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What Was The Nature & Purpose of the Holocaust?

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History Coursework - The Holocaust What was the nature and purpose of the Holocaust? To fully understand the nature and purpose of the Holocaust, we must first understand what the word itself means. Holocaust means complete destruction, usually by fire, but has come to be used almost exclusively in reference to the genocide of European Jews by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945. The term Holocaust came into use because of the obvious destruction involved and when disposing of the bodies from concentration camps they were burned which relates back to the original meaning of the word holocaust. The Holocaust climaxed between 1941 and the end of World War Two when the Final Solution to the Jewish problem was put into practice and ended with over six million men, women and children dead. The murders had been widespread and Jews had died in most European countries from Denmark to Yugoslavia, but the country which accumulated the greatest death toll by far was Poland with over four and a half million dying there. This was largely due to the main concentration camps being situated in this country. One might ask why? What was the reason for such a brutal extermination on such an overwhelming scale? ...read more.


Hitler blamed the defeat in WW1 on the Jews diluting the Aryan race and weakening the fighting spirit. He claimed that they were a parasite, behind Germany's economic problems and a communist plot. When Hitler came to power he proceeded to institutionalize anti-semitism from 1933. In March there was much apparently sporadic and unplanned violence against Jews erupting around Germany, generally organized by SA members. Jews were forced to wear a star of David at all times, so as other German people could recognize them immediately. On 1 April, Jewish shops and businesses were boycotted by all citizens as ordered by Hitler. In the following weeks and months the Jews were driven out of every other profession including civil service, journalism, law and teaching. On the 10th May books by Jewish authors were burned in Berlin during sessions organized by Nazis. In September 1935 the Nuremburg laws were passed which meant that Jews were no longer considered German citizens and made marriage and sexual relations between Jews and Germans illegal. This was to reinforce the message that Jews were inferior and to preserve the purity of the Aryan race. The Nuremburg laws were very significant as they institutionalized anti-semitism and drove nearly half a million Jews from Germany. ...read more.


However, many of the killers were becoming psychologically ravaged by having to shoot so many people and ammunition was expensive. So, the Wannsee conference was called. Hitler, Heydrich and Himmler sat down to discuss how to kill more Jews for less money and then dispose of the remains. There it was decided that gas chambers and crematoriums would be the most efficient method. Many still died from natural causes. The journey to the concentration camp and the living conditions inside the ghetto still remained sub human. Many would die en route to one of the camps (Auswitchz, Treblinka) because of the overcrowded conditions and weather extremes along with food and water shortages. In conclusion, the Holocaust was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany. Whether or not this was pre-meditated or simply a reaction to a chain of events following the outbreak of WWII is debatable, but regardless of this, the Nazis still committed genocide on a massive scale. Anti-Semitism had existed long before the Holocaust in many different parts of the world, but the Nazis took it to a new level. Hitler institutionalized racism in order to get rid of the Jews, and that is what led to such an immense massacre and set the Nazis apart. Caoimhe McWilliams Question 1 1 ...read more.

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