The town was first mentioned around 810 and received a statute in 1260, which makes it one of the oldest known towns in Austria. It became a fortress town and important trading route junction, dealing with the salt trade and with ship traffic on the River Inn.
Throughout its history, it changed hands four times. As a major Bavarian settlement, the town played an outstanding role in the Bavarian uprising against the Austrian occupation during the War of the Spanish Succession, when it hosted the Braunau Parliament, a provisional Bavarian Parliament in 1705 headed by Georg Sebastian Plinganser (born 1680 in Pfarrkirchen; died 7 May 1738 in Augsburg). In 1779 it became an Austrian town under the terms of the treaty of Teschen, which settled the War of the Bavarian Succession. Under the terms of the Treaty of Pressburg, Braunau became Bavarian again in 1809. In 1816, during reorganisation of Europe after the Napoleonic Wars, Bavaria ceded the town to Austria and was compensated by the gain of Aschaffenburg. Braunau has been Austrian ever since.
Braunau has a 15th-century church with a 99m-high spire, the third highest in Austria. Its patron saint is St. Stephen. The remains of a castle house a museum and parts of the former town walls can still be seen. Another museum is housed in refurbished 18th century public baths.
Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, in a house located at Salzburger Vorstadt 15, on 20 April 1889. He and his family left Braunau and moved to Passau in 1892. In 1989, mayor Gerhard Skiba took the initiative and placed a memorial stone commemorating the victims of World War II in front of the building in which Hitler was born. The stone is made of granite from the Mauthausen concentration camp. It states, Für Frieden, Freiheit und Demokratie. Nie wieder Faschismus. Millionen Tote mahnen, or "For peace, freedom and democracy; millions of dead urge: never again fascism." It is often vandalised by members of neo-Nazi groups. In 2011, the town council revoked the honorary citizenship that had been awarded to Hitler by Ranshofen in 1933, despite the fact no historical evidence could be found it was granted.
Outside the building in Braunau am Inn, Austria, where Adolf Hitler was born is a memorial stone reminding future generations to remember the past. The inscription reads: "For peace, freedom / and democracy / never again fascism / millions of dead admonish" The stone is from the quarry at the Mauthausen concentration camp.
In 1938, Ranshofen, which at that time had one of Austria's largest aluminium plants, was annexed to Braunau.
Books by Anna Rosmus contain multiple photos of Braunau in 1945: Valhalla Finale, 350 pp, Dorfmeister, Tittling, 2009, (hardcover) ISBN 3-9810084-7-2. and Ragnarök, 464 pp, Dorfmeister, Tittling, 2010, (hardcover) ISBN 3-9810084-8-0