To What Extent Was Hitler Responsible for the Holocaust?

Topics: Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, World War II Pages: 6 (2105 words) Published: May 21, 2012
A: Plan of Investigation
One major, controversial event that occurred during the WWII was the Holocaust. There has been much debate about the causes of the Holocaust, as many factors have been discussed. Therefore, this investigation will assess to what extent was Hitler the cause of the Holocaust. The four factors that will be assessed will be the widespread anti-Semitism, the role of Hitler himself, the demonizing of Jews made by the state churches and the Treaty of Versailles. The sources I will be comparing will be Hitler: 1936-1945 by Ian Kershaw and The war against the Jews 1933-1945 by Lucy Dawsidowicz. This is because they both focus on different things: Kershaw on Hitler, and Dawisdowicz on the Holocaust. This way, we can get a large scope of understanding to find out if Hitler was really the cause of the Holocaust. Words: 137

B: Summary of evidence
From the study of various sources, several factors can be attributed to the end of the British mandate. Firstly, a background is required for this event, the Holocaust. This was a programme of systematic murder by Nazi Germany, throughout Nazi-occupied territory. It happened in stages and led to the killing of about 6.6 million Jews. It is generally accepted among historians that it was mainly spearheaded by Hitler as the main driving force behind all the atrocities that happened.

The role of Hitler
There has been overwhelming evidence that the role of Hitler played the most vital role in everything that happened in the Holocaust. It is hardly disputed that he was a normal citizen that somehow managed to rise up to the ranks of Chancellor within weeks. It is widely debated whether Hitler was aware of all the happenings in the Holocaust, but it generally accepted that he had been the one giving orders to eliminate the Jews. There has only been one historian/writer who has been an avid denier of the Holocaust, who is David Irving. He specialises in the military and political history of World War II, with a focus on Nazi Germany. (Wikipedia, 2006.) Widespread anti-Semitism

A main cause of all the happened was the widespread feelings of anti-Semitism. It was a feeling shared largely among all the Germans, and Hitler helped to fuel this ill-feeling by his passionate speeches speaking against the Jews. It was mainly this feeling that numbed the atrocities that had been committed against the Jews. Hitler speeches were centred on this idea, that Germany had to be cleaned out, and the Jews purged from the country. Germans were not the only ones involved in the killing, as Anti-Semitism was a European phenomenon. It was even argued that Hitler was not the creator of Anti-Semitism; rather he was a product of the Anti-Semitism society, which could mean a less percentage of involvement from him as the ringleader. (Farmer, 2007.)

Political mistakes
Many political mistakes has led to the sentiments of vengeance among the Germans after they had been imposed a large sum of reparations that they were expected to pay in a short period of time. These political mistakes include the Treaty of Versailles and the break-up of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. (Speer, 2007) The “peace” Treaty of Versailles was actually a treaty to appease the French and British, who had been heavily impacted by the war (Dawidowicz, 1977) There had been very little help given to the Germans to help them out with their war debt other than the loans given to them by the US. The War Guilt Clause was also imposed upon them by the Treaty, thus embittering many Germans who felt wronged by this label. Therefore, the bitterness felt by the Germans was widespread, and many people such as Hitler attributed this as one of the roles of the Jews of the First World War. (Kershaw, 2000.) The break-up of the Empire removed the only obstacle to German or Russian expansion in Central Europe. This created weak successor states of Austria and Czechoslovakia, and paved an easy way for Hitler to overthrow them....
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