At the end of May 1913, Adolf Hitler moved from Vienna to Munich. One of his primary motivations was to escape being drafted into military service in Austria. Influenced by his political role model Georg Ritter von Schönerer, an Austrian-pan-German agitator, Hitler despised Austria for its multi-national character but was utterly enthralled by the German Kaiserreich. Hitler greeted the outbreak of war with enthusiasm and enlisted voluntarily in the Bavarian army, which accepted him although he was an Austrian citizen. He served as a messenger in the Bavarian reserve Infantry Regiment No. 16 (Regiment List) on the Western Front. Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Iron Cross 1st Class during the war, but he never progressed beyond the rank of private [Gefreiter].
This photograph shows Hitler at a mass rally in front of the Feldherrenhalle [Field Marshals' Hall] in Munich on August 2, 1914. The occasion for the rally was the German declaration of war on Russia on August 1. (This picture was taken by Heinrich Hoffmann, who would go on to become Hitler’s personal photographer.)