The Holocaust: History, Memory, and Legacy
12 March 2019
Why did the Germans Kill the Jews?
It is known that the higher ups in the Nazi party had an active hatred of the Jewish people and actively promoted their demise. What is less clear however, is how a generally well-educated population of people, the Germans, could actively facilitate or allow the slaughter of millions of people to take place in their own country. There is probably not one simple answer as to why the Holocaust happened. Likely, it was a confluence of coinciding political and societal factors that allowed this great tragedy to occur.
When examining the reasoning for why the Holocaust happened, some form of reasoning could be that Germany in the 1920's and 1930's was in a state of economic disrepair. This allowed a charismatic leader, Adolf Hitler, to rise to power and impose his will upon the German populace. Several years of active propaganda against Jews likely had a dramatic impact on the average German's opinion of the Jewish people. If not active hatred, Nazi propaganda most likely instilled in the average German a general distrust of the Jewish people. This provided a firm basis upon which Nazis could begin their campaign against the Jews, either with the average German's blessing or indifference.
Another thing to consider about how the holocaust was allowed to happen is that the Nazi party was not actively advertising what it was actually doing to the Jews. Many people thought the Jews were being deported or taken away to work. Not everyone in Germany was fully aware that the Jews were in fact being slaughtered by the millions in Nazi concentration camps. However, that is not to say one was aware of it. It just wasn't being advertised to the average German civilian.
The Holocaust is a sad fact of human nature. The Nazis had been denigrating and dehumanizing the Jews of Germany...