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Assess the view that the Holocaust was mainly a result of a long term plan by Hitler to eliminate the Jews.

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Introduction

Using these four passages and your own knowledge, assess the view that the Holocaust was mainly a result of a long term plan by Hitler to eliminate the Jews. Crucially, very few historians would now argue that the Holocaust itself; the carefully coordinated genocide of Europe's Jewish population, was a long term plan by Hitler. However, the very name, "Final Solution", clarifies the position of this policy as the culmination of a determined effort to achieve the fundamental racial objective which underpinned the Hitler's aspirations. The inherent centrality of anti-semitism to Hitler's ideology probably bears closest resemblance to a "long term plan", with the "clear and constant... eliminationist desire", as Passage C describes, the defining characteristic of the regime. Although Passage A, correctly stresses the significance of the war in intensifying the central importance of the Jewish Question, such urgency was undoubtedly a product first and foremost of the years of relentless anti-semitism which preceded, and the perpetuation of the sense of destiny explained by Hitler himself in "The Gemlich Letter" as early as Sept 1919, "It's final aim must unshakably be the removal of the Jews altogether". And, while Passage A attempts to portray subsequent radicalisation as an almost inevitable product of war by linking military success to logistical strain; Hitler was in fact instrumental more contemporaneously, with his oft-repeated "prophecy" making action critical in the light of the other alternative. ...read more.

Middle

After running for some time, the organized protest of Bishop von Galen encouraged Hitler to issue the stop order. Initially justified, by the personal plea from the father of a disabled child, the euthanasia programme was once more influenced by public opinion. However, this decision only prompted Hitler to try and remove the issue from the public consciousness by moving the killing centres further east and in many ways it was a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'. T4 cannot be seen directly as a dry-run for the Holocaust, but it clearly shows that Hitler was willing to orchestrate genocide to maintain the future of a stronger Germany through the Volksgemeinschaft. Importantly, the T4 programme in Germany was framed by intrusion of public voice, initially to justify and then to dissent; showing that the public character was not so unambiguous as Passage B suggests. Passage A argues that the Holocaust itself was not a" long term plan" with the example of Heydrich's proclamation of the Madagascar resettlement idea as "the territorial final solution". The policy was considered seriously in spite of the obvious logistical drawbacks, suggesting a desperate pursuit of any method which would guarantee the removal of Jews. ...read more.

Conclusion

But perhaps the length of this target was the crucial element to produce the psychological preparation required for circumstances of the war to escalate policy. The significance of the war is only realized through the response of the decision makers and it cannot be regarded as inevitable. The war presented a major logistical problem which went far beyond anything in proceeding years and called for more radical action. This urgency of the situation was enhanced by Hitler, who had long seen a European War against Jewish Bolshevism as the pivotal moment at which his ideology could be realized and his prophecy fulfilled. The seemingly spontaneous work of "men on the ground" cannot be separated from Hitler's will because it relied upon his charismatic presence and authorization. Although practicalities became the primary concern and Nazi policy was determined by the success of the initial Einsatzgruppen killing operation, the sense of relief brought by a "mercilessly consistent" final solution was only produced by years of struggle for achievement of the shared ideological objective. Whether or not Hitler ever meant for genocide when he talked of "elimination", will probably never be known, but the collision of a "coherent" long term target, and the intense pressure of war enforced radicalisation as a "solution" became desperate. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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