Nazi Genocide Essay

4669 words - 19 pages

I conducted research on genocide and discovered several points of interest. Our textbook, Social Problems by James Henslin, defined genocide as "Hatred and greed can lead to the dominant group to turn to a policy of extermination, or genocide. The most infamous example is the Holocaust, when death camps were set up by the Nazis to allow them to systematically exterminate minorities." (Henslin: pg 251) We all probably have heard of Ann Frank or maybe seen the movie "The Band of Brothers" where German deaths camps were illustrated in videos but didn't really understand their role or purpose. In this paper, I wish to share the some detailed facts about the origin of Nazi Genocide based on research I gathered from various credible sources.
For a long time, historians have scrutinized Nazi Germany's policy of annihilation primarily with a focus on the mass murder of European Jews. The ideological underpinnings of the annihilation of the handicapped, Jews and Gypsies as well as the mass killings of Slavic populations in German-occupied eastern Europe were based on widely accepted theories of the inequality of races. Ideas of racial purity and purification had already existed long before the Nazis came to power. Particularly in the Scandinavian countries but also in the United States, many members of the medical establishments and scientific elites supported compulsory sterilization of those population groups deemed racially and socially inferior.
While the eugenic movement in the United States lost its impetus over time, representatives of racial hygiene in Germany ambitiously saw to it that their radical views of a biological-social utopia were to be fulfilled. Friedlander makes it clear that a political regime bent on eradicating undesirables of all sorts was a necessary precondition for genocide. The bureaucracy in Nazi Germany and scholarly exponents of racial hygiene entered an informal division of labor: the scientists provided the definitions and public officials, who formulated decrees and laws, based their definitions on the writings of these race experts.
The enthusiastic cooperation between scientists, scholars and Nazi officials began in earnest with the program of forced sterilization. From 1934 to 1945, German and Austrian physicians sterilized perhaps some 375,000 women and men against their will, because they had been allegedly diagnosed with a "hereditary disease". In addition to the handicapped, many Austrian and German Gypsies, whom society had already marginalized before 1933, fell victim to compulsory sterilization. The Nazi regime would not stop here, however. Far more radical, in fact, deadly measures were soon to be taken to rid the "life unworthy of life."
As early as 1935, Adolf Hitler had contemplated the realization of euthanasia once war broke out. The first group of human beings who became victims of organized mass killings were society's most vulnerable and defenseless members: handicapped children. The planning of...

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