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The Holocaust

Toni Prskalo MYP 3: History

Teacher: Indira Brajcic

The holocaust today is one of the most significant periods in history of the world, but what do people actually think of when it is mentioned? Is it the millions of innocent Jewish lives taken so ruthlessly by the Nazis? Or is it the sheer power of their all-conquering leader Adolf Hitler? Many things cross the mind, and how the Nazis dispatched one race with such ease remains a mystery to me and countless others. Theoretically, the beginnings of the Nazi political movement started in the 1920s, after the fall of the government due to the Reichstag fire, in which the communists were blamed. By 1934, all other political parties were banned from the country and Germany entered its darkest ever period in history, lead by Adolf Hitler. The Germans established what was called an Aryan Race, which meant that all other races were considered inferior (such as the Slavs, Jews and the Roma), and that Germany had to be transformed into in all-great state, that controlled the world and dictated it. Their hunger for power lead to the start of WWII under Hitlers rule in which Germany tried to take control of Europes great nations starting from their invasion of Poland in 1939 until their eventual defeat at the hands of the Allies in 1945. For some, it seems that the Holocaust is in another lifetime, but for others it will be something they will never forget. Holocaust was a time for fighting. The Jewish race would fight for their right to live while the Germans would exterminate them one by one, torturing them simply because they were a different race. 6 million Jews were approximately killed during WWII, and what for? This sort of inhumanity is not believed to be possible these days in our modern times. Supposedly, Hitler convinced his country that the Jews were responsible for nearly all of Germanys problems and that they plotted against his ideas. In truth, he needed a psychological barrier in which his countrymen could act behind and that was the true idea of the holocaust. Hitler needed a scapegoat a race that he could focus his entire hatred and spite on. In his attempt to cleanse the world, he used an extreme amount of repulsive methods to achieve his goals. By sending everyone who could not fit in to his perfect Aryan race to their deaths, the world feared him and that is in truth how he managed to stay in power. The main aspects were the concentration camps camps ranged all over Europe for the purpose of extermination, slave labor, and imprisonment. The common association that comes to mind these days is that the Jews alone were brought to concentration camps just to be killed. That is only partly true death camps such as Auschwitz, Birkenau and Treblinka were used for the sole purpose of extermination, with many shockingly effective and repulsive methods of killing, such as gassing masses of people to death in chambers and facing firing squads. Those who by some miracle escaped all this were worked to death and starvation, by helping the Germans in the war. The second type of camps were the labor/imprisonment camps, in which fit individuals such as young men and boys were put into to do intense labor in terrible conditions and without virtually any food which lead to their eventual deaths. Here not only Jews were stored, but all who opposed the Aryan race (handicapped, gypsies, blacks, etc) what brought on such cruelty? What did these innocent people do to deserve this treatment? This remains unknown to me.

Propaganda within Nazi Germany was one of the key elements enabling Hitlers power to grow and to gain support of the German citizens. Upon his storm to the Fuhrer position in Germany, he took control of all forms of mass media, and used common forms of propaganda in posters, newspapers, books and television while censoring all those that opposed him. His strategies were particularly effective in the fact that he promised the Germans that he could lead them back from the crisis after WWI and re-establish them as the most powerful country in the world during WWII. This, and his opposition to all other races (especially Jewish), led the Germans to believe what he said and adopt a similar mindset. If they didnt, they would be killed. Censorship went as far as to the educational aspect of schools, to the shutting down of the catholic youth groups in favor of Hitlers German youth groups. Textbooks in school were edited to support Hitler, and many new books supporting him were written, while others with nonGerman ideas were banned. All in all, it was somewhat impossible for the Germans not to be swayed by the mass media propaganda used by the Nazis in the time of Hitlers rule. The end of Hitlers powerful Germany proved to be the end of WWII and it occurred sometime in 1941 (although the war officially ended in 1945) when the Germans lost to the brave Russians and never really recovered from the blow properly. The failed invasion lead to huge German losses of both soldiers and financial resources. As well as this, the Allies launched counter-attacks until his massive Empire grew weaker. The country started to turn against him and there was even a planned assassination of Hitler in 1944 by a few of his generals. In 1945, the war seemed to be lost but Hitler demanded his troops to keep fighting till their deaths. The situation was hopeless, and while Russia and the Allies invaded Germany, Hitler killed himself along with his mistress in a bunker with cyanide. Officially the war was lost a week later, when Germany surrendered. The war in Japan waged on a month or so longer. The end of Hitler became a blessing for Germany who were once again punished after the war, but never again had a tyrant so twisted and evil lead Germany again. My opinion on the Holocaust is certainly very strong. The acts committed by the Nazis during Hitlers rule were terrible, terrible losses for the world and its people. Such acts are now known as some of the most important periods in history of the world, and are learnt about by all. Despite the fact that I was born some 50 years later, I have very strong opinions on the subject of the Holocaust and oppose all forms of discrimination very much. This time in history has shaped the world to what it is today, and because of it there is somewhat less racism that I think there wouldve been had it not been for the Germans losing the war. In modern times, racism exists, but not to such an extent that it would be legal to kill someone of another race for no apparent reason and get away scot-free. All people are equal, regardless of their physical appearance and I hope that harsher actions continue to be taken to all racist or prejudiced individuals.

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by: Toni Prskalo