December 9, 2012
The Holocaust of the Western Hemisphere
Throughout the history of mankind man has made various attempts to eliminate one another based on race, religion, and personal growth through the use of dehumanization in order to justify genocide. Although many do not have it in them to kill another man, however if they do not believe they are killing a human being they are able to “get the job done”. Through the use of dehumanization a man of high authority has been able to convince large groups of people that a particular race is not even human and instead are animals and or property. One of the most known examples of this was Adolf Hitler and the German Nazi Party’s dehumanization of the Jewish people. In an attempt to eliminate the entire Jewish population from Europe Nazi Germany the Nazis convinced everyday Germans that Jews were rats and that Germany was infested. Many people remember the Nazis and the Holocaust but events like this had been happening long before the mid nineteenth century. The colonists in the early years of the United States forcibly removed the Native Americans from their rightful land by dehumanizing them socially and physically similarly to the Nazis centuries later. As the impact of World War One took its toll on Europe countries like Russia, Italy and Germany were in dire need of a change. Germany was most impacted by the war and was left in a state where everyday citizens were homeless, jobless, and starving. Looking for someone save Germany, Germans were in a desperate need for change and turned to group of radicals that were rising in power at a rapid rate known as the Nazis. Looking for someone to “save Germany” the Nazi’s unconventional but radical beliefs gave many Germans a strong sense of hope. “One of the reasons the Nazi ideology was so successful in eliciting support for the party and consensus behind its program was that its structure was built central concepts that, in the political environment of interwar Germany, appeared to integrate the disparate individual elements of the party’s program in a convincing fashion. Prior to the Nazis, German politics where clearly led by members of the elite classes, the Nazis on the other clearly were not” (Smith, 233). Majority Germans who were impacted by the war were members of either the middle or working class they were left poor and impoverished while members of the elite came out fine and looked out only for themselves. This upset the working class and made the idea of socialism very popular amongst them, which was another reason for the rise of Nazi influence. Led by Adolf Hitler the Nazi influence rise to power came at a time in which people were prepared to believe anything, vulnerable to this Hitler’s hatred for Jewish people. It became a countrywide epidemic and people bought into the hatred and started to blame the Jews for all of their troubles. In the context of this ideological war, the Nazis planned and implemented the Holocaust, the mass murder of the Jews, who were considered the primary "racial" enemy (USHMM). Hitler believed that the Jews were the scum of the earth and that they were Rats and that once the infestation was taken care of Germany would be on its way to power. He in fact stated that “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human,” (Spiegelman, 10). Convincing people however was no easy task for Hitler so he used scapegoating, xenophobia, and dehumanization in order to convince every day Germans that killing the Jews was the right thing to do. One of the first things Hitler did to start his process was blame the Jews for Germany’s economic struggles by stating that Jews had too much control with businesses and were only looking out for themselves. “People learn about differences and cognitively create differences by devaluing others. People who are “different” become further devalued, ignored, dehumanized, and eventually even killed because it is...
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