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Modern World History

Abigail Zhou

Midterm Research Paper


Shortly after World War II, it was believed that most German people carried a lousy name
among American society due to Nazi, which is a German far-right political party led by Hitler
that was active between 1920 and 1945​1​. The reasons why that Nazi made Germans carried a bad
reputation in 1940 to 1960s is the fact that the Nazi Army murdered millions of innocent lives
during its time; however, the point is why would most people equate ordinary German citizen
with a Nazi member. Moreover, the way Americans remembered WWII and Nazi army
influenced the way they treated German people on a daily basis based on the reputation that was
given by the Nazi army. Tracing back to World War II, Nazi committed thousands of inhuman
crimes like the Holocaust which is the murder of at least six million Jewish people​2​, as well as
the human experiments, the using of forced labor around Europe. Nazi's actions were against
human morale and ethics and were resented by all humans around the world.

On the other hand, the German army is the primary support of the Nazi’s military ambitions
which made them responsible for the Nazi's actions since they helped Nazi carry out their actions
and got benefits from the crimes Nazi committed. Which also explains that why most Americans
would equate Germans with Nazi members because most Germans took part in the German army
either voluntarily or through conscription which is compulsory enlistment for persons especially
for military service. So in the Americans' perspective, the German army supported the Nazi army
and ignored their inhuman actions. Aside from those two elements, there’s another possible
element that Americans had a wrong impression of German people. It is known for a fact that
Germany fought against the US during World War II and caused America political and economic
damages. So Americans could also be upset about Germans just merely because of the adverse
effects their country has on American society.

Most resources show that it was German people who put Nazi party on the power position which
led to the enormous catastrophes. Therefore, Germans had a lousy reputation among other
societies because the support they gave to Nazi Party. Comparing to the massive amount of
supporters Nazi gained later of the years, Nazi party barely had any support at first. In the early
1930s, Hitler and the Nazi Party starts appearing in public. In the first few elections, Nazi Party
failed to win over a majority of the parliamentary elections. However, they were able to gain the
significant support of German citizens by using propaganda like deceiving the public, making
unrealistic promises​3​. Shortly after convincing the German citizens, they were able to seize
control of multiple trade routes which forced several unions to engage and support Nazi party.
As a result of that, Hilter and the Nazi Party started gaining power and finally became the state
party of Germany in 1933​4​. As for the last step for Nazi taking over the whole Germany is gain
the support from the military force; he started to convince the German army to support and help
him carry out the Nazi Party’s actions. At first, the leader of the German military did not agree
with Hitler’s political and racial ambitions. However, Hitler was able to befriend with the
German army by helping them rebuild the army which was poorly damaged after World War I
and promised them to fight their enemies in France and the Soviet Union; he even gave them
personal gifts like lands or estates. Therefore, in 1934, most leaders of the German military
agreed to support Hitler. The military even changed their oath of service to unconditional
obedience to Hitler and the Nazi Party instead of the German constitution​5​ which empowered the
Nazi Party.

During World War II, Nazi party dragged millions of innocent German citizens into wars by
conscription and made them suffer the aftermath as well. Right after Nazi party got into the
power position, Hitler denounced the military clauses of the Versailles Treaty and proclaimed
immediate general military conscription in Germany in order to expand the German army and
gain more power for the invasion he prepared​6​. However, the way Americans remembered this
part is most Germans took part in the German army and helped Nazi fight; therefore, they treated
German people differently based on their perception of the wars.

As mentioned before, the Nazi army committed countless crimes during the wartime which
caused the resentment from people all over the world. For example, their usage of forced labor in
countries that Germany occupied. In WWII, the economy of Germany dropped drastically due to
the enormous effort they put on the wars and the army. As a solution to this, the Nazi
government decided to build labor camps across from Europe in order to force people to work
for them in the occupied country. The Nazi army abducted almost 12 million people from almost
twenty European countries, and many workers died because of the dangerous living conditions
and mistreatment that led to thousands of broken families​7​. Besides the labor camps, the Nazi
and German army committed a lot of other unforgivable crimes as well. One of the infamous
crimes is the Holocaust. It started because of the racial ambition Nazi tried to achieve. In the
Nazi army’s racial ideology, they believed that ethnic German is the superficial race and other
groups of people like Jewish people as well as homosexuals and Roma are the developmentally
disabled that should be executed​8​. The Nazi army considered the Jewish people as “useless and
incurable sickness.” The Holocaust resulted in the deaths of 17 million people. Aside from the
racial ideology Nazi tried to achieve, researchers of Nazi conducted barbaric and bizarre
experiments on people in order to study “science" which also killed thousands of innocent lives​9​.

People's hatred for Nazi is not irrational. The amount of crimes that the Nazi army committed
during WWII is extensive. Besides the number of crimes, their actions during the wars are cruel,
barbaric, inhuman and irresponsible. The Nazi army always had the ideology that the
government needs to be strong and had extensive power. Correspond to the ideology, Hitler and
Nazi party think Germany should expand its territory, as well as all Europe should accommodate
the needs of the new Germany. Except for the greed for power, the Nazi party also had the racial
ideology that all ethnic German is the best race and race like Jews and Romanian should
disappear​10​ which resulted in the slaughter of thousands of innocent Jewish people. In order to
chase "true science" and keep their country from falling apart, Nazi also committed crimes like
conducting human experiments and used forced labor which also resulted in millions of deaths of
people. Countless lives were lost just due to Nazi's wrongdoing.

Moreover, people around the world knew for a fact that Nazi was from Germany and was the
State Party of Germany. So in their minds, they might assimilate all Germans to Nazi member.
Therefore they had a wrong impression of German people and would tend to disrespect them.

Apart from the fact that the Nazi Party is from Germany, there are other historical evidence
which shows German people and the Nazi army were connected. Before Hilter and the Nazi
army carried out actions to achieve their ideology, they went through quite a lot to get in the
position of power. In one of the sources mentioned some specific data of the German election
and how Hilter rose to power, that when Hilter and his party first appeared in the public eye, he
was rejected by most of the German people since most German citizens thought his ideas as
crazy and unrealistic. However, through all the effort they put, Hitler and the Nazi party won
over sixty percent of people in the election a few years later. Which is interesting because most
German people were able to get a clear sense of who Hitler and his party was at first; however,
as time went by, they started trapping in the fantasy bubbles that Hitler promised and lost their

Another possible reason that Americans related Germans with the Nazi party is that over eighty
percent of Germans took part in the German army either by volunteering or conscriptions while
German army was the “engine” of Nazi and helped them carry out the actions. The German army
was the main force of the Nazi party. They are the one who helped Nazi to fulfill their ideology
and carry out their policies and orders without considering or judging the fairness or correctness
of the actions. The German army participated in the Holocaust and other crimes that associated
with Nazi policy. However, most German soldiers who served in the German army were
conscripts who were innocent and were forced to be in the army. As an example, in the
interview, the interviewees mentioned their mother was drafted to the war when she was fifteen.
There was no option, either one goes to serve in the army, or the Nazi army would shoot one at
their front door. However, the way that most Americans or people around the world remembered
was that German people supported the army and from that, they had a wrong impression of
Germans after World War II.
Aside from all the reasons mentioned above, there is another perspective about why German
people carried a lousy name the time after WWII as well. War means damage and injury. In
WWII, Germany caused considerable damages to the US which includes the deaths of more than
four hundred thousand soldiers. This war also had a significant effect on society and the
economy. One of the economic events happened during that period, is the Great Depression
which resulted in the unemployment of thousands of people and profound changes in economic
policy. Other than that, the Great Depression made American families suffered in many different
ways. It put great economic and psychological pressure on every family. So these families might
pull the stress out on their enemy who indirectly caused the Great Depression. Besides the
adverse effects that WWII had on American society, the government propaganda had a
significant impact on Americans' attitudes towards Germans as well. Most Americans had a
wrong impression of German people right after World War II because most Germans have
participated in some of the vile things Nazi did and their country caused massive damages to the
US. However, the fact that most German people were forcibly involved in wars and they also
suffered from Nazi's inhuman actions was deliberately ignored by most of the people. Most
Americans only remembered that German people helped and supported Nazi during the war and
this led to Americans mistreated German people or judged them just based on their perceptions
of the war. Therefore it leads to the conclusion that the way people remembered wars would
affect how they treat objects or people based on the information. Moreover, it tells us we should
not judge or label someone without knowing or understanding the further information or the

In this paper, there were two kinds of information that are evidence to back up the arguments,
first-hand sources like the textbook and the interview, and the second-hand sources like articles
and websites online which are from the research. One website that provides much information
during the research is a website called United States Holocaust Museum. This website includes
specific information on the Nazi army. However, this website’s perspective is mostly on the US
and the victims’ side which means it's possible for this source to be biased, but on the other hand,
it is the official website of the Holocaust museum so the information should be accurate and
reliable. Another big part of the second-hand sources that include in the paper is Wikipedia
which is a reliable site to get information. Besides second-hand sources, the first-hand sources in
the paper are trustworthy as well. One main part evidence is the interview​11​ which provides great
information about World War II and the experiences of being on a different side of the war other
than the US. During the interview, the interviewees also shared the personal stories and
experiences of living in the US while having a German mother after World War II and how
people treated them differently based on their family background and inspired the thought of
writing this paper. Another part of first-hand sources is from the history textbook and some old
articles that were written around WWII.
1. "Na​itler O​zi Party." Wikipedia. December 09, 2018. Accessed December 18, 2018.​.

2. "The Holocaust." Wikipedia. December 16, 2018. Accessed December 18, 2018.

3. Kershaw, Ian. "The Führer Myth: How Hitler Won Over the German People - SPIEGEL ONLINE -
International." SPIEGEL ONLINE. January 30, 2008. Accessed December 18, 2018.

4. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed December 18, 2018.

5. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed December 18, 2018.

6. "Hrders Military Conscription in Germany." UPI. January 01, 1970. Accessed December 18, 2018.

7. "Forced Labour under German Rule during World War II." Wikipedia. November 26, 2018.
Accessed December 18, 2018.

8. "World History, Volume II: Since 1500, 7e." Bookshelf Online. Accessed December 18, 2018.!/4/4@0.00:0.00​.

9. "10 Rotten Things the Nazis Pulled." History and Headlines. Accessed December 18, 2018.

10. ​"Nazi Ideology." Nazi Germany. June 29, 2018. Accessed December 19, 2018.

11. "Nazi Ideology." Nazi Germany. June 29, 2018. Accessed December 19, 2018.
Annotated Bibliography
"Forced Labor under German Rule during WWII." Wikipedia.
This a source about the German forced labor during WWII. It provides historical information
about the forced labor and the information is pretty accurate.

"German Army (1935–1945)." WIKIPEDIA.
This source includes the number of soldiers that were participated in the German army. It's
useful because it gives us the specific data of the German soldiers as well as the
conscripts. The source is reliable and bias-free.

"The German Military and the Holocaust." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
This source gives us information about how the German military are related to each other and
how the German military helped or supported Nazi and holocaust in some ways. This
source is accurate and reliable; however, it might be slightly biased since it's from US
perspective who is a rival of Germany and the article is written for the memorial of the

"Great Depression."

the information about the Great Depression

"Hitler Orders Military Conscription in Germany." UPI.
This is a source about conscription in Germany during World War II. It gives us a perspective of
the German side of the war and how's like to be on the opposite side of our country. This
source is useful because it doesn't contain that much bias and pretty reliable and accurate
since it's an article from that time period.

"The Holocaust." Wikipedia.

This source gives us a piece of specific information about the Holocaust and how many deaths
were caused because of this.

"How Hitler Won over the German People." SPIEGEL.
The source gives us an explanation of how Hitler won over German people's support by using
propaganda. It's useful because it shows most of the German people did support Nazi and
Hitler during the wars.

Interview by the author. Milford, CT. 12 2, 2018.

The first round of interview about World War II. The source is really reliable and a first-hand

"The Military Power, Economics and Strategy That Led to D-Day." The Conversation.
This source provides great details about The Invasion of Normandy. I think it's useful because it
shows us what kind of global events lead to the invasion and the effects on each side of
the armies.

"Nazi Ideology." Alpha History.

information about Nazi Ideology.

"Nazi Party." WIKIPEDIA.

define Nazi

"Nazi Rule." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
A great source on how Hitler and the Nazi army comes to power; might be biased since it's on
the memorial of the Holocaust but most of the information should be accurate.

"10 Rotten Things the Nazis Pulled." History&Headlines.
This source is a brief summary of all the horrible things Nazi did during WWII. It's a great
source to show why people have a bad impression of Germans after WWII. This source is
useful because it includes historical evidence about each thing Nazi did; however, it
might be a little biased since the writer is an American soldier but most of the
information should be accurate.

World History, Volume II: Since 1500, 7e.​

This textbook provides information about WWII and the Nazi army and the source is reliable and
accurate since it's the textbook for students.