ThesisThe Holocaust was a defining worldwide event.
The Nazi regime murdered ” six million, or two-thirds, of the Jewish men, women, and children.” These atrocities forced the Allies to have a heightened sensitivity to the situation. After World War II, the United States and Russia merged efforts to punish Nazi officials.
The German persecution of Jews force the Allies to a resolution for the crimes. The foundation for this was the Nuremberg Trials.The Rise of the NazisThe Nazis’ decree against the non-Aryans materialized years before Europe and the Western World knew about it. The German commission that finally became the Holocaust started. The rise of the Third Reich made anti-Semitic policies harsher. The regime rose to power in 1933, after the dissolution of the Weimar Republic. It was re-instated after World War II. The Treaty of Versailles forced depression on the German economy.
Hitler’s speeches reinforced the hatred of the Allies and the Jews. Coupled with the disbanding of the Reichstag, by President Paul von Hindenburg, the Nazis gained more seats. They became the largest party by July 1932 with 37.3 percent of public vote. According to The Nazis Rise to Power, “Preuss and many of the drafters sought to remedy the ills of the authoritarian imperial system and adopt a system more like the United States and Britain.
” Yet, the Weimar Government had a fatal flaw which was Article 48 that Hitler used to legitimize his dictatorial powers. According to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Article 48 allows the President to get short periods of dictatorial power. This dictatorial power can be utilized by disbanding the Reichstag and releasing the Chancellor. The acts, were to resist political opposition, rule without accountability to Reichstag or public and to rule by decree. Also, Article 48 allowed the President to dismiss Reichstag if they were planning to impeach the President. This, plus their seven year term made it difficult to get Presidents out of office in national crisis by Reichstag.
Adolf Hitler used Article 48 to establish his one party dictatorial system as legitimate by the Enabling Act. He merged the position of Chancellor and President after securing the one party government. Also, the Enabling Act allowed him to outlaw other political oppositions and to deviate from the Weimar Constitution. This gave him the power to rule the entire government, create laws and appoint anyone and dismiss any opposition.
The Rise of the HolocaustThe unopposed rule of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party came at the price of several promises to the public about returning former German glory and culture by reversing the Treaty of Versailles, and punishing, what Hitler felt, were inferior bastards. The Nazi actions of blaming Jews, Marxists, and others, were successful at isolating and making fear in the German population. The German’s first acts were to isolate the Jews by giving them reduced rations, blocking areas of certain cities from them and sending them to ghettos to be forced labor. But, Jews that continued to live in German Proper had low employment, food, and often their personal belongs would be taken due to the German war effort. This agony was not Hitler’s overseeing.
Instead, the main drive of the Holocaust was Heinrich Himmler, and appointed officials by Hitler. Himmler and his Gestapo and Schutzstaffel ran concentration camps and anti-jewish activities. Heinrich’s relied on two men. “Reinhard Heydrich, ran concentration camps and implemented policy toward the Jews in occupied Poland after September 1939, and Adolf Eichmann, parlayed his expertise about Jewish organizations into a position where he organized the systematic deportation and extermination of Jewish populations throughout Europe”.The Brutality of the NazisThe nonviolent acts were implemented between the rise of the Nazis and the beginning of World War II.
But, the unimaginable Nazi brutal acts were still yet to come. The start of the atrocity was the invasion of Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin. The mass murder of Jews and political enemies were usually in Russia and killed gunfire at first. Nazi’s armies advanced into the Soviet Union and massacred the Jews and Soviets in cities and towns. Also, they forced victims to collection sites to be trucked to execution sites. The Jewish and political enemies were forced to give up all their valuable possessions before they lined up for execution. Then the Nazi’s pushed the bodies into and buried them in their mass grave. In some cases, they dug their own graves.
These mass shootings, by einsatzgruppen gunman battalion, killed at least 313,000 Jews, Soviets during World War II. Yet, shooting executions was not the only killing methods that the Germans employed. The gas van and concentration camp that gassed of the Jews and other ethnic groups was also used.
The Germans shot many victims until Heinrich Himmler suggested an alternative annihilation method of the Jews due to the mental burden on firing squads, and be a easier and cheaper procedure to the regime. According to Holocaust Encyclopedia, “Final Solution”: Overview, “They were designed to complement ongoing shooting operations.” The camps and vans were constructed to suffocate Jews by poisonous gas in a sealed environment. The Jews, Russians, and other deportees were sent to concentration camps believing that they were getting disinfected in the showers for permanent house until the war was over. Yet, instead they were walking into the gas chambers.
The chambers were packed to the brim; often people had to raise their arms due to the orders of the guards which suffocated them quicker. These disguised facilities often experimented with their gas. They first started with carbon monoxide with the same design as the van but in 1941, the German found Zyklon B pellets which proved to be deadlier. This form of killing was efficient at the concentration peak. One facility, called the Auschwitz camp, killed over 6,000 Jews a day and 1 million in total. But, like Newton’s law of motion, if there is an action, then there is a reaction. This is true with the Nazi Holocaust which caused many Jews to rebel in the ghettos resulting in a quarter or 100 ghettos having partisan groups.
These groups often consisted of young Jewish men and women armed with smuggled weapons. The ghetto uprising members often knew that only a few of them would make it to the better equipped partisan groups. Despite this, many Jews made the decision to rebel. Over fourteen different ghetto and concentration camp rebellions were initiated. A famous rebellion was Warsaw ghetto where there was an uprising in the spring of 1943. This was the largest Jewish revolt.
The revolts often led to only 50% of escapees successfully reaching partisan lines. Many other people died to allow them to escape.The CompromiseThe Soviets and Americans had different views on how to treat and punish the Nazi hierarchy. The Soviets took a more radical approach and America had a conservative one. However, the Allies agreed that the Nazi war criminals would be judged in the country they operated and by that country’s laws. Also, the Nazi perpetrators that acted or merely influenced many places, were called “Major War Criminals” in the Nuremberg Trials and tried by the International Military Tribunal. The criminals were tried on four counts, “crimes against peace and humanity, war crimes, and conspiracy to commit these crimes”. The Holocaust conspirators were persecuted based on crimes against humanity and conspiracy.
A famous Holocaust defendant trial was against the Auschwitz concentration camp Commandant, Rudolf Höss, and others in Poland’s 1947 trial in Krakow. Another famous trial was the Jerusalem 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann. Also, there was in a bid for peace when the Allies gave the perpetrators of euthanasia crimes to the German Federal and Democratic Republic’s’ courts to sentence the German conspirators.
The Allies also gave Poland and Soviet Russia and others their chance to try defendants. The Nazis were usually put to death or jailed as a result of the trials. Though, some trials did release the Nazis or punished them with lighter sentences.
Additionally, some Nazi officials who committed small crimes, actually had no trial and faced no criminal charges. Furthermore, the trials of Nazi trials was a compromise agreement between the German Republics and Allies.The Importance of the HolocaustThe Holocaust changed many ideals post-holocaust because of the significant amount of lives lost. This showed how humans can be destructive and violent.
The Holocaust affected many 19th century beliefs about nationalism, superiority, and imperialism. The values of post-world Holocaust were to rebuild cities, instill human rights and support decency. Europe has abolished slavery but the Holocaust only reinforced the thought that slavery is inhumane. The United Nations and European Union antislavery goals. This goal has made them intervene in affairs to install democratic principles in slavery infested areas. The nazis implementation of national superiority and racism in the Holocaust made it a sensitive subject.
Therefore, Humanitarian organizations have helped the post-World War II Jews and other across the globe. The Holocaust resulted in the creation of many laws against genocide. The United Nations created the Genocide Conventions. The Genocide Conventions define and give examples of genocide and the related punishment. The United States and European allies formed the International Criminal Court and Rome Statute to punish the acts. The International Criminal Court replaced and tookthe responsibility of International Military Tribunal . The court punished acts of genocide, acts against humanity and war crimes in the 20th and early 21st century.
Judicial systems helped to eradicate events like the Holocaust and other mass atrocities.Impact of TodayEven today, there is a great sensitivity about the Holocaust. For example, the public can still see documentaries and videos on the subject. Books such as the “Diary of Anne Frank,” and movies such as, “The Hiding Place,” are often used in school curriculums to teach about the horrors of that time.
The abundant number of deaths may have impacted today’s society due to missed opportunities. For example, a “Leonardo Da Vinci” type of person or the parent of someone who could have solved a world issue. The person could have provided different views and solutions on different problems.
The mass murder of thirteen million lives increases this possibility. Also, the cultures and beliefs to include equality, human rights, decency and liberties. After, the holocaust, many governments included human rights for their citizens. Another result of the Holocaust is the divide between Western government and Eastern Europe’s government.
Russia has an ever-evolving government from communism and America has a democracy after the Holocaust. The opposing sides would create military alliances with like-minded countries. This led to the rise of the North Atlantic Treaty and the Shanghai Cooperation organization’s. These alliances created tensions which affects the economic and political atmosphere.
However, the fight against inhumane treatment can bring the alliances together .The ConclusionThe Nazi persecuted the Jews and other ethnic groups. This atrocity compelled the Allies to intervene. The United States and Russia compromise to punish Nazi officials after World War II. German unrest, at the end of World War I, has sparked the golden opportunity for the Nazis to rise in power. The Nazis successfully persuaded the German population that the non-Aryans are corrupt.
The Holocaust was Hitler’s solution for complete annihilation of the Jews and other groups. The operation was overseen by Heinrich Himmler and his associates. The Allies recognition of the Holocaust sparked the Nuremberg Trials.
This changed the meaning of the world of yesterday and today. The effect of the Holocaust touches all parts of life and changes how we look at human rights today.