Tutorial 9 Notes

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9 Jan 2011
Interwar Crisis
x League of Nations
x USSR Æ non-aggression pact
Differences Between World War I and World War II
x soldiers only x civilians casualties
x trench warfare x total warfare (prisoners of war)
x more of a conventional war x use of better technology
x fought only in the battlefields x psychological warfare (media, propaganda)
x planned response to external conflict/incident x Hitler’s unplanned recapturing of lost territories
x fought on the Western Front x fought on the Eastern Front
x end of German and Russian monarchies x no monarchies, fascist governments only
x code of honour Æ only attack soldiers x just attack Æ no code of honour
x European continent focus x global scale war
x France power greater Æ no surrender x France power lower Æ surrender in a few weeks
x US power low x US power greater (world powers change)
Raul HilbergThe Bureaucracy of Annihilation
x the Germans financed the concentration camps through demanding money in the Slavic communities
x they called it the resettlement plan, where they told the Slavic communities that it was a one-way ticket
x sometimes the Germans also terrorised and grabbed properties from property owners
x one end of the spectrum is the resistance Æ not even doing their job
x the other end of the spectrum is the fullest cooperation or volunteerism Æ going beyond their job
x if more and more of the volunteers are put in place, then people start to follow the example and are eager to participate
x this will motivate other people to participate and there is an increase in the killing machine of Jews
x Hilberg is pointing out the decentralized and compartmentalized system that was in place
x this could lead to people saying that they did not know about the Holocaust and that their job was leading to death
x there were people in the Nazi system that were trying to overthrow government, resist, and assassinate Hitler
x there was a movie made on Sophie Scholl Æ university student resisting and then she was hung with her brother
x some resisters used their own propaganda Æ anti-propaganda to influence people
x the railroads were used to transport the Jews across Germany and Poland Æ 1 to 2% died on the railroads
x the railroads were similar to the death ships that were used before to transport prisoners
x there were other similarities to the Holocaust Æ the genocide in Rwanda and Darfur
x a system just doesnt die when the war is over, it continues on Æ authors say that it migrated into something else
1. Why does Hilberg think we should not see the Holocaust as unique?
Hilberg says that much in the destruction of the Jews is familiar and even commonplace in the context of contemporary
institutions and practices. Basically, the Jews were destroyed as a consequence of a multitude of acts performed by a
phalanx of functionaries in public offices and private enterprises, and many of these measures, taken one by one, turn out to
be bureaucratic, embedded in habit, routine, and tradition.
2. What does Hilberg mean when he says there was an “inner logic” to the Holocausts operation? What are examples of
this “inner logic” at work?
Hilberg means to say that while the Holocaust’s operations were not planned, Hitler always wanted to go through the
Holocaust. He knew that there would be a right time and that the start of the Second World War was the perfect time for the
Holocaust’s operations. A decree defining the term “Jew”, expropriations of Jewish property, the physical separation and
isolation of the victims, forced labour, deportation, gassings—these were not random moves, instead, each was a stage in
the development. The Holocaust was decentralized, organized, and compartmentalized. The complete Holocaust was
Fordism. It was decentralized and organized in that it was anarchy within a bureaucratic system. It was not just a top-down
approach, but the acceptance of volunteerism and contribution from bottom-up.
One example was the building of the trains. People producing trains would say that they did not know that their trains were
being used to transport trains, but there were maps that showed where the railroads led.
Some Germans started sabotaging their own camps and helping the Jews. They would begin passive resistance.
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3. How did the railroads assist in carrying out the Holocaust? Why is their involvement so important to the argument
Hilberg makes?
In the chain of steps that led to the extinction of millions of Jewish victims, the Reichsbahn, as the German railways were
known, carried the Jews from many countries and regions of Europe to the death camps, which were situated on occupied
Polish soil. Of course, these transports were but a small portion of the Reichsbahns business. Germany depended on its
railroads to carry soldiers and civilians, military cargo and industrial products, throughout the war. The passenger concept
was essential, in order that the Reichsbahn could collect the fare for each deported Jew in accordance with applicable tariffs,
and to preserve internal prerogatives and divisions of jurisdiction—the passenger specialist would remain in control.
Passenger trains were either regular, moving at hours stated in published schedules, or specials, assembled and dispatched
upon demand. Jews were transported in special and the procurement and scheduling of such trains was a lengthy and
involved procedure that had to be administered at the regional level, particularly in the General Directorate East.
4. What examples does Hilberg discuss to show how regular bureaucrats and normal administrative routine drove the
Holocaust along? What signs of this routine were there in legal, financial, or record-keeping practices?
An obvious example is furnished by the physicians who performed medical experiments in camps, or who, as public-health
officials, urged the creation of hermetically sealed ghettos for the ostensible purpose of preventing the spread of typhus
from Jewish inhabitants to the surrounding population, or who, as specialists in psychiatry, administered the euthanasia
program, which was transformed in the General Government into a network of camps to kill approximately 1.5 million
Polish Jews. A second illustration of such negation in the planning by offices in occupied Poland, labelled “Population and
Welfare, of deportation of ghetto Jews to death camps. Yet, a third instance of goal transformation may be glimpsed in the
efforts of civil engineers or architects to construct the ultimate antithesis of a shelter or home—the concentration camp,
especially the installations designed for controlled, efficient mass annihilation.
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Tutorial 9 Guiding Questions
1. How would you periodize the conflict of WWII (describe the conflict by theme)?
Date Summary Detailed Information
1938 German Anschluss with Austria
Hitler went ahead with his plans to unify all German-speaking
people. He annexed Austria then demanded the liberation of
Germany people in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to attempt a settlement
before war broke out.
30 Sept. 1938 Treaty of Munich
Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier of France and Mussolini of Italy
went to Munich and agreed that Hitler should have the Sudetenland
of Czechoslovakia. The Czechs were not represented at the meeting
and realized that no country would come to their aid. They were
forced to surrender the Sudetenland to Germany. Hitler assured
those at the meeting that this was the extent of his ambitions for
expansion. Chamberlain returned to England with a piece of paper
signed by Hitler, proclaiming “peace in our time”.
March 1939 Hitler invades Czechoslovakia Despite the assurances given by Hitler in the Treaty of Munich
(Sept. 1938), he marched into Czechoslovakia and occupied the
March/April 1939 Britain rearms and reassures
Britain had begun re-arming and a highly secret radar early warning
system was installed along the east coast. Conscription was
introduced and assurances were given to Poland, who was being
threatened by the Fuhrer.
Late Aug. 1939 Russia and Germany sign pact Hitler and Stalin signed a non-aggression pact which included
secret clauses for the division of Poland.
1 Sept. 1939 Hitler invades Poland Hitler invaded Poland.
3 Sept. 1939 Britain and France declare war
on Germany Britain and France declared war on Germany. Neville Chamberlain
broadcast the announcement that the country was at war.
Sept. 1939 May
1940 “Phoney War” The months following Britains declaration of war are referred to as
the “Phoney War” because Britain saw no military action.
April/May 1940 Hitler invades Denmark and
Hitler invaded and occupied Denmark and Norway to safeguard
supply routes of Swedish ore and also to establish a Norwegian
base from which to break the British naval blockade on Germany.
10 May 1940 Blitzkrieg Hitler launched his blitzkrieg (lightning war) against Holland and
Belgium. Rotterdam was bombed almost to extinction. Both
countries were occupied.
13 May 1940 Chamberlain resigns
Neville Chamberlain resigned after pressure from Labour members
for a more active prosecution of the war and Winston Churchill
became the new head of the wartime coalition government.
Chamberlain gave Churchill his unreserved support. Ernest Bevin
was made Minister of Labour and recruited workers for the
factories and stepped up coal production. Lord Beaverbrook,
Minister of Aircraft Production increased production of fighter
26 May 1940 Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo)
The British commander-in-chief, General Gort, had been forced to
retreat to the coast of Dunkirk. The troops waited, under merciless
fire, to be taken off the beaches. A call went out to all owners of
sea-worthy vessels to travel to Dunkirk to take the troops of the
beaches of Dunkirk. More than 338 000 men were rescued, among
them some 140 000 French who would form the nucleus of the Free
French army under a little known general, Charles de Gaulle.
11 June 1940 Italy enter war on side of Axis
Italy entered the war on the side of the Axis powers. Italy’s motive
for entering the war was the hope of rich pickings from the spoils of
22 June 1940 France signs armistice with
The French, Marshall Petain, signed an armistice with Germany
taking France which had been devastated, out of the war and into
German occupation.
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