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Research Paper Holocaust Overview

Karisa Gould

English Composition 102 106 Mr. Larry Neuburger 2 April 2012

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The Holocaust is a major event in world history, and it is important that one learns about this event so history will not repeat itself. Most people are aware of the two to three year period known as the Holocaust but are unaware of how Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party were able to systematically murder almost twelve million people. To truly understand how the Nazis almost succeeded in wiping out an entire race of people, one needs to understand the series of events and the methods employed that led up to the Holocaust.

Nazi rise to power After World War I, The Central Powers were forced to sign a document called The Treaty of Versailles, which held Germany accountable for starting the war. Germany had to make reparations for all damage done during the war, which sent them into a depression. According to Thinkquest, Germany was forced to give up fertile land which comprised almost ten percent of its total holdings, and was prohibited from ever again organizing a large army. After World War I, Germany was subjugated and powerless. (The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy) Germany as a nation was not prepared for defeat, so their pride was hurt. As a result, fcit.usf says, Those military and political leaders who were responsible claimed that Germany had been stabbed in the back by its leftwing politicians, Communists, and Jews (Holocaust Timeline: Rise of Nazi Power). One could find it understandable that the Germans turned on anyone that was questionable. When a new government, the Weimar Republic, stepped into office, they had a hard time with regaining control over the depressed and unruly country.
Adolph Hitler saluting his fellow Nazis. www.google.com

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A man named Adolph Hitler joined a small group of dismissed military in 1919 and moved up to a leadership position through his motivational speeches. From Thinkquest, He encouraged national pride, militarism, and a commitment to the Volk and a racially "pure" Germany. Hitler condemned the Jews, exploiting anti-Semitic feelings that had prevailed in Europe for centuries (The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy). Towards the end of the year 1920, this party had over 3,000 members. A year later, Adolph came to be their official leader, also known as Fhrer. According to Thinkquest, Adolf Hitler's attempt at an armed overthrow of local authorities in Munich, known as the Beer Hall Putsch, failed miserably. The Nazi Party seemed doomed to fail and its leaders, including Hitler, were subsequently jailed and charged with high treason. However, Hitler used the courtroom at his public trial as a propaganda platform, ranting for hours against the Weimar government. By the end of the 24-day trial Hitler had actually gained support for his courage to act. The right-wing presiding judges sympathized with Hitler and sentenced him to only five years in prison, with eligibility for early parole. Hitler was released from prison after one year (The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy). After Hitler was released from prison, he revived the Nazi Party and became almost as if a Jesus-like figure to the followers in the Nazi Party. He then began planning how to get involved with Germanys political party. The Conservative military hero Paul von Hindenburg was elected president in 1925, and Germany stabilized. (The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy)

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Adolph transformed the Nazis into an electable and well organized party. Hitler hoped to create a bureaucracy which he envisioned as the germ of the future state(The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy). The Nazi Party began to dramatically rise in numbers. From 27,000 members in 1925, the Party grew to 108,000 in 1929 (the Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy). The paramilitary part of the party was called the SA, which was known for fighting and panic. Finally after tedious planning, Hitler ran for government. He ran against Hindenburg, who ended up winning the campaign. His speeches and elections made his popularity rise uncontrollably. From Thinkquest, Though Hindenburg disliked Hitler, he had been advised that Hitler could be kept under control, and so he named him chancellor, an event celebrated across Germany (The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy). Hitler then did what all dictators do, forced everyone out of government who were not a part of the Nazi Party, and took control. All contrasting parties were expelled, and their front-runners were sent to jail. The Enabling Act of March 23, 1933 was easily forced through a Reichstag of few political opponents and gave Hitler dictatorial powers (The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy). Anti-Semitism Prejudice against or hatred of Jewsknown as anti-Semitismhas plagued the world for more than 2,000 years, states ushmm, (The Holocaust). The initial Christians thought the Jews were accountable for the crucifixion of Jesus. According to Yadvashem, They were portrayed as offspring of the Devil and accused of the ritual murder of Christian children, yet the Church prevented their destruction (Confronting AntiJewish man revisits a damaged headstone. 49th-parallel.blogspot.com

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Semitism). This was taught to Catholic and Protestant believers during the first millennium. Following the Enlightenment, Jewish people in Europe accomplished some rights after several periods of maltreatment and rejection. Jews were blended into everyday life among others in Europe, until anti-Semitism emerged once again. This time, Hitler made anti-Semitism well known and by a mass amount of people. Nuremberg Laws On September 15, 1935, two laws were passed that excluded Jews from German life, as well as taking away some of their natural rights. These were called the Nuremberg Laws. They were first brought to the Nazi Partys attention by Hitler, and soon after were approved. From Thenagain, The first law, Reichsburgergesetz (Law of the Reich Citizen), was designed to deprive Jews of their German citizenship (The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students). Anyone without related blood of Germans was no longer considered a citizen of Reich. The second law, Gesetz zum Schutze des Deutschen Blutes und der Deutschen Ehre (Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor), or simply Blutschutzgesetz, forbade marriage or sexual relations between Jews and those of German blood (The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students). The Germans wanted a pure race to cleanse their nation. They made it clear to Jews that they were not welcome. There were signs posted all over towns, and soon Jews were not even able to seek medical attention, go to theaters, or shops. On October 18, 1935, another law was added to Nuremberg. According to ushmm, The Law for the Protection of the Hereditary Health of the German People requires all prospective marriage
A Picture of the Nuremberg Laws. www.gedenkstaettesteinhof

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partners to obtain from the public health authorities a certificate of fitness to marry. Such certificates are refused to those suffering from hereditary illnesses and contagious diseases and those attempting to marry in violation of the Nuremberg Laws (The Nuremberg Laws). Propaganda Through propaganda, the Nazis were ensuring the community knew their op inions as far as anti-Semitism went, and showed it through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press. According to USHMM, Nazi films portrayed Jews as subhuman creatures infiltrating Aryan society (Holocaust History). Kristallnacht
Nazi propaganda portraying Jews as poison. ivarfjeld.wordpress.com

Kristallnacht literally means Night of Crystal, and is referred to as Night of Broken Glass. From USHMM, The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops (Holocaust History). During these two nights, Germans destroyed Jewish homes, businesses, and Synagogues. Furthermore, USHMM states, The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Many synagogues burned throughout the night, in full view of the public and of local firefighters, who had received orders to intervene only to prevent flames from spreading to nearby buildings (Holocaust

A Jewish building burning during Krystalnacht. Jewishvirtuallibrary.org

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History). Furthermore, PBC says, By the end of the rampage, gangs of Nazi storm troopers had destroyed 7,000 Jewish businesseskilled 91 Jews and deported some 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps (PBC). Kristallnacht proved to Germany that the Nazis had complete control, and could wipe out the Jews for good. On November 15th, Jewish children were barred from attending school, and shortly afterwards the Nazis issued the Decree on Eliminating the Jews from German Economic Life, which prohibited Jews from selling goods or services anywhere, from engaging in crafts work, from serving as the managers of any firms, and from being members of cooperatives. In addition, the Nazis determined that the Jews should be liable for the damages caused during Kristallnacht. Ghettos Ghettos were areas in which Jews were rounded up and kept during World War 2. The ghettos were usually enclosed, and the Jews lived in terrible conditions. They were separated from the rest of the non-Jewish population. From USHMM, The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland and the
Inside the ghettos. ccwebsiteclass.net

Soviet Union alone (Holocaust History). Resistance Also from USHMM, Ghetto residents frequently engaged in so-called illegal activities, such as smuggling food, medicine, weapons or intelligence across the ghetto walls, often without the knowledge or approval of the Jewish councils
Two brothers that escaped from a concentration camp. collections.yadvashem.org

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(Holocaust History). This was necessary to keep the people living in the ghettos alive. Wannsee Conference The Final Solution The Wannsee Conference took place on January 20, 1942. 15 High ranking Nazis and German government met in Wannsee to discuss the Final Solution. The Final Solution was a systematic way of completely wiping out the European Jews, which was authorized by Hitler in 1941. Before the conference, most people already knew about the plan to mass murder Jews. From ushmm.org, during the course of the Final Solution, the Jews will be deployed under appropriate supervision at a suitable form of labor deployment in the East. In large labor columns, separated by gender, able-bodied Jews will be brought to those regions to build roads, whereby a large number will doubtlessly be lost through natural reduction. Any final remnant that survives will doubtless consist of the elements most capable of resistance. They must be dealt with appropriately,
At the Wannsee Conference. www.Ushmm.org

since, representing the fruit of natural selection, they are to be regarded as the core of a new Jewish revival (Holocaust History). Extermination Methods The Nazis goals were to carry out the Final Solution as effectively as possible. There were three main methods of extermination used at the camps. One method of annihilation was mass shootings. From holocausteducation, The Jews were captured or arrested, forced to dig their own graves or simply placed

Awaiting death in the concentration camp. Ushmm.org

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along large mass graves, and then shot so that they fell into the grave (Methods of Mass Murder). The second method was the use of gassing trucks. It happened as follows: the Jews were forced into a hermetically sealed truck, and then exhaust gas from the engine was led into the truck. The Jews were thus suffocated. They first started using gassing trucks to avoid Nazis being emotionally upset about shooting the victims. The third method was using gas chambers with Zyklon B, which was the most effective way. The gas chambers could hold many, and it was a more secretive way of murdering. The Death Camps There were six main death camps for exterminating Jews: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the camp where the largest amount of Jews were murdered. The use of Zyklon-B was first brought to this camp. Sobibor was only open for 21 months, and was only open to quickly exterminate Jews. As soon as they arrived, they were
Inside the camps. www.ushmm.org

murdered. In Treblinka, they started to cover their tracks by burning the bodies. Liberation From USHMM, As Allied troops moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Nazi Germany, they began to encounter tens of thousands of concentration camp prisoners. Many of these prisoners had survived forced marches into the interior of Germany from camps in occupied Poland. These prisoners were suffering from starvation and disease (Holocaust History). The Soviets had the first attempt to shut down a concentration camp. Because of the

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Soviets rapid advance, Nazis began hiding the evidence, burning the bodies, and devouring the camp after most of the prisoners had already been killed. The Soviets liberated Auchwitz, but the Nazis forced the prisoners to march, when then became known as death marches. There were large amounts of evidence left in Auchwitz. According to ushmm.org, They discovered, for example, hundreds of thousands of men's suits, more than 800,000 women's outfits, and more than 14,000 pounds of human hair.

Liberation. www.holocaust-lest-we-forget.com

One can now understand how the Nazis came to carry out a mass murder.

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Works Cited "Confronting Anti-Semitism." Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. "Holocaust History." Ghettos. Web. 21 Apr. 2012. "Holocaust History." Kristallnacht: A Nationwide Pogrom, November 9-10, 1938. Web. 20 Apr. 2012 "Holocaust History." Nazi Propaganda. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. "Holocaust History." Liberation of Nazi Camps. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. "Holocaust History." Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution" Web. 22 Apr. 2012. "Holocaust Timeline: The Rise of the Nazi Party." Florida Center for Instructional Technology. "Methods of Mass Murder." The Danish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. "The Holocaust." Anti-Semitism. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. "The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students." The Nuremberg Race Laws. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. "The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.

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"The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. "The Nuremberg Laws." Nuremberg Laws: 1935. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. PBS. PBS. Web. 21 Apr. 2012.