Adolf Hitler and the Jews Research Papers
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Throughout his life, Adolf Hitler had a primary target for his hatred and anger about the history of his nation: the Jews. Hitler’s anti-Semitic beliefs were at the cornerstone of his very existence, and would come to shape his political and cultural actions. Some contend that he suffered from a host of mental diseases or disorders, and the Jews were merely the scapegoat for his internal struggles. Others contend that Hitler had some Jewish ancestry in his past that brought him great shame, but this has yet to be conclusively determined by historians.
Even before he was in power in Germany, Hitler demonstrated his hatred of the Jewish population.
- At best, Hitler saw the Jews as taking advantage of the economic crisis of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s
- At the worst, Hitler saw the Jews as directly responsible for the shady business practices that contributed to the economic turmoil of the country in those decades.
As he moved through the ranks of the Nazi Party, and then through the government himself, these beliefs became actions, and then public policy. He openly discriminated against the Jews; he forced them out of their businesses, restricted their employment options, and took away some of their most basic civil rights. Ultimately, he would round them up and move them to ghettos, depriving them of their property and humanity in the process. The “final solution” in his plan for the Jews would demonstrate the evilness of his true nature: he removed members of the Jewish faith from all occupied German territories and sent them to Concentration Camps throughout Germany and Poland where they were either worked to death or assassinated. He treated the Jews as less than human, because that is the way he saw them. Understanding why this is the case, however, is unlikely to ever be fully understood.
Writings on Hitler and the Jews
The attitude in Europe during the first half of the 20th century was generally anti-Semitic, according to Wistrich. The Jews were in large part a hated segment of the European population through much of its history, according to Wistrich. This sentiment was enhanced by the collapse of the European economy after the World War I. In many ways, Germans held the Jews personally responsible for the collapse of the German economy after World War I. This is in contrast to the contention that Robert Wistrich’s fascinating book Hitler and the Holocaust makes about the European Jews, who were largely powerless and disorganized in their ability to actualize any political, economic or social power.
All of these ideas coalesced in the beliefs of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich, both fueling his rise to power and falling under its influence. In many ways, Hitler’s own beliefs became the unifying factor that brought Germany back to power, and the notion of the “Jewish menace” was central to his ideology. Hitler, according to Wistrich, found Jews to be a detestable blight on humanity that polluted the gene pool. The fervor with which Hitler was followed by the Germans in turn began to share his views, with Mein Kampf a kind of bible for this new way of thinking. His view was that the need to eradicate this menace called for a “final solution” for the problem of Jewish existence in Germany, and Europe, or else the survival of the Aryan nation, and a united and “peaceful” Europe, would not be possible.
The Robert Wistrich’s fascinating book Hitler and the Holocaust then shifts into detailing the way that Hitler and the Nazi party began to progressively and systematically go about eradicating the perceived threat. Many of these ideas were given tacit approval by the mass of German society, who caught up in the fervor of Hitler’s promise for a return to glory, ignored their own sense of guilt in favor of their baser impulses. Wistrich describes the process by which Jews became hunted, the way that Himmler and the SS were given control of the problem, and the way that the death camps and mass killings originated and streamlined for efficiency.
Wistrich also details the ways in which others were aware of the genocidal aims of Hitler’s Germany and, because of indifference, powerlessness or fear, did nothing. Wistrich highlights the many other European nationalities that were seemingly aware of what was going on in Germany that, because of their own prejudices, did nothing, in a sense giving implied approval to the eradication of the Jews. Wistrich also indicts the Catholic Church, which he contends knew about the problem but did nothing to act. This same indifference was apparent in Western Europe and America, where the reports of the Holocaust were largely ignored of nor believed. All of these different agencies had in their power to prevent the genocide earlier, yet each showed a willingness to turn a blind eye.