Modernism and the Holocaust

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The emergence of the Holocaust and the Nazi party views can largely be determined as a result of modernity, as a reaction against the times. Yet, at the same time it can be argued that the National Socialist party can be characterized as a modern development. Modris Eksteins, George Mosse, and Zygmundt Bauman offer an in-depth look into both the anti-modern and modern aspects of the Nazi movement and the resulting Holocaust. Ekstein's work proves to be the most thorough of the three works in following the growth and progress of the Nazi party and Hitler's rise to power. Bauman covers more of the political side of the National Socialists, and especially appeals to morality and ethics, or rejection thereof, to portray his very opinionated points. Mosse, on the other hand, analyzes the people who fell victim to the ideology of the Nazi party, "In a sense, this study is a historical analysis of people captured to such an extent by an ideology that they lost sight of civilized law and civilized attitudes toward their fellow men," (Mosse, 9). For all three authors, modernity is the major force for change- the change that results in the rise of the national socialist party.
For Ekstein, culture is a social phenomenon in which modernism is the principal urge of the time. He focuses on social change featuring the Great War as a great catalyst for change, "For our preoccupation with speed, newness, transience, and inwardness- with life lived, as the jargon puts it, ‘in the fast lane'- to have taken hold, an entire scale of values and beliefs had to yield pride of place, and the Great Wars was, as we shall see, the single most significant event in that development," (Ekstein, xiv). Ekstein uses the example of Germany within the novel to express his points. Before the Great War there had been a sense of morality and decency between warring nations, a code of ethics the British and French armies continued to follow. Germany, however, through the old-fashioned spirit of war out the door and used any means possible to win, means that were characterized by modern technological advancements and what Ekstein refers to as Total War. For Ekstein, the first World War was a gateway into modernity which paved the way for the rise of the National Socialist party to come to power in Germany. Ekstein provides a thoroughly modern point of view, concerning the years following World War I, in writing about the culture of an extremely civilized Europe where standards of living had been rising steadily despite strictly enforced class rules and large disparities between the ultra-rich and everyone else. From this, the National Socialist party evolved and rose and became "a headlong plunge into the future, toward a ‘brave new world'," (Ekstein, 303). The people of Germany, for the first time in decades, felt a sense of belongingness and patriotism toward their country. The political and social conflicts that characterized their country in the past had disappeared and they became a unified country under "The Spirit of Aust!" It was the rise of Hitler to power and his implementation of the National Socialism Movement that led to the Holocaust, which constituted a rejection of Judaism, Communists, Jehovah Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and anyone else not belonging to the Aryan race. This rejection resulted in the mass deliberate killing of these people by the Nazis in their exterminatory anti-Semitism. They used this as an excuse to commence a systematic genocide against the European Jews as an answer to the "Jewish Question." The final solution to rid Germany and all of Europe of the Jewish "vermin" was to send them to concentration camps where they would eventually be gassed if the harsh environment hadn't taken their life beforehand. In analyzing the morality and ethics of the people involved in the Holocaust movement, Mosse explains that the overall morale of the German people after the first World War allowed a movement like...
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