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Kristallnacht - source related study

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Introduction

Kristallnacht Question F Source A is a summary by a historian of Fritz Hesse's account of a dinner on the evening of 9 November. This is a secondary source as it is a summary of someone else's account. Hesse was a journalist working for the Nazi's so source A is likely to be biased. In this source Fritz claims he hears Goebells telling Hitler about "mass attack" of Jewish businesses and synagogues. Goebells is telling Hitler about kristallnacht just a few hours before it actually happened. The content of the source suggests that Goebells planned kristallnacht, probably to get back in Hitler's favour. The source says that this news of a mass attack on the Jews went down very well with Hitler who was delighted and "slapped his thigh with enthusiasm". So, source A clearly says that kristallnacht was not a spontaneous event by the German people, and it was in fact the Nazi's who organized kristallnacht. However, whether this source can be trusted or not is another matter. The source was written in a "blame Hitler" period in the 1950's so this could have been exaggerated to make him sound bad. Source B is a secret report prepared by the Nazi Party Supreme Court after the events of Kristallnacht. This makes source B a primary source but it is likely to be biased because it is written by the Nazi's. ...read more.

Middle

This source agrees with the statement that kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people because this source shows how the people were forcing the Jews away because they didn't like them: "Acts of terror forced Jews to sell their belongings and go away." This source therefore says that the German people were becoming restless with the Jews a few weeks before kristallnacht, so this source says that it was probably the German people who spontaneously carried out the attacks of kristallnacht. Source E was a note signed by "A Civil Servant". It was sent on 12th of November 1938, which means the source is primary. The person has remained anonymous which means they wanted to remain unknown probably so that they are under no threat of a Nazi action for revealing evidence like this. The note is clearly inside information that was intended to be kept a secret. We have no reason to believe that the source is biased because the person has remained anonymous. This source clearly states that the ordinary German people had nothing to do with it, or most of them anyway: "Most German people had nothing to do with these riots and burnings." This source claims that it was the Nazi's who carried out the riots and attacks of kristallnacht: "The police supplied the SA men with axes, house breaking tools and ladders" This shows that it definitely was not spontaneous at all, because these people ...read more.

Conclusion

The content of this source suggests that it was the Nazi's who carried out the attacks on kristallnacht. (talking about Goebells) "It was not acceptable to me that he should upset my difficult economic task s by destroying so much Jewish property of economic value and by causing so much disturbance in economic life" This shows that it was Goebells (a Nazi) who was responsible for planning Kristallnacht. Source I is an account of a conversation between Hitler and Frau Troost. It was recorded by a historian interviewing her in 1971; 33 years after the conversation took place. It is a primary source, but is quoted in a historian's secondary source. Frau Troost was the husband of one of Hitler's favourite architects. The content of this source agrees that kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people and that the Nazi' did not plan it because Hitler is saying how bad it was for his campaign. He also says "the people responsible" which means it was by the German people and not his Nazi's because he would say it was his Nazi's if they had done it. So in conclusion only sources B, D and I support the statement that 'kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people' which means that the majority of sources disagree and say It was the Nazi's who were responsible for kristallnacht. Also, from my evidence I can see that most German people were law abiding citizens and would not be involved in these horrific attacks. ...read more.

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