Adolf Hitler’s impact in modern history is indelible. His reign of terror over Germany, his desire to conquer Europe and world and his murder of millions of Jewish people has made him a detestable subject. At the same time, the acts of evil associated with his regime made future generations aware of ill effects of racism – as seen in Hitler’s unjust antagonism against the Jews. Yet, questions still remain behind the main purpose of what he did in Germany. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Hitler’s hatred of Jews has inspired him to use his power to eliminate them as he pushes for his extremist policies.
Three main sections divide this study on Hitler’s intended assault on Jews under his rule. The first section focuses on the brief background of Nazi anti-Semitism, the second one tackles the reasons why Hitler murdered millions of Jews and the third one discusses the ways on how Hitler attacked the Jews. All three sections reveal answers supporting the main stand of this study – that Hitler used his power and influence as ruler of Germany to pursue an order opposed to the welfare of the Jews.
Studying Hitler’s Reign
Brief Background of Nazi Anti-Semitism
This section outlines the context of Nazi anti-Semitism, which is perhaps the main trigger that enabled Hitler to commission the killing of Jews in Germany. While the hatred of Jews has deep historical underpinnings, it is interesting to note that there have been different notions of that hatred, which includes that of the Nazis (Prager and Telushkin, xi).
Verily, it is interesting to note that the anti-Semitic nature of the Nazis did not come from their racism; they were anti-Semitic first, and other races aside from the Jews did not fit into their profile of racism. In that wise, the Jews, in the eyes of the Nazis, were a race, notwithstanding the fact that any person at any part of the globe could become a Jew. In this case, Hitler consolidated the idea that Jews will always be Jews. Through his Mein Kampf, he associated Jews with a particular set of characteristics, which they use to exert their influence upon non-Jews. Such assignment of characters has led Nazis to take on a more hardline approach towards the Jews (Prager and Telushkin, 137-138).
Hitler’s Reasons for Murdering the Jews
Hatred of the Western Civilization. Hitler disliked the Western civilization, which he related to a number of ideologies including Marxism, capitalism and Christianity. His attribution of those entities to the Jewish people inspired him to form his own idea of anti-Semitism – one that is against the evil called the “Jewish spirit”. With that, he saw the formation of an Aryan race as the most powerful counterforce against the Jews. Such led him to engage in activities that inflicted harm on the Jews – the non-Aryans, as he encouraged the breeding and selection of people he deemed to be Aryan (Gordon 91-92).
Belief against Blood-Mixing. Hitler had held the belief that blood-mixing – allowing people of different races to have sexual relations, leads nations into peril. He shared the same belief with other Nazis, hence leading to policies outlawing any avenue for Jews and non-Jews to have any form of sexual relations, particularly marriage. Such policies are contained within the so-called Nuremberg Laws, named after the Nuremberg Party rally in which Hitler and the Nazis announced those laws. While there was confusion as to the parameters defining the character of Jews, the Nazis were nevertheless successful in gaining the support of the German people in implementing those laws (Gellately 122-124).
Criminality Associated to Jews. Anti-Semitists have long associated Jews with criminal activities. High profile cases such as the Dreyfus Affair and the Marconi scandal are among those associated to the Jewish people (Brustein 260-261). The Nazis, with their own notion of anti-Semitism, has also associated the Jews to criminal activities. While official records showing the high rate of criminal involvement of Jews are mere allegations by substance, the existence of special criminal laws aimed against the Jews explain their high criminality. Compared to those punished under general criminal laws, more Jews suffered conviction under special criminal laws aimed against them (Warburg 9-10).
Hitler’s Ways on Attacking Jews
The Nazis discriminated the Jews so much that the former sought to deprive the latter totally of harmonious day-to-day activities. Among those that the Nazis executed are ways of economic sabotage against the Jews. A significant number of Jews living in Germany engaged in different forms of employment, from the Civil Service to different forms of business undertakings. The Nazis initially lashed out against the economic activities of the Jews in 1933 by backing a boycott on Jewish businesses, despite the dire consequences on the national economy itself – having emerged from a debilitating economic crisis. The 1938 pogrom – ran by a series of physical attacks against Jewish property, ultimately paralyzed the economic life of Jews (Warburg 42-45).
Throughout the reign of the Nazis, Hitler commissioned euthanasia and biological means to propagate his self-styled Aryan race. His belief that an Aryan race would save Germany and the rest of the world from the evil of Jews led him to commit experiments at the expense of the lives of the Jews. The secret nature of the mercy killings has conditioned some Jews to consent losing their loved ones – an important precedent for the genocides that killed millions of Jews throughout World War II (Gellately 105-106; Gordon 91-92).
Hitler’s dictatorship saw the emergence of the brutal ideas of the leader in the form of unjust and brutal attack against the Jewish people, hence leading to the premise that he used his power to satisfy his idea against Jews. All three of his emphasized reasons – his hatred of the Western civilization, his rejection of blood-mixing and the association of Jews to criminal activities are all based on his and the Nazis’ biases fashioned within the parameters of their own ideas on anti-Semitism. His leadership has influenced most of his adherents against the existence of Jews within German society, and his push for an Aryan race has focused on a structured oppression against Jews that is different from pre-Nazi anti-Semitism – one that revolved around the concept of the Jewish spirit and the evil it brought unto society.
Nazi anti-Semitism has opened the eyes of the world against oppression on the basis of race. While the case of Hitler and the Nazis featured a deliberate hate against the Jews, the atrocities they caused nevertheless served as justification that hatred based on race is baseless; that discrimination would only cause social disarray, not harmony.
Brustein, William. Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Print.
Gellately, Robert. Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.
Gordon, Sarah Ann. Hitler, Germans, and the “Jewish Question”. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984. Print.
Prager, Dennis and Joseph Telushkin. Why the Jews? The Reason for Anti-Semitism. New York City, NY: Touchstone, 2003. Print.
Warburg, Gustav Otto. Six Years of Hitler: The Jews under the Nazi Regime. New York City, NY: Routledge, 2010. Print.