Why did kristallnacht take place? Essay
a) Which of these two sources would a historian studying kristallnacht find more useful?
Source A is a summary of a journalist’s column by another historian - Why did kristallnacht take place? Essay introduction? The source tells us about an officer telling goebbles who then tells Hitler about a plan of mass attack, which he and the SA were going to launch against synagogues and Jewish shops. There was no doubt of Hitler’s approval “Hitler squealed with delight and slapped his leg with enthusiasm”.
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Goebbles who at the time was out of favour with Hitler was trying to win back his approval. The journalist worked with the Nazis so his article could not be reliable.
Source B is a secret report from one nazi to another after the kristallnacht events. The source tells us about the devastation caused and may be warning the others of what to say and expect. This account would have been a secret and therefor he had been saying to another nazi “not to seem organised but neither were they to discourage the events.”
This essay states that both sources are useful, I would have thought that B was more useful because it’s a secret report BUT… the source shows, A is more helpful because its by a fellow historian and although he worked for the nazis, he wrote his account in 1954, 9 years after the war, so that he could not get punished by the nazis. So A is a better choice shown in this essay.
b) What impression of kristallnacht does source C give?
The impression source C shows in this essay is that the actions of the kristallnacht made parts of Germany very dangerous.
It was all the cause of a Jew murdering Von Roth out of revenge. The attack was supposed to be spontaneous but the SS organised some weapons such as hammer axes and firebombs. Local crowds were horrified at the attacks on the Jews and were obviously kept in the darkness about it all.
Most of the people who fought were not German people they were stormtroopers and Nazis who were disguising the “spontaneous attack” by not being in uniform.
Also the fire brigade was confined to adjoining buildings and no attempts were made to put out the other fires. So it is clear to me that this is malice afore thought.
The worst part of this ordeal was the arrest and transportation to concentration camps of male German Jews. Any signs of sympathy for the Jews from the public caused fury amongst the Nazis.
Also this account was written by David buffman, the American consul in Leipzig so he wasn’t in any fear to say what he wanted.
So the impression that the essay shows is telling us that the Nazis had cleverly planned the whole event to look spontaneous.
c) Do sources D and E make it more or less likely that the information given in source C is accurate?
Source D states the following things that agree with source C it says that there was “unrest amongst the masses” and that Jews weren’t allowed in certain places and signs saying so were posted everywhere. In the countryside conditions were worse still and also that Jews were being forced to sell their belongings and move away.
This statement was by a German Jew so the whole of the afore mentioned information may have been exaggerated and biased towards the Jews. Whereas source E states that the statement produce is a ‘true report’ of the recent riots plundering and destruction of Jewish owned buildings. It also says that most German people have nothing to do with the destruction. It also repeats information from source C and states that the SA provided them with weaponry also that a list of Jewish names and addresses were provided. Also source C was signed “a civil servant” so it is anonymous so that the truth cannot come back to him, and he could stay safe. It was posted on the 12th of November, after kristallnacht had just started and was written to the British consul in cologne in Germany. So I wouldn’t be takes as biased to either side and would be believable because it is a German citizen who works for the government and would have inside information writing to the British.
In conclusion to this question the essay shall state that source E makes source C ore likely to be accurate because it is not biased it was anonymous and agreed with the information in source C in addition source D makes source C accurate too by agreeing with certain information but was posted before kristallnacht’s rioting had begun and could be biased towards Jews so this essay shows that source E is more effective to show the information that would agree with source C.
d) How similar are the messages of these two cartoons?
Source F and source G are very similar in many ways for example; both sources are about kristallnacht; both sources have a nasty looking nazi with clubs and daggers standing over dead bodies of Jews not ‘true Germans’. both of the nazis are in uniform and both cartoons show thick grey coloured clouds of dust and dirt and smoke from the destruction and devastation.
But there are also some differences in the two cartoons; f was drawn on November the 10th for a Russian paper, G was drawn on 30th of November and was in a British paper; source G makes a reference to German people, F produces a quote “attacking the Jews did me no good my fascist friend this is said by tsar Nicholas (a ghost) who was a Jewish hater in the past.
Both of the sources make good, clear references for example: the nazis shown in both sources show that the ordinary German people had been a part of it and the people in uniforms were the nazis and SA who were killing all of the Jews, the woman in source G represents the German people and how they had no choice in the attacks and could not stop it, the bodies shown in both sources have been killed brutally for being different and are a matter of sympathy and reality tsar (king Nicholas) had encourage attacks against Jews in the past and he and his family were murdered by communists he is telling the nazi in source F that violence is not the way to help and trying to change history from his mistake then finally the clouds of destruction there are mearly to get across the horror and devastation caused by all of these fires.
This essay shows that these two sources are both similar and different simultaneously.
e) How far does source I prove that Goering was telling the truth in source H?
In source H Goering is giving a statement at trial. He says ” goebbles was not responsible for the economy but he upset the economy by destroying Jewish buildings. Hitler apologised for goebbles and agreed that such events should not take place.
Source I is Hitler speaking to his favourite architect’s wife Frau Troost so both sources are as reliable as they could be. Hitler said to Frau “kristallnacht is a terrible thing and ruined my hopes for an understanding with France!”
So source I does support the fact that Hitler did not agree with kristallnacht and that it ruined Germanys plans but source H says that goebbles did it all and Hitler (source I) says “the people” so I think that Hitler was covering up for Goebbles or the stormtroopers. But as far as Hitler goes source I does agree with source H.
f) “Kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people” how far do all of the sources got to support this claim?
Source A disagrees with the claim because it says Goebbles was explaining a mass attack that the SA and himself were going to launch against the Jews and buildings belonging to them and that Hitler agreed. There was no mention of German citizens being destructive.
Source B also disagrees because Goebbles under hitless interactions had been told blindly to make it look spontaneous and again no mention of German citizens taking part!
Source C was definitely malice afore thought, and therefor also disagrees with the quote because in source C it says that the SS were armed with vicious weaponry such as hammer axes and firebombs. Fire fighters were not allowed to put out the fires on the Jewish buildings, the public were horrified at this outrageous behaviour and so had nothing to do with it. Again people were sent to concentration camps, even though the troopers weren’t in uniform they were definitely there to follow orders on a planned attack.
Source D disagrees that it was spontaneous “unrest amongst the masses” also that buildings had ‘Jews not wanted’ posters everywhere so that their buildings were safer.
Jews moved away because they were forced to and could tell that something was going to happen. Source E disagrees with the claim because it says “most German people had nothing to do with these riots and burnings and also brings up the SA with axes and hammers again. This was noted ‘a civil servant’ and the writer ahs no reason to lie.
Sources F and G both disagree with the claim because the two men in the cartoons have uniforms on and are either Nazis or the SA.
In Source G there is a woman bound up in chains she represents German people and how they couldn’t do nothing but watch.
Source H also disagrees because Goering is telling the courts that it was Goebbles that called the destruction and that Hitler did not approve of it and again the source says nothing about the German people being involved.
Source I agrees in the way that Hitler didn’t want to do it and didn’t now about it also he says how it ruined some of his deals. It agrees in the way that Hitler says “the people responsible” so he is not saying it was his men or that it was the German people but ‘the people’ gives the impression that it was them.
In my overall view of the evidence given in all of the sources about kristallnacht this essay has come to the conclusion that most of the German public stayed out of the way of the devastation!!!