WWII and the Holocaust were two key events of the 20th century. Each had their own causes and historical factors leading up to their development. While the two events occurred close to each other each developed independently and neither was cause for the other. Anti-Jewish prejudice has a long history and was present in Germany long before WWII. The German people elected the Nazi party and it was its rise to power that lead to WWII. The Nazi party had many other strange policies that, while not as extreme as the Jewish policies, were odd and extreme in different way. The roots of WWII are based on the Nazi party’s economic policies and not as a mask for genocide. Therefore WWII was not a cause of the Holocaust and it was not used as a mask for the Holocaust.
Prejudice against Jews has existed from pre B.C. times through the Holocaust to the present day. There are countless examples throughout history of Jewish persecution. One of the earliest references to other nationalities persecuting Jews is told in the Bible’s Book of Exodus. The Exodus of the Israelites (Jews) from Egypt is the theme described in the above-mentioned book after the Egyptians treated them as slaves. In the First Crusade, 1096, communities on the Rhine and the Danube were utterly destroyed. In the Second Crusade, 1147, the Jews in France were subject to frequent massacres. The Jews were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds’ Crusades of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades were followed by expulsions, including in, 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396, 100,000 Jews were expelled from France; and, in 1421 thousands were expelled from Austria. These examples show how throughout history Jews have been persecuted and discriminated against by various nations. Several European writers twisted Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to suggest there was a hierarchy of races with Jews at the bottom. “In addition, misuse of the theory of evolution was an important factor in the extreme forms of racism, especially that against blacks and Jews, that flourished at the turn of the century and for many years beyond.” This quotation helps support the idea that The Theory of Evolution has been used in only extreme cases of racism and the Nazi party used this theory to prove that Jews are inferior. Jews have been portrayed as moneylenders and manipulators of financial systems. In Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, the character Shylock is a Jew and seen as the villain of the story. To begin with the Merchant of Venice, for most of the history of the reception of the play, Shylock has been seen as fundamentally an unsympathetic character if not a villain. He is also often seen as a caricature of a grasping, vicious and resentful Jew. The debate is not about whether or not Shylock is bad, but really is about whether Shylock is bad because he is a bad Jew or bad because he is simply a Jew.
This quotation, as said by Hussein Ibish, proves that even Shakespeare was racist towards Jews. This is another historical example that the Nazis used to suggest that the Jews were the cause of the poor German economy. The Nazi party tapped into shared German feelings of the above points to rise in popularity with the voters.
The Nazi party utilized the German people’s prejudices and worries to get democratically elected. Due to the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI, Germany was sentenced to make payments to the victors. This crushed the German economy and made the people unhappy and in search of someone who could bring them out of this mess. The Nazi party rose in popularity due to poor economic conditions and the people’s fear of the rise of the communist party given the mess that Russia was in due to communism. In December of 1928, Joseph Goebbels posted an essay to persuade the Germans not to buy goods from the Jews. The essay was called “Deutsche, kauft nur bei Juden!” When translated, it means “Germans: Don’t buy from the Jew!” He believed the Jews produced bad...
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