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Why Anti-Semitism Succeeded In Nazi Germany

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Many have wondered how it was possible that so many people were convinced by Adolf Hitler to commit attrocious acts in his name and in the name of Germany. In this essay, I will discuss the political climate of the time, that allowed a nation to be swept off its feet by a dictator whom we now known to have been a madman.

Hitler came to power in the shadow of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty had promised an easy peace for Germany, after the Great War, in which Hitler himself had participated. This was not to be. The desire of the Allied powers to put Germany into a state of economic weakness resulted in extreme revisions to the original proposal, and so Germany was forced to accept full guilt for the war, and agreed to pay reparations to those devastated by the war. Hitler was not alone in feeling the humiliation of this terrible blow to the once great nation of Germany, and he too suffered the distress of the devastated economy, industry, and German spirit.

His most famous book, Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), was by no means a masterpiece, but nonetheless an extremely influential work. It highlighted many of the prevailing attitudes of the time towards the perceived oppressors of the German people, both at home and abroad, and proposed enticing solutions to solve these problems and restore Germany to its status as a great and influential country within the global political sphere. That the book was written in prison did not stop Hitler's growing popularity. In fact, Hitler himself said he had not minded his prison sentence, since it had given him the time to take the much needed opportunity to write.

Once in power, Hitler sought to reform the government and military to his liking. Backed by the promise of a better economy, he had substantial support from the German people. A further advantage was his extremely passionate and charismatic personality, which charmed people and instilled in them the hope of a better future, led by this great man.

Indeed, Hitler was able to provide for the German people, by creating jobs and encouraging national pride. It seems inevitable now that this would ultimately culminate in a second world war, but at the time, Germany was seen as weak and hardly a threat against the mighty Allies. Nonetheless, the political tides were changing, and Germans were able to garner support from unlikely sources, until they were strong enough to wage war against the countries that had oppressed them.

This introduction has focused on the events that lead to German national identity, which relates to the spread of anti-Semitism in Germany. Hitler often said that Jews were the bane of German society, and without them the Germans would have won the war, the economy would not be in a shambles, and everything would improve. Anti-Semitism



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