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When and why did Hitler become an anti-Semite?

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When and why did Hitler become an anti-Semite? Hitler's treatment of the Jews is well known throughout the world. The strong anti-Semitism in the Nazi party is almost unbelievable, the key to their actions is in their leader and the question has to be asked. When and why did Hitler become an anti-Semite? The status of Jews in Germanic society was a low one before Hitler was even born. In the popular literature at the time, in the Germanic operas and fairytales are countless examples of the Prussian and Austrian resentment towards the Jews, Slavs and Czechs. The Jews were stereotyped as being rapacious and unprincipled (George L Mosse, Jews and Germans (New York, 1970). One needs look no further than Freytag's Soll und Haben (1855) where the books two German heroes had evil murderous counterparts who were Jews. Also Dahn's enormously successful Ein Kampf um Rom (1867) features the Jew Jochem whose `face bears all the calculated cunning of his race'. With such literature in circulation there was a background anti-Semitism throughout the Prussian empire. The stock market crash of 1873 applified the feelings of the people as the `jewish conspiracy' started to appear in german politics. This theory came about due to the strong link between jews and finance that was apparent in most European cultures dating back to medieval times. ...read more.


He didn't tell anyone this and remained in Vienna, not Kubizek his best friend and roommate. Not even his own mother, who was supporting his laid back lifestyle. Hitler lived a luxiourious lifestyle. During the day he would read the classics, and in the evening he would take in an opera, he especially enjoyed Wagner. No doubt some of these operas and books were slightly anti-semitic, but more importantly, it was at this point in his life that he first picked up some anti-semitic pamphlets which were circulated around the city (Kubizek, My Friend Adolf Hitler (1953)). However this isn't that radical as the Viennese governement had anti-Semitic for at least 10 years and the mayor of Vienna had been quoted saying, `all jews should be hung.'. Hitler saw the jews as an undesirable that didn't belong in germany or Austria, upon seeing a first seeing a jew in traditional dress in Vienna he thought `Is this a German?' (Mein Kampf), it seems that he just doesn't like them because they don't belong, not that he wants all of them killed as he does later on. However Klara, Hitlers mother died in 1907, leaving him with only his orphan grant to live off, this soon ran out. ...read more.


Although he hardly speaks to his comrades he still passes up promotion to stay with the regiment towards the end of the war. When he was caught in a mustard gas attack towards the end of the war he was sent to an army hospital in munich, and it was there that he heard that germany had been defeated and that the socialist politicians had sigend a treaty with the allies. This is the moment when his anti-semitism became fullfledged. His anger at this is indescribable, while he is lying helpless and blinded in hospital the whole cause that he had fought for over the last 4 years has been betrayed by the jewish politicians, `And so it had all been in vain... Did all this happen only so that a gang of wretched criminals could lay hands on the fatherland? ... In these nights a Hatred grew in me, hatred for all those responsible for this deed.' (Mein Kampf). This is a key moment in Hitler's understanding. He has experienced both sides of the coin, the capitalist jews and the socialist jews. I think this is what makes him so radically anti-semitic. When he comes out of hospital he still has to fight eventhough the war is over, only now against his fellow germans in munich as there was a socialist rising and period of socialist rule known as the Raterepublik. ...read more.

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