You have probably heard about a period of time, not so long ago, known as 'The Holocaust.' A holocaust, according to Webster's dictionary, is 'a complete destruction by fire' (Stadtler, 1). In Europe, during this period, there was a complete destruction by fire - of Jewish homes, Jewish businesses, Jewish neighborhoods, and Jewish people. This destruction was carried out under the direction of Adolf Hitler, during the years 1939-1945, but it actually began earlier, in 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany.
In my opinion, the Holocaust, which was caused by ignorance, could very well have been prevented. There were many powerful nations, such as the United Stated, the USSR, and Britain, whose leaders and militaries could have stepped in and helped the Jewish people who were facing extremely brutal persecution. Throughout most of the war, the American government clung to the delusion that the Nazi's were persecuting the Jews because of their political or religious beliefs. The U.S. closed its gates to emigration from Europe in 1940-1941, when Jews were still allowed to emigrate. 'Anti-Semitism in America actually increased during the war and started to decline only at the end of it' (Bauer, 297). A Soviet attitude toward the murder of the Jews simply did not exist. While fighting a desperate battle for its own survival, Britain saved the Jews of Palestine, North Africa, and much of the British Empire from the fate of European Jewry. 'The British fought only for themselves, but the defense of their own interests coincided with the defense of civilized humanity, including the Jews' (Bauer, 296). The May 1939 White Paper on immigration to Palestine stated that immigration to Palestine would end after 75,000 had been admitted between 1939 and 1944. When war broke out, the British decreed that no enemy nationals could enter Palestine, which in effect, closed the doors to those who needing rescue most, specifically the European Jews trying to escape the Nazis.
At first, the thought of such destruction in Europe was incomprehensible to other Nations. They heard of what was occurring, but did not believe it, and therefore did nothing. 'The suffering of hundreds of thousands, soon of millions, was evident for consciences to be aroused, for steps to be taken. Nothing was done' (Bauer, 297).
I feel the ignorance of these Nations was the cause of the loss of 6 million lives. Had these Nations not turned their heads away and ignored what was happening, they could have saved many lives and prevented the Holocaust. By allowing emigration from Europe into their countries, by trying to negotiate with Hitler, or if worse came to worse, assassinating Hitler, things might have been different. By not recognizing the events leading to the Holocaust and of the Holocaust, they also caused the Holocaust along with Adolf Hitler. The Holocaust could only have been prevented by the World Powers, but they failed to do so because they were so ignorant.
During the 19th century, European Jewry was being emancipated, and in most European countries, Jews were achieving some equality of status with non-Jews. Nonetheless, at times, Jews were vilified and harassed by anti-Semitic groups. Indeed, some anti-Semites believed that Jewry was an alien 'race' not assimilable into a European culture, but they did not formulate any coherent anti-Semitic campaign until Hitler came to power.
Germany was defeated in World War I after a four year struggle that left its people exhausted and divided. The harsh peace terms of the Versailles Treaty placed a heavy economic burden on them. Before the war Germany had thought of itself as Europe's greatest nation. Now it was confused, bitter, and economically crippled, its wealth drained to pay the vast sums demanded by the Versailles Peace Treaty.
Rising inflation left many Germans poor and others jobless. Political differences exploded in assassinations and street...