Adolf Hitler Moves to Vienna, where He Acquires His Anti-Semitic Beliefs
From 1905 on, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna on an orphan's pension and support from his mother.
He was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (1907–1908), citing "unfitness for painting", and was told his abilities lay instead in the field of architecture. His memoirs reflect a fascination with the subject.
Hitler said he first became an anti-Semite in Vienna, which had a large Jewish community, including Orthodox Jews who had fled the pogroms in Russia. According to childhood friend August Kubizek, however, Hitler was a "confirmed anti-Semite" before he left Linz, Austria. Vienna at that time was a hotbed of traditional religious prejudice and 19th century racism. Hitler may have been influenced by the writings of the ideologist and anti-Semite Lanz von Liebenfels and polemics from politicians such as Karl Lueger, founder of the Christian Social Party and Mayor of Vienna, the composer Richard Wagner, and Georg Ritter von Schönerer, leader of the pan-Germanic Away from Rome! movement. Hitler claims in Mein Kampf that his transition from opposing antisemitism on religious grounds to supporting it on racial grounds came from having seen an Orthodox Jew.
Vienna, a city of two million, had a Jewish population of just under two hundred thousand, including many traditionally dressed ethnic Jews. In Linz, Hitler had only known a few "Germanized" Jews. The poor men's home Hitler lived in was near a Jewish community.
Among the middle class in Vienna, anti-Semitism was considered rather fashionable. The mayor, Karl Lueger, a noted anti-Semite, was a member of the Christian Social Party which included anti-Semitism in its political platform.
Hitler admired Lueger, a powerful politician, for his speech making skills and effective use of propaganda in gaining popular appeal. He also admired Lueger's skill in manipulating established institutions such as the Catholic Church. He studied Lueger carefully and modeled some of his later behavior on what he learned.