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3 HIST 306, September 25th

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HIST 295
Gordon Dueck

HIST 306 Holocaust: Problems and Interpretations Tuesday, September 25 2012h NO CLASS FRIDAY!! Tuesday there will be a PowerPoint of the key things we’ve covered so far Two ways to approach the study of the Holocaust: Intentionalist  The road to the final solution was straight and narrow  Hitler had an idea, to kill Jews, he wrote those ideas down and when he came to power he followed through on what he had written in his autobiography  Think of the Holocaust, of the extermination of European Jews as a premeditated plan Functionalist  The road to the final solution was crooked  Hitler was an opportunist – he would say whatever he needed to say to get his way o Hitler didn’t simply seize power, he rigged the democratic system to his advantage  The Holocaust was a process, it didn’t occur as soon as Hitler came to power  There was no plan  First, Hitler had to gain power – by 1933 he was the sole dictator in Germany – he led the sole legal political party o How did this happen? – He won democratic elections and manipulated the Nazi political party o Hitler was elected Chancellor (equivalent to Prime Minister) by powerful people in government who thought they could manipulate him o Many wanted to use the Nazis to get rid of the Communists in government o By appointing him Chancellor they made a big mistake because Hitler was nothing if not an opportunist o Not long after he was elected, the German parliament burned down – everyone blamed the Communists o Emergency powers were granted to the Chancellor – martial law came into play, making it legal for him to do whatever he wanted o Communists could no longer come to parliament, they couldn’t run when the election came around and then the Nazi power gained majority power o A new legislation made Hitler a dictator, after he was democratically elected – once he had that power he wasn’t going to let it go o Once he was in full power, the people didn’t want him to leave because what he was doing was working: people were willing to do just about anything to rid themselves of the threat of communism  Volkisch groups = anti-semitic groups  Nazi = German National Socialist Workers Party o Hitler wasn’t the founder of the Nazi party, but he was an early member o When it all began, the Nazis thought that they were using him, it soon became apparent that it was the other way around o Beer Hall Putch – in 1923 they tried to take over the government, they failed and Hitler was jailed (sentenced for 5 years, served 9 months)  In prison he became a kind of saint for the right wing Volkisch movement  Wrote Mein Kampf while in jail  Many of his followers ended up joining the Nazi party  Didn’t take long for the SA (‘brown shirts’) and SS to appear  Rohmer was seen as a threat to Hitler – a lot of military men joined the group, and Hitler needed a body guard, which became the SS  The SS was the inner circle of the SA – they became separate  Himmler was Hitler’s right hand man  No matter what, Hitler never trusted Rohmer and the SA – had Rohmer killed and hundreds of the others  During Hitler’s rise to power, Jews were encouraged to emigrate from Germany, often being assisted in moving to Palestine  January 1942, Wansee conference – when the final solution, as we know it (the mass extermination of Jews through death camps), came into being  Mein Kampf o Germans needed to take the East in order to win the war – they needed to settle Poland and Russia o Pseudo-Christian language – sees himself as a crusader, treats this like a ‘holy war’ o Mandate the save the Germans from the Jews o Took the sense of victimhood from WW1 so that the victims could take back what was theirs, even if it meant killing  Did so by defining Jews as less than human o Language of dehuminazation  People unworthy of life because they are deliberately infecting the German people with their impurity  Jews are communist, capitalist, pornagraphers, prostitutes, pimps, inter-ra
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