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Wartime policies towards the Jews 1939-1945.

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Introduction

Wartime policies towards the Jews 1939-19945 This is a key background assignment to support your coursework. You are asked to trace the polices which the nazis adopted to deal with the Jewish populations in the occupied territories. On 1st September 1939 a Wehrmacht force of 1.25 million men swept into Poland in the wake of heavy aerial bombardments. After two weeks the Polish capital Warsaw was captured, On 17th September the Soviet Union invaded the eastern part of the country whereupon Germany and the USSR agreed to divide Poland. On 28th September Poland surrendered. The aim of the German occupation policy was to change Poland to a German living space (Lebensraum) and, in the process, to effectively destroy the Polish nation. The Polish Jews had no chance to escape. As early as September 1939 Reinhard Heydrich had given orders to concentrate the Jews in larger towns located near railway lines. In November 1939 Hans Frank gave the order to establish a Judenrat in each municipality. The Judenrat became the link between the Jewish population and the Nazis, the Jews were ordered to declare their valuables and their houses - factories and shops were confiscated. From the smallest Shtetl to the biggest town, normal public Jewish life ceased. By early 1941 about 200 forced labour camps for Jews had been established. The death toll in these camps was extremely high because of the inhuman conditions existing there. The Nazis tried to concentrate all Jews in Ghettos. ...read more.

Middle

However, the onset of war led Heinrich Himmler, who was in charge of RSHA, to end the Jewish emigration. This provoked Adolf Hitler to commission the evacuation of Jews, which could include deportations, ghettoisations and mass killing actions that brought about the formation of extermination camps. Heydrich believed that the evacuation was the first step of the "Final Solution". After comprising a list of the breakdown of Jews in each European country, over 11 million Jews in total, it became apparent to all that Himmler and Heydrich intended on obtaining control of the Jews who were within the grasp of German power. Unlike Heindrich's initial plan, his final version of the Final Solution encompassed all Jews in Europe. All captured Jews were shipped to the East to labour camps. Europe would be checked for Jews from the west to the east, with Germany proper and Bohemia-Moravia being evacuated first, due to housing problems and for general social-political dilemmas, and being sent to transit ghettos. Wannsee was efficient because it allowed the SS officials to finalize more of their plans emigration of Jews. Adequate transportation came in the form of rail lines and railcars. Concentration camps required more employers. The actual murder process needed greater precision and more resources. Thus, Himmler and Heydrich found that it would have been impossible to run a program dedicated to the genocide of a mass of people without the cooperation of their government officials. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is no basis for the claim that such plans were simply designed to conceal the regimes genocidal intention. However given Hitler's hatred of Jews the potential for a war of racial destruction was always there. Operation Barbarossa provided Hitler with both the opportunity and justification to solve the Jewish problem once and for all. Given the apocalyptic nature of the struggle, it made sense by Hitler's standards to exterminate Russian Jews and then to go a stage further and order the killing of all European Jews. While Hitler probably did not always harbour the intention of literally exterminating the Jews, extermination was always a possibility, especially in the event of war. And Hitler wanted war. It was the "father of all things" - the "unalterable law of the whole of life - the prerequisite for the natural selection of the strong and the precedent for the elimination of the weak" he probably did not want the war he got in 1939 but he certainly got the war he wanted in 1941. Operation Barbarossa was the key to the Holocaust; the war against the USSR gave him the opportunity of winning lebensraum and at the same time of destroying Jedeo-Bolshevism. From June 1941 onwards his ideology motivated anti-Semitism could be declared a military necessity. Biography Http://www.google.co.uk search criteria: concentration of the Jews in Europe http://www.holocaust-history.org/ http://www.catholicinsight.com/other/chrijud/polandjews.html Alan Farmer: Access to history - Anti-Semitism and the holocaust Geoff Layton: Access to history - Germany: the third Reich 1933-45 Pat Levy - The holocaust: survival and resistance ...read more.

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