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"Hitler's willing executioners?" How far is this an accurate reflection of the German attitudes towards the Jews and the Final Solution?

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Introduction

"Hitler's willing executioners?" How far is this an accurate reflection of the German attitudes towards the Jews and the Final Solution? There are those that claim that Hitler's conscious personal hatred of the Jews, his unique and central role in the rise of Nazi Germany were fundamental in the development of the anti-Jewish policies that emerged leading to the final solution. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that the anti- Jewish feeling in Germany reflected a much stronger, widespread support amongst its people and this essay will examine the role and attitudes of the German people towards the Final Solution. On the 1st of April, 1933, the boycott of Jewish businesses reflected evidence of widespread anti Jewish feelings amongst the lower bureaucracy of the SA. Prior to that there was very little evidence of a grand plan against the Jews, Hitler had only talked about legal discrimination and deprivation of human rights for the Jewish people. Yet Hitler claimed that he directly called for the shop boycott, which he felt would serve to strengthen anti-Semitic feelings although evidence suggests this might have failed. Many ordinary Germans were either apathetic or even sympathetic to the plights of the Jews and the international response predictably condemned this action. ...read more.

Middle

the expulsion of 17,000 polish Jews living in Germany led to the explosion of violence, during what became known as Kristallnacht, over the 9th and 10th of November, with the SA - SD - Gestapo smashing and burning synagogues and businesses resulting in the immediate arrest of 30,000 Jews, an action most believed was led by Goebbels. Evidence from the David Buffum, the American Counsel in Leipzig reported that many German felts benumbed, repulsed and "an precedented fury" against the Nazis for the events they had witnessed on the 10th of November. Those that voiced any concerns faced arrest and immediate imprisonment in the many concentration camps. A young 17 year old boy, Hermann Bremser, recorded in his diary that "History will remember this day as one of barbaric behaviour by the German population." Whilst many thought Kristallnacht to be another propaganda failure, the Nazi anti Jewish polices had steadily hardened and whilst there is plenty of evidence of the revulsion felt by the German people, it might be fair to assume that they were also becoming increasingly conditioned to the violence, perhaps fearing for themselves to the extent that little was done to prevent the slide towards the 'Final Solution.' ...read more.

Conclusion

He examined not only what they did but more importantly what they didn't do. Others like Kimel, a holocaust survivor differs in this view but acknowledges that anti-Semitism played a key role. But Kimel blames the simultaneous development t of Hitler, the Nazi state, the impact and effect of WW2 and the SS as other key factors. The Nazi racial policy would not have developed in the way it did without the intervention and support of Adolf Hitler. I believe it to be impossible to generalise the attitudes of Germans towards anti-Semitism. But there is strong evidence to show that the early stages of anti Jewish policy were forced by the lower party elements of the SA and then by the SD, Gestapo and SS. Many German people would have been horrified by the anti-Semitic violence and the racial policies leading towards the Final Solution. Many would have feared for their lives and there is evidence to show that many did indeed suffer for voicing their concerns. But there is also evidence of a strong anti Jewish sentiment in Germany, a feeling that was sufficiently strong enough to be exploited by the SA thugs and those that later followed, that allowed the policies of racial exclusion to develop to the point of genocide. Perhaps the German people were conditioned to accept the point of anti-Semitism? Either way, the blame cannot be borne by Hitler alone. Tom Sanderson ...read more.

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