Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An essay report on Nazi Germany’s racial and economical war against the Jews.

When one begins to study the period of German history where the Nazi party was ruling Germany (1933-1945) one begins to ask himself: How could the Germans have gone along with these leaders that murdered so many human beings? In the book Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State its author, Gotz Ally, explains in detail how the Nazis were able to brainwash an entire nation of very well educated and cultured people.
“For most young Germans, National Socialism did not mean dictatorship, censorship, and repression; it meant freedom, and adventure”[1] writes Ally when explaining the attitude of most of the Nazi party membership. These young Germans were seduced with dreams and adventures, a better life, just like many political parties convince electors to favor them now a day. These young men and women were just coming from an economic crisis that hit the world in 1929, and were desperate for a change. It is no wonder that they would be drawn in by the speaking of nationalism, and equality between Germans that the Nazi Party emphasized. To understand the makeup and mentality of the Nazi Party we must look at its base. In his book Ally says: “Among those who took power in 1933 were many recent university graduates and students. Their ranks included the rebellious sons of old elite families and the increasingly self-assertive lower classes, who had profited from the Social Democrat’s reforms of the Weimar Republic”.[2] Therefore we can understand that the Nazi Party used the innate rebellious nature of young people and the necessity of the masses to draw them in and begin to indoctrinate them.
Even though the Nazis took advantage of the youth, for them to be able to maintain the German people’s loyalty it would take more than vague promises of a better future, and of adventure. The Nazi party did in fact promise equality among the racial comrades, bring jobs to almost 6 million unemployed and lower income taxes. According to Ally, Hitler managed to keep these promises made in 1933 within 5 years of taking power. Though, Ally states that “Examined closely, however, the turnaround was largely an illusion.”[3] The economic level was stagnated, and the total wages earned during the best year (1928) of the Weimar republic (42.6 billion reichsmarks) contrasted to the wages earned (31.8 billion) 2 years later (1935). “The public’s belief, however, that decisive authoritarian action had produced an economic recovery was enough to secure the National Socialist government the loyalty of the vast majority of Germans”[4]. With tax revenues increasing and unemployment dropping it is no wonder that Germans would be loyal to the dictatorship. Although by the first two years of the Nazi regime the public debt of the government had risen by almost 200 percent.
Knowing this, one must ask, where did the Nazis look for the money to finance their economy without raising the taxes of every day Germans? Ally answers the question with 2 answers: the Jews, and during the war the other European states. The Nazis used anti-Semitism to be able to pass the Nuremberg Laws, and other such laws like forcing the Jews to report all their personal assets in excess of 5,000 marks, and other such edicts that Alf Kruger, the chief legal adviser for the Ministry of Economics, characterized as “the forerunners to a complete and definite removal of Jews from the German economy”.[5] Jews were forced to exchange their personal assets for Government securities, meaning that Jewish owned property belonged to the German government. Goering was one of the leading voices calling for the Jews to exchange their property for Government bonds: “The Jew is being driven from the economy and is surrendering his economic assets to the state. In return he is being compensated. His compensation is noted on the ledger sheet and accrues a certain amount of interest. That is what he as to live on”[6]. The latter statement by Goring shows the mentality of the Nazi leadership, where the Jews were seen as resources to be exploited; as such, it is easy to understand why the Germans would allow the later atrocities committed on their behalf. This explains why the Jews were not allowed to take most of their belongings when they emigrated from Germany, and the deportations of the Jews to make space for German families victims of allied bombings, among others[7].
This mentality helps us understand why such cruel, yet intellectual young people like Josef Mengele where able to commit the atrocities they committed in the German concentration camps. As such, the Nazi mentality saw them as animals, resources that could be used for the better of the German people and therefore the betterment of humanity. This attitude was not only shown towards the Jews, but also towards the rest of the nations of Europe, where they existed only to serve the German Reich. Since these states were treated as de-facto slaves, it also serves to explain why the Jewish populations from the defeated nations were rounded up and taken to concentration camps. Their property, now property of the German Reich, would serve for the relocation of the Aryan German who had lost their belongings to Allied bombings during the war.
In conclusion, after understanding the psyche of the everyday German citizen one can understand why they allowed the Nazis to commit the crimes against humanity in their name. The German people were contempt to look the other way, just as long as the state provided for their needs, at the expense of whomever they wished. This is not to say that they condoned the Nazis in doing what they did, but rather that they ignored the fact that it was happening, and were apathetic to the needs of others, in a collective manner.

[1] Chapter 1: “The Dream of a People’s Empire”, page 14, paragraph 1.
[2] “ “ “ “ “ “, page 16, paragraph 2
[3] Chapter 2 “The Accommodating Dictatorship”, page 36, paragraph 1
[4] “ “ “ “ “ “, page 36, paragraph 2
[5] “ “ “ “ “ “, page 42, paragraph 2
[6] Chapter 2 “The Accommodating Dictatorship” pages 44-45; paragraph 1
[7] Chapter 4 “Profits for the People” page 119, paragraph 3

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