Reserve Police Battalion 101

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Motivations of the Mass Murders

Throughout Hitler’s reign over Germany there was an agenda that existed which led to murders of a great number of innocent people. The agenda was the extermination of Jews from Germany so that Germany could become a pure country in terms of ethnicity. It was Hitler’s idea but he only gave the orders while the SS and the Order Police carried out the orders. One group of people that helped carry out this idea of judenfrei or Jew free Germany was the Reserve Police Battalion 101. The men who made up this group were regular men that had come from a variety of careers. Most the men volunteered because the immunity that they would receive from “conscription into the army” once the volunteers had become part of the Order Police. The Reserve Police Battalion 101 played a crucial role in helping Germany get rid of a lot of Jews, which resulted in “a group of normal middle-aged German men” becoming mass murders. “But how did these men first become mass murders” and most importantly what motivated the men to commit the mass murder? There are three major motivations that led the Reserve Police Battalion 101 to commit the mass murders: following orders from their leaders, conformity, and the propaganda that was being used by the Nazi Regime.

For the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 their first mission came in the summer of 1942 in the Polish village of Józefów and it entailed “shooting some 1,500 Jews.” Major Wilhelm Trapp who was in charge of the battalion at the time of the mission gave a speech to his men. In his speech he said in regards to what they were about to do, that it “was highly regrettable, but the orders came from the highest authorities.” Trapp admitted that he didn’t like the mission, however, he was instructing his men to commit the mass murders. Why would Trapp instruct them to do this if he thought the instructions were ludicrous? He instructed them to carry out the orders because of where the commands came from....
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