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Nazi Germany: Why did Kristallnacht take place

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Introduction

Nazi Germany: Why did Kristallnacht take place? (a) Study sources A and B. Which of these two sources would a historian studying Kristallnacht find the more useful? (7) Source A is a summary by an historian of Fritz Hesse's account of the evening of 9th November. The source is about the dinner which the party leaders attended where Hesse recollected some important events between Goebbels and Hitler. In the source it describes that Hesse could hear Goebbels explaining to Hitler that he and the SA were planning a mass attack against Jewish shops and synagogues in a few hours time. Hesse also recalled Hitler's delight of the subject; 'Hitler squealed with delight and slapped his thigh with enthusiasm.' Hesse wrote his account in 1954, and this is a summary produced of this, obviously at a later date. Hesse recollected this account, roughly sixteen years after the evening. This could have affected Hesse's account in two ways. Sixteen years is a long time and he may have forgotten or misjudged some events that took place on the evening. Also within those sixteen years his views of the events may have changed which may have led him to invent his own details. Also, a significant point to make in regard to what the historian has done is that it is a 'summary' of Hesse's account and some important information may have been excluded from the source or details could have been lost or altered. Though, this is relatively unlikely, as it is an historian who produced this summary and what reason would an historian have, if any, of changing the reasoning behind an account. Therefore what we have to question is the reliability of Hesse's original account. Hesse's account relies heavily on his recollection of conversations and actions some matters. Hesse was a journalist who worked for the Nazis and those who would assume that he would take the side of the Nazis and tell everyone that it was a spontaneous uprising of the German ...read more.

Middle

The source is completely challenging the morality of what the Nazis claimed In conclusion to the source, David mocks the movement of male German Jews to concentration camps and totally disagrees with the acts by the Nazis towards the Jews; 'The slightest sign of sympathy for the Jews from the public caused fury among the Nazis.' The source is utterly demoralizes the Nazis by saying that these acts were completely shameful and 'hideous.' It says from the start that the shattering of these shop windows was there revenge for a murder of a German official by a Jew. Therefore they burnt synagogues and destroyed shops. 'Is the murder committed by one Jewish person worth the retaliation of destroying Jewish homes, synagogues and businesses all over Germany?' Doesn't this rhetorical question sum up what the source is saying? I think so. (c) Study sources C, D and E. Do sources D and E make it more likely, that the account given in Source C is accurate? Source D is a description of events in the weeks before Kristallnacht, written in November, 1938, by a German Jew. This Jew explains in the source that acts of terror against Jews were already being committed even before Kristallnacht. 'Notices reading 'Jews not wanted' appeared in various shops and cinemas.' This Jew also says how there had been signs of unrest amongst the masses. I assume he is regarding the masses as the public, though according to source C, SS men and Stormtroopers were carrying out violence and they were not in uniform. Source C and D agree that every attempt was being made to obliterate the German Jews, even before the events of Kristallnacht so that makes both of them more reliable. Source D is a note sent on 12 November, 1938, to the British Consul in Cologne, Germany. It was signed 'Civil Servant.' In the source it again states that most of the German people have nothing to do with the plunderings of the Jewish shops and such. ...read more.

Conclusion

Two sources that disagree that the German people caused this rioting are sources E and F. Source E is a note sent on 12 November, 1938, to the British Consul in Cologne, Germany. It was signed, 'A Civil servant.' The source explains that most of the German people have nothing to do with these riots and burnings. It explains how the police supplied the SA men with the tools and the list of the names and addresses was given. This source was supposedly written by a civil servant, someone working for the German government. The source explains that the German people were not the ones to be blamed. There is a good chance it is a civil servant and if it was it would be quite a useful source. Another source that agrees to the point that the German people were not to blame is source F. Source F is a Cartoon about Kristallnacht, published in a Russian newspaper on 10 November, 1938. It shows Tsar Nicolas II speaking down to a German Nazi, I assume from heaven. Tsar Nicholas II had encouraged attacks against the Jews during his reign (1894-1917). He and his family were murdered by communists in 1918. It shows the Nazi looking up to Nicholas with a dagger dripping with blood and loads of other weapons around him. He has obviously committed something horrible to someone Jewish and Tsar Nicholas is saying to him, 'Attacking the Jews did not do me any good my Fascist friend.' The source is blaming the Nazis for causing the events and this if from an outside source. It is an opinion made by the Russian newspaper but seems quite a good one seeing that a former Russian Tsar did encourage attacks on Jews. This source lacks any facts and so is quite useless. Though I believe sources E and F, which agree the German people were not to blame, provide more usefulness than sources B and I and therefore I conclude the sources dimly support the claim that 'Kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people.' Richard O'Driscoll History Coursework ...read more.

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