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The Holocaust Essay

1813 words - 7 pages

THE HOLOCAUST

The Holocaust was the mass annihilation of the European Jews by the National Socialist Party (Nazi) of Germany from 1933 to 1945. In The War of the Jews, Dawidowicz explains the conditions that made anti-Semitism politically acceptable. The Germans of the nineteenth century "inherited a Christian-inspired popular and intellectual anti-Semitism that depicted Jews as foreigners- a state within a state- killers of Christ, well poisoners, and a cause of every misfortune, whether natural, economic, or political. The forces of naturalism, Volkist theory, bogus racial science, and fear of modernity reinforced and built upon this foundation." 1 The impact of the Holocaust has greatly affected the society of the past and the present.

These feelings were fortified by Nazi propaganda blaming the Jews for everything from Germany’s loss of World War I to the depression that followed. "A raving lunatic, a comic-strip character, a political absurdity. Yet his voice mesmerized millions, ‘a guttural thunder,’ according to Heiden, ‘the very epitome of power, firmness, command and will.’ "2 Adolph Hitler is remembered as the founder and leader of the Nazi party. Hitler was born in Austria on April 20, 1889 to an abusive half Jewish and a mother who breast-fed him until the age of five. As Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Hitler was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews.3 "Hitler’s ideas about the Jews were at the center of his mental world. They shaped his worldview and his political ambitions, forming the matrix of his ideology and the ineradicable core of National Socialist doctrine. They determined the anti-Jewish policies of the German dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, and they furnished the authority for the murder of the Jews in Europe during World War II." 4

In effort to ‘purify’ his country, Hitler attempted to purchase Madagascar as land to relocate the Jews. When Britain refused his offer, Hitler gave Jews the opportunity to leave Germany. At this time many educated Jews left Germany, including the Einstein family. However, countries began to close their borders to German Jews. These countries were either ignorant to the fate of the Jews or they did not care enough to do anything to help them.

"In his mind Hitler associated his declaration of war on September 1, 1939 with his promise to destroy the Jews."5 Hitler believed that someday the world would thank him for destroying the Jewish race. In one of the few speeches in which Hitler does not mention the Jews he states "Whoever deviates from the rules for the humane conduct of war can expect nothing else from us, but that we will take the same steps."6 In saying this he clearly warned the world that anyone who interferes with his plans will go down with the Jews. This forewarning brought fear to those who had intentions to step in and help out. People had reason to fear their own well being and as a result, six million Jews were...

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