How and Why Did the Holocaust Occur?
The holocaust was a tragic period of history which occurred between 1933 and May 8th 1945. The main reason why this awful slaughter of Jews happened is due to many reasons however, the main reason is down to the fact that Germany had been an anti-Semitic country for a long time even before this happened.
Unfortunately, as a result of the average German’s already anti-Semitic views, it meant that when Adolf Hitler made himself chancellor in 1933 and brought along with him his excellent public speaking skills, persuasive ideas and outright racism, many people sided with him as they genuinely believed that the Jewish people were a problem in their societies. The holocaust was mainly down to the fact that Hitler had an ideal human with: white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair.
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This perfect human evolved from the way in which Hitler thought about the evolution of mankind, he thought that anyone who did not fit these guidelines was inferior and therefore should be wiped out. And so, the genocide of many Jews, Gypsies, blacks, homosexuals and other “inferior” races began. This was to be the largest eugenics project that had ever occurred. After this plan was formed, the Jews were stripped off any rights that would define them as human, in 1933 Hitler’s men stood outside of Jewish shops in order to persuade the German public to boycott them.
In 1935 anti-Semitic posters rose in Germany saying “Jews not wanted here”, as well as this The Nuremberg Laws made sure that the Jewish were forbidden to vote and that they were no longer allowed to marry Germans. Other laws expressed through the Nuremberg Laws sated that they may not go out at night or own a bicycle. However, the worst of all events concerning Jews to that date was Kristallnacht. Kristallnacht took place on the 9th November 1938, it was a mass destruction of purely Jewish possessions such as their businesses, synagogues and homes and for the first time, Jewish men were put into concentration camps or killed on the spot.
After this catastrophic event Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat blaming them for stirring up other countries against Germany and so he promised the Jews that if a war broke out, he would meet the Jews with utter annihilation. And so when the war broke out in 1939 Many Jews were forced to leave their homes in order to live in ghettos where they were forced to work without the possibility of earning any form of wage.
In eastern Europe, Nazi Einsatzgruppen rounded up and murdered over a million Jews, they did this by gathering them into a small area and then mercilessly shooting them until there were no survivors. However this process was too expensive and time consuming and so, the Wannsee Conference was called. During this conference, a decision was made for a “Final Solution” to the Jewish problem which was of course to exterminate all Jews residing in Europe. So they began this process by building camps at places such as Auschwitz.
Here they were categorised into those who were fit to work and those who were not. During this categorisation phase, we can hear stories of how babies were stripped from their mother’s arms in order to be brutally killed, but if the mother would simply not let go, the baby would be killed right in front of the weeping woman. As we can see, many Nazi’s had no moral right whatsoever and we can see this further expressed by the way in which they dealt with those who were not fit to work.
The disabled, elderly, sick and young would be stripped of all their properties and crammed into small building originally meant to fit around 100 horses, instead, The Nazi’s would fit thousands of these death sentenced Jews into these stables. From here on, the Jews would be told that they were going to take a shower in a large complex however, what happened in fact was that into these so called “showers”, vast amounts of Zyklon B gas was dispersed into the showers. Here you would die either instantaneously or within 30 minutes.
This was an extremely large scale mass-murder with which the Nazi’s succeeded in fulfilling Hitler’s promise. As the German’s began to lose the war, the Russians advanced and so the SS guards marched the Jewish to concentration camps in the west, during these marches many people died simply because they were too fatigued to carry on and so were shot. When they reached the camps in West Germany, so many Jews were packed into such small containers that many died of starvation or diseases which spread quickly throughout these densely populated containers.
Luckily, the war was soon to be over and the Germans were beginning to realise that they couldn’t possibly let people know of the terrible things they had done, and so they began to burn down and destroy the concentration camps which they had built. However, some of the camps were liberated before the Germans could destroy them; one of these camps was Auschwitz Birkenau. It was liberated by Soviet soldiers on 27th January 1945, at the camp they found just under 6’000 prisoners still alive in the camp.
As well as the release of many Jews, Nazi leaders were put on trial at the Nuremberg War Crimes trial. Any war criminals that were found to be a part of the war were also put on trial. As well as this, the Jewish were given the nation of Israel as a sort of apology for the unspeakable suffering which had happened. Unfortunately, none of these things could justify the scale of the anti-Semitist views of Hitler and many others which led to the murder of 6’000’000 Jewish civilians.
In conclusion, I believe that the holocaust was a large scale eugenics project which took place purely because of the strong hatred and jealousy of a few individuals which then caused the arguably worst event in human history to take place. I believe that it is important for us to understand that this tragedy took place purely because of human desire to be the best and so it is important for us not to forget the past in order to make sure that there will never be a repeat of such hatred in the future.