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Introduction to Holocaust & WWII
Transcript of Introduction to Holocaust & WWII
Diary of Anne Frank
During the early 1930's, there was a worldwide economic depression, and Germans lacked confidence in their weak government.
Hitler was a member of the little-known Nazi party, and his great speaking skills led to a rapid rise for the party. In 1932, they gained 33% of the vote, and in January of 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. This would be the end of German democracy.
The Third Reich quickly became a police state. Some basic freedoms were abolished. Political parties and government institutions within Germany were made to align themselves with Nazi ideas and goals. Hitler appointed Nazi leaders to different government branches.
Germany became a dictatorship. The SS were Hitler's police and guards, an important tool in his governing. They were to hunt down any "enemies" who were against Hitler and the Nazi's ideals.
How did Hitler come into power?
The Holocaust took place in the broader context of World War II. Still reeling from Germany's defeat in World War I, Hitler's government envisioned a vast, new empire of "living space" (Lebensraum) in eastern Europe. German leaders wanted to expand their dominance through war.
In 1939, Germany began World War II when it invaded Poland.
Britain and France responded by declaring war on Germany two days later.
Throughout the war, Germany would continue to try to expand throughout Europe and more countries would join in the war.
Overview of WWII
The Axis Powers grew out of The Anti-Comintern Pact; this was signed in 1936 by Germany and Japan, whose supposed goal was to fight communism. In 1937, Italy joined the Pact as well.
The 3 main Axis Powers were: Germany, Japan, and Italy.
They fought against the Allied Powers in World War II.
Overall, the three countries were not very coordinated in their decisions and actions during the war.
Who were the Axis Powers?
The Allied Powers were the countries who banded together in an attempt to stop the Axis Forces (Germany, Japan, and Italy) from their aggressive action during the war.
The major Allied Powers were: France, Poland, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Canada (B.C.), and the United States.
The U.S. joined the Allies after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Nazi Germany later declared war on the U.S.
Major leaders of the Allied Powers were: Winston Churchill (GB), Joseph Stalin (Soviet), Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower (US).
Who were the Allies?
German Occupied Countries - WWII
U.S. Involvement in the Holocaust
What happened to the Jewish people during the Holocaust?
What happened to the Jewish people during the Holocaust?
Why did Hitler hate the Jews?
This is a complicated answer. Hitler himself did not invent anti-semitism. Hitler grew up in Vienna, Austria, where leaders were highly anti-semitic. When Hitler came into power, he built upon anti-semitic prejudices that already existed in Europe.
After World War I, Germany was in a huge financial crisis. When Hitler came into power, he promised a better life for the German peoples. Many starving and poor citizens were eager to believe him and disregarded his early racist ideologies. Building on stereotypes, Hitler made the Jewish people scapegoats for the financial crisis. Some German people believed this propaganda.
Hitler and the Nazis also believed that humans could be broken down into different races and that some races were genetically superior to others. He argued that "Aryans" (non-Jewish whites) were superior to Jews, and that Jews were a dirty race.
How were Jews identified under Nazi rule?
According to the Nuremburg race laws, Jews were defined not as those who practiced Judaism as a religion, but by those who had Jewish ancestry. Any person who had at least 3 Jewish grandparents was considered a Jew, even if they did not themselves identify as Jewish or participate in the Jewish religion or community.
Did Hitler target other groups?
Yes. Hitler and the Nazis also believed that Roma gypsies, LGBT individuals, and handicapped people were all threats the Aryan race. They were also persecuted in the Holocaust.
Additionally, any non-Jewish Germans who were found to be helping Jews were punished as well.
*Where the Franks were living at the time Anne's diary was written
Some of these countries were former Allied Power supporters, former Axis power supporters, OR declared neutral.
Saving the European Jews from the Holocaust was not the U.S. government's primary concern during the war. Other factors were at play as well, mostly the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the internment of Japanese Americans.
However, when the U.S. government discovered Hitler's "final solution" was systematically killing Jews, they denounced Hitler's actions.
Regulations made it very difficult for Jews to immigrate to the U.S. while fleeing the Nazi regime. Even so, eventually some 200,000 Jews found refuge in America before 1945.
After the end of WWII, the U.S. took part in the Nuremberg Trials, which persecuted prominent members of the Nazi party.
The origins of Hitler's "Final Solution" is unknown, but the purpose was to remove Jews from European society. This plan was implemented in stages.
First, Hitler passed laws and rules that excluded Jews in Germany and other German-occupied states from certain rights.
Then, Jews were deported to Jewish ghettos established in Poland. There were attempts to kill them while living in the ghettos, but they were seen as inefficient.
Eventually, the Jews were deported to extermination camps throughout occupied Europe (mostly in Poland). Here, they were either killed immediately or made to do hard labor and live in very bad conditions.
Most Jews in the concentration camps died of the gas chambers, shooting, medical experiments, starvation, or rampant disease.
Overall, it is estimated that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust -- 2/3 of the European Jewish population.
Understandably, when many Jews heard what was happening in the extermination camps, they went into hiding from the Nazis in attempt to save themselves and their families.