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Essay: Brutality of Nazi Germany: The Path from Mein Kampf to Mass Murder

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  • Published: 26 February 2023*
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  • Words: 918 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Tags: World War II

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The second World War has been regarded as one of the most brutal international wars in history. This statement becomes even more evident when one analyzes the incredibly cruel “Final Solution” platform enacted on the Jews of Europe by the German government in the years before and during World War II. The “Final Solution” was Adolf Hitler’s answer to ‘the Jewish question’, which saw the death of over six million European Jews. It is well recorded that several key figures from all branches of government in Nazi Germany had involvement in this genocide. This leads to the conclusion that the path from Mein Kampf to mass murder is very clear and its transition can be shown by a trail of violent action. Knowing how Nazi Germany evolved from an ideology written in Mein Kampf into state sanctioned mass murder is critical to the understanding of the brutality of the Third Reich.

Mein Kampf was dictated by Adolf Hitler to Rudolf Hess while Hitler was in prison for treason against the pre-Nazi German government during the Beer Hall Putsch. In this book, Hitler unleashed his plans for the mass dehumanization of German Jews. Going even further, Adolf Hitler, as early as 1925, when Mein Kampf was released, proposes the total extermination of Jewish people. This would be to effectively rid Germany of all but the “Aryan Race”. Hitler believed that the Aryan race, to which all true Germans belonged, “was the race of whose blood was of the highest degree”. This ideology was the base of German exceptionalism, which played a massive role in the foundation of Nazi policies that would effectively ruin the lives of many people in the German States. Mein Kampf would reiterate Hitler’s necessity of ethnic cleansing, citing the Jewish problem was to blame for Germany’s failures.

Once Hitler was in power, one of his first legal acts against the liberties of Jews in Germany were the Nuremberg Laws. These Laws were enacted in order to silence the Jewish voice in Germany and to strip them of their citizenship, among other things. The effects of the Nuremberg Laws would severely hurt the Jewish community and essentially make them seem to the rest of the German public as a foreign entity living in their own communities. This top-down systematic hatred of the Jews made it easier for Germans to either disregard their existence or outwardly hate them. This is exactly what Hitler wanted as he constructed the social death of the Jewish people.

With this now widespread resentment of the Jewish population within Germany, Hitler had the opportunity ready to put his “Final Solution” into action. His censorship of the news, media, and legislative body made the perfect climate to start enacting his will onto the people. The Gestapo, or secret police, was originally formed with Hermann Goering as the leader. The Gestapo played a major role during Kristallnacht, which the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum describes as, a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938. This night saw the burning and torching of synagogues, Jewish homes, schools, businesses, and the death of about one hundred Jews. This attempt at scaring the Jewish population was effective in its implications. Thousands of Jews were beaten on the streets and thousands more were imprisoned at newly developed concentration camp facilities.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. This was the beginning of the second World War and the atrocities that were bound to take place within the new Polish General Government. Once Germany was in control of Poland, units were sent to the eastern front in Poland, so the Nazi’s were able to carry out cleansing and deportation operations outside of German borders. The Wannsee Conference of January 1942 was the official starting point for the “Final Solution”. The meeting, called for by Reinhard Heydrich, now head of the Gestapo, held fourteen senior SS officers, Nazi Party officials, and civil servants on January 20 off the shore of Berlin. The purpose of this meeting was to decide the fate of Germany’s Jews. In a statement, Heydrich is on record of saying, “In large, single-sex labor columns, Jews fit to work will work their way eastwards constructing roads. Doubtless the large majority will be eliminated by natural causes. Any final remnant that survives will doubtless consist of the most resistant elements. They will have to be dealt with appropriately, because otherwise, by natural selection, they would form the germ cell of a new Jewish revival.”.

This brutal message of mass murder and suffering was then carried to the front with the intent of enacting incredibly large-scale mass murders all over the European continent. The first method of physical execution to be discussed was very widely practiced among eastern front death squads; cranial shot executions. One of the policemen of Battalion 101 in German occupied Poland states, “… Dr. Schoenfelder… he now had to explain to us precisely how we had to shoot in order to induce the immediate death of the victim.” In the book, Ordinary Men, Christopher R. Browning states this method of killing is extremely personal and has a psychological effect on the executioner. Browning’s book is filled with examples of brutality such as this, including gruesome explanations of the cranial shot, where he says often the entire skill would spray blood, bone splinters, and brains all over the shooter.

Adolf Eichmann came up with a solution to the rabid brutality. Eichmann had organized the railway system to lead to death by gas chamber.

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