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Transcript of Hitler
Hitler and the Jews
This presentation will cover these key areas:
Hitler's early experiences in Vienna
The first world war
The place of antisemitism in Nazi politics
The extent of antisemitism and anti-Jewish discrimination in German society 1914 - 1933
Attempts to enter the Academy
Hitler's experiences in Vienna
Hitler petitioned submitted a petition to enlist in the Bavarian army
He rose to the position of lance corporal and was awarded two Iron Crosses for bravery.
The place of Anti-Semitism in Nazi Politics
Anti-Semitic values of Nazi Party were heavily influenced by German nationalist Johann Gottlieb Fichte and his ideas of Völkisch nationalism. Fichte served as inspiration to Hitler and many leading Nazi members, and his concepts were heavily adopted by the Nazi party;
The Origins and Nazi use of the 'Aryan Race'
- The denouncement of soulless materialism, individualism, and secularized urban industrial society, while advocating a "superior" society based on ethnic German "folk" culture and German "blood".
- Viewed the world in terms of natural law and romanticism - viewed societies as organic, extolling the virtues of rural life, condemning the neglect of tradition and decay of morals, denounced the destruction of the natural environment, and condemned "cosmopolitan" cultures such as Jews and Romanian.
The concept of the Aryan race stems from racial theories asserting that Europeans are the descendants of Indo-Iranian settlers, people of Ancient India and Persia.
The German Philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder (1744 - 1803) argued that the Germanic peoples held close racial connections with the ancient Indians and ancient Persians, who he claimed where advanced peoples possessing a great capacity for wisdom, nobility, restraint, and science.
Notions of white supremacy and Aryan racial superiority combined in the nineteenth century, with white supremacists maintaining that white people were members of an Aryan "master race" which is superior to other races, and particularly the Semitic race, which they associated with "cultural sterility".
Proponents of racial theory, such as Houston Stewart Chamberlain, used the concept of the Aryan race to draw a distinction between what they deemed "high and noble" Aryan culture versus that of "parasitic" Semitic culture. In 1899, Chamberlain stressed the need of a nation to maintain racial purity in order to prevent degeneration, and argued that racial intermingling with Jews should never be permitted, which can be directly reflected in Nazi political theory (for example, The Nuremberg Laws 1935).
It must be noted: The focus of Anti-Semitic philosophy in Nazi politics was based around the purification of the German nation, not the extermination of the Jewish population. As Fichte summarizes one of the ideal solutions to the 'Jewish problem' would be the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine to impel the Jews to leave Europe.
Antisemitism and Anti-Jewish Discrimination in German society 1914-1933
From 1918 onwards much of the world was gripped by fears of "Bolshevism".
There was a widespread perception that Jews were subversives and Communists.
Many anti-Communist refugees from Russia in the early 1920s were rabidly anti-Semitic and spread their ideology in Western and Central Europe - and to some extent in the New World.
ie. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a false Anti-Semitic document created in czarist Russia.
In the 1920s antisemitism in Europe was particularly strong in Poland, Romania, France and along the Danube (in Austria, for example, and also Hungary).
European Popular Opinion toward Antisemitism
Anti-Semitic beliefs Pre-Nazi Germany
"[Many Germans] were drawn to Anti-Semitism because they were drawn to Nazism, not the other way around. Many who voted Nazi simply ignored or rationalised the anti-Semitism of the party, just as they ignored the other unpleasant aspects of the Nazi movement."
William S. Allen, Historian
Anti-Semitic conspiracies flourished in the desperate years of the 1920’s, revolving around the failure of World War I, the most infamous being Dolchstosslegende , ‘stab in the back theory’. The prevailing belief of many ex-soldiers was that Germany could still have won the war; and the November 1918 armistice was an act of betrayal engineered by Jewish and socialist politicians.
Most right-wing groups of the Weimar era harboured a quota of anti-Semites or anti-Semitic ideas. Most of these groups, however, kept their anti-Semitism in check – particularly Hitler, who wanted his party to develop a veneer of respectability, to win support from wealthy industrialists and the middle-class.
YET Until 1933 Germany was regarded as a country where anti-Semitism was not particularly strong, and Jews elsewhere thought in the period c. 1900-1932 that Germany was a good place to live.
After all, Germany had a good reputation as a civilized country, and civilized countries don't practice legally enforced racism or persecute minorities - or so it was thought. The German Jews were caught by surprise by what happened when the Nazis came to power.
There's evidence that the German population, at least in the early years of Nazi rule, wasn't particularly anti-Semitic. For example, the boycott of Jewish businesses, ordered by the Nazis for 1st April 1933 was largely a flop.
Hitler first visited Vienna in 1906 and decided he wanted to study art. He attempted to enter the Academy of Fine Arts twice in 1907 and 1908 but was unsuccessful. He was advised to aim for architecture but was barred due to his lack of a Leaving Certificate.
In late 1908 Hitler left his lodgings in Vienna as he could not afford to pay for them. From 1909 until 1913 he first lived in a doss-house, then a hostel for men on the opposite side of the city. He did occasional work such as casual labouring jobs and shovelling snow. He ended up painting postcards to make money as his orphan's pension was stopped in May 1911.
The beginnings of Hitler's antisemitism in Vienna
Hitler did not agree immediately with the antisemitic pamphlets or sentiments of the antisemitic politicians in Vienna. In Mein Kampf he stated that he was 'not in agreement with the sharp antisemitic tone' of an antisemitic paper available in Vienna - the Deutsches Volksblatt. However, he wrote that he began to change his mind when the non-antisemitic papers lost his respect and interest. He stated that this was his 'greatest transformation of all' though it was a gradual process according to Hitler's account in Mein Kampf.
Hitler observed three political parties in Vienna and learned from them;
The Austrian Social Democrats: From this party he grasped the importance of a 'mass party and mass propaganda'
Georg von Schönerer's Pan-German Nationalists: This party influenced his antisemitism, nationalism, and antisocialism. Furthermore, he saw the mistake made by this party of not uniting all classes against a 'single adversary'
Karl Lueger's Christian Socialists: He learned from their political tactics and appealing to the masses
Hitler and the First World War
Hitler's War Experiences
Hitler saw the defeat of Germany as a national humiliation and believed that it was due to the politicians and a lack of efficient propaganda. (The 'Stab in the Back' theory)
Massive tightening of censorship meant newspapers continued to discuss the prospect of victory longer than it was actually a reality.
Some soldiers felt they had missed their chance of heroism.
How This Impacted Hitler's Politics and Antisemitism
Originally the war improved the situation for Jews as there was a type of 'civic peace' occurring and antisemitism was momentarily somewhat suspended.
The Jewish bankers and industrialists had been pressing for a more moderate and pragmatic economic war policy from almost the start of the war.
Hitler was convinced the German Fatherland had been betrayed by pacifists and Marxists who were incited by the Jews. He describes them as the 'poisoners of the people'.
He saw Jews as war profiteers and in "Mein Kampf" describes them as a spider sucking blood through war corporations.
Hitler praises the English's use of war propaganda and stresses its value. This belief can be seen in the Nazi party.
Hitler and Jews
In Mein Kampf Hitler states that there were ‘few Jews’ in Linz and he had never heard the word at home while his father was alive. Furthermore, in Mein Kampf he described how he 'took them for Germans' and felt horror that they had been persecuted because of their 'strange religion'. Vienna had far more Jews than Linz and there were many antisemitic pamphlets, newspapers and books available.
Hitler and early 20th Century antisemitism