Understanding the Holocaust And Fighting WWII
Agenda 05/04/2012 • Bell Work • Understanding the Holocaust Presentation • Fighting WWII-Annotated Maps (Chapter 36) • Last class we looked at Japanese Internment, this class we will look at the holocaust and how WWII was fought, next class we will consider the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These stories are key to our evaluation of WWII and how the war changed the world.
Bell Work! • Last time we were together we looked at Japanese internment. Today we are turning our focus to how WWII was fought. A large part of the WWII story was the discovery of concentration and death camps throughout Nazi controlled Europe. • At what point do you think it becomes the responsibility of the international community to address abuses being committed in other countries? In other words, does the US or another country have a moral obligation to protect the rights of citizens throughout the world?
German Pride Suffers • Losing WWI and having to accept the harsh terms of Versailles was a blow to German national pride. • Germany had lost large tracts of land, all of her colonies, the right to a defensive army, and they had to accept responsibility for the war. • Additionally, Germany had to pay the Allies reparations to the tune of 32 billion dollars. • To pay their debt, the government printed and borrowed money causing hyperinflation • By 1923 it took 1,000,000,000 marks to equal $1 US!
Hitler’s early years • Born 1889 to a customs official • He strived to become an artist and a poet, but was unsuccessful • Dropped out of school at 16 having reached the 8th grade • Had a strained relationship with his father • Was close with his mother • When his mother died in 1907 of cancer, Hitler blamed her Jewish doctor • He served in the German army in WWI, he was not an exceptional soldier, but came to recognize the power of military as a tool to change Germany’s fortunes.
Hitler rises to power • 1919 joins Nazi Party • 1923 Beer Hall Putsch • While in jail, Hitler writes Mein Kompf (Lebensraum) • When he is released, he begins to rebuild the Nazi Party to work within the frame of government (no more revolution) • 1932 the Nazi Party wins elections and Hitler becomes chancellor • He begins to consolidate power (propaganda, Gestapo) • August 1934, president Hindenburg dies and Hitler immediately consolidates the presidency and the chancellor into one position with himself filling the role (der Füher)
Nazi ideology permeates germen society • “Follow me with your hearts, not your minds.” • The Nazis skillfully used propaganda to play on existing hatred of Jews and spread Hitler’s political message. • Even board games and toys would come with messages about how to use them to serve the fatherland (bicycles for military reconnaissance)
Targeting German Youth • Children 6-10 were expected to join Pimpf or little fellow • They kept records of their physical and military abilities. • After Pimpfwas Jungvolk then the Hitler Youth • The goal of these organization was to ensure loyalty to the Nazi philosophy. • “All education must have the sole objective of stamping conviction into the child that his own people and his own race are superior to others.”
Jews are isolated and attacked • What began with “boycott day” in 1933 grew in to much larger scale attacks on the Jewish community. • Nuremberg Laws 1933-1938: a set of over 2,000 anti-Jewish laws. At first they limited the type of work that Jews that could do, but they gradually grew more harsh so as to exclude Jews from property rights and even citizenship. • They also passed laws that required Jews to identify themselves by wearing a yellow Star of David • Oppressing Jews to purify German society and using them as scapegoats gave “good” Germans purpose and solidarity under Nazi rule
Attacks on Jews escalate • Kristallnacht: Nov. 10, 1938 “The Night of Broken Glass” • The savage and carefully orchestrated attack by thousands SS storm troopers and non-Jewish sympathizers went on an anti-Jewish rampage • In 15 hours the hoards: • destroyed 200 synagogues • looted 7,500 Jewish stores • killed 100 Jews • 30,000 Jews were arrested and interned in prison camps • To add to the horror, the Jewish community was fined 1 billion marks to repair the damage caused by the hoards • German Jews began to flee for safety
Jews are forced into ghettos, then camps • Throughout the 1930s, Jews were pushed into walled off portions of cities called ghettos. • Many arrived with no positions and lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety as executions were common and arbitrary • As Germany conquered eastern Europe, Jews were relocated to new ghettos that were meant to be holding areas until the “final solution” could be executed. • Resistance movements grew in these camps, but were often crushed with little concern for lives lost
Warsaw Ghetto uprising • January 1943 a revolt broke out in the Warsaw ghetto that 70,000 Jews had been imprisoned in. • Fighting lasted five months. At first they were able to drive the Germans out, but as they ran out of ammo and had to turn to other weapons, the Nazis came back with a vengeance. • At the end of the fighting 56,000 Jews had been murdered and only 9 Nazi were killed.
The horrors of concentration camps • Nazis began building concentration camps shortly after coming to power, but Jews were not sent to them in large numbers until after the Kristallnacht • The camps were key to Hitler’s efforts to control and terrorize the population of Europe. • Being sent to the camps was a death sentence; you were worked to death, starved, or just murdered • The “Angel of Death” conducted inhumane medical experiments on twins and Gypsies
Concentration Camps • If you were unfortunate enough to survive transportation to a concentration camp, there were two possibilities for you 1) be worked to death if you were healthy enough or 2) be killed immediately if you were too old, young, or weak to work • SS officers would confiscate everything including gold fillings and hair • Those selected to work, usually were only able to for three months before they were too weak and were executed
The “final solution” • Hitler often referred to a “final solution” to the “Jewish problem.” • To him the only way to purify and restore Germany’s power and greatness included the extermination of all Jewish people. • In 1941, the Nazis began mass shootings of as many as 500 at a time and left the bodies in mass graves • Striving for efficiency and desiring to hide the numbers being killed, Hitler began building death camps in 1942 • Like concentration camps, there were two lines: one for being worked for death and one for execution.
The “final solution” • Jews were lead into a “bathhouse” where they thought they were being deloused, instead they would be gassed with Cyclon B and then the bodies were cremated to hide the numbers of the dead. • The SS went to great lengths to hide the inevitable from their victims. They even went as far as issuing bars of soap to victims • The Auschwitz gas chamber could hold as many as 3,000 victims at a time • After the bodies were burned, the ashes would be spread over a large area to ensure that no one could determine the number of deaths
In the end it is estimated that from 1942 to 1945 : 6,000,000 Jews were murdered and 4-6,000,0000 gypsies, homosexuals, and handicapped people were executed
Liberation! • Allied forces and the world were shocked by what they were seeing at the death camps. • No one had predicted the scope and magnitude of Hitler’s “final solution” • To hold the Nazi accountable and to establish a formal record of their atrocities, the Allies held the famous Nuremburg trials. • 22 were tried • 12 sentenced to death • 3 to life in prison • 4 to lesser terms • and 3 acquitted
Annotated Maps • Next we will take a look at how WWII was fought so that we can consider all that we have learned so far in context. • For each section of chapter 36 there is a map that you will work to invest with the most salient information from the text. • Each map should be glued onto its own page in your notebook. • Refer to the handout for information on what to include on each map. • You should have plenty of time to complete the maps and you will be rewarded for complete maps at the end of class with a stamp.