WWII and the Holocaust were two key events of the 20th century. Each had their own causes and historical factors leading up to their development. While the two events occurred close to each other each developed independently and neither was cause for the other. Anti-Jewish prejudice has a long history and was present in Germany long before WWII. The German people elected the Nazi party and it was its rise to power that lead to WWII. The Nazi party had many other strange policies that, while not as extreme as the Jewish policies, were odd and extreme in different way.
The roots of WWII are based on the Nazi party’s economic policies and not as a mask for genocide. Therefore WWII was not a cause of the Holocaust and it was not used as a mask for the Holocaust. Prejudice against Jews has existed from pre B. C. times through the Holocaust to the present day. There are countless examples throughout history of Jewish persecution. One of the earliest references to other nationalities persecuting Jews is told in the Bible’s Book of Exodus. The Exodus of the Israelites (Jews) from Egypt is the theme described in the above-mentioned book after the Egyptians treated them as slaves.
In the First Crusade, 1096, communities on the Rhine and the Danube were utterly destroyed. In the Second Crusade, 1147, the Jews in France were subject to frequent massacres. The Jews were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds’ Crusades of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades were followed by expulsions, including in, 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396, 100,000 Jews were expelled from France; and, in 1421 thousands were expelled from Austria. These examples show how throughout history Jews have been persecuted and discriminated against by various nations.
Several European writers twisted Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to suggest there was a hierarchy of races with Jews at the bottom. “In addition, misuse of the theory of evolution was an important factor in the extreme forms of racism, especially that against blacks and Jews, that flourished at the turn of the century and for many years beyond. ” This quotation helps support the idea that The Theory of Evolution has been used in only extreme cases of racism and the Nazi party used this theory to prove that Jews are inferior.
Jews have been portrayed as moneylenders and manipulators of financial systems. In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the character Shylock is a Jew and seen as the villain of the story. To begin with the Merchant of Venice, for most of the history of the reception of the play, Shylock has been seen as fundamentally an unsympathetic character if not a villain. He is also often seen as a caricature of a grasping, vicious and resentful Jew. The debate is not about whether or not Shylock is bad, but really is about whether Shylock is bad because he is a bad Jew or bad because he is simply a Jew.
This quotation, as said by Hussein Ibish, proves that even Shakespeare was racist towards Jews. This is another historical example that the Nazis used to suggest that the Jews were the cause of the poor German economy. The Nazi party tapped into shared German feelings of the above points to rise in popularity with the voters. The Nazi party utilized the German people’s prejudices and worries to get democratically elected. Due to the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI, Germany was sentenced to make payments to the victors.
This crushed the German economy and made the people unhappy and in search of someone who could bring them out of this mess. The Nazi party rose in popularity due to poor economic conditions and the people’s fear of the rise of the communist party given the mess that Russia was in due to communism. In December of 1928, Joseph Goebbels posted an essay to persuade the Germans not to buy goods from the Jews. The essay was called “Deutsche, kauft nur bei Juden! ” When translated, it means “Germans: Don’t buy from the Jew! He believed the Jews produced bad quality goods and would cheat you out of a good price. Because the Jew sells cheap, but shoddy merchandise, whereas the German sets a proper price for good merchandise. Because the Jew cheats you, whereas the German treats you fairly and honestly. Because you can buy all sorts of trash from the Jew, but the German sells mostly only quality goods. The Nazi party promised a solution to the economic problem that was affecting all of Germany. In 1928 the Nazi party came in 2nd and by the 1932 election they won the majority of seats. The economy was still in crisis.
In the election of July 1932, the Nazi Party won 37% of the Reichstag seats, thanks to a massive propaganda campaign. For the next six months, the most powerful German leaders were embroiled in a series of desperate political maneuverings. Ultimately, these major players severely underestimated Hitler’s political abilities. It was the people of Germany that put Nazi party in power which caused them to takeover and become greedy with power. In January 1933 Hitler was appointed German Chancellor. In the March 1933 final election the parliament votes to give Chancellor total power putting an end to the Catholic party.
Later that year, President Hindenburg died and Hitler blended the two roles of President and Chancellor under the title of Der Fuhrer. The people had so much faith in the Nazi party that they allowed them to take complete control by democratic elections. The people voted in the Nazi party which allowed them to enact numerous extreme policies. The Nazi party also had many other oppressive policies at this time besides the anti-Jewish ones. The party promoted removing women from the workforce to help male employment rates and offered money to women to have kids; more kids more money.
The money came from taxing single men and childless families heavily. On November 14, 1935 a law was passed banning German marriage to gypsies, negroes and people of mixed race (this would include jews). NOVEMBER 14, 1935? NUREMBERG LAW EXTENDED TO OTHER GROUPS? The first supplemental decree of the Nuremberg Laws extends the prohibition on marriage or sexual relations between people who could produce “racially suspect” offspring. A week later, the minister of the interior interprets this to mean relations between “those of German or related blood” and Roma (Gypsies), blacks, or their offspring.
This policy displays how the Nazi party was not just racist towards Jews, but they viewed themselves as the dominant race above all others. Women were expected to have at least 4 children and if they did they received a medal every year on the birthday of Hitler’s grandmother. The Nazi party also forced teachers to follow revised textbooks. School lessons were based on Nazi ideas. Math problems involved calculations about bombing targeted countries such as Poland and killing invalids. Schools were single sex and girls were educated much differently.
They studied no foreign languages and the only subjects they were taught related to cooking and childcare. By changing the textbooks for children in school is made Germans look good in history; history has to show they are the superior race and make up for the fact that they lost WWI. The Nazi party also banned Mickey Mouse and Disney movies. The fate of Mickey Mouse under the Third Reich offers a bizarre insight into the impact of Nazi policies relating to the media and the control of ideas. … Hitler ordered the Disney films featuring him and other cartoon characters to be banned.
The Nazis accused Walt Disney himself of having Jewish ancestry and feared that his innocent-seeming cartoons threatened Germans with being ‘infected by undesirable cultural influences’. Even more striking is the interpretation that Mickey Mouse … could be seen as positively symbolizing the Jewish ‘outsider” overcoming adversity and that, Hitler loathed the portrayal of the mouse as clean and harmless since his propaganda machine was focused on representing Jews as dirty vermin. Walt Disney was thought to be a Jew and mice are vermin, like Jews.
This goes to show how twisted the minds of the Nazi party really were to ban an innocent cartoon character because of what it could be morphed to stand for. It wasn’t until 1941, well after the start of the war, that the Nazis decided to kill the Jews and began sending them to extermination camps in eastern European countries such as Poland. This was the Holocaust. This policy was created by Hitler’s senior officers in the party (Himmler, Heydrich and Eichmann) and Hitler allowed it. This policy was not made public and only after the war ended was the full extent of it discovered.
The Nazi party also had extreme solutions for their economic issues. The attention of the Belgian, Czechoslovak, G reek, Jugoslav, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norwegian, Polish, Soviet, United Kingdom and United States Governments and also of the French National Committee has been drawn to numerous reports from Europe that the German authorities, not content with denying to persons of Jewish race in all the territories over which their barbarous rule has been extended, the most elementary human rights, are now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe.
This was the most extreme of the policies, but it was just another policy, not the idea intended from the start. The above policies show that the Nazis could provide extreme solutions and this will be shown in their economic solutions as well. The true cause of WWII flows from the Nazi party solution to Germanys economic problems. The Nazi solution to shortages was to create a plan to acquire more land and raw materials. I today present the following as the new Four-Year Plan.
In four years Germany must be wholly independent of foreign areas in those materials which can be produced in any way through German ability, through our chemical and machine industry, as well as through our mining industry. The re-building of this great German raw material industry will serve to give employment to the masse. This quotation was a proclamation from Hitler proving that the Nazis was not just simply to take over. They were mainly focused on acquiring more raw materials. Germany deployed the strategy by taking over Austria, parts of France and Czechoslovakia. He attached Austria to Germany in just few days, without the help of his army. In fact his generals were against an Austrian invasion. Italy was supposed to defend Austria; they had a pact. Italy did not respond; not against Hitler. ” Britain and France continued to let Hitler expand more in hopes he would soon be satisfied, but their assumptions were wrong and he continued to expand. In an effort to avoid war, the leaders of several European countries met in Munich to discuss how to avoid war and establish a peaceful Europe.
Hitler demanded parts of Czechoslovakia be absorbed into Germany, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed, giving Hitler a chunk of Czechoslovakia that was home to three million ethnic Germans. With these deal in place, Chamberlain believed he had satisfied the German war machine. Germany expanded into other countries while Britain and France foolishly allowed it. Germany invading Poland was finally too much for Britain and France to handle so on September 3, 1939 they declared war. At 4:45 a. . , some 1. 5 million German troops invade Poland all along its 1,750-mile border with German-controlled territory. … Nazi leader Adolf Hitler claimed the massive invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, initiating World War II. Germanys invasion per their economic policy pushed France and Britain too far and finally triggered the war. It was Germanys economic policy of expansions that triggered the war, nothing else.
The above paragraphs of historical fact show that the war started before the Holocaust and its causes were independent of the causes of the Holocaust. We have seen how prejudice against Jews has built up over time and how the Nazi party took it to the extreme by starting a mass genocide in 1941 – the Holocaust. We have also seen that the Nazi solution to Germany’s economic problems relied on taking over countries to get resources and cheap labour, which eventually lead to the declaration of war in 1939. These were two independent paths.
War was declared before the Holocaust and for reasons that had nothing to do with the Holocaust. The world didn’t even know in 1939 about the atrocity that was to come. This it is clear from historical fact that WWII was neither a cause of the Holocaust or a mask for it. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Bible Gate Way, Exodus 1:8-14 http://www. biblegateway. com/passage/? search=Exodus+1&version=GNT [ 2 ]. Wikipedia, “History of the Jews and the Crusades. ” http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_and_the_Crusades [ 3 ]. Dr.
Jerry Bergman, “Darwinism, Evolution, and Racism. ” Bible Believers, http://www. biblebelievers. net/creationscience/kjcevol1. htm [ 4 ]. Hussein Ibish, “Anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of Malta,” The Weblog of Hussein Ibish, http://ibishblog. com/blog/hibish/2009/12/05/anti_semitism_merchant_venice_and_jew_malta [ 5 ]. Joseph Goebbels, “Germans, Buy only from the Jews!. ” Calvin College – Minds In The Making. (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP. , 1935), pp. 331-333 http://www. calvin. edu/academic/cas/gpa/angrif10. htm [ 6 ]. The Florida