The Holocaust describes a historical event in Europe during the 2nd World War whereby the Nazis killed approximately six million Jews. The Holocaust was a systematic and ideological state-sponsored torture and mass execution of Jews and millions of other people, including homosexuals, intellectually disabled, Romani people, and Jehovah’s witnesses. Primarily, this mass execution was steered by the anti-Semitic leader of the Nazis, Adolf Hitler. He considered the Jews an inferior race and foreign threats to the German community (History Place). The mass execution of Jews was connected to behavioral, ideological, political, and racial reasons. Over one million of the murdered people were children. This paper discusses the primary causes of the Holocaust, Nazis’ thoughts of Jews, atrocities against the Jews, and the punishment of the Nazis.
The Main Causes for the Holocaust
One of the major causes of the Holocaust was that the Nazis had always yearned to eliminate the Jews. The Nazis’ desire to exterminate the Jews did not just come from nowhere but was deeply rooted in the anti-Semitic ideology that had established aggression towards the Jews, nationalism, and racism. Anti-Semitism did not start with Adolf Hitler. European Jews had been victimized and persecuted for many years, mainly due to religious reasons, especially in the ancient world (History Place). Jews were considered outcasts in the middle ages and not allowed to live in the community as other people. They were forced to create their ghettos or neighborhoods and were even barred from some professions. During the unrest, Jews were frequently used as scapegoats. With the growth of racial-motivated ideologies in the 19th century, Jews were considered to belong to a different race and did not belong to the nation.
Social Darwinism was also a major cause of the Holocaust. This ideology is based on the idea that some races or ethnic groups are superior to others. Social Darwinism supporters adopted this concept to prove or justify racist ideas scientifically. The Nazis used this concept to justify the superiority of the Aryans over the Jews. The other factors that led Holocaust were eugenics development and the notion of a master race. Eugenics describes the concept of promoting particular genetic traits while removing others (History Place). The Nazis aimed at removing individuals with undesirable genetic characteristics, including the mentally and physically disabled, Jews, and Slavic people. For instance, the first victims of this historic event were the physically disabled Germans considered burdens by the Nazis. Such weak people were expensive to look after and weakened the Aryan race. Weak people in society were killed through Euthanasia. This was one of the initial stages of the Holocaust.
The fourth factor that resulted in Holocaust was the emergence and growth of ultranationalism, a type of nationalism promoted by Hitler. It involves different countries using violence against one another to promote patriotism. For instance, the Nazi’s discrimination of Jewish people was ultranationalism. The Nazis used violence to endorse their nationalism over other countries like Poland. Ultranationalism is linked to Aryanism and the development of a superior race. Hitler held that Aryan genetic characteristics should be promoted and others must be removed or restricted from society (History Place). The final major cause of the Holocaust was the ambitions and views of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler, which included promoting Aryanism and anti-Semitism. Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf articulated these values and beliefs and helped communicate the Nazis’ views years before the Holocaust.
There is no direct connection from the Nazis’ anti-semitism to the Holocaust. Hitler did not hide his hatred towards the Jews. He also made it clear that the Jews had no place in Germany. However, he initially did not consider the idea of mass execution (Ibis Communications, Inc). It was only after the spate of the 2nd World War that Hitler developed this idea of mass killing the European Jews. Therefore, the Holocaust is a series of occurrences and verdicts influenced by circumstances.
What Nazis Thought of Jews
The Nazis held that Jews were the major source of their problems and ought to be eradicated. Because Jews were traditionally stereotyped as bank controllers and other money sources, they were a convenient and easy target for Germany’s economic difficulties (Ibis Communications, Inc). Hitler and other top-ranking Nazis blamed the Jews for the majority of the county’s problems in rallies and speeches during the 1930s.
Nazis associated the Jews with the 1st World War loss. Under the leadership of Adolf Hitler lost the war, and like many other anti-Semites, they blamed the Jews for this defeat. Germans faulted Jews for being industrialist exploiters who benefited at others’ expense (Ibis Communications, Inc). Also, the Jews were blamed for being communism enthusiasts who aimed to dominate the world through revolution. Therefore, being the absolute leader of the Nazis, Hitler was determined to eradicate the Jews as he linked them to everything negative that had ever happened.
Jews were used as culprits for everything bad that had occurred in Germany in the previous decades: some of the bad things that were linked to the Nazis included economic depression, inflation, World War I defeat, and the retributory Treaty of Versailles. In 1922, Hitler told the Nazis, “No salvation is possible, until the bearer of disunion, the Jew, has been rendered powerless to harm” (History Place). Germans developed a bad attitude towards the Jews and considered them outsiders.
In some instances, the execution initiative was steered by lower-placed Nazis searching for extreme solutions to solve their problems linked to Jews. Hitler was fixated with the notion of the supremacy of the “pure” German race identified as the Aryan and the desire for more space (Lebensraum) for this race to expand (History Place). After he was freed from the prison, he took advantage of the Jews’ weakness to reinforce his party’s rise to power.
The Atrocities the Nazis Committed Against the Jews
After becoming the German leader in 1933, Hitler introduced harsh anti-Semitic laws that victimized the Jewish people living in the country. After taking the German leadership, Hitler’s two goals of spatial expansion and racial purity were his driving force and worldview. Starting in 1933, Hitler combined the two goals to develop a strong domestic and foreign policy (Ibis Communications, Inc). During this period, the Nazis were determined to make life hard for the Jewish communities in German. Jews became victims of violence, robbery, exclusion, and discrimination. In some instances, the Nazis killed Jews. However, the Nazis’ intention was to punish the Jews and not to kill all of them.
The Nazis were focused on removing all the Jews from Germany by forcing them to migrate to other countries. The Nazis took away the Jews’ properties to ensure they had no means of survival to force this migration. The Jewish people were denied the opportunity to work in some professions. The Jews were also denied entry to some places, including public parks and pubs. After the passing of the Nuremberg Racial Laws in 1935, Jews were no longer allowed to marry beyond their cultural/religious group (Halsall). For instance, some laws barred Jewish children from accessing education, keeping pets, or accessing some areas. Additionally, Jews were denied their German citizenship, thus making them second-class citizens with limited rights.
In 1938, the Nazis organized exterminations across the country. Jewish synagogues, houses, and businesses were destroyed, and many Jews were restrained in concentration sites. After the war outbreak in 1939, over 250000 Jews escaped from Germany due to discrimination and unending violence. Poland’s invasion by Germany created a new radical stage for Jews’ persecution (Ibis Communications, Inc). This war made it impossible for the Poland Jews to escape and were therefore placed under German rule. They were forced to live in ghettos and other housing units that resembled prisons, whereby several families could share a single unit. In these concentration camps, Jews were mistreated and oppressed as they were denied food and medical care.
Also, Jews were under strong surveillance from the Nazis soldiers and could not leave without permission. In other cases, the Jews were compelled into forced labor. The ultimate atrocity was the mass execution by the Nazis. Jews were gathered as big groups, taken to a central point where they were killed using gas. The mass killing of Jews continued to 1945 in what was referred to as the “The Final Solution” (Ibis Communications, Inc). People worked together with the Nazis for different reasons. Anti-Semitic ideologies have a leading role, but not entirely. Some Germans had personal issues to settle while turned against Jews due to greed, hoping that they would grab their properties. Sometimes the fear of the Nazis hindered people from assisting the Jews.
How the Nazis were punished
Denazification describes the practice of eradicating Nazism and Nazis from Germany’s public life and across occupied regions in Europe. Following the war, Germany was divided into four regions occupied by the allies, including the Soviet Union, the U.S, France, and Great Britain (Halsall). Every zone performed the denazification process uniquely. Following World War II, military, domestic and international courts conducted trials of thousands of suspected war criminals. Efforts to punish the perpetrators of Holocaust crimes continue in the 21st century (Ibis Communications, Inc). Unluckily, a significant proportion of perpetrators are yet to face the law. However, the post-Holocaust trials set significant legal examples. In the present day, domestic and international tribunals aim at upholding the principle that those who commit war atrocities should be legally punished. Some of the key trials included the Nuremberg Trial, Eichmann trial, and The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials.
Fairness in Punishing the Perpetrators
`It would be fairer to punish all the parties involved in the Holocaust, especially the Nazi leadership and the German allies involved in the mass execution of Jews. The Nazis were the Holocaust’s primary perpetrators as they planned and executed mass murder. The Nazis were also aided by millions of Germans. Ordinary Germans showed little protest against this historical injustice. In mid-1942, the Germans deported Jews from the Western Europe countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. However, the numbers were relatively lower. In 1943 and 1944, Nazis deported Jews from the occupied regions in Greece, Hungary, Italy, and the Balkans (Ibis Communications, Inc). Therefore, the Nazi allies were guilty of deporting Jews or assassinating them. All these collaborators, government agencies, and Nazi leaders deserved to be punished for their atrocities against the European Jews.
The Holocaust was a systematic and ideological state-sponsored torment and mass execution of Jews and other people, including homosexuals, intellectually disabled, Romani people, among others. This mass execution was primarily propelled by Adolf Hitler, the Nazis leader. Hitler and the Nazis considered the Jews as an inferior race and foreign threats. The Nazis despised and oppressed the Jews as they associated them with anything bad that ever happened to them. The Holocaust resulted in the death of over 10 million people in Europe. It is considered one of the painful historical events in Europe.
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