990s.[10]

During Putin’s eight years in office, industry grew substantially, as did production, construction, real incomes, credit, and the middle class.[8][10][11][120][121] Putin has also been praised for eliminating widespread barter and thus boosting the economy.[122] Inflation remained a problem however.[10]

In 2001, Putin obtained approval for a flat tax rate of 13%;[123][124] the corporate rate of tax was also reduced from 35 percent to 24 percent;[123] Small businesses also get better treatment. The old system with high tax rates has been replaced by a new system where companies can choose either a 6-percent tax on gross revenue or a 15-percent tax on profits.[123] The overall tax burden is lower in Russia than in most European countries.[125]

A central concept in Putin’s economic thinking was the creation of so-called National champions, vertically integrated companies in strategic sectors that are expected not only to seek profit, but also to “advance the interests of the nation”. Examples of such companies include Gazprom, Rosneft and United Aircraft Corporation.[126]

A fund for oil revenue allowed Russia to repay all of the Soviet Union’s debts by 2005.[10] Payments from the fuel and energy sector accounted for nearly half of the federal budget’s revenues. The large majority of Russia’s exports are made up of raw materials and fertilizers,[10] although exports as a whole accounted for only 8.7% of the GDP in 2007, compared to 20% in 2000.[127]

After 18 years of trying, Russia joined the World Trade Organization on 22 August 2012. However, there were few immediate economic benefits evident from that WTO membership.[128]

Under Putin, Russia strengthened its position as a key oil and gas supplier to much of Europe.

Under Putin as President and Premier, most of the world’s largest automotive companies opened plants in Russia, which Putin encouraged via tax incentives, as well as protectionist measures which discouraged imports.[129]

In 2005, Putin initiated an industry consolidation programme to bring the main aircraft producing companies under a single umbrella organization, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The aim was to optimize production lines and minimise losses.[130] The UAC is one of the so-called national champions and comparable to EADS in Europe.[131]

In a similar fashion, Putin created the United Shipbuilding Corporation in 2007, which led to the recovery[citation needed] of shipbuilding in Russia. Since 2006, much efforts were put into consolidation and development of the Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation, which led to the renewed construction of nuclear power plants in Russia.[citation needed] In 2007, the Russian Nanotechnology Corporation was established, aimed to boost the science and technology and high-tech industry in Russia.[132]

In the decade following 2000, energy in Russia helped transform the country, especially oil and gas energy. This transformation promoted Russia’s well-being and international influence, and the country was frequently described in the media as an energy superpower.[14] Putin oversaw growing taxation of oil and gas exports which helped finance the budget, while the oil industry of Russia, production, and exports all significantly grew.

Putin sought to increase Russia’s share of the European energy market by building submerged gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine and other countries which were often seen as non-reliable transit partners by Russia, especially following Russia-Ukraine gas disputes of the late 2000s (decade). Russia also undermined the rival pipeline project Nabucco by buying the Turkmen gas and redirecting it into Russian pipelines.

On the other hand Russia diversified its export markets by building the Trans-Siberian oil pipeline to the markets of China, Japan and Korea, as well as the Sakhalin–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok gas pipeline in the Russian Far East. Russia has also recently built several major oil and gas refineries, plants and ports. Additionally, Putin has presided over construction of major hydropower plants, such as the Bureya Dam and the Boguchany Dam, as well as the restoration of the nuclear industry of Russia, with some 1 trillion rubles ($42.7 billion) allocated from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development before 2015.[133] A large number of nuclear power stations and units are currently being constructed by the state corporation Rosatom in Russia and abroad.

A construction program of floating nuclear power plants will provide power to Russian Arctic coastal cities and gas rigs, starting in 2012.[134][135] The Arctic policy of Russia also includes an offshore oilfield in the Pechora Sea is expected to start producing in early 2012, with the world’s first ice-resistant oil platform and first offshore Arctic platform.[136] In August 2011 Rosneft, a Russian government-operated oil company, signed a deal with ExxonMobil for Arctic oil production.[137] “The scale of the investment is very large. It’s scary to utter such huge figures” said Putin on signing the deal.[137]

Environmental policy

Putin uses a tranquilizer gun to sedate an Amur Tiger in the Ussuri Nature Reserve in Primorsky Krai, 2008.

In 2004, President Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gases.[138] However Russia did not face mandatory cuts, because the Kyoto Protocol limits emissions to a percentage increase or decrease from 1990 levels and Russia’s greenhouse-gas emissions fell well below the 1990 baseline due to a drop in economic output after the breakup of the Soviet Union.[139]

Putin personally supervises and/or promotes a number of protection programmes for rare and endangered animals in Russia:

Religions policy

Main article: Religion in Russia

With religious leaders of Russia, 2001

Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism, defined by law as Russia’s traditional religions and a part of Russia’s “historical heritage”[144] enjoyed limited state support in the Putin era. The vast construction and restoration of churches, started in 1990s, continued under Putin, and the state allowed the teaching of religion in schools (parents are provided with a choice for their children to learn the basics of one of the traditional religions or secular ethics). His approach to religious policy has been characterised as one of support for religious freedoms, but also the attempt to unify different religions under the authority of the state.[145] In 2012, Putin was honored in Bethlehem and a street was named after him.[146]

Putin regularly attends the most important services of the Russian Orthodox Church on the main Orthodox Christian holidays. He established a good relationship with Patriarchs of the Russian Church, the late Alexy II of Moscow and the current Kirill of Moscow. As President, he took an active personal part in promoting the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, signed 17 May 2007 that restored relations between the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia after the 80-year schism.[147]

Putin and United Russia enjoy high electoral support in the national republics of Russia, in particular in the Muslim-majority republics of Povolzhye and the North Caucasus.

Under Putin, the Hasidic FJCR became increasingly influential within the Jewish community, partly due to the influence of Federation-supporting businessmen mediated through their alliances with Putin, notably Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich.[148][148][149] According to the JTA, Putin is popular amongst the Russian Jewish community, who see him as a force for stability. Russia’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, said Putin “paid great attention to the needs of our community and related to us with a deep respect.”[150]

Military development

Putin in the cockpit of a Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber before the flight, August 2005.

Aboard battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy during Northern Fleet exercise in 2005

The resumption of long-distance flights of Russia’s strategic bombers was followed by the announcement by Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov during his meeting with Putin on 5 December 2007, that 11 ships, including the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, would take part in the first major navy sortie into the Mediterranean since Soviet times.[151] The sortie was to be backed up by 47 aircraft, including strategic bombers.[152]

While from the early 2000s (decade) Russia started pumping more money into its military and defence industry, it was only in 2008 that the full-scale Russian military reform began, aimed to modernize Russian Armed Forces and made them significantly more effective. The reform was largely carried by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov during Medvedev’s Presidency, under supervision of both Putin, as the Head of Government, and Medvedev, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.

Key elements of the reform included reducing the armed forces to a strength of one million; reducing the number of officers; centralising officer training from 65 military schools into 10 ‘systemic’ military training centres; creating a professional NCO corps; reducing the size of the central command; introducing more civilian logistics and auxiliary staff; elimination of cadre-strength formations; reorganising the reserves; reorganising the army into a brigade system; reorganising air forces into an air base system instead of regiments.[153]

The number of Russia’s military districts was reduced to just 4. The term of draft service was reduced from two years to one, which put an end to the old harassment traditions in the army, since all conscripts became very close by draft age. The gradual transition to the majority professional army by the late 2010s was announced, and a large programme of supplying the Armed Forces with new military equipment and ships was started. The Russian Space Forces were replaced on 1 December 2011 with the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.

In spite of Putin’s call for major investments in strategic nuclear weapons, these will fall well below the New START limits due to the retirement of aging systems.[154]

Putin has also sought to increase Russian military presence in the Arctic. In August 2007, a Russian expedition planted a flag on the seabed below the North Pole.[155][155] Russian submarines and troops have been increasing in the Arctic.[156][157]

Foreign policy

Addressing Olympic Committee in Guatemala, 2007 (using fluent English)

As of late 2013, Russian-American relations were at a low point.[158] The United States canceled a summit (for the first time since 1960), after Putin gave asylum to Edward Snowden, who had stolen NSA secrets.[158]

Washington regarded Russia as obstructionist and a spoiler regarding Syria, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. In turn, those nations look to Russia for protection against the United States.[158]

Europe needs Russian oil, but worries about interference in the affairs of Eastern Europe. Russia remains angry over the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe. Central Asia sees Moscow as a former overlord, which is too powerful to ignore, even as countries assist American involvement in Afghanistan.[158]

In Asia, India has moved from a close ally of the Soviet Union to a partner of the United States with strong nuclear and commercial ties. Japan and Russia remain at odds over the ownership of the Kurile islands; this dispute has hindered cooperation for decades.[158] China has moved from a client state of Russia in the 1950s, to a bitter antagonist in the 1960s and 1970s, to a situation where its economic powerhouse sees Russia as a source of raw materials, as well as an ally in the United Nations.[158]

On the lighter side, Putin has won international support for sport in Russia. In 2007, he led a successful effort on behalf of Sochi (located along the Black Sea near the border between Georgia and Russia) for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Paralympics,[159] the first Winter Olympic Games to ever be hosted by Russia. Likewise, in 2008, the city of Kazan won the bid for the 2013 Summer Universiade, and on 2 December 2010 Russia won the right to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup, also for the first time in Russian history. In 2013, Putin stated that gay athletes would not face any discrimination at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.[160] President Barack Obama is not planning to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics,[161] joining other western leaders in the apparent symbolic boycott.[162]

Relations with NATO and its member nations

Putin with Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, in 2008.

Under Putin, Russia’s relationships with NATO and the U.S. have passed through several stages. When Putin first became President, the relations were cautious. After the 9/11 attacks when Putin quickly supported the U.S. in the War on Terror, the opportunity for partnership appeared.[163] However, the U.S. responded by further expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders and by unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.[163] Since 2003, when Russia did not support the Iraq War and when Putin became ever more distant from the West in his internal and external policies, the relations continued to deteriorate. According to Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, the narrative of the mainstream U.S. media, following that of the White House, became anti-Putin.[163] In an interview with Michael Stürmer, Putin was quoted saying that there were three questions which most concerned Russia and Eastern Europe: namely, the status of Kosovo, the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty and American plans to build missile defence sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and suggested that all three were linked.[164] In Putin’s view, concessions on one of these questions on the Western side might be met with concessions from Russia on another.[164] In a January 2007 interview, Putin said Russia is in favor of a democratic multipolar world and of strengthening the systems of international law.[165]

Bush and Putin in 2007

In February 2007, Putin criticized what he called the United States’ monopolistic dominance in global relations, and “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations”. He said the result of it is that “no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.”[166] This came to be known as the Munich Speech, and former NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called the speech, “disappointing and not helpful.”[167] The months following Putin’s Munich Speech[166] were marked by tension and a surge in rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic. Both Russian and American officials, however, denied the idea of a new Cold War.[168]

Putin publicly opposed plans for the U.S. missile shield in Europe, and presented President George W. Bush with a counterproposal on 7 June 2007 which was declined.[169] Russia suspended its participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe on 11 December 2007.[170]

Vladimir Putin strongly opposed Kosovo‘s 2008 declaration of independence, warning supporters of that precedent that it would de facto destroy the whole system of international relations.[171][172][173]

Putin had friendly relations with former American President George W. Bush, and many European leaders. Putin’s “cooler” and “more business-like” relationship with Germany’s current Chancellor, Angela Merkel is often attributed to Merkel’s upbringing in the former DDR, where Putin was stationed when he was a KGB agent.[174]

Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom deteriorated when the United Kingdom granted political asylum to Putin’s former patron, oligarch Boris Berezovsky in 2003.[175] This deterioration was intensified by allegations that the British were spying and making secret payments to pro-democracy and human rights groups.[176] The end of 2006 brought more strained relations in the wake of the death by polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London.[177][178] In 2007, the crisis in relations continued with expulsion of four Russian envoys over Russia’s refusal to extradite former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi to face charges in the alleged murder of Litvinenko.[175] Mirroring the British actions, Russia expelled UK diplomats and took other retaliatory steps.[175]

Relations with South and East Asia

Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao at the 2003 APEC Summit in Thailand

In 2012, Putin wrote an article in the Hindu newspaper, saying that “The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step”.[179][180] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during Putin’s 2012 visit to India: “President Putin is a valued friend of India and the original architect of the India-Russia strategic partnership”.[181]

Putin’s Russia maintains positive relations with other BRIC countries. The country has sought to strengthen ties especially with the People’s Republic of China by signing the Treaty of Friendship as well as building the Trans-Siberian oil pipeline geared toward growing Chinese energy needs.[182] The mutual-security cooperation of the two countries and their central Asian neighbours is facilitated by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The announcement made during the SCO summit that Russia resumes on a permanent basis the long-distance patrol flights of its strategic bombers (suspended in 1992)[183][184] in the light of joint Russian-Chinese military exercises, first-ever in history held on Russian territory,[185] made some experts believe that Putin is inclined to set up an anti-NATO bloc or the Asian version of OPEC.[186] When presented with the suggestion that “Western observers are already likening the SCO to a military organisation that would stand in opposition to NATO”, Putin answered that “this kind of comparison is inappropriate in both form and substance”.[183]

Relations with Middle Eastern and North African countries

On 16 October 2007 Putin visited Iran to participate in the Second Caspian Summit in Tehran,[187][188] where he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[189][190] This was the first visit of a Soviet or Russian leader to Iran since Joseph Stalin‘s participation in the Tehran Conference in 1943, and thus marked a significant event in Iran-Russia relations.[191] At a press conference after the summit Putin said that “all our (Caspian) states have the right to develop their peaceful nuclear programmes without any restrictions”.[192]

Subsequently, under Medvedev’s presidency, Iran-Russia relations were uneven: Russia did not fulfill the contract of selling to Iran the S-300, one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently existing. However, Russian specialists completed the construction of Iran and the Middle East’s first civilian nuclear power facility, the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, and Russia has continuously opposed the imposition of economic sanctions on Iran by the U.S. and the EU, as well as warning against a military attack on Iran. Putin was quoted as describing Iran as a “partner”,[164] though he expressed concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme.[164]
In April 2008, Putin became the first Russian President who visited Libya.[193] Putin condemned the foreign military intervention of Libya, he called UN resolution as “defective and flawed,” and added “It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades.”[194][195] Upon the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Putin called it as “planned murder” by the US, saying: “They showed to the whole world how he (Gaddafi) was killed,” and “There was blood all over. Is that what they call a democracy?”[196][197]

Regarding Syria, from 2000 to 2010 Russia sold around $1.5 billion worth of arms to that country, making Damascus Moscow’s seventh-largest client.[198] During the Syrian civil war, Russia threatened to veto any sanctions against the Syrian government,[199] and continued to supply arms to the regime.

Putin opposed any foreign intervention. In June 2012, in Paris, he rejected the statement of French President Francois Hollande who called on Bashar Al-Assad to step down. Putin echoed the argument of the Assad regime that anti-regime ‘’militants’’ were responsible for much of the bloodshed. He also talked about previous NATO interventions and their results, and asked “What is happening in Libya, in Iraq? Did they become safer? Where are they heading? Nobody has an answer.”[200]

On 11 September 2013, an opinion, written by Putin, was published in the New York Times regarding international events related to the United States, Russia and Syria.[201] Putin subsequently helped to arrange for Syria to disarm itself of chemical weapons.[202]

Relations with post-Soviet states

A series of the so-called color revolutions in the post-Soviet states, namely the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005, led to frictions in the relations of those countries with Russia. In December 2004, Putin criticised the Rose and Orange Revolution, according to him: “If you have permanent revolutions you risk plunging the post-Soviet space into endless conflict”.[203]

Meeting with Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, in 2008

A number of economic disputes erupted between Russia and some neighbours, such as the Russian import ban of Georgian wine. And in some cases, such as the Russia–Ukraine gas disputes, the economic conflicts affected other European countries, for example when a January 2009 gas dispute with Ukraine led state-controlled Russian company Gazprom to halt its deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine,[204] which left a number of European states, to which Ukraine transits Russian gas, to have serious shortages of natural gas in January 2009.[204]

The plans of Georgia and Ukraine to become members of NATO have caused some tensions between Russia and those states. In 2010, Ukraine did abandon these plans.[205] Putin allegedly declared at a NATO-Russia summit in 2008 that if Ukraine joined NATO Russia could contend to annex the Ukrainian East and Crimea.[206] In public Putin has stated that Russia has no intention of annexing any country.[203]

The proposed Eurasian Union with the most likely immediate members: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

In August 2008, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili attempted to restore control over the breakaway South Ossetia. However, the Georgian military was soon defeated in the resulting 2008 South Ossetia War after regular Russian forces entered South Ossetia and then Georgia proper, and also opened a second front in the other Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia together with Abkhazian forces.[207][208] During this conflict, according to high level French diplomat Jean-David Levitte, Putin intended to depose the Georgian President and declared: “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls”.[209]

The President of Ukraine elected during the Orange Revolution, Viktor Yushchenko, was succeeded in 2010 by Viktor Yanukovych, which led to improved relations with Russia.[210][211] The President of Kyrgyzstan since 2009, Almazbek Atambayev, wants a “common future” with its neighbours and Russia.[212]

Despite existing or past tensions between Russia and most of the post-Soviet states, Putin has followed the policy of Eurasian integration. Putin endorsed the idea of a Eurasian Union in 2011,[213][214][215][216] (the concept was proposed by the President of Kazakhstan in 1994).[217] On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement, setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015.[218]

Relations with Australia, Latin America, and others

Putin and his successor Medvedev enjoyed warm relations with the late Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Much of this has been through the sale of military equipment; since 2005, Venezuela has purchased more than $4 billion worth of arms from Russia.[219] In September 2008, Russia sent Tupolev Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela to carry out training flights.[220] In November 2008, both countries held a joint naval exercise in the Caribbean.[221] Earlier in 2000, Putin had re-established stronger ties with Fidel Castro‘s Cuba.

In September 2007, Putin visited Indonesia and in doing so became the first Russian leader to visit the country in more than 50 years.[222] In the same month, Putin also attended the APEC meeting held in Sydney where he met with Australian Prime Minister John Howard and signed a uranium trade deal. This was the first visit by a Russian president to Australia.


Addresses to the Federal Assembly

During his terms in office Putin has made eight annual addresses to the Federal Assembly of Russia,[223] speaking on the situation in Russia and on guidelines of the internal and foreign policy of the State (as prescribed in Article 84 of the Constitution[224]).

Speeches abroad

Putin making his Munich speech in 2007.

One of the most important and widely publicized speeches of Putin made abroad was made on 10 February 2007 on the Munich Conference on Security Policy, and hence became known as the Munich speech. It was dubbed by the press to be “the turning point of the Russian foreign policy”, and western observers called it the most tough speech from a leader of Russia since the time of the Cold War.[225] The speech was also seen as been made by Putin to openly assert the new (old) role of Russia in the international politics, the role close to that of the Soviet Union and the return to which role is seen as one of the achievements of Putin’s Presidency.[225]

In the Munich speech Putin called for upholding the principle “security for everyone is security for all”, criticized the policies of the United States and NATO, condemned the unipolar model of international relations as flawed and lacking moral basis, condemned the “hypocrisy” of countries trying to teach democracy to Russia, condemned the domination of hard power and enforcement by the U.S. of the Western norms and laws to other countries bypassing international law and substitution of the United Nations by NATO or the EU.[225] Putin also called for a stop to the militarization of space and questioned the plans to deploy American missile defense in Europe as threatening strategic nuclear balance and spurring a new arms race. He also claimed that the countries dubbed as rogue states by the West were not going to be capable of threatening Europe or the U.S. with ballistic missiles in the foreseeable future.[225] His speech was criticized by some attendant delegates at the conference, including former NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who called it “disappointing and not helpful.”[167]

Outdoor speeches

With Dmitry Medvedev on the day of the Russian presidential election, 2008. The soundtrack is Lubeh, Putin’s favourite band.[226]

Notable Putin’s outdoor speeches include his addresses during the Victory Day Moscow Military Parades one every 9 May in the years between 2000 and 2007. Under Putin’s presidency and premiership, the old Soviet tradition of 9 May Parades, which had been in decline in 1990s, was gradually restored in full grandeur. Since the 2008 Moscow Victory Day Parade the armoured fighting vehicles resumed regular taking part in the Red Square parades. Putin often used the Victory Day occasion to discuss Russia’s military development and Russia’s security and foreign affairs. For example, he said on 9 May 2007 that “threats are not becoming fewer but are only transforming and changing their appearance. These new threats, just as under the Third Reich, show the same contempt for human life and the same aspiration to establish an exclusive dictate over the world.”[227]

During his 2012 presidential campaign Putin made a single outdoor public speech at the 100,000-strong rally of his supporters in the Luzhniki Stadium on 23 February, Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day.[87] In the speech he called not to betray the Motherland, but to love her, to unite around Russia and to work together for the good, to overcome the existing problems.[228] He said that the foreign interference into Russian affairs should not be allowed, that Russia has its own free will. He compared the political situation at the moment (when fears were spread in the Russian society that 2011–2012 Russian protests could instigate a color revolution directed from abroad) with the First Fatherland War of 1812, reminding that its 200th anniversary and the anniversary of the Battle of Borodino would be celebrated in 2012.Putin cited Lermontov‘s poem Borodino and ended the speech with Vyacheslav Molotov‘s famous Great Patriotic War slogan “The Victory Shall Be Ours!” (“Победа будет за нами!”).[87][228]

On the post-election celebration rally, while making an acceptance speech, Putin was for the first time ever seen with tears in his eyes (later he explained that “it was windy”). He said to a 110,000-strong audience: “I told you we would win and we won!”[86][229]

Public image

Ratings, polls and assessments

Putin’s approval (blue) and disapproval (red) ratings during his eight-year presidency.

According to public opinion surveys, Putin’s approval rating was 81% in June 2007, and the highest of any leader in the world.[230][231] In January 2013, his approval rating fell to 62%, the lowest point since 2000 and a ten-point drop over two years.[232] Observers see Putin’s high approval ratings as a consequence of the significant improvements in living standards and Russia’s reassertion of itself on the world scene that occurred during his tenure as President.[233][234] One analysis attributed Putin’s popularity, in part, to state-owned or state-controlled television.[235] A 2005 survey showed that three times as many Russians felt the country was “more democratic” under Putin than it was during the Yeltsin or Gorbachev years, and the same proportion thought human rights were better under Putin than Yeltsin.[235]

Putin was Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2007.[236] In April 2008, Putin was put on the Time 100 most influential people in the world list.[237]

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev credited Putin with having “pulled Russia out of chaos”,[238] but has also criticized Putin for restricting press freedom and for seeking a third term in the presidential elections. Putin’s press spokesman responded to this criticism by saying Gorbachev “was basically responsible for the dissolution of his country”.[239]

Criticism of Putin has been widespread especially over the internet in Russia,[240] and it is said that the Russian youth organisations finance a full “network” of pro-government bloggers.[241] In the U.S. embassy cables published by WikiLeaks in late 2010, American diplomats said Putin’s Russia had become “a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a virtual mafia state.”[242][243] Putin called it “slanderous”.[244]

By western commentators and the Russian opposition, Putin has been described as a dictator.[245][246] Putin biographer Masha Gessen has stated that “Putin is a dictator,” comparing him to Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.[247][248] Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband once described Putin as a “ruthless dictator” whose “days are numbered.”[249] U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Putin “a real threat to the stability and peace of the world.”[250]

In the fall of 2011, the anti-Putin opposition movement in Russia became more visible, with street protests against allegedly falsified parliamentary elections (in favor of Putin’s party, United Russia) cropping up across major Russian cities. Following Putin’s re-election in March 2012, the movement struggled to redefine its new course of action.[251]

Outdoorsiness, singing, painting, songs about him, brands, Putinisms

Driving a race car, 2010 (see video).
Playing Blueberry Hill for charity

A scene from the Superputin comics

Putin has an outdoor, sporty, tough guy image in the media, demonstrating his physical capabilities and taking part in unusual or dangerous acts, such as extreme sports and interaction with wild animals.[252] For example, in 2007, the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge photograph of a bare-chested Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline: “Be Like Putin.”[253]

Photo ops during his various adventures are part of a public relations approach that, according to Wired, “deliberately cultivates the macho, take-charge superhero image”.[254] Some of the activities have been criticised for involving deception or being completely staged.[citation needed]

Notable examples of Putin’s macho adventures include:[255] flying military jets,[255] demonstrating his martial art skills,[255] riding horses, rafting, fishing and swimming in a cold Siberian river (doing all that mostly bare-chested),[253][256] descending in a deepwater submersible,[257] tranquilizing tigers with a tranquiliser gun,[253][258] tranquilizing polar bears,[259] riding a motorbike,[255][260] co-piloting a firefighting plane to dump water on a raging fire,[254][255] shooting darts at whales from a crossbow for eco-tracking,[255][261] driving a race car,[255][262] scuba diving at an archaeological site,[263][264] attempting to lead endangered cranes in a motorized hang glider,[265] and catching big fish.[266][267]

On 11 December 2010, at a concert organized for a children’s charity in Saint Petersburg, Putin sang Blueberry Hill accompanying himself on the piano. The concert was attended by various Hollywood and European stars such as Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, Alain Delon, and Gérard Depardieu.[268][269] At the same event (and others) Putin played a patriotic song from his favourite spy movie “Щит и меч“, The Shield and the Sword.[269]

Putin’s painting “Узор на заиндевевшем окне” (A Pattern on a Hoarfrost-Encrusted Window), which he had painted during the Christmas Fair on 26 December 2008, became the top lot at the charity auction in Saint Petersburg and sold for 37 million rubles.[270] The creation of the painting coincided with the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas dispute, which left a number of European states without Russian gas and amid January frosts.[204]

There are a large number of songs about Putin.[271] Some of the more popular include:

  • [I Want] A Man Like Putin by Singing Together[272]
  • Horoscope (Putin, Don’t Piss!) by Uma2rman[273]
  • VVP by a Tajik singer Tolibjon Kurbankhanov (Толибджон Курбанханов)[274][275]
  • Our Madhouse is Voting for Putin by Working Faculty.

Putin’s name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding.[254] Among the Putin-branded products are Putinka vodka, the PuTin brand of canned food, the Gorbusha Putina caviar and a collection of T-shirts with his image.[276]

Putin also is a subject of Russian jokes and chastushki, such as the popular “[Before Putin] There Was No Orgasm” featured in the comedy film The Day of Elections.[277] There is a meta-joke that, since the coming of Putin to power, all the classic jokes about a smart yet rude boy called Вовочка (Vovochka, diminutive from Vladimir) have suddenly become political jokes.

Putin features in the colouring book for children Vova and Dima (presented on his 59th birthday),[278] where he and Dmitry Medvedev are drawn as good-behaving little boys, and in the Superputin online comics series, where Putin and Medvedev are portrayed first as superheroes,[254] and then as a troll and an orc in the World of Warcraft.[279]

Vladimir Putin was portrayed by internet personality Nice Peter in his YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History, in Season 2′s finale episode, “Rasputin vs. Stalin” (aired on 22 April 2013).[280]

A Russian movie called A Kiss not for Press was premiered in 2008 on DVD. The movie is said to be based on biography of Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila.[281]

Asserting that the Russian non-systemic opposition work for foreign interests: Come to me, Bandar-logs![282]

During annual Q&A conference

Putin has produced a large number of popular aphorisms and catch-phrases, known as putinisms.[283] Many of them were first made during his annual Q&A conferences, where Putin answered questions from journalists and other people in the studio, as well as from Russians throughout the country, who either phoned in or spoke from studios and outdoor sites across Russia. Putin is known for his often tough and sharp language.[283] The examples of most popular putinisms include:[284]

  • To bump off in a toilet. Made in 1999, when he promised to destroy terrorists wherever they were found, including in toilets.[284][285]
  • She sank. Curt and self-evident answer to a question from Larry King in 2000 asking what happened to the Russian submarine K-141 Kursk.[284]
  • Ploughed like a slave on a galley. This is how Putin described his work as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008 during a Q&A conference in 2008.[283]
  • Ears of a dead ass. According to Putin, that was what Latvia would receive instead of the land claimed by Latvia in a territorial dispute.[283]
  • At the very least, a state leader should have a head. Putin’s response to Hillary Clinton‘s claim that Putin has no soul. He recommended that international relations be built without emotion and instead on the basis of the fundamental interests of the states involved.[284]
  • Shearing a pig- In 2013, Putin responded to complaints that he was harboring whistleblower Edward Snowden, saying that he does not wish to get involved in this issue because “it’s like shearing a pig – lots of screams but little wool”. (визгу много, шерсти мало).[286]

Personal life


See also: Lyudmila Putina

On 28 July 1983 Putin married Kaliningrad-born Lyudmila Shkrebneva, at that time an undergraduate student of the Spanish branch of the philology department of the Leningrad State University and a former Aeroflot flight attendant. They lived together in Germany from 1985 to 1990. During this time, according to BND archives, a German spy befriended Putina, who said that Putin beat her and had love affairs.[287] When the couple left Germany in 1990 it was rumoured that Putin left behind an illegitimate child.[287]

Putina was rarely seen with President Putin[288][289] and there were rumours, according to the Daily Mail and other newspapers, that the couple separated.[288][289][290] Putin has been linked by newspapers with other women, including gymnast Alina Kabayeva[288][289] and ex-spy Anna Chapman.[290][291] These rumours have been denied.[292][293] Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, announced on 6 June 2013, that their marriage was over, ending years of speculation about their relationship. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no official divorce had been drawn up yet, and he did not know when it would be, but he attached little importance to the formality.[294][295]

Putin and his wife have two daughters, Mariya Putina (born 28 April 1985 in Leningrad, Soviet Union) and Yekaterina Putina (born 31 August 1986 in Dresden, East Germany). The daughters grew up in East Germany[296] and attended the German School in Moscow until his appointment as Prime Minister. After that they studied international economics at the Finance Academy in Moscow, although it was not officially reported due to security reasons.[citation needed] According to the Daily Mail, their photographs have never been published by the Russian media, and no family portrait has ever been issued.[290] According to an article in the newspaper De Pers, Mariya is married to the Dutchman Jorrit Faassen.[297][298] Today they live in Voorschoten, Netherlands.[299]

One of Vladimir Putin’s relatives is Viktor Medvedchuk – the Ukrainian business oligarch influential until the 2004 Orange Revolution. Putin became the godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter Darina in 2004.[300][301] The two maintain regular relations since,[301][302] with their meetings sometimes covered by the Russian state-controlled TV channels.[303]

Personal wealth and residences

Figures released during the legislative election of 2007 put Putin’s wealth at approximately 3.7 million rubles ($150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, 260 shares of Bank Saint Petersburg (with a December 2007 market price $5.36 per share[304]) and two 1960s-era Volga M21 cars that he inherited from his father and does not register for on-road use. In 2012 Putin reported an income of 3.6 million rubles ($113,000). This has led opponents, such as politician Boris Nemtsov, to question how Putin can afford certain possessions, such as his 11 luxury watches worth an estimated $700,000.[305]

Putin’s Palace” allegedly built for him[306]

Putin’s purported 2006 income totalled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000).[307] According to the data Putin did not make it into the 100 wealthiest Duma candidates of his own United Russia party.[308]

Unconfirmed claims by some Russian opposition politicians and journalists allege that Putin secretly possesses a large fortune (as much as $70 billion[309]) via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies.[310][311] Nina L. Khrushcheva of the The New School estimates his net worth to be between $40–70 billion.[312] Asked at a press conference on 14 February 2008 whether he was the richest person in Europe, as some newspapers claimed; and if so, to state the source of his wealth, Putin said “This is plain chatter, not worthy discussion, plain bosh. They have picked this in their noses and have smeared this across their pieces of paper. This is how I view this.”[313]

Not long after he returned from his KGB service in Dresden, East Germany Putin had built a dacha in Solovyovka on the eastern shore of Lake Komsomolskoye on the Karelian Isthmus in Priozersky District of Leningrad Oblast, near St. Petersburg. The dacha had burned down in 1996. Putin built a new one identical to the original and was joined by a group of seven friends who built dachas beside his. In the fall of 1996, the group formally registered their fraternity as co-operative society, calling it Ozero (Lake) and turning it into a gated community.[314]

As President and then Prime-Minister, apart from the Moscow Kremlin and the White House, Putin has used numerous official residences throughout the country. In August 2012 Nemtsov listed 20 villas and palaces, 9 of which were built during Putin’s 12 years in power. This compares to the President of the United States‘ 2 official residences.[315] Some of the residences include: Gorki-9 near Moscow, Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Dolgiye Borody in Novgorod Oblast, Novo-Ogaryovo in Moscow Oblast and Riviera in Sochi (the latter two were left for Putin when he was Prime-Minister in 2008–2012, others were used by Dmitry Medvedev at that period).[316] Furthermore, a massive Italianate-style mansion costing an alleged USD 1 billion[306] and dubbed “Putin’s Palace” is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka. The mansion, built on government land and sporting 3 helipads, a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service, is said to have been built for Putin’s private use. In 2012 Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin’s, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme, that he had been ordered by deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, to oversee the building of it.[317]


Apart from Russian, Putin speaks fluent German. His family used to speak German at home as well.[318] After becoming President he was reported to be taking English lessons and could be seen conversing directly with Bush and native speakers of English in informal situations, but he continues to use interpreters for formal talks. Putin spoke English in public for the first time during the state dinner in Buckingham Palace in 2003 saying but a few phrases while delivering his condolences to Queen Elizabeth II on the death of her mother.[319] In an interview in 2013, the Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov revealed that he and Putin sometimes conversed in Swedish.[320]


Putin and wife Lyudmila in New York City at service for victims of September 11 attacks, 16 November 2001.

Putin’s father was “a model communist, genuinely believing in its ideals while trying to put them into practice in his own life”. With this dedication he became secretary of the Party cell in his workshop and then after taking night classes joined the factory’s Party bureau.[321] Though his father was a “militant atheist“,[322] Putin’s mother “was a devoted Orthodox believer”. Though she kept no icons at home, she attended church regularly, despite the government’s persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church at that time. She ensured that Putin was secretly christened as a baby and she regularly took him to services. His father knew of this but turned a blind eye.[321]

According to Putin’s own statements, his religious awakening followed the serious car crash of his wife in 1993, and was deepened by a life-threatening fire that burned down their dacha in August 1996.[322] Right before an official visit to Israel his mother gave him his baptismal cross telling him to get it blessed “I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since.”[321] When asked whether he believes in God during his interview with Time, he responded saying: “…There are things I believe, which should not in my position, at least, be shared with the public at large for everybody’s consumption because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease.”[323]

Martial arts

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin in Japan 3-5 September 2000-22.jpg

Putin on a tatami at the Kodokan Institute in Tokyo on 5 September 2000.
Teacher(s) Anatoly Rahlin, Hatsuo Royama
Rank Sambo:
Master of Sports,
Champion of Leningrad
6th degree black belt,
Champion of Leningrad
Kyokushin kaikan:
6th dan black belt
Years active 1966–present
Occupation President of Russia

One of Putin’s favorite sports is the martial art of judo. Putin began training in sambo (a martial art that originated in the Soviet Union) at the age of 14, before switching to judo, which he continues to practice today.[324] Putin won competitions in his hometown of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including the senior championships of Leningrad in both sambo and judo. He is the President of the Yawara Dojo, the same Saint Petersburg dojo he practiced at when young. Putin co-authored a book on his favorite sport, published in Russian as Judo with Vladimir Putin and in English under the title Judo: History, Theory, Practice (2004).[325]

Though he is not the first world leader to practice judo, Putin is the first leader to move forward into the advanced levels. Currently, Putin holds a 6th dan (red/white belt)[326] and is best known for his Harai Goshi (sweeping hip throw). Putin earned Master of Sports (Soviet and Russian sport title) in judo in 1975 and in sambo in 1973. At a state visit to Japan, Putin was invited to the Kodokan Institute, the judo headquarters, where he showed different judo techniques to the students and Japanese officials.

Putin also holds a 6th dan black belt in Kyokushin kaikan karate. He was presented the black belt in December 2009 by Japanese champion Kyokushin Karate-Do master Hatsuo Royama.[327]

In 2013, Putin re-introduced the GTO physical fitness program to Russia[328] with the support of Steven Seagal.[329][330]

Other sports

Putin often is seen on outdoor activities with Dmitry Medvedev, promoting sports and healthy way of life among Russians: they were seen alpine skiing in Krasnaya Polyana,[331] playing badminton, cycling and fishing.[332] Putin also started to learn ice skating and playing ice hockey after he promised to do so on a meeting with the Russia men’s national junior ice hockey team who had won the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.[333] Putin also enjoys watching football and supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, the main team of his native city.[334]


His Labrador Koni wearing GLONASS-enabled collar
Main articles: Koni (dog) and Buffy (dog)

Putin owns a female black Labrador Retriever named Koni, given as a gift in 2000 by General of the Army and Russia’s Minister of Emergency Situations Sergey Shoigu. Koni is often seen at Putin’s side and has been known to accompany him into staff meetings and greet world leaders. In fact, when Putin first met Angela Merkel, he brought Koni along knowing that Merkel had a fear of dogs, having been bitten by one as a child.[335] In 2003 Koni gave birth to eight pups which were later given as presents to Russian citizens, politicians and foreign ambassadors.[336] Koni gained additional fame in 2004 when the largest Russian publisher of children’s books published a book entitled Connie’s Stories.[337] In 2008 Koni became the first recipient of a GLONASS-enabled pet collar to highlight the progress of the Russian global navigation satellite system.[338]

In 2010 Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov gave Putin a Karakachan dog who was then named Buffy according to a suggestion by a five-year old boy from Moscow, Dima Sokolov.[339]



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