June 28, 1919: French soldiers during the signing of the Treaty of Versailles
When Germany enters World War I in 1914, Hitler enlists in the Royal Bavarian Army. He would serve as a runner, running messages between trenches in battle, and would be decorated for his bravery.
The war and its outcome would have a profound effect on Hitler and the German people. The Versailles Treaty is taken as a humiliation by a defeated Germany, who are made to pay enormous reparations, lose territories, and demilitarize the Rhineland. The Treaty declares Germany responsible for starting the war.
In 1919, Hitler returns to Munich and joins the radical German Workers' Party, later renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (aka the Nazi Party). He would exploit the German people's anger over the Treaty of Versailles to fuel their rage and rally support for the party, blaming Communists, Jews, and others for the nation's downfall. He is an impassioned and rousing speaker.
On July 29, 1921, Hitler is elected Führer (leader) of the Nazi party.