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[O] History(Elect) Smart Guides

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  1. Unit 1: The World in Crisis

    1. Impact of World War I in Europe
    14 Topics
  2. 2. Stalin's Soviet Union
    12 Topics
  3. 3. Hitler's Germany
    27 Topics
  4. 4. Outbreak WWII in Europe
    13 Topics
  5. 5. Germany's Defeat in World War II
    21 Topics
  6. 6. Outbreak War in Asia Pacific
    6 Topics
  7. 7. Japan's Defeat
    10 Topics
  8. Unit 2: Bi-Polarity and the Cold War
    8. Reasons for the Cold War in Europe
    21 Topics
  9. 9. The Korean War
    19 Topics
  10. 10. Cuban Missile Crisis
    25 Topics
  11. 11. The End of Cold War
    19 Topics
Chapter 3, Topic 24
In Progress

Social Impact of Hitler’s Ruling (Persecution of Jews and Other Minority Groups)

Chapter Progress
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Persecution of Jewish people and other minority groups

  • Hitler made anti-Semitism the core of his beliefs. He conducted a vicious propaganda campaign against the Jews, who were portrayed as sly, cowardly & evil, intent on destroying German culture.
  • In contrast, the Germans were portrayed as honest, hardworking and brave master race.
  • He blamed the Jews for all of Germany’s ills, from their defeat in World War 1 to the Versailles Treaty, the Weimar Republic, hyperinflation and the Great Depression.
  • Hitler encouraged the SA and SS to mistreat the Jews. He also embarked on a systematic attempt to first deprive the Jews of their rights and then to rid Germany of them entirely.
  • In April 1933, the Nazis called for a boycott of Jewish businesses.
  • Purpose was to segregate the Jews from rest of German society and to destroy them financially.
  • By 1934, all Jewish shops were marked with the Star of David or ‘Juden’ (Jew).
  • SA men would stand outside Jewish shops to make sure Germans did not go in.
  • Jews were only permitted to sit on park benches and bus and train seats marked ‘Juden’.
  • The Nazis also burned books written by Jews; their businesses and properties were also taken.
  • They were also not allowed to practise their professions.
  • In 1935, Hitler passed the Nuremberg Laws, which effectively excluded Jews from German society.
  • Jews were no longer allowed to be German citizens
  • They were not allowed to marry non-Jews.
  • Throughout 1930s, more steps were taken to humiliate Jews and separate them from rest of society.
  • Some wealthy Jews managed to leave Germany for other parts of Europe and the Americas.
  • However, most had passports restricted or even removed to prevent them from leaving Germany.
  • The plight of the German Jews was becoming obvious to the international community.
  • In 1938, representatives from 32 countries met at Evian, France, to find solution to this problem; however, no one seemed willing to help.

a) The Night of the Broken Glass, 1938

German army invades of Poland. Vehicles pass over a bridge constructed by German Army engineers crossing the Vistula River near Bydgoszcz, Poland. In the left is a destroyed bridge. Sept. 16, 1939
  • In November 1938, a Nazi diplomat was shot dead by a Jewish youth in Paris. Hitler used this as an excuse for ordering a campaign of terror to be unleashed on Jews in Germany and Austria.
  • This campaign came to be known as ‘Kristallnacht’, or Night of the Broken Glass. The Nazis looted & destroyed thousands of Jewish shops. Homes & synagogues were burned. Jews were beaten & killed. More than 20,000 Jews were arrested & sent to concentration camps.
  • In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and forced Poland’s 3 million Jews into ghettos. Ghettos were overcrowded & lacked basic necessities. People soon died of starvation & illness.
  • When Germany invaded Soviet Union in June 1941, mobile killing units rounded up Soviet Jews & shot them. Mass murders of Jews were also carried out in other East European states.
  • By the end of 1942, the mobile killing units had probably murdered about 1.3 million Jews.

b) Holocaust during World War II

  • On 20 Jan. 1942, Nazi leaders, assembled by Heinrich Himmler, met at the Wannsee Conference to discuss and finalise plans for their ‘Final Solution’ or Holocaust, to kill all Jews in Europe.
  • Later, during the Posen Conference in October 1943, when Nazi leaders met to discuss wartime strategies, Himmler clearly explained that the ‘Final Solution’ meant that “all Jews would be killed”.

Historians could not agree as to whether or not this was Hitler’s intention all along.

  • Some historians believe that it was. Other historians argue that the policy evolved from a euthanasia programme and that it was decided upon during the war.
  • However, most agree that responsibility ultimately lay with Hitler, as by 1942, the Nazis had built six death camps in Poland to expedite the mass killings of Jews.

In Germany and throughout occupied Europe, the Nazis forced Jews to wear the Star of David, so that they could be easily identified.

  • They were sent to ghettos or concentration camps, waiting their turn to be sent to death camps.
  • Once there, their possessions were taken from them and they were gassed to death.
  • Cruel medical experiments were also performed on them.
  • Many healthy young Jews were also sent to factories where they were worked to their deaths.
  • The Nazis still forced Jews in concentration camps on death marches towards German-held territories as Germany was facing defeat against the Allies.
  • About a quarter of a million Jews died on these marches.
  • By the time World War II ended, about one-third of the world’s Jewish population was dead.

c) Gypsies, homosexuals, handicapped and disabled

The Nazis also persecuted these other minority groups, whom they viewed as inferior or undesirable (Untermenschen), and as social parasites, who supposedly threatened the ‘purity’ of Aryan blood.

  • Laws were instituted against these groups to control, authorise arrests and even sterilise them.
  • The Nazis even wanted to use eugenics to improve the quality of the Aryan race through a euthanasia program or by controlled selective breeding.
  • Many of the minority groups were also sent to concentration camps and eventually gassed.
Gypsies• 1933 Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals was used to arrest Gypsies and send them to concentration camps The Nuremberg racial laws of September 1935 forbade Gypsies to marry Aryans
• Psychiatrist Dr. Robert Ritter conducted inhumane experiments on Gypsies
• In May 1942, the Gypsies were placed under the same laws as the Jews
• About 23,000 Gypsies were sent to Auschwitz, most of whom were gassed or died
• In 1943 & 1944, thousands of Gypsies were gassed; others were victims of cruel medical experiments
Homosexuals• Nazis felt that Aryan homosexuals failed in their duty to procreate
• Paragraph 175 of the Criminal Code made homosexual acts between males a crime
• In 1934, a special Gestapo division was set up to deal with homosexuals
• In 1936, Himmler created a Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion
• Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis arrested about 100,000 homosexual men
• About 50,000 of these men were sentenced and most were sent to prison
• Cruel medical experiments and operations were performed on them
• Castration, intimidation and death were the fate of the homosexuals
Disabled• Nazis saw physically & mentally handicapped & disabled people, as burden to society
• In July 1933, the Nazis introduced the Law for Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary
• Disorders and the Law for Prevention of Genetically Disabled Offspring
• Under the Law for Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases, people could be sterilised against their will
• About 320,000 to 350,000 people were sterilised
• Between 65,000 to 70,000 adults were targeted for euthanasia
• Nazis built gas chambers to cope with large numbers of people they planned to kill
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