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Anti-Semitism in Europe helped facilitate a scapegoat for the Versailles Treaty and the economic depression in Germany. Hitler used propaganda to make all the Jews the root of all problems. As a result, Hitler could justify war and…
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The Holocaust happened for various reasons. Anti-Semitism in Europe helped facilitate a scapegoat for the Versailles Treaty and the economic depression in Germany. Hitler used propaganda to make all the Jews the root of all problems. As a result, Hitler could justify war and territorial gains. The German people readily accepted the necessity to exterminate an enemy. Propaganda allowed the Holocaust to continue. The war also allowed the Holocaust to go on for so long.
Since the Diaspora, or scattering of the Jews from current day Israel, Europeans viewed them with distrust. Most of Western Europe and Russia were Christian states during the Middle Ages and after. Those states that were not Christian were Muslim. Both groups disliked the Jews for their denial of Jesus. Carroll reports on an omission of the current Pope (2006), “He made no mention of anti-Semitisms other parent, the long tradition of Christian contempt for Jews and the Jewish religion, which both fed the hatred of the perpetrators and justified the inaction of the bystanders.” Jews were considered evil before World War II.
Propaganda helped desensitize the Germans and German Occupied countries toward the Jews. Posters, magazines, and the Nuremburg Laws proposed and reiterated that Jews were sub-human. It was not bad to exterminate Jews because they were like insects. Jews were not equal to Germans. They caused the war and all the Aryan citizens’ woes. This helped ordinary citizens look the other way. For those sadistic citizens rewards were in place for denouncing Jews.
Before WWII Western European Jews were more assimilated than Eastern European Jews (Weinstock). Due to the isolation of Jews in the East, the Germans easily set up camps and ghettos in the East. Weinstock explains Eastern European Jews “spoke their own language, Yiddish, which is a combination of German and Hebrew. They read Yiddish books, and frequented Yiddish theater and films. Many Jews in these countries lived in small villages and towns (shtetls) where the population was predominantly Jewish. These communities were largely traditional, in terms of dress for both men and women.” It did not take much coordination to organize the Jews into concentrated groups. This led to the Holocaust because of the convenience of the Jewish isolation.
Countries knew before war broke out on September 1, 1939 that the Nazi persecuted Jews. They felt it was not their concern. Brustein and King (2004) report only the Dominic Republic and Costa Rica agreed to increase quotas for Jews fleeing Nazi rule in 1938. If countries would have increased their quotas many more lives would have been saved. The countries at war with Germany knew about the Holocaust and deaths in the camps. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (n.d) show aerial photos of Auschwitz. The earliest photo is April 1944. This is six to eight months before the Russians liberated the camp. The only part of the camp bombed was the I.G. Farben part called Monowitz. Prisoners were not housed there. The United States and the Allies only liberated the camps as their military objectives were met. If the war could be ended sooner, the Allies would rather save their men and resources by defeating Hitler.
The Holocaust occurred because of anti-Semitism in Europe, economic woes, and propaganda. The right circumstances allowed a sophisticated system to commit genocide. The Allies did not feel that Jewish interest was their interest. They felt their agenda was more important. The Holocaust could happen again. Because there is always cultural bias, economic woes, and propaganda, individuals need to be vigilant. Humanity needs to remain vigilant against racism.
Works cited
Brustein, W.I. and King, R.D. “International Political Science Review / Revue
internationale de science politique”. Religion and Politics. Religion et politique (Jan., 2004), pp. 35-53. Web
Carroll, J. “The roots of the Holocaust”. 5 Jun. 2006. The Boston Globe. Boston.com. Dec. 8, 2011.Web
Neufeld, M.J., and M. Berenbaum, ed. The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the
Allies Have Attempted It? New York: St. Martins Press. 2000.Print
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Auschwitz Birkenau: Aerial
Photographs. n.d Nizkor.org. Dec. 8,2011.Web
Weinstock, Y.G. “What Came Before.” 2011. Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem.org. Dec. 8, 2011.Web Read More
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