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With whom does the responsibility of the holocaust ultimately lie?

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Introduction

With whom does the responsibility of the holocaust ultimately lie? Question 3 The Holocaust was the end result of a long chain of events that lead all the way back to 1919 when Hitler became part of the Nazis. But to find out who was really responsible for the Holocaust, we shall need to go way back, back to 1918. In 1918, there was a small group of right-wing extremists formed a Nationalist party, which appealed to the working classes led by Anton Drexler. In 1919, Adolf Hitler joined as a member of the National Socialist Germany Workers Party ('Nazi' for short). In 1920 the Nazis put out a 25 point statement of their beliefs. This programme was the work of Hitler. Its main ideas were nationalism, anti-Semitism and anti-capitalism. The Nazi programme called for the creation of a 'Greater Germany' in which all German-speaking peoples were united. It also called for the destruction of the Treaty of Versailles. There was nothing unique in these nationalistic ideas. They were shared by other German right-wing extremists. Anti-Semitism was widespread in the right-wing circles in Germany and Austria in the early 20th century. Hitler seems to have become infected with the idea in Vienna before 1914. By the early 1920s he was making speeches which contained frenzied attacks on Germany's Jews. ...read more.

Middle

At the Wannsee conference in January 1942 it was Heydrich who formalised the administrative arrangements of the Holocaust. The SS was a perfect instrument for genocide. Its members were fanatical Nazis and had a grossly distorted sense of duty. Few doubt that Himmler, Heydrich and the SS played a vital role in the Final Solution. However, Himmler and Heydrich were not the only leading Nazis involved in anti-Jewish initiatives. Nor were the SS the only killers. It was a combination of everyone in Germany who caused the holocaust. After 1937 relations between Hitler and his generals turned sour. The generals were unenthusiastic when Hitler told them of his plans for a war of conquest in Europe. Hitler decided that they were spineless.. During the war he took little notice of the expert advice of the Generals and was quick to sack them if they failed. It was once claimed that the German armed forces were untainted by Hitler's racism and not responsible for the Holocaust. After 1938 Hitler treated the Generals with a certain amount of contempt. In 1934 he had promised them that no military force other than the army would be permitted in Germany: he broke his promise when he allowed the Waffen SS to be set up .After 1945 many of Germany's top officers claimed they were unaware of what was happening to the Jews. ...read more.

Conclusion

would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people'. Arendt charged Jewish leaders with helping the process of destruction by complying with Nazi orders to supply names and groups of Jews for transportation to the death camps. Many scholars have rejected this thesis. Isaiah Trunk, for example, focused attention on the dilemma confronting Jewish leaders in the Polish ghettos. His Conclusion was that they were in an impossible position. Having little option but to obey Nazi commands, they did their best to protect their communities. So, in conclusion we can see that there were many areas were people have helped along the Holocaust, and some who tried to stop it. It is a difficult question to answer, as responsibility lies in many areas. If you are talking about the killing in the concentration camps, then it would be the Nazis because they used the British idea and worked on it, then systematically moved allot of European Jews from their homes to the camps. If you are talking about the entire anti-Semitic campaign, then responsibility lies in many areas, the Nazis, even Jews themselves. So, in conclusion, I think that overall everyone in Germany at that time had a part to play in the way things went. VINCENT TURNER ...read more.

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