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The holocaust was one of the most profound events of World War II, and there is no denying that it occurred

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Introduction

THE INTENTIONALISTS The holocaust was one of the most profound events of World War II, and there is no denying that it occurred. Germany attacked Poland in September 1939. By mid- 1941, it controlled Eastern Europe and by late 1941, was within reach of Moscow, following the invasion of Russia in June. By the end of the war up to 6 million Jews had been murdered in the gas chambers. Nazi actions against the Jews began immediately after the invasion of Poland and continued up to April 1945, even when defeat was obvious. However, there are differing interpretations of the Holocaust. The intentionalists and the Structuralists or Functionalists interpretations of the Holocaust form two very different histories. The intentionalists have argued that it was Hitler's intentions from the beginning to exterminate the Jews and that the war with Russia was a pretext for that. They point to his writings, his speeches, the increasing pressure brought to bear upon the Jews in 1930's. They also argue that even when Germany itself was geared to 'total war', no attempts were spared in killing the Jews, even when such efforts were hurting the German war endeavour. The Functionalists argue that the extermination of the Jews was the result of the increasing radicalisation of the regime during the war and the failure of Germany to achieve quick victory over Russia. ...read more.

Middle

They argued that "The Final Solution was intended and everything Hitler said about the Jews, he meant." They see Hitler's ideology and will power as crucial to any explanation of why the war developed. The Intentionalists view of the Holocaust centres on Hitler's own strong anti-Semitism and his long-standing desire to exterminate the Jews. This interpretation proposes a clear and logical path from Hitler's original anti-Semitic views for preparing the physical extermination of Jews during the Second World War. One of the most well-known supporters of this view is Lucy Dawidowicz. In her book, The War against the Jews (1975), she argues that "...the plans for destroying the Jews were always part of Hitler's thinking". There had never been any ideological deviation or wavering determination. In the end, only F�her set the stage for mass murder in September 1939, with the attack on Poland. "War and the annihilation of the Jews were interdependent." Therefore, the war was a deliberate scheme to cover-up the solution to the 'Jewish question.' Alan Bullock is an Intentionalist historian. He supposes that "In the Europe of the 1930's there were several leaders who would have liked to follow such a policy, but lacked the toughness of will and the means to carry it through. Hitler alone possessed the will and had provided himself with the means. ...read more.

Conclusion

Soon Jews from all Nazi-occupied Europe were rounded up and sent to these camps, where it is estimated that as many as 3.5million died. Historians of the Intentionalist School, including J�ckel and Hillgruber, argue that "Hitler made the decisions to set up the camps in the summer of 1941 in the expectation of an imminent Russian collapse". Nazi's tried to keep the Holocaust a secret, however, Nazi's said that Hitler knew about the Holocaust, some even said he authorised them and that it is most probable that he ordered it. The Intentionalist perspective is that Hitler alone is to blame for the Holocaust. The Structuralist interpretation for the responsibility of the Holocaust is that, everyone is responsible and the structure of society, the world and human nature itself lead to the Holocaust. Hitler was anti-Semitic; however whether he really intended to kill the Jews isn't clear. One reason is because; there is a problem of language translation. Hitler referred to the 'removal' and 'eradication' of Jews and their influence, which could mean resettling them elsewhere, weakening their position or mass killing. No document signed by Hitler ordering the Jews to be killed has been found. Although, many of his instructions were purely oral and other documents verify he was involved in discussion. The two historical schools of thought that have emerged around the question of the origins of "The Final Solution", is very difficult to sort out and have made the Holocaust so incomprehensible for a half-century now and will probably remain unsolved forever. ...read more.

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