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Why and how did antisemitism play such an important part in Nazi ideology?

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Introduction

Why and how did antisemitism play such an important part in Nazi ideology? Introduction Ideological thinking is at least as old as the Ancient Greeks, and beyond the idea of a political doctrine. Ideology is a system of beliefs that portrays and validates a prefered political order for society, and offers an approach. The Nazis (National Socialist German Worker's Party), for example, stressed the superiority of the Aryan race. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the issue of why and how did antisemitism play such an important part in Nazi ideology. Brief introduction to Nazism The Nazi party is the most recognised example of Fascism - an extreme form of right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community surpassing all other loyalties. Fascism first arose in the early part of the twentieth-century in Europe. It was a response to the rapid social upheaval, the devastation of World War I, and the Bolshevik Revolution. Fascism emphasised a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline and destruction. Thus, Fascism called for a 'spiritual revolution' against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialsm, and seeked to purge 'alien' forces and groups that threatened the organic community. ...read more.

Middle

These included the collapse of the Hohenzollern monarchy, the defeat in the First World War and the Munich and Berlin Revolutions in 1918 and 1919, which created a counter revolutionary mood and prejudice against the Jews and Slavs in the Weimar republic. The fact that many leaders of the suppressed revolutions were Jews like Ernst Toller, Kurt Eisner, Eugen Levine, Gustav Landauer, Rosa Luxembourg and many more, was certaintly a crucial factor in intensifying German antisemitism. It offered Hitler and the German radical right a justification to declare a Jewish world conspiracy. Both Capitalism and Marxism were portrayed as part of the same international conspiracy to oblige Germany to the will of the revengeful Allied victors, which were responsible for inflicting massive war reparations on Germany. (Speech of July 28th 1922; Norman H. Bates, 'The Speeches of Adolf Hitler', vol.1 p.29; 'The Stock Exchange Revolution of 1918', ibid., pp.42). The Jews metaphorically represented these foreign powers, and supposedly controlled big capital, international finance, the bourgeois parties, parliamentary democracy and all those 'sinister' forces that could undermine the authority of the state and national dependence. For Hitler and the Nazis, in contrast to the traditional teachings of Christianity, no spiritual redemption of the Jews was possible. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nazi antisemitism achieved its success in the complete depersonalization of the Jews, and their gradual dehumanization as a result of endless propaganda and their transformation in the eye of ordinary Germans first into social outcasts and then into total outsiders. Mass murder was rationalized as an act of apocalyptic 'idealism', and was characteristic of the SS. Conclusion As an ideology, Nazism is difficult to characterise because of its complexity and its basic lack of logical content. It builds on artificially created enemy figures. It is an ideology that encourages more criticism than suggestions for improvement; it is an anti-Semitic ideology where the Jews are the subjects for all kinds of problems; it is a racist ideology that builds on the idea of a superior Aryan race; and finally, it is a nationalistic ideology that puts the nation before the individual. Large parts of the German population were more dedicated to Hitler as a charismatic person than to the content of Nazi ideology. Political antisemitism did not lead directly and inevitably to Nazism, and the Nazi take over of Germany was not mainly a result of antisemitism. Nazism came to power as a form of German nationalism, aided by the prevailing circumstances of defeat and crisis. Yet antisemitism helped Nazis to gain power and win the hearts of the German masses. ...read more.

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