Who Is to Blame for The Holocaust: Critical Essay

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After Germany’s defeat in World War I, many believed it was the Jewish soldiers who were at fault. However, anti-semitism and the overall mistreatment of the Jewish religion and beliefs was not a new concept in fact it had been around for many years prior to the events of the Holocaust. Due to this defeat in WWI Germany’s economy suffered from hyperinflation due to all the sudden expenses, Germany had accumulated over the course of the war. This all happened whilst the German community began to resent the Weimar Republic (their government at the time) as many Germans believed that they were dealt a very harsh deal in the Treaty of Versailles, however, the Weimar Republic signed it and agreed to all the conditions regardless.

This only added to the pain that a lot of society was going through at the time as all of Germany had just lost 9 million soldiers, had 21 million wounded and 7 million were now disabled. They had also lost about 80% of their male population from ages 15 through 49.

WWI or what was regarded at the time as ‘The Great War’ or ‘The War to End All Wars’ was majorly unsuccessful at doing exactly what was expected of it due to how it arguably laid the groundwork for World War II 20-30 years later. For Adolf Hitler had been an infantryman and later Private in WWI, and he was one of those people who largely blamed the Jewish people who he fought alongside for the defeat of Germany.

But Germany wasn’t the only nation struggling in the timeframe between the events of WWI and the Holocaust, but the whole world was experiencing numerous catastrophes one after the other. These ranged from the Great Depression, mourning the lives of lost ones, some people were even left homeless and starving. The whole world was changing, some political changes were made, some cultural and others social.

Hitler for one was the man behind numerous attempted revolutions such as the Beer Hall Putsch for which he was sentenced to 5 years in jail, of which he only served nine months. During his time in jail, Hitler wrote his notorious autobiography, Mein Kampf. Thus proving that he always had a distaste towards the Jews similar to many others who he surrounded himself with at the time.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke). With reference to the quotation, to what extent was Hitler solely to blame for the Holocaust?

How to answer this question: A 600-word response does not require a formal introduction and conclusion but should have at least an introductory and concluding sentence. Body paragraphs should be clearly defined, with a coherent flow to the response. This question provides scope for considering factors that could have prevented the Holocaust, as well as the actions of individuals. When measuring the “extent”, it is important to define the degree to which the question is possible.

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As most people are aware, Hitler was the Fuhrer of Germany and the Nazi Party throughout WWII and the Holocaust. He was the man behind the idea of the “Final Solution” and behind the majority of the Holocaust, but is he solely to blame for the entirety of it?

Although Hitler may have been the initial ignition to the events of the Holocaust, he definitely was not solely to blame for it. Anti-semitism had been occurring in the world long before Hitler came into power, there were also others of high authority of acted alongside Hitler even when they didn’t necessarily have to. Hitler may have been renowned for being persuasive, and it shows in history but there is no way he could have convinced as many people as he did to do something they would never have done otherwise.

Take the Beer Hall Putsch for example, Hitler and General Erich Ludendorff may have been key figures in the whole attempted armed revolution/conspiracy, and while Ludendorff may have been acquitted, Hitler definitely deserved the prison sentence he was given. But those who joined in, would we say they too were responsible? Or would we say it was all Hitler and the other masterminds like Ludendorff involved who should take all the punishment? Maybe the participants involved under the leadership of Hitler should have been given a lesser sentence but they absolutely deserved punishment too, non the less.

Even though while in prison Hitler’s hate for the Jewish and other minorities in the world may have intensified. And may have even been one of the reasons for Hitler and the NSDAP’s desire to rise to a state of higher power in the world, there is nothing to say that even if they did get to a point of power that a large portion of Germany would support them in their anti-sematic actions. Unless of course, they themselves were aware that many other Germans had a hate for the Jewish and would be more than happy if not impartial to decimating the Jewish race.

Now look at the example of Amon Goeth. Who served as commandant of the concentration camp in Plaszow in German-occupied Poland for the vast majority of WWII. Would we say he is responsible for the deaths of some Jewish? Would we say he had a role in the Holocaust? Could you blame him for some traumatic events during that time? The answer to all of these is yes. For Amon Goeth would leave a loaded sniper rifle on his balcony in his mansion overlooking the camp and would frequently pick out a prisoner at random and shoot them. He wouldn’t necessarily have a prior connection to this Jew, they didn’t even have to do something wrong. All you had to be was Jewish. In fact

Goeth also had two dogs named Rolf and Ralf who were personally trained to tear the prisoners of the camp to death. On one recorded occasion Goeth actually killed a cook because his soup was too hot. He is also notorious for mistreating his maids who like all the other prisoners in the camp, feared for their lives every day.

Not only this but Goeth had been in charge of numerous liquidations of several ghettos. As a matter of fact, on September 3rd of 1943, Goeth was assigned the job of leading the liquidation of the ghetto in Tarnow, which at the time had been home to about 25,000 Jewish people, this was about 45% of the city’s population. By the time the liquidation of the ghetto was complete, only 8,000 Jews remained who were loaded onto a long train ride to Auschwitz. Not even half of you were loaded and made the trip. Most of the survivors were deemed unfit for work upon their arrival at the death camp and were instantly sent away to the gas chambers. Numerous eyewitness accounts claim that Goeth personally shot anywhere between 30-90 women and children during the liquidation of that one ghetto.

There were several others who were like Goeth, even some who did much worse. Thus proving that although Hitler played a huge, vital role in the Holocaust and is arguably the mastermind behind the whole thing, there is no way in which he can be solely to blame for everything that happened to the Jewish during the Holocaust.

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Who Is to Blame for The Holocaust: Critical Essay. (2023, September 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/who-is-to-blame-for-the-holocaust-critical-essay/
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Who Is to Blame for The Holocaust: Critical Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/who-is-to-blame-for-the-holocaust-critical-essay/> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Who Is to Blame for The Holocaust: Critical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Sept 25 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/who-is-to-blame-for-the-holocaust-critical-essay/
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