The Undercurrents Of World War Ii: The Holocaust

2331 words - 9 pages

As tensions escalated in Europe until the point of the Second World War, another war raged beneath the surface, unbeknownst to foreign onlookers. Not only did Hitler and Nazi Germany start an unprovoked war that took the lives of over 50 million soldiers, they also exterminated millions of innocent people for no other reason than their religion. The Holocaust began in 1933, reached its peak during the Second World War, and came to an end with the war in 1945. Hitler used the Holocaust as a mechanism to purge his German state of any lesser people (especially those of Jewish heritage) that might be of some threat to his superior Aryan race. As a result of the Holocaust, millions of men, women, and children of various national, ethnic, and social backgrounds died or had their lives impacted forever.
The word holocaust was originally used to describe the destruction or slaughter on a mass scale (especially cause by fire); however, this term has been more widely accepted to refer to the genocide orchestrated by Adolf Hitler from January 30, 1933, when he took over as prime minister of Germany, to May 8, 1945, the end of the war in Europe. There is controversy over whether or not the term “Holocaust” includes only those murdered of Jewish decent. Today, it is generally held that the term “Holocaust” refers to all those put to death in the Nazi concentration camps, ghettos, and murder squads, and the term “Final Solution” is given to refer to the genocide of the Jewish people (also referred to the as “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question”). There is no way to determine the exact number of lives taken during the Holocaust, but six millions is the widely accepted death toll for Jewish victims and five millions is the accepted death toll of the non-Jewish victims. This bring the death toll to about 11 million lives taken over just a 12 year period, but has also been estimated as high as 17 million (36 Questions).

Not a particularly talented or smart child, Adolf Hitler was drawn to politics at an early age. He joined the German Workers Party, drawn by the appeal of secrecy and anti-Semitism. Hitler became the speaker for the party in 1919 and subsequently renamed the party the National Socialist German Workers Party (NAZI). One year later he declared himself the Fuhrer of the party. In 1923, Hitler attempted a coop against the Bavarian government, but he was unsuccessful. He was put on trial for treason and for 24 days, Hitler used the courtroom as a propaganda conduit to the public. Newspapers introduced the German people to this rising politician and his radical way of thinking. Through his widely publicized trial, Hitler had gained national influence by controlling the courtroom with his demanding presence and rhetorical skills. During his time spent in jail, he wrote Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”), which expands on his extreme way of thinking and his belief in the superior Aryan race. After serving nine months in prison, Hitler...

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