Within twelve years, the world lost over eleven million humans, consisting of men, women, and children. Between the years of 1933 to 1945, a tragedy occurred leaving the entire globe in despair: The Holocaust, a mass murder of six million Jews and millions of others. This event, with a name from origin meaning “sacrifice by fire”, undeniably left a mark on the world. (intro to holo #). Although it was prejudicial, the fact that it was thoroughly planned and executed is indisputable. With some masterminds and an army behind the killing, the Holocaust easily became a disastrous event in history.
Let’s start with the one who created the foundation to the Holocaust: Adolf Hitler. During the time of World War I, Hitler volunteered as a soldier to fight for the German Army. He was an impressive soldier and was raised to the rank of corporal. Since he did his job flawlessly in the German Army, he was awarded for his bravery with a lot of recognition. In 1918 of October, a mustard gas attack temporarily blinded him. He was at bed rest in the hospital for quite some time. Because of this, he had severe depression while he was in the hospital. When he got out, the German Army made him a spy; his task was to watch the German Worker’s Party, an Anti-Semitic nationalist group. The concept of Anti-Semitic, prejudice against Jews, existed before the rise of Hitler. It did, however, catch his attention. The meetings discussed prejudice against Jews, and Adolf Hitler agreed with them. Eventually, he gave speeches of his own at the meetings.
People began joining the party just to hear his passionate speeches on Anti-Semitism. He was a strong supporter of violence who always said, “strength lies not in defense, but in attack.” In 1921, the group was renamed to National Socialist German Worker’s Party, and the leader for Hitler. For short, people began calling this organization “Nazi.” In 1923, there were around 56,000 members in the Nazi with several people outside of the organization supporting it. He worked on forcing other governments to support the Nazi group, but he failed. Because he harassed the government system of Bavarian, he was sentenced to prison. During his years in prison, he wrote the “Mein Kampf,” which discussed his political plans for Germany. Adolf Hitler ran for president when he came out of prison, but he got lost the election. Fortunately for him, President Hindenburg was forced to make Hitler his chancellor from popular demand. Once Hindenburg died, Hitler came to power. He began the Holocaust with the help of thousands of other people. Adolf Hitler made numerous impacts to Germany, along with many other nations.
Jewish people were treated unfairly during the Holocaust. According to History Corporations, “Hitler believed that Aryans were superior, and that Jews were inferior”; he wanted to kill all the Jews because to him, Jews were the enemies of Aryans. Laws were made to strip Jews’ rights. Some laws limited the numbers of Jews that could attend school and were even barred from some schools, prohibited the marriage of Jews and Aryans, denied Jews’ German citizenship, and banned Jews from some specific career choices. It was also illegal for Jews to own land, homes, and businesses. Eventually, they had to wear specific clothing as well, Jews were required to wear a six-pointed yellow star, known as the Star of David. This star represented them as Jews. When a Jew is caught not wearing one, they would be killed or severely punished. People attacked Jews emotionally and physically. The goal of the Nazi and its supporters were to drag the Jews out of Germany. Later, Jews were placed into Jewish ghettos. Jewish ghettos were places around Europe that Jews were allowed to live in, but it was a stringent community. “It was also virtual prisons to seal Jews from the outside world,” says author Michael Uschan. Germany had more than 400 ghettos.
They were often overcrowded, and deadly diseases killed thousands of people. They were also assigned specific jobs to do. Teens and adults worked slave labors, and Jews had to work to stay alive. Completing their jobs allowed them to have ration cards. These cards allowed them to receive food. They were not paid with money for doing their jobs; they were paid with food. The food amount was finite, so many died of starvation. Illegal smuggling of food occurred since they were starving. Eventually, so many people died at a time, that it became difficult to remove the bodies from the ghettos. In the community, it was extremely depressing. To keep the mood up, people help cultural events. They had musicians and actors performing for the community. Writers also helped by writing newspapers, poems, and stories to be published in the ghettos. Jews had to live with horrible and intense prejudice under Hitler’s authority.
At the start, the plan was to get rid of the entire population of Jews; therefore, they began shooting Jews, but they found that this method was too slow and difficult. So, they organized a plan of building concentration camps. This became the Nazi’s most effective way of mass murder during the Holocaust. A concentration camp is a place “in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy” (concentration #). These camps were incomparable to prisons; the harshness of this system was indescribable, especially since it had no other administrative body examining the legality and morality of its actions. There were over one-thousand camps, and each one had a specific use. Each sites’ purpose was to either imprison those civilians who were seen as a threat to the Nazis, murder people away from the public eye, incarcerate prisoners from the war, or force labor upon the prisoners (concentration #). The first known concentration camp was named Dachau; it was established on March 1933. As time passed by, several official concentration camps were built throughout the lands.
Camps at Belzec, Sobibor, and Majdanek began operating, and gas chambers were being built within them as well. Auschwitz is one of the most known death camps. It was first built as a prison work camp, and it had railways that connected with other parts of Europe. Because of its convenience, a second camp was built about two miles away from it. This second building, called Auschwitz 2, was the main killing center for Jews. A third camp for it was mainly for slave labor. There was a drastic increase in the existence of camps as World War II began, particularly due to the growth in Nazi enemies. Between the years of 1942 and 1945, these camps started to end. Death camps were being closed one after the other from the Nazi rule being defeated in the World War. Yet, all camps had a specific structure and organized administration team; therefore, bringing this method of murder a lot of success.
Not only did Hitler commence the Holocaust, but he had a belligerent foreign policy; he planned to invade other countries around him, thus, triggering the Second World War. During this World War, there were two teams: The Axis Power and the Allies. The Axis Power included Germany, Italy, and Japan, while the Allies consisted of the United States, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union (Britannica #). The Allies won several victories throughout the World War battles, and they were on the path to liberating Europe. All the while, Hitler’s mentality deteriorated as he knew he was losing this fight (hitler history #). The Holocaust and World War ended once Germany surrendered following Hitler’s suicide (homework help #).
All captives were freed and safe to go back to their homes. Although liberated, they were not saved from their emotional instability; many people, specifically Jews, were traumatized and were still fearful of prejudice within their communities. Some people eventually moved back to their former homes, while others moved to refugee centers in surrounding countries built by the victors of World War II (aftermath #). Soon after, organizations formed to further enhance Jewish communities; they celebrated their culture and did charity work to help those in need. Aid was even provided internationally due to loosened immigration laws. The government in varying countries throughout the world allowed more European immigration in order to provide for those Holocaust survivors. The world worked in unity to offer an improved state of living for those who underwent the capabilities of Hitler’s reign.
All in all, the Holocaust was a historical event that highly influenced the future development of each human society. After Adolf Hitler was appointed, everything turned into shambles; Jews, and other ethnic groups, were discriminated against, systematic death camps were built, and an entire World War was fought. This calamitous occasion took the lives of millions due to its thorough war-inducing strategies. The Holocaust is one occurrence that does not need to be resurfaced. If people don’t know their history, they are doomed to repeat it.
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