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Nazi Germany - Why did Kristallnacht take place? Source based work.

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Introduction

Nazi Germany-Why did Kristallnacht take place? Nazi Germany-Why did Kristallnacht take place? a) Study sources A and B. Which of these two sources would an historian studying Kristallnacht find the more useful? A historian studying Kristallnacht would find both the sources useful. This is because they offer two different explanations of the nights events, so either one could be useful depending on which argument a historian was trying to put forward. Source A shows that Goebbels planned Kristallnacht to try and impress Hitler and try and win back his support. Source A is a 'summary' of events and therefore could have been be less accurate on Kristallnacht, it was written in 1954 16 years after the events and so could be less accurate because the events are being recalled from memory. Fritz Hesse was present at the time of Kristallnacht in his role as Nazi party journalist and his motives in recalling the episode may be less than honourable. The view given is Source A contradicts what the Nazis said at the time but the recollection of events by Hesse seem plausible and so give a vital link between the Nazi party and Kristallnacht. Source B recalls the events as a spontaneous uprising by the German people and suggests that Hitler's involvement was minimal. The source is from a secret report prepared by the Nazi Supreme Court. Therefore it could gives the true Nazi point of view due to the fact that it is not meant to be read by any one outside of the party or it could have been designed by Hitler to protect Goebbels from other Nazi party members who were displeased by the events of Kristallnacht. ...read more.

Middle

The storm clouds in the sky show the discontent of the German people. The similarities between the two sources is the use of violence by the Nazis and that the events of Kristallnacht are their doings and that it is the Nazis who are to blame for events not the German people. The differences of these two sources are that source F is Russian and source G is English. This is important as these are two very different cultures and different cultures do not always interpret the same things correctly. Also, source F shows the Nazi's looting of the Jews possessions and source G is trying to get the point across that the German public are defenceless. This is clear because in source G, the German citizen who is tied up and gagged is the focus of the cartoon and the Nazi officer and dead Jew are in the background. Both of the two sources are fairly similar because they are both trying to get the point across that the Nazis are responsible for Kristallnacht and this is the focus of agreement for both sources. e.) Study sources H and I. How far does source I prove that Goering was telling the truth in source H? Source I proves that Goering was telling the truth in source H to a certain extent. Source H blames Goebbels for Kristallnacht "it was not acceptable to me that he should upset my difficult economic tasks by destroying so much Jewish property of economic value and by causing so many disturbances in economic life". This suggests Goering's anger at Goebbels was not for persecuting the Jews but of damaging so many Jewish items of economic worth for the Nazis. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source I tells us that Hitler disapproved with Kristallnacht, and that he was definitely not pleased with the person who organised it. Hitler never wanted it to happen. This source is fairly reliable because there is nothing to suggest that it is lies. However, a factor of unreliability is that it is reported over 30 years later by Frau Troost in an interview. This suggests that she may have had a lapsed memory. I have learned that Frau Troost was a close friend of Hitler's and in theory, as a close friend, she would deny anything with Hitler being involved in Kristallnacht to try and defend him. I believe that this source indicates that neither the German people nor the Nazi party was involved with Kristallnacht. In conclusion, I think that Kristallnacht was not a 'spontaneous event by the German people'. This is because only three out of the nine sources supports this claim. There is far more evidence in the sources that Goebbels organised Kristallnacht with the SS and the SA in order to impress Hitler who he was out of favour with. However, Source A, Source G and Source I clearly show that Hitler did not approve of it "he agreed that such events must not be allowed to take place". I have also learnt that Hitler didn't discourage Kristallnacht once it had taken place "Hitler squealed with delight and slapped his leg with enthusiasm", and in Source B "such demonstrations were not to be organised by the party, but neither were they discouraged". Therefore, I think that the statement 'Kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people' is untrue and the vast majority of the sources do not support this claim. ...read more.

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