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Describe the events that led up to the genocide of the Jewish race in Germany, what is now known as the Holocaust.

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In this essay I am going to describe the events that led up to the genocide of the Jewish race in Germany, what is now known as the Holocaust, by focusing on a critical turning point in the Nazi regime that led to the development of the "final solution". This event is called Kristallnacht, a German word meaning "Night of the Broken Glass ". On the nights of November 9 and 10, 1938, five years after Hitler had come to power in Germany, the citizens of his country rampaged through the streets of Germany, and the newly acquired territories of Austria and the Sudetenland. They destroyed Jewish homes, workplaces and synagogues, not to mention attacking and killing Jews freely on the streets. Kristallnacht however, was named so because of the sheer amount of glass found on the streets as a result of windows of Jewish shops being smashed by the newly enraged anti-Semitic public of Germany. ...read more.


In September 1935, two years after the Nazis came to power, Hitler implemented the Nuremburg Race Laws. There were three such laws - the first, "The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour" prohibited marriages and extra-marital intercourse between Jews and "Aryans" and also the employment of German females under forty-five in Jewish households. The second law, "The Reich Citizenship Law" did not allow Jews to have German citizenship, making a distinction between "nationals"(Jews) and "Reich citizens"(Hitler's "Aryans"). The third law, known as the "Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health: The Attempt To Improve the German Aryan Breed", merely stated that anyone suffering from a hereditary (or supposedly hereditary) disease or illness could be sterilised by the state to prevent it spreading down to children. These laws started a direct policy of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. ...read more.


Goebbels and others began to promote violence against Jews more and more, and with the invasion of the USSR in 1942, Hitler realised that there had to be another way. Germany had to devote more time to fighting the newly started Second World War than disposing of harmless Jews. So, ultimately in 1942, Hitler organised the Wannsee Conference to decide upon the "final solution". This basically said that the time had come for industrial extermination of the Jewish race. Concentration camps changed to Death camps, and genocide in Germany had begun. I believe that Kristallnacht was the most important development in the change of Nazi policies towards Jews because it showed the Nazis that the German public had finally truly acclimatised to an extremist anti-Semitic state. This led to the Nazis being able to justify Death camps and, in a word, the holocaust, to them. Nick Artsrunik ...read more.

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