Anti-Semitism (booklet 7)


Why was their intense Hatred of the Jews in Nazi G

The jews were becoming scapegoats for a range of tensions which were emgring in German society. Germany was rapidly changing in the years before the 1st WW as the expanding economy and indutriation & urbanisation was affecting many. 

As a community the Jews were easiliy identifiable because of their differant tradtions- language, religion, culutre etc- many viewed them as privilaged

  • in 1933 there was 500,000 jews living in Germany (less than 1% pop).
  • they composed- 16% of lawyers, 10% of doctors & 5% editors and writers.

Nazi propaganda linked them to Bolshevism & the defeat and betrayl of Versailles.

They were presented as the emboiment of Evil

Hitler was able to exploit the underlying hostility & turn it into a radical doctrine of Hatered. 

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Why was there nothing inevitable about the anti-Se

Once Hitler had consolidated his personal & party dictatorship-which took a mere 8 weeks in the spring 1933- a systematic attack on the jews was certain. 

Strictly speaking the Nazi policy on Jews went no futher than a reversion to convential state anti-semitism. 

The 1920 party policy for jews inculded...

  • jews being stripped of German Citezenship, inculding the right to hold office and vote.
  • Jews would become guests, and those who had entered since 1914 would be expelled
  • Vague promises to take over jewish property

In many of Hitlers speeches he had threatened & promised violence againsit jews.

According to Hitler the, revolutions like his needed to focus on hostility, to express the 'feelings of the broad masses'.

Hitler appears to have chosen the Jews not just out of personal conviction, but also out of rational political calculation. 

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argue that Hitler planned the mass murder of the Jews, even though events of the time may have forced him to make tactical retreats.


Seek to find the ultimate cause of the Holocaust in the chaotic policy was made in Nazi Germany.

 They argue that Government deparments & Nazi leaders competed with each other to formulate more radical polices. 

  • These attempts to depersonalise the resonsibity of what became of the holocaust are bitterly resented by intentionalists.
  • Intentionlists see such an approach as initiating a new 'cycle of apologists' in German History.

British Historian, David Irving has provided some very controvertional views regaurding Hitlers ultimate role and has been labelled as a 'Holocaust denier' by others. 

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When Hitler became Chancellor in Jan 1933 was he keen to try and moderate his extreme anti-seminism. 

However, the SA were far more determined to deal with their sworn enmies of the jews.

  • there followed a Boycott of Jewish shops and businesses on 1st April= majority of Germans did not identify with & after a day it was callled off. 
  • 1st law= 'Law for the Restoration of the professtional Civil Service' (April 1933) 

For most of 1933-34 Nazis were mainly concerned with matters relating to the economy and politcal life. 

  • Main policy towards Jews was to encourage theri emigration from Germany.
  • 1935= Nuremburg Race Laws

1. Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour- forbade mixed marriages & sex between Aryans & Jews. 

2. Reich Citizenship Law- deprived Jews of German citizenship. 

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Exclusion 2

  • gov did have diffculties trying to define wheather half or quarter jews (Mischilinge) were really jewish. 
  • These polices indicated for oridary party members that the party was still commited to elinating jews from society. 

1936= anti-semtic actives were toned down for the Berlin Olympics. 

1938= key year as Reich Kristallnact was orgainsed by Goebbels as a response to the assination of a minor German diplomat in the Paris embassy by a Jew. 

The Pogrom (orgainsed attack) which was unlesed for 3 days during which 91 people were killied & 30,000 were rounded up and imprisoned in concentration camps. 

During these years Jews were gradually forced out of leading professtions & business life through a series of laws- aim of these polices was to drive jews to emigrating & in the years before war, over 20,000 did

When Germany took over Austria in 1938 & more jews became part of the expanded Reich and an ambitous Nazi offical, Aldof Eichmann, was sent to Vienna to mastermind the forced emgiration of Austrian jews. 

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Exclusion 3

Measures introduced by gov got a mixed reaction from the population. They were accompied by an intense propganda comapgin and a rewritten school syllabi

1st victiams of the Ayra race policy= menatlly & physically handicapped

  • 1st Steptember 1939, hitler authroised the start of a secrect programme of 'Mercy Killing'
  • Headed by Philip Boulher.
  • Code name Aktion T4
  • 70,000 handicapped people were gassed by the **
  • During the war programme exteneded to 150,000 'unproductive consumers of food'.
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1935-45: Genocide, The Final Soloution

The invasion of poland in Steptember 1939 brought millions of Jews under control of the Reich. 

Speical ** mobile killing groups= Einsatzgruppen, rounded up jews and placed them in GhettosFollowing the invasion of the Soviet Union 1941 even more jews came under the Reich- first reponse was to shoot the jews (both regualr army & Einsatzgruppen used).

  • During the first year of Operation Barbarossa it was estimated that 1 million Jews were murdered. 

The final soloution to the Jewish problem was well underway before the Wannsee Conferance was held in January 1942 to plan more of a coordinated approach. 

  • Special killing facillites were constructed in Poland on the advice of T4 experts at Auschwitz, Sobobor and Treblinka,
  • After Wannsee conferance jews were sysmatically rounded up in all terriores occupied by the Nazis (from channel islands to greece)
  • They were placed in cattle wagons and shipped to death camps in poland
  • Other racial miorites such as gypies and Slavs were also murdered.
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Explanation for the Final soloution

Despite all the Violent lanuage used againsit racial minorites the Nazis did not appear to have a blueprint for the elimnation of Jews.

No single order by Hitler to begin the Final soloution has been found

The emphaises on race & anti-semtic propganda combined with eugenic polices led the jews to being stripped of cilvil rights between 1933 ans 1939. 

The war provided a more differant and viloent oppertunity to deal with the problem, and led to death camps. 

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Number of people complusarly sterilsed= 350,000 

Estimated Death Toll-

Jews= 6 million

Poles= 3 million 

Gypies= 1 million 

Homosexuals= over 5,000

Estimated Number of Germans killed by the Nazis-

Jews= 200,000

Communists= 30,000

Gypies= 25,000

Mentally & physically handicapped= 200,000

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Key interpretations linked to Racial Policy

Racial Policy-

  • Intentionlist= Hitler always planned to elimante the Jews
  • Structuralist= anti-jewish policy developed due & became more radicalised due to lower level Nazis competing agaisit each other (social Darwinism)
  • Synthesis= combination of the above interpretations. 
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