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Demarcus Powell

HIST 4344.501
FALL 2014
WWII AND THE HOLOCAUST
9/24/14
Leading up to World War Two both the Japanese and German governments rampant

rejection of western ideas, Jewish culture, and animosity for Marxist-communist ideas pushed

the world into a conflict that could only be topped by nuclear genocide. The question has been

asked what could allow for such things to happen. The answer is complicated but it does have a

starting point, the elimination of the western ideas of individual rights, lead from not just a war

but the attempted annihilation and dehumanization of two different cultures.

The propaganda leading up to World War Two in both Germany and japan led to the

people who followed their leaders Adolf Hitler and Emperor Hirohito without question. Bernard

Martin talks specifically of citizens and soldiers being ready to offer their lives without even

understanding the reasons why they must do so. The sort of sacrifices that citizens were willing

to make before the start of World War Two is astounding from a western point of view. The

elimination of western ideas like questioning your leader or believing all people are equal would

have surely prevented the sort of mindset that was achieved through propaganda in prewar

Germany and Japan. Through the use of propaganda and literature the Germans in particular

were able to put all blame for the loss of the Great War, the downfall of the German economy,

and all things bad in the world on the Jewish people. The citizens of Germany simply accepted

this without question. There was a rampant movement away from and intellectual society that

questioned why people do things. This movement initiated not just a period of war but pushed

the Jewish people to the edge of annihilation.

The principle source of anti-Semitism in prewar Europe came from the notion that all

Jewish people were a part of a worldwide conspiracy to enslave all non-Jewish people. Marvin

Perry refers to a very specific piece of forged literature written in France in 1905 to further this

conspiracy. Protocols of the Elders of Zion became second only the Christian bible in terms of

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prewar sales leading up to World War Two, this widely circled literature helped the German

propaganda machine spin what was a completely fabricated story into a work of non-fiction for

the German people. These things instilled such hate that even those Germans who did not know

of the concentration camps would have still advocated for them to stop the spread of Jewish

power. Again these ideologies are disturbing to discuss and think about in hindsight, yet these

are the things that helped push the world into a war that was about total annihilation, total power,

and total destruction of the world order.

Beyond the rejection of the Jewish people both the German and Japanese wanted deeply

to stop the spread of Marxist ideas and communism throughout the world. Bernard Martin refers

to a deep animosity towards these ideas of egalitarianism in Japan and Germany in the Modern

World. The justification used by the Germany propaganda machine was that the Russians and

communism were impure and fostered the ideas of different non Arian cultures mixing, this

objection to communism stems from Hitlers deep hatred for Jewish people as well as anyone

who stood in the way of his perfect race. The Japanese had different justifications for why they

did not want communism to spread. These principles are outlined by Jerome Hagen in his works

on the Pacific theatre of war. The first of those principals being that the world should be one big

family, the second being that the first can only be obtained through loyalty to the emperor.

Through this propaganda the Japanese made their citizens believe that only through world

domination under the emperors command would they be morally good. Any objection to this

and they were defying Japans divine mission to rule the world.

Although the Japanese tried to differentiate their ideologies from that of the Germans at

its core it was not much different. Hagen references a book written by Dr. Shumei Okawa, this

book argued that Japan was the first state to exist and because of this Japan had a divine mission

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to rule the world. This book also goes on the say that the Japanese were the master race and their

mission was to stop the tyranny of western rulers. Thoughts like those written by Dr. Okawa

show just how similar both ideologies of both Germany and Japan were both so similar. The

Japanese had a deep hatred for anyone who stood in their way of world domination just as the

Germans. Beyond the goals of world domination both the Germans and Japanese wanted the

same things, power and money.

Both the German and Japanese ideologies that thirsted for both power and money put

them and their respective countries in not only a struggle for control of the world but also pushed

themselves to commit tragic genocides in order to achieve this goal. The true irony of both

ideologies is that they rampantly rejected western ideology for individual rights and laws, yet

they both craved what the western powers had, power. The only difference is the Germany and

Japanese ideologies allowed them to do anything to achieve this goal.

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Works Cited

Hagen, Jerome T. War in the Pacific. Vol. 1. Honolulu: Hawaii Pacific University, 2005. 4.

Martin, Berndard. "Three Forms of Fascism: Japan-Italy-Germany." In Japan and Germany in the

Modern World, 172. Providence, R.I.: Berghahn Books, 1995.

Perry, Marvin. "Hitlers Worldview." In World War II in Europe: A Concise History, 8. Boston, MA:

Cengage Learning, 2013.

Story, Ronald. "Europe in 1939." In Concise Historical Atlas of World War Two: The Geography of

Conflict, 16. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.