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Why Did Kristallnacht Take Place? (a) A historian studying Kristallnacht would probably find both sources useful, though in different ways

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Introduction

Why Did Kristallnacht Take Place? (a) A historian studying Kristallnacht would probably find both sources useful, though in different ways. Source A describes that because Goebbels was 'out of favour with Hitler' at this point in 1954, launching the attack on Synagogues and Jewish shops would 'win back Hitler's support'. Source B is an extract from a secret report prepared by the Nazi Party Supreme Court after the events of Kristallnacht. This source talks about how the uprising had been initiated by the public where Jewish shops and synagogues had been demolished. The source explains how Goebbels told the party on the evening of 9th November that there had been 'anti-Jewish' demonstrations. 'Fritz Hesse' who was a journalist that worked for the Nazis wrote source A. Hesse infers that Goebbels planned Kristallnacht, and the SA executed the events of Kristallnacht on his orders, so it was not a spontaneous attack. Whilst Hitler was not part of the actual plan, he was nevertheless delighted by the events. Hesse wrote his account in 1954, and this is a summary produced of this, obviously at a later date by an historian. Hesse recollected this account, roughly sixteen years after the evening. This could have affected Hesse's account in two ways. In sixteen years he may have forgotten, or misjudged some events that took place on the evening. Also within those sixteen years his views of the events may have changed which may have led him to invent his own details. Although Hesse was a journalist, making his report more reliable as his job was to report an accurate overview of the events. Also, a significant point to make in regard to what the historian has done is that it is a 'summary' of Hesse's account, and some important information may have been excluded from the source, or details could have been lost or altered. Though this is relatively unlikely, as it is an historian who produced this summary and would therefore have no reason for changing the reasoning behind the account. ...read more.

Middle

The fact that he did neither of these things puts him in a more truthful light- so we can safely say that this is a reliable source. Source I is Hitler speaking to 'Frau Troost' shortly after Kristallnacht. But this is not a primary source- the conversation was reported by Frau Troost in 1971 in an interview with an historian researching a book about Hitler. Frau Troost's husband was one of Hitler's favourite architects. Hitler is claiming in this source that Kristallnacht was a spontaneous attack by the people; ('The people responsible'), and that he knew nothing about it. He says here that he was 'about to come to an understanding with France' but now he cannot in light of what had happened. This source I think is very unreliable. Firstly obviously because it was Hitler speaking, and naturally he would want to make it seem as if this was not the governments fault, as it makes him seem quite barbaric. Secondly this is not a primary source, as it was a report of Frau Troost from Hitler to a historian. In this way the account could have been either changed by Frau Troost- (who's husband was Hitler's favourite architect, and who naturally would want to change it to Hitler's liking in order to protect her husband), or the historian. We hear in both sources how Hitler disagrees with the events of Kristallnacht. In source H we hear Goering saying how Hitler 'agreed that such events must not be allowed to take place'. In this way source I proves that Goering in H was telling the truth, as source I backs up the fact that Hitler had not 'agreed that such events' were to take place. Although on the whole Source I completely contradicts source H, meaning that we now question the truthfulness of H, as source I plainly states that the German people 'have destroyed everything', whilst in source H, Goerings clearly states that Goebells had organised Kristallnacht. ...read more.

Conclusion

Frau Troost's husband was one of Hitler's favourite architects. Hitler is claiming in this source that Kristallnacht was a spontaneous attack by the people; ('The people responsible'), and that he knew nothing about it. He says here that he was 'about to come to an understanding with France' but now he cannot in light of what had happened. This source is very unreliable. Firstly obviously because it was Hitler speaking, and naturally he would want to make it seem as if this was not the governments fault, as it makes him seem quite barbaric. Secondly this is not a primary source, as it was a report of Frau Troost from Hitler to a historian. In this way the account could have been either changed by Frau Troost- (who's husband was Hitler's favourite architect, and who naturally would want to change it to Hitler's liking in order to protect her husband), or the historian. In this source we discover that Hitler had nothing to do, and thoroughly disagreed with Kristallnacht; Hitler had not 'agreed that such events' were to take place. Hitler plainly states in this that the German people 'have destroyed everything'- which agrees completely with the statement that Kristallnacht was 'a spontaneous event of the German people'. Overall the majority of sources suggest that Kristallnacht was planned, some suggest by Goebells, some by the Nazi party. The few sources that do agree with the statement that Kristallnacht was a spontaneous event are mostly unclear. You are left to assume exactly what the author was trying to convey, and what hidden motives (which could be extracted from the position and status the author was, or the date it was written) that caused him or her to divulge this information. On the whole the majority of sources which do suggest that Kristallnacht was planned are in some cases very reliable, so I conclude that Kristallnacht was not in fact a planned event, and that although there was 'unrest among the masses' in the time leading up to Kristallnacht, it was still planned by either the Nazis or Goebbels. ...read more.

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