The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/f/fogelman.eva/climate.001

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: The Political Climate

Archive/File: people/f/fogelman.eva/climate.001
Last-Modified: 1994/12/20

   "In 1932, the prospects of most German workers were decidedly grim.
   The small financial and psychological improvement Germany achieved
   after World War I was wiped out by a world economic depression.
   German industries were reeling and sinking into debt. Jobs were
   scarce. Laid-off factory workers milled about in the streets and
   jammed the beer halls.

   "In the midst of this financially troubled time, Adolf Hitler and
   his National Socialist German Workers' Party rose to power. To the
   unemployed, Hitler offered jobs in his storm trooper (SA) corps and
   the vision of full employment in the factories and businesses. To
   industrialists and businessmen, he and his party offered a refuge
   from the growing power of the Communist Party. To those still
   stinging from World War I's humiliating defeat and the terms of the
   surrender, he promised to restore Germany to its status as a world
   power and to make it the most powerful nation on earth. To this
   dizzying vision of Aryan grandeur, Hitler added one more element: 
   an abiding hatred of Jews.

   "Hitler's rabid antisemitism was not a sideshow designed to attract
   believers and distract others from the main event - his insatiable
   desire for power and world dominance. On the contrary, racism was
   at the heart of Nazi ideology. The supremacy of the Aryan race went
   hand in hand with the restoration of Germany to world power. Hitler
   railed against the Jews. To him, they were vile, subhuman, filth,
   vermin, "a cancer on the body of the nation." He called on the
   populace to wage war against them.<2>

   "Prewar Germany listened. In January 1933, Hitler was appointed
   Chancellor of Germany. He then moved quickly to consolidate his
   power and stifle any opposition. Using the pretense that he was
   protecting the nation from an imminet Communist menace, Hitler
   rammed through a series of emergency decrees. These decrees
   suspended all fundamental freedoms of speech, press, and assembly
   and gave the government the power to search without a warrant and
   generally take whatever measures were needed to restore public

   "Strong-armed squads of brown-shirted storm troopers roamed the
   streets with official impunity. They viciously beat Jews grabbed at
   random off the streets, claiming that they were rounding up
   "subversive elements." Those who initially fell into this category
   were not only Jews, but also political opponents (Communists and
   Social Democrats) and anyone - journalists, writers, dissenting
   clergy - protesting the new regime. By March 1933, a scant two
   months after Hitler's appointment as Chancellor, the prisons could
   no longer hold the thousands arrested for "preventive" safety
   measures. That same month the first concentration camp at Dachau, a
   town not far from Munich, was set up. Others followed quickly. By
   the summer of 1933, there were ten or more camps and detention
   centers housing over 25,000 people.<3>" (Fogelman, 21-23)
   <2> Dawidowicz, L. (1986). The war against the Jews 1933-1945.
       New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Dawidowicz's view
       that Hitler's hatred of the Jews was his central and most
       compelling belief - one that dominated his actions even to
       the detrement of the military war - is one that I share.
   <3> Ibid., p. 75.

                             Work Cited

   Fogelman, Eva. Conscience & Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the
   Holocaust. New York: Anchor Books, 1994

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