According to Engel (12), “holocaust is a Greek word meaning to sacrifice by fire”. Many Germans believed strongly that they were superior compared to every other race. The Germans also viewed the Jews as inferior. The Germans were against these Jews because they appeared to threaten their community. This “fear and enmity resulted in the bureaucratic, systematic, and state-sponsored persecution of over six million Jews” (Engel 49).
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The Nazi regime and its partners became the pioneers of the Holocaust. During this period, the Nazis targeted every inferior race in Europe. Some of these inferior groups “included the Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled members of the society” (Hitchcock 21). The Nazis killed these individuals because they appeared to threaten their socio-political ambitions. This research paper offers a succinct analysis of the issues surrounding the Holocaust.
Origin of the Holocaust
The “German society had promoted various ideas such as anti-Semitism for very many years” (Hildebrand 19). Austria and Germany emerged as superior nations during the third quarter of the 19th century. The famous Volkisch Movement encouraged more Germans to treat the Jews as inferior.
The Aryan Race (the Germans) embraced new ideas in order to dominate the world. According to the Aryans, “the Jews formed a race and not a religion” (Engel 25). Anti-Semitism became an acceptable idea in every part of Germany. The educated members of the society also promoted the idea of inequality. Many “many Germans supported their race because they wanted to become superior” (Hildebrand 37). Many medical professionals embraced “euthanisation of disabled and mentally-ill patients” (Engel 93).
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party became powerful in 1933. Adolf was against the empowerment of the Jews. His “ambition was to drive the Jews from the country” (Hungerford 29). Hitler’s party identified three key enemies. These enemies “included different racial groups, political opponents, and immoral individuals” (Davies 94).
The major political opponents “included Christians, Marxists, and Liberals” (Hungerford 59). Hitler passed new laws to prevent the Jews from interacting with his people. Some of these “policies included the Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring and Nuremberg Laws” (Hildebrand 44). That being the case, the anti-Semitism ideas and prejudices experienced in Germany before the Second World War led to the infamous Holocaust.
Hitler: How He Came Into Power
The economic depression of the early 1930s destabilized the country’s economy. This development changed the moods of many citizens. Many individuals were against the weakening Weimar Republic. Many citizens in Germany were jobless. The “people were also unhappy because the nation had lost terribly after the World War I” (Hildebrand 64). This development made it impossible to support the government.
These challenges led to the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Adolf Hitler had become famous during the First World War. Hitler had joined the German Worker’s Party (GWP) by 1921. Hitler “attempted to throw the government in 1923 but failed” (Hildebrand 39). He was later arrested and imprisoned for one year. After his release, Adolf “began to attack the Treaty of Versailles because it had not favored Germany” (Davies 56).
Hitler supported new concepts such as Anti-Semitism, Pan-Germanism, and Anti-Communism. He also “denounced both communism and capitalism because such models had been designed by the Jews” (Grabowski 59). He eventually formed his Nazi Party. This famous party attracted more people in the country. Adolf “became the Chancellor of German in 1933” (Grabowski 85). The “next step was to transform the Weimar Republic into a new dictatorship called the Third Reich” (Hitchcock 66).
Hitler became powerful within a few months. Hitler’s intentions were “to make every citizen happy and produce a powerful nation” (Davies 50). Hitler party appealed to every young and unemployed citizen in the country. The middle and low classes also supported Hitler’s policies. Many “people believed strongly that the new head of the country’s government would become their savior” (Davies 72).
Adolf Hitler: Jews and Other Minorities
Many historians “have not identified the main reason why the Hitler targeted these Jews” (Hildebrand 42). According to some scholars, “Hitler treated the Jews as scapegoats in an attempt to achieve his political ambitions” (Engel 102). The powerful dictator was ready to support the expectations of many Germans.
He also identified the unsettled issues of the World War I. According to Hitler, the Germans had been misled by these Jews. He was also against Capitalism and Communism. He “believed strongly that such market systems were pioneered by the Jews” (Davies 87). He also believed that major Jews were out to destroy Germany and its people. Hitler also explained how the social divisions experienced in Germany were promoted by the Jews (Engel 84).
Adolf also explained how these Jews destroyed the fate of every citizen. It was the right time to get rid of these inferior individuals. New policies became evident in Nazi Germany after Hitler began to support the Aryan race. These ideas encouraged the people to exterminate every inferior race. According to the Nazis, “the Aryans were superior based on different scientific studies and analyses” (Davies 108).
Hitler’s Racial Policy “targeted different races such as the Jews, Poles, and Russians” (Hildebrand 83). The policy also targeted “inferior individuals such as homosexuals and Gypsies” (Stone 68). The Germans believed strongly that such inferior people were no longer required in the country.
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Adolf Hitler “used these races as scapegoats in an attempt to address the anger of his people” (Davies 79). He believed that such individuals were the leading causes of poverty and inequality in the country. Hitler “used numerous cartoons to spread his propaganda” (Engel 102). This effort made it easier for many Germans to support him.
The Nuremberg Laws
Germany enacted new policies called the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. These “laws would remove every Jewish influence from the Aryan community” (Stone 92). According to Adolf Hitler, it had become the right time for Germany to impose new policies against the Jews. For instance, such laws “prohibited every Jew from marrying a member of the Aryan society” (Stone 47).
Hitler used such laws to protect and honor his people. Adolf approved “these Nuremberg Laws in order to deprive Jews of their citizenship” (Stone 49). Such laws also “prohibited Jews from hiring German housemaids below 45 years” (Engel 87).
According to many historians, Hitler’s laws “were aimed at discriminating, ostracizing, and expelling Jews from the country” (Stone 97). These laws made it easier for Hitler to implement new policies. Such policies would make it easier for him to punish the Jews and other inferior groups. Hitler also implemented new policies in order to persecute more Jews. Hitler also “described such laws as a precursor to harsher decrees in the country” (Hitchcock 31). Many leaders in the country believed that the Jews were incompatible with the Aryans.
These laws made it possible for Adolf Hitler to get rid of these Jews. According to Engel (78), “these Nuremberg Laws created the required ground for the next one decade of prejudice, discrimination, and racial policy”. Hitler produced new official statements and documents in order to kill more Jews. Hitler “was also unhappy with such laws because they seemed too humane to the Jews” (Engel 98). Such laws therefore empowered Hitler in order to murder the Jews.
Dr. Josef Mengele
The “Jews were the prime targets of the Nazis during the 1930s” (Engel 98). The Nazis also “targeted other races and groups such as individuals living in various healthcare homes” (Stone 93). The Nazis “murdered these individuals using a new strategy called the Euthanasia Program” (Hitchcock 43).
Josef Mengele became famous during the period. Mengele was born on 16th March, 1911 in Ulm. He became a member of the Nazi Party in 1937. Mengele “worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (KWI) whereby he advanced his skills” (Grabowski 18). He was later promoted to become a SS Captain. The Nazi Government eventually transferred Mengele to a concentration camp in Auschwitz in 1943.
Josef Mengele “was one of the high-ranking physicians at the concentration camp” (Grabowski 44).Josef joined other doctors such as Dr. Eduard Wirths. He began to undertake various scientific experiments using human bodies. He experimented “with fraternal and identical twins in order to understand the origin of different diseases” (Grabowski 48). Mengele “had conducted similar legitimate studies throughout the 1930s” (Grabowski 76).
The doctor was allowed “to main, injure, or kill his subjects” (Grabowski 79). Josef’s position at the concentration camp made it easier for him to perform lethal studies and experiments. His subjects included the Jews and individuals from different minority groups (Hungerford 69).
Most of Josef’s studies “illustrated the absence of resistance among different groups and Jews” (Grabowski 48). Mengele also killed most of his “test subjects in order to get the best results after conducting the required post-mortems” (Grabowski 93). The doctor also endorsed a new doctrine known as the National Socialist Racial Theory (NSRT).
He also “encouraged different medical practitioners to perform mundane experiments and autopsies” (Grabowski 73). These actions and experiments forced the Allies to put his name on the list of Nazi Criminals. He was captured by the U.S. government but released due to lack of evidence. Mengele “eventually migrated to Argentina” (Grabowski 89).
The Nazis attacked and destroyed various communities throughout the Second World War. They identified and attacked many Jew in different societies. They also expected these Jews to work as slaves. The Jews were also beaten and killed regularly. The Nazis “ordered the Jews to wear armbands on their right arms” (Hitchcock 93).
The Germans wanted to put these Jews in ghettos. According to Hitler, this strategy would present a permanent solution to the Jewish problem (Hungerford 109). The ghettos would make it easier for the Nazis to prosecute a large number of Jews.
A good example of these ghettos was in Lodz. This ghetto “had a Jewish population of over 230,000” (Stone 124). The Nazis forced these Jews to pay for every service including security. It was “also mandatory for the Jews to pay for food and every expense incurred by their imprisonment” (Stone 137).
These individuals were forced to live in pathetic conditions. The Warsaw Ghetto in Poland had a population of over 380,000 individuals. These ghettos were “characterized by diseases such as typhoid” (Hungerford 75). Most of the Jews died because of such diseases and poverty. These conditions forced many Jews to rise against the Nazis. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (WGU) eventually backfired after the Nazis overpowered the Jews. The survivors in every ghetto were deported to various death camps.
The Concentration Camps
Nazi Germany used different camps in order to deal with the Jewish problem. The government established over 20,000 camps in different parts of Europe. Such camps were used “to imprison every individual who opposed the government’s policies and missions” (Grabowski 86). Most of the “prisoners in these concentration camps included the Jews, socialists, homosexuals, Gypsies, and German Communists” (Stone 93). In 1938, Germany managed to annex Austria thus identifying new methods to deal with the Jews.
The Nazis began to capture and imprison these Jews. The “major concentration camps were located in Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Dachau” (Hildebrand 81). According to Stone (153), “the Nazis imprisoned, killed, and abused many people in different types of concentration camps”. During the Holocaust, the Germans and their associates managed to murder millions of Jews. Majority of the individuals imprisoned in different concentration camps did not survive.
The Gas Chambers
The Holocaust continued for very many years before and during the Second World War. However, new shifts were experienced towards the end of the war. The Nazis were becoming less powerful. The Allies were becoming “stronger thus forcing the Nazis to find the best solution to the Jewish problem” (Davies 57). This knowledge facilitated the Final Solution (mass killing of the Jews).
The Nazis decided to establish several centers in Poland because it had many Jews. Such centers would make it easier for the Nazis to kill all the Jews. The first Gas Chamber “was opened in Chelmno in 1941” (Hungerford 49). More chambers were established in Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor (Davies 108). These gas chambers “were filled with poisonous gases in order to kill more Jews” (Hungerford 82). The Nazis managed to murder over three million Jews in these gas chambers.
The “killing of the Jews and other minority groups took place in every German-occupied state” (Davies 12). The Holocaust claimed the lives of more than six million Jews. The Holocaust became one of the bloodiest events in the history of the world. Under the command of Adolf Hitler, “the Nazis oppressed and killed different political, religious, and ethnic groups in Europe” (Hungerford 91). The Nazis empowered various physicians and leaders in order to support the Holocaust.
The Germans used different policies, ghettos, concentration camps, and death chambers in order to kill the greatest number of Jews in Europe. This discussion explains why the Holocaust is an unforgettable event that transformed the history of the world. It is also agreeable that the Nazis did not have any concrete reason for murdering millions of Jews and other minority groups during the period. New policies and laws should therefore be in place in order to protect every race in the world.
Davies, Ian. Teaching the Holocaust: Educational Dimensions, Principles and Practice. London: A&C Black, 2009. Print.
Engel, David. Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust. St. Redwood City: Stanford University Press, 2010. Print.
Grabowski, John. Josef Mengele. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.
Hildebrand, Klaus. The Third Reich. London: Routledge, 2005. Print.
Hitchcock, William. Liberation: The Bitter Road to Freedom, Europe 1944-1945. London: Faber and Faber, 2009. Print.
Hungerford, Amy. The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Print.
Stone, Dan. Theoretical Interpretations of the Holocaust. New York: Radopi, 2000. Print.