Born in 1898 in Kassel, Germany, Hasse attended various secondary schools until and through World War I. Upon leaving the German navy, he entered the University of Göttingen, where his superior work in mathematics became evident to his associates. While there, he developed a "local-global" principle which brought him international recognition and was the basis for his doctoral dissertation at the university. World War II was a difficult period for mathematicians at Göttingen. When the Nazi order came to expel all Jews from the faculty, the Mathematical Institute lost 18 prominent members. Later, in 1949, Hasse took a post as professor at the Humboldt University in East Berlin. In 1950, he moved to Hamburg, where he taught until he retired in 1966. Hasse died in Germany in 1979.