The Holocaust, a word introduced in the 1950's to describe the mass murder of the Jews of Europe by the Nazi's during World War II. Before that it was traditionally defined as, by the Encarta English dictionary as "1. complete destruction by fire: complete consumption by fire, especially of a large number of human beings or animals 2. total destruction: wholesale or mass destruction of any kind 3. burnt offering: a sacrifice that is totally consumed by fire". The Holocaust is a chapter in human history that will live in shame along with slavery, treatment towards Native Americans, the Japanese internment camps, the Armenians and the execution of hundreds of thousands Russians by Stalin. To fully understand how such a catastrophic event could ever happen in a country as civilized as Germany one must learn the background of this event.
It was the 1914 the break of The Great War (World War 1) which involved the Triple Entente which consisted of Britain, France, and Russia (later in the war the United States) against the Triple Alliance which consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. World War I was caused by four main reasons:
1. Militarism-Before the start of WWI, Britain had a power navy so Germany felt they had to do the same. France also competed for a larger army, the more one nation built an army the more the others felt obligated to do so.
2. Alliances- For Twenty years, the nations of Europe had been making alliances. It was thought the alliances would promote peace. It promoted peace by protecting others in case of a war, making it foolish for one country to wage war on another.
3. Nationalism- Nationalism led European nations to compete for the largest army and navy, or the greatest industrial development.
4. Imperialism- Both France and Britain had many colonies in Africa and Asia. Now Germany and Italy decided they wanted a colonial empire too.
The outcome of the war was devastating for Germany. They lost the war and had to sign a treaty known as the Versailles Treaty. The treaty was embarrassing to Germany because it made the German border smaller, forced Germany to pay war damages, allowed an army of only certain number and other penalties forced on Germany. This treaty put Germany into poverty and severe economic depression. People spent their life savings on a loaf of bread.
When WWI broke out, Adolf Hitler, Then in his mid 20's, hoped to join the army to fight. Being rejected for the Austrian Army Hitler was delighted because he wanted to be a German. He wrote to the King of a large State in Southern Germany and later was assigned to the 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment which was composed of student volunteers. Hitler was wounded several times throughout the war and at the end of the was his rank was Lance Corporal.
In the summer of 1919 Hitler became member #7 of a small group called the German Worker's Party. The party had no goals or plans, it was just against the government. Soon...