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Holocaust - Essay Example

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In the book, "The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the final Solution"1, Henry Friedlander tries to explore the cultural and scientific background which ultimately led to the holocaust. Friedlander argues that the holocaust did not take place in isolation but it was result of long held beliefs in eugenics and inequality of humans.
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Download file to see previous pages While the findings of eugenic scientists were flawed, the science itself followed all the rules of the scientific method. Eugenics was considered as the cutting edge of science. Unfortunately, the scientists failed to recognize how their own prejudices were harming the results of their experiments.
Most scientists, philosophers and even common man believed in the inequality of man. It was believed that certain people were "unworthy of life". The person's worth was based not just on his "worth to himself but also on his worth to the society". The handicapped and the mentally
When Hitler cam to power in 1933, he had a dream of building a utopian German society. Obviously, such a utopian society could not include the handicapped and the "feeble-minded people". Hitler and the Nazis were even more radical than the eugenic scientists, in that they did not just stop at the handicapped and the feeble-minded but believed that the Gypsies and the Jews also polluted the society. Soon the scientists and the politicians were synchronized as those who opposed were fired.
Hitler systematically implemented a policy of exclusion to exclude the handicapped, the Gypsies and the Jews. At first a series of legislations and laws were passed by the Nazi government to marginalize this people in the society. The Blood Protection law was passed to exclude the Gypsies and the Jews. Next a campaign was carried out to sterilize the handicapped and the feeble-minded. The first step towards the final solution began with Euthanasia or mercy killing of handicapped children. It seems that the first Euthanasia was carried out at the behest of an infant's father, who had been born with severe handicap.
This first euthanasia opened the flood gates of further killings. Soon it moved from killing children to the adults. By 1939 the sterilizations had ended and the killings had started. Friedlander carefully documents the work carried out by the physicians in the T4 Operation, which proved that the killings were sponsored by the Reich. When it became difficult to kill using the Narcotics, the Nazi Germany invented the "gas chambers".
In 1941, owing to public outcry, Hitler was forced to end adult euthanasia. However, his orders did not actually end the killings. In hospitals, doctors continued to carry out "racial hygiene". And when the German Army crossed the borders of Poland, the T4 physicians were called to "process" the people at the concentration camps.
Friedlander has done some careful research and shows how holocaust was not just about the Jews but also included the Gypsies and the handicapped. He successfully shows that it was not anti-Semitism or personal hatred by the underlying principle of eugenics which led to the holocaust. Friedlander has resorted to a number of tables to show how ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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