How Far Do You Agree That As Late As 1940, Hitler Remained Undecided On The "Jewish Question". It Was The Invasion Of The Soviet Union, Which Transformed The Situation?

884 words - 4 pages

During the Second World War the Nazi Germany have committed a huge crime and murder - the Holocaust, which means the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of various ethnic, religious and political groups. The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". About six million of Jews were murdered and the total number of the victims is estimated at up to 26 million of men, women and children. It is the biggest and most unexplainable mass-murder in the history. That is why many historians have disputed on who specifically was to be blamed for it. In this essay the author is going to consider whether the "Final solution of the Jewish Question" was previously designed or it developed in time.The two major historical schools regarding this subject are functionalists and intentionalists. Intentionalists claim that the Holocaust was the result of a long-term plan made up by Hitler and that he was the driving force behind the Holocaust. Functionalists hold that Hitler was anti-Semitic, but he did not have a masterplan for genocide. Functionalists see the Holocaust as coming from the German bureaucracy with little or no involvement of Hitler. Functionalists stress that the Nazi anti-Semitic policy was constantly evolving in ever more radical directions and the end product was the Holocaust.In order to analyse Hitler's attitude towards Jews and his position in developing the anti-Jewish policy one has to consider the chronology of Hitler's rule. This can be divided into three periods. The first one took place from 1933 to November 1938. In this time the persecution of Jews was not so intensified and its purpose was generally the isolation of Jews from the social life: e.g. Jews were excluded from the politics due to the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service and from the army as a result of the Military Service Act. The most radical and severe attack on Jews in this period was the Promulgation of Nuremberg Laws forbidding Jews the status of Reich citizenship. A good example in favour of the functionalists is the boycott of Jewish shops in March 1934. The boycott was called off after one day by Hitler himself because it was incompatible with the plan of economic recovery. In the 1930's the Nazi policy aimed at trying to make life so unpleasant for German Jews that they would leave Germany and until October 1941 German Jews were not forbidden to leave.The next period is from November 1938 to June 1941. It beginned with the Reichkristallnacht - a pogrom during which 91 people were killed and 191 synagogues and 7000 Jewish shops...

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