1933 was the beginning of a gruesome era, Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. During Hitler’s time, he had many plans in store for European countries. He blamed the countries failures during and after World War I on the citizens claimed as “the less superior race”—”Jewish citizens, Soviet citizens/prisoners, Polish citizens, Roman citizens, Slovenes, disabled citizens, Freemasons, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other minority groups” (Bülow).
The method used for terminating these people varied from the concentration camps those victims were sent to. The main goal was to “cleanse Germany’s society” (Nazi). Common methods were being hung, shot, burned alive, poisonous gas exposure, starvation, and experiments done on the prisoners. During this time, Hitler allowed inhumane experiments to be done on hundreds of thousands of people; he wanted to make the most elite country. These experiments are by far some of the most bone-chilling ways people suffered.
After World War I, Germany had lost more than just soldiers. They fell greatly in debt to other countries; the country was completely falling apart because of the war. All the citizens had lost hope in restoring their economy and life. This lasted until one man came to power, Adolf Hitler. This man was a persuasive political genius, he was great in the way he spoke to the people and promised them if he was chancellor, he would fix Germany and they would be on top of the world. Many people, being uneducated and looking for hope anywhere, believed Hitler and began supporting him and everything he wanted to do. He began speaking of solutions to their problems and where to begin, he finally took office in March 1933. Hitler associated with the National Socialist (Nazi) government. With his new gained power, he opened the first concentration camp in Dachau.
“Heinrich Himmler, police president of Munich, officially described the camp as ‘the first concentration camp for political prisoners’’ (Nazi)—these were the citizens who disagreed with Hitler and his ideas. In Dachau, physicians from the German air force and German Experimental Institution for Aviation conducted different disturbing experiments on the prisoners in the concentration camps. After the Dachau concentration camp, more and more were made. “Between 1933 and 1945, there ended up being a total of 42,000 camps made” (Nazi). Of those were Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, Buchenwald, and Neuengamme, that were confirmed to also be experimental camps.
During the war, Hitler found this time to be useful to have human experiments conducted to try and have the most advanced military and medical knowledge. Many experiments in the camps intended to facilitate the survival of Axis military personnel in the field. There were multiple experiments done to improve their military knowledge. The high-altitude experiments on prisoners to determine the maximum altitude from which crews of damaged aircraft could parachute to safety. “The experiments were carried out in a low-pressure chamber in which atmospheric conditions at high altitude (up to 68,000 feet) could be duplicated. The experimental subjects were placed in the low-pressure chamber and thereafter the simulated altitude therein was raised.
Most victims died as a result, and many of the survivors suffered injury related to exposure to extreme atmospheric conditions” (Dachau). Scientists there also carried out freezing experiments on prisoners to investigate the most effective way of treating persons who had been severely cold or frozen. In two different kinds of experiments, the first experiment the subjects were forced to remain in a tank of ice water for periods up to 3 hours, hypothermia developed quickly. In the second version, the subject was to be outside naked in temperatures below zero.
Numerous victims died in the course of these experiments. After the survivors were severely cold, rewarming was attempted by various means: “sunlamps, the victims were placed under sun lamps (which were so hot they would burn the skin.) internal irrigation, the victim would have water heated to a near blistering temperature forcefully irrigated into the stomach, bladder, and intestines” (Dachau). All victims appeared to have died from the treatment. Hot baths were another way to warm up the cold subject, they would be placed in warm water and the temperature would slowly be increased; “many victims died due to shock if they were warmed up too quickly” (Dachau).
The final option was warming by body heat, Heinrich Himmler suggested to Dr. Rascher “to use women to warm the frozen men” (Dachau). He suggested that the victim and a woman copulate. This perverted experiment showed some success; however, it was not as successful as the Warm Bath. The seawater experiment was to test various methods of making seawater drinkable for soldiers lost/trapped at sea. “The victims were subjected to four different test groups: no water, sea water, sea water processes by the Berka method, seawater without salt and they received no food or any other rations throughout the experimental process” (Dachau).
The subjects were given either liver or spinal cord punctures. All of the subjects suffered excruciating torture, diarrhea, convulsions, hallucinations, foaming at the mouth, madness or death. Another gruesome experiment was to test the effects of chemical poisons on humans, The Buchenwald’s poison experiment was administered to subjects in their food. “Most victims died quickly and if they survived, they were killed so their organs could be examined postmortem” (Medical). Some subjects were shot with poison-laced bullets to test their effects on humans. Most died as a result of the poison or from the wounds. Another test that took place at the Buchenwald’s concentration camp, was the experiment to see the effect of various pharmaceutical preparations on phosphorus burns.
These burns were inflicted on experimental subjects with the phosphorous matter “taken from incendiary bombs and caused severe pain, suffering, and serious bodily injury” (Medical). The final experiment to be discussed is the Lost gas experiment at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. “Wounds deliberately inflicted on the subjects were infected with the poisonous gas Lost” (Medical).—commonly known as mustard gas. Some of the subjects died as a result of these experiments, and others suffered intense pain and injury.
Like said in the previous paragraph, Hitler did not only want a strong military, he wanted to be the most advanced countries in the medical field too. He permitted many German Nazi doctors to do experiments on different ways to “cure” or find a cure for diseases, disorders and allowed general anatomy procedures to be done on concentration camp prisoners. Transplant experiments were conducted on the prisoners of the Ravensbrueck concentration camp. Nazi scientists wanted to test the viability of transplanting major organs. “Sections of bones, muscles, and nerves were removed from subjects and implanted in others” (Dachau). As a result of the operations, many victims suffered intense agony, mutilation, and permanent disability if not death. At the Dachau concentration camp, immunization experiments for and treatment of malaria. “Healthy inmates were infected by mosquitoes or by injections of mucous glands of mosquitoes.
After having contracted malaria, the subjects were treated with various drugs to test their relative efficacy” (Dachau). Many of the victims died and others suffered severe pain and permanent disability. At Buchenwald, subjects were infected with spotted fever virus to test the effectiveness of anti-viral vaccines. “75% of the subjects were inoculated against the virus and were infected with spotted fever germs after 3-4 weeks, the other 25% were infected without inoculation, resulting in a near 90% mortality rate” (Evolution). Experiments with “yellow fever, smallpox, typhus, Para-typhus A and B, cholera (A bacterial disease-causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, usually spread in water), and diphtheria (A serious infection of the nose and throat) were also conducted” (Evolution).
Sterilization experiments were conducted at the Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck concentration camps, among other places. There was even an experiment used to develop a method to sterilize millions of people with minimum time and effort. These experiments were conducted by X-ray, surgery, and various drugs purposes. “Thousands of victims were sterilized and suffered severe mental or physical pain” (Dachau). Dr. Josef Mengele, “better known as the Angel of Death” (Bülow), was fascinated by twins and did many different tests on sets of twins. “Mengele tried to change the color of patients’ eyes genetically by injecting dye into their eyes” (Stockton). This usually resulted in painful infections, even blindness in some cases.
After a victim would die, he took out their eyes, keep them for further experiments. Mengele also took blood samples from one twin, then put the sample in the other twin. This experiment caused “headaches and high fevers for several days” (Bülow). Mengele placed patients in isolation cages and subjected them to a variety of stimuli just to see their reactions. “Mengele would inject twins with infectious agents to watch how long it takes to succumb to various diseases. In some cases, he removed victims’ limbs in surgical procedures without anesthetic” (Whistler). Mengele also castrated and sterilized almost all sets of twins. “After Mengele collected all the data he wanted from a patient, they were killed by a single injection of chloroform in the heart” (Whistler). He would take special care to make sure that twins were killed at the same time. Then they were dissected, and their organs were taken to research centers.
These experiments left the victims with mental or physical suffering, some abstained mutilation to their bodies, injuries that left them disabled, post-traumatic stress disorder (to the survivors), and much more than someone who didn’t go through this experience can even imagine. This event in history was a learned lesson to all countries that no matter how much any country is failing, do not let someone with these kinds of tendencies take control. This is an example of why an oligarchy or socialism is not ideal for countries, especially when taken to such an extreme Hitler had in mind. Hitler was very successful during World War II until the Allies were able to break the bugle at the Berlin Wall, and successfully saved those left trapped in concentration camps. Once Allies won World War II and the Axil powers threw up their white flag, it was over.
Another lesson from this is to understand the importance of keeping peace with foreign countries, this will help avoid another World War. It is also a big reason that World War I and II are taught in history class, to keep the past from repeating—which some people fail to understand the importance of history class. Many peers are ignorant of how important peace is, the United States cannot just drop a bomb on another country and problems will be solved. That would be a terrible idea for any country to do because then said bombed country’s allies will come after the country that dropped the bomb. It is incredibly heartbreaking to see students that do not care to understand how foreign affairs are handled, or how the general government has to handle things.
This era was the definition of a nightmare for millions of innocent people in Europe. When Allies were able to save the remaining victims in the concentration camps, it was an astronomical and a momentous victory. If Hitler would have won land all over the world, everyone’s life would be enterally different than it is now. The people of the different religious and the minority groups may not have survived to see 2019, depending on how successful Hitler’s cleanse would have been; after gaining all the land he aimed for. This war taught all the countries and their people a lesson about how a country should be properly governed (socialist or capitalism). No matter how much the country is failing, Hitler’s tendencies or his idea of genocide should never be repeated. After seeing how it turned out for him, it should be an eye-opener to the fellow socialist countries. The amount of control Hitler had was not ideal, nor should any country’s citizens allow someone with such ideas to take power and complete control of their country.