The question of what would have happened if Adolf Hitler had been accepted to art school is one that has fascinated historians and casual observers alike. It invites us to imagine an alternate version of history in which one of the most destructive figures of the 20th century pursued a different path.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: If Hitler had been accepted to art school, he likely would not have gone on to lead Nazi Germany and spark World War II, changing the course of history dramatically.

In this article, we will explore in depth how Hitler ending up as an artist rather than dictator could have fundamentally reshaped world events in the 20th century.

Hitler’s Early Interest in Art

Before Adolf Hitler became known as a dictator and the leader of Nazi Germany, he had a passion for art. As a young boy, he showed great talent and enthusiasm for drawing and painting. His artistic abilities were recognized by his teachers and peers, and he dreamed of pursuing a career in the arts.

His Paintings and Architectural Drawings

Hitler’s early artwork consisted mainly of landscapes, portraits, and architectural drawings. He had a particular interest in architecture and often depicted grand buildings and cityscapes in his paintings.

His style was influenced by the Romantic and Realist movements, with a focus on detail and precision.

Although Hitler’s artwork may not have been groundbreaking or revolutionary, it demonstrated his technical skills and dedication to his craft. His paintings and architectural drawings reveal a different side to the man who would later become one of history’s most infamous figures.

Rejection from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts

Despite his talent and passion for art, Hitler faced a major setback when he applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. In 1907, at the age of 18, he submitted a portfolio of his artwork to the prestigious art school, hoping to gain admission and further his artistic career.

However, Hitler’s application was rejected not once, but twice. The admissions committee deemed his artwork as lacking in artistic merit and talent. This rejection was a significant blow to Hitler, and it is believed to have had a profound impact on his life and subsequent choices.

It is often speculated that Hitler’s rejection from art school fueled his resentment and bitterness towards the art world and society as a whole. Some historians argue that this rejection may have contributed to his eventual turn towards politics and his radical ideologies.

While it is impossible to say for certain what would have happened if Hitler had been accepted to art school, his early interest in art provides a unique insight into the complex and multifaceted individual he was, and the potential paths his life could have taken.

An Alternate Career as an Artist

Adolf Hitler, the infamous dictator responsible for World War II and the Holocaust, is widely known for his political ambitions and rise to power in Germany. However, few people are aware that he initially aspired to be an artist. What if Hitler’s dream of attending art school had come true?

How might his life have taken a different path?

Different Political Influences

If Hitler had been accepted into art school and pursued a career as an artist, his exposure to different influences could have greatly impacted his political beliefs. Artistic communities often foster an environment of open-mindedness and creativity, encouraging individuals to think outside the box and challenge societal norms.

Perhaps Hitler would have developed a more tolerant and peaceful worldview, using his artistic talents to promote unity rather than division.

Furthermore, the connections and friendships he would have made within the art world might have introduced him to influential figures who could have shaped his political ideologies differently. Instead of being influenced by anti-Semitic thinkers and nationalist ideologies, he might have been exposed to progressive ideas and movements, leading him down a completely different path.

No Rise to Power in Germany

Without Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the world would have been spared the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust. Hitler’s political career was heavily intertwined with his extremist ideologies, which he used to manipulate the German public and gain support for his regime.

Without this power, Hitler would not have been able to implement his radical policies and carry out the systematic persecution and extermination of millions of people.

The absence of Hitler’s political influence would have undoubtedly changed the course of history. The war might have been averted or at least minimized, potentially leading to a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Millions of lives could have been spared, and the scars of the Holocaust may never have been etched into the collective memory of humanity.

While it is impossible to know for certain how Hitler’s life would have unfolded had he been accepted into art school, the potential for a different outcome is intriguing to contemplate. It serves as a reminder of the profound impact that personal choices and circumstances can have on the course of history.

How World War II May Have Been Averted

One of the most significant turning points in history was Adolf Hitler’s rejection from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1907. If Hitler had been accepted to art school, it is intriguing to consider how the course of history might have changed. Here are some possible scenarios:

No Nazi Party and Ideology

Had Hitler pursued a career in art, it is unlikely that he would have become the leader of the Nazi Party. The party’s ideology, which fueled the aggression and expansionism that led to World War II, may never have come into existence.

Without Hitler’s charismatic leadership, the Nazi Party may have remained a fringe political group, lacking the influence and power it gained in the 1930s.

No Holocaust

The Holocaust, one of the darkest chapters in human history, claimed the lives of six million Jews and millions of others. If Hitler had become a successful artist, it is improbable that he would have embarked on a genocidal campaign against minority groups.

The systematic persecution and extermination of millions of innocent people would not have occurred, potentially saving countless lives and preventing immeasurable suffering.

Less Chaos and Destruction in Europe

Without Hitler’s leadership, the chaos and destruction that engulfed Europe during World War II may have been averted. The war resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people and caused widespread devastation across the continent.

Countries would not have been invaded, cities would not have been bombed, and families would not have been torn apart. The world would have been spared from the horrors of war that scarred an entire generation.

It is important to acknowledge that these scenarios are purely speculative, as historical events are shaped by a multitude of factors. However, contemplating the potential outcomes if Hitler had been accepted into art school allows us to reflect on the profound impact that individuals can have on the course of history.

Other Major Impacts on 20th Century History

Weakened Anti-Semitism

One of the major impacts of Hitler being accepted into art school would have been a weakened anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe. Hitler’s deep-rooted hatred for Jews played a significant role in the rise of Nazi ideology and the subsequent Holocaust.

If Hitler had pursued a career in art, it is possible that his anti-Semitic beliefs may not have gained the same traction and power they did in reality. Without Hitler’s influence, the anti-Semitic sentiments in Germany might have been less intense, leading to a different political climate and potentially a more inclusive and tolerant society.

No Cold War?

The aftermath of World War II was marked by the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, known as the Cold War. This ideological conflict shaped the politics and international relations of the 20th century.

If Hitler had pursued art rather than politics, the rise of Nazi Germany and the subsequent world war might have been avoided. Without the devastating consequences of World War II, it is possible that the Cold War would not have occurred in the same way or at all.

The absence of this conflict would have had profound effects on global politics and the balance of power.

More Stable Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic was established in Germany after World War I, and it faced numerous challenges, including economic instability and political unrest. Hitler’s rise to power was largely fueled by the dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic and its perceived failures.

If Hitler had chosen a career in art rather than politics, it is likely that the Weimar Republic would have been more stable and potentially more successful in addressing the country’s challenges. This stability could have led to a different trajectory for Germany, potentially avoiding the rise of extremist ideologies and the subsequent destabilization of Europe.


While we can never know for certain how history would have unfolded if Hitler had become an artist instead of dictator, it’s clear that his acceptance to art school could have steered events in a dramatically different direction, possibly avoiding some of the darkest chapters of the 20th century.

The world today would likely be a very different place if Hitler had pursued his artistic passions instead of his drives for political power and genocide. By thinking through this alternate history, we’re reminded of how individuals and their choices can transform the course of human events.

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