Nazi Germany: Truly an Unprecedented Evil.

Nazi Germany: Truly an
Unprecedented Evil.

Throughout history, it is rare to see a
power that has both fanatical intentions along with the military might
to carry them out on such a large scale. In the past, there have
certainly been expanding threats that were insatiable in their appetites
for conquest, such as the Greeks, Romans, Muslim caliphates, Mongols,
Ottomans and Napoleon’s France. However, even these nations were often
no worse (perhaps even better in cases) than the existing regimes they
conquered. The main crime was the warfare that ensued between existing
regimes and the expansionary threats.

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But once rule had been
established, conquered subjects were often assimilated into the
political system, even as equals or near-equals in many instances, and
with fair to substantial autonomy. Certainly there were atrocities
carried out by conquering powers before the Nazi regime, but nothing
comparable to the Nazi crimes against humanity, and often nothing above
and beyond what the general public faced under the receding regime. Nazi
Germany, was truly diabolical in its treatment of conquered peoples,
including its own citizens deemed to be “undesirable”. They forced
millions into slave camps, systematically exterminating Jewish and even
Polish populations, as well as other “undesirables” including religious
figures, handicapped, darker races, homosexuals, etc. The
Atlantic-African Slave Trade was perhaps greater in its harmful impact
(tens of millions enslaved over the course of 4+ centuries), but the
Holocaust is unique in the number of people slaughtered with cold
calculation in such a short period of time.

How could such an unprecedented evil arise? 1) Technology –
deadlier weaponry and more efficient means to rapidly kill large numbers
of people. 2) Dense Populations – warfare and atrocities were made much
more deadly (in terms of death rates) due to large numbers of victims in
comparatively tighter proximities. 3) Mass Media –enabled a cult of
personality (such as Hitler), with such extremist ideas, to spread
propaganda to an enormous audience. Since television and radio
broadcasts were so new, they had a greater persuasive effect than is
possible today.

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How were such detestable acts justified? Hatred for the Jewish
people existed throughout Europe, and especially in Germany, long before
Hitler rose to prominence. With the Germans, the hatred stemmed from
perceived religious, social, physical and nationalistic differences.
Throughout history, Christian leaders had always stoked the fires of
contempt against the people believed to be responsible for the death of
their lord Jesus Christ. The Jews were also viewed as a peculiar people,
that tended to isolate themselves from the general European community.
Through falsified “scientific” studies, Jews were also deemed to be
anatomically inferior. This dehumanization made persecution seem morally
acceptable. Finally, Jews were wrongfully perceived to be responsible
for Germany’s premature surrender in WWI. As a highly prideful people,
the Jews served as the perfect scapegoat to explain away their WWI
failings and subsequent inter-war predicament.

Hitler: The “right” trigger at the “right” time. Hitler then came
along and pulled all of these levers to bring hatred for Jews and other
“undesirables” to a boiling point. Despite their defeated disposition
after their WWI loss, Germany still sat on a wealth of industrial and
military might, along with vast raw and human resources. When Hitler
mobilized these resource to their advantage, Germany again began to
rise, while the rest of Europe sank during the Global Depression. As a
result, Hitler’s political currency rose tremendously, to iconic status,
which enabled him to carry out his “Final Solution” with the support of
a nation. He was also able to establish himself as politically
untouchable and authoritatively secure, which gave him dictatorial
powers, making opposition to his plans a life-threatening
proposition.

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