Hatred of the Jews
The Nazi regime in Germany during the years 1933 to 1945 was largely founded on, and is forever inseparable from, the tragic policy of violent anti-Semitism. This policy, and the intense hatred that spawned it, was not born in the mind of Adolf Hitler, but was, rather, a prominent attitude among the people of Germany in this period and was, indeed, an important social reality in much of Europe for many centuries preceding the rise of the Aryan Third Reich.
Adolf Hitler and his Nazi collaborators were authentic racists and enthusiastic exterminators of European Jewry, and their policies of genocidal terror were measures taken largely without the knowledge or willing consent of the people they governed, but it is clear that Nazi power from the beginning was built upon the exploitation of the fear, anger, and hatred that a large percentage of Germans at the time felt toward the Jewish race.
Without this popular sentiment, Adolf Hitler could never have aroused the frenzy of adoration and obedience that enabled his regime to rise, but the “Final Solution,” the partially-realized Nazi scheme to annihilate the Jews of Europe, was probably motivated by other more-practical and sinister motives such as greed and the safeguarding of power. Hitler’s childhood in Linz in Upper Austria, and later his time in Vienna, probably planted the first seeds of hatred for the Jews that would be acted out so viciously later on.
It is established that the society of the region, especially during the important years 1880 to 1910, was suspicious and resentful of their Jewish population. This sentiment was especially held by the lower middle classes who often worked for shrewd Jewish business owners. It was to this group in society that Hitler’s family belonged. Jews were also equated and associated with socialists and communists, in many cases not unfairly, and Hitler’s own father was ?
Jewish, a fact that may have caused the young Hitler some social discomfort. All of this may have created in the heart of Adolf Hitler an emotional animosity toward the Jews, but it is clear from Hitler’s own writings that at least by the year 1919, this anti-Jewish attitude had taken on a more “reasoned” approach. After the defeat of Germany in World War I, many Germans were convinced that their armies had never been properly beaten in the field, but they instead blamed their humiliation on a conspiracy of Jewish bankers.
Many patriotic Germans felt that it was the Jewish liberals, socialists, and communists at home and abroad that had caused the war, and that, in the end, had stabbed the German army and people in the back by negotiating for surrender. They had further betrayed Germany by imposing on the German nation the impossible requirements of the Treaty of Versailles. In answer to a letter addressed to one Herr Gemlike and dated September 16, 1919, Hitler wrote that “anti-Semitism is too easily characterized as a mere emotional phenomenon. And yet this is incorrect.
Anti-Semitism as a political movement may not and cannot be defined by emotional impulses, but by recognition of the facts. ” (Eberhard 1980, p. 88). These “facts” were that the Jews could not ever be patriotic nationalist Germans because they loved only their own money and power, and they refused to integrate into the culture or society in which they lived. “And thus comes the fact that there lives amongst us a non- German, alien race which neither wishes nor is able to sacrifice its racial character or to deny its feeling, thinking, and striving.
Nevertheless, it possesses all the political rights we do. ” (Eberhard 1980, p. 89). Furthermore, the Jews were to blame for the rampant materialism and the trend toward collectivism throughout Germany and Europe. His solution was simple; a strong nationalist government that could make and enforce such laws as would promote “An anti-Semitism based on reason…,” (ibid. ) One that would “lead to systematic legal combating and elimination of the privileges of the Jews….
The ultimate objective [of such legislation] must, however, be the irrevocable removal of the Jews in general. ” (ibid. ) In later years, with the collapse of the German monetary system, the German economy, and the failure of the Weimar Republic to deal with these problems, Hitler was able to play on the anger and jealousies of the German people. He excited great crowds of suffering Germans with these conspiracy theories, and with his hateful rants against the outsiders that were “taking German jobs.
” His National Socialist Party was created to restore German honor and German purity by defying the financial demands of the Jewish bankers, and by denying all non-Aryans (Jews) the equality and privileges they held in society. Hitler and the Nazis promised to destroy the Jews and communists, “the Judeo-Bolshevist conspiracy” that was ruining the German nation. By 1933, using violence, threats of violence, and mass appeal, the Nazis had taken control of the government.
They immediately began their program of systematic discrimination, plunder, and murder of the Jews in Germany and, as the Third Reich began to expand, throughout all countries and regions that fell under the occupation of the German army. Some six-millions of Jews were ultimately liquidated at the hands of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Hitler and the Nazi leadership began their purges of the Jews using forced labor and expulsions. The result was a massive outflow of Jewish refugees seeking asylum in nations that were either neutral or opposed to the Nazis.
Sadly, these other nations of Europe and the wider world were also plagued by anti-Semitic feeling and they refused to admit the Jewish refugees. The Third Reich could not accept the presence of Jewish subversives in their thousand-year empire, did not want the Jews fleeing to hostile nations where they would stir up these countries to future wars against the German Empire, and so they resolved upon mass and systematic extermination. The opportunity to plunder the untold wealth of the Jews and to incorporate these riches into the Third Reich was also an obvious enticement.
In the end, the “Final Solution” was not completed. About ? of Europe’s 12 million Jews escaped the suffocating trains, the deliberate exposure and starvation, the firing squads, and the gas chambers. Germany lost their bid for world Aryan supremacy and Hitler died in a bunker in Berlin by his own hand. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime did not invent anti-Semitism, but they took their racist aggressions to a new height. They played upon the emotional distaste that the Germans of the day felt toward the Jewish outsiders in order to gain ultimate power.
Once in control, Hitler and the Nazis implemented their reasoned, scientific enmity toward the Jewish race. What began as legalized persecution and discrimination ultimately led to expulsion, and when this policy proved insufficient, a “Final Solution” was adopted; this was nothing less than the attempt to plunder, transport, and utterly annihilate the Jewish people. That they ultimately failed is little consolation. The degree of their success is a heartrending tragedy that should never be forgotten. Sources Eberhard, Jackel (ed. ), (1980) Hitler. Samtliche Aufzeichnungen 1905-1924.
Translated by Richard S. Levy. ] Stuttgart. pp 88-90. Cited in http://h-net. org/~german/gtext/kaiserreich/hitler2. html Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf (14th ed. , Munich, 1932), pp. 54-70. Translated by Richard S. Levy. ] Cited in http://h-net. org/~german/gtext/kaiserreich/hitler1. html Johnson, Paul. (2001) Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics Streicher, Julius. (1998) Selections from Der Stuermer. Modern History Sourcebook: Cited in The Nizkor Project: Nizkor FTP file: antisemitism/talmud/streicher-talmudSample Essay of AssignmentExpert.com