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To What Extent Was Adolf Hitler Personally Responsible For The Holocaust Between 1934 And 1942

4436 words - 18 pages

To What extent was Adolf Hitler personally responsible for the Holocaust between 1934 and 1942.

There can be no doubt that Hitler's behaviour throughout his political career, from the end of the First World War, until the end of the Second World War was characterised by radical anti-Semitism. In one way or another, Hitler wished to put an end to the existence of Jews with in the living space of the German people, and this objective was carried a very high priority in his political practice. Of course Hitler's anti-Semitic stance cannot by itself explain the persecution and murder of the European Jews by the Nazi regime. An investigation into the extent to which Hitler was involved in the ...view middle of the document...

To integrate the many different and antagonistic groups, to mobilise the actions of his subordinates, and to legalise any of the barbaric actions taken by his subordinates. Many of those in authority believed that it was their duty to comply with Hitler and what he wished in terms of ideology and policy. This often implied what they though Hitler wanted, which meant that he did not always have to give direct instructions.
Structuralists stress that the German Government disintegrated into a number of personal empires, such as those controlled by Herman Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebells, who were in fact the main architects of the Holocaust. Hitler became more dispensable in this very personal system. Although it is accepted that he played he played an important role regarding events surrounding the Holocaust, he is seen as not the initiator of the events. Structuralists argue that the decision was made for the Final Solution only in late Autumn 1941. He rarely issued written orders and the absence of such evidence has further contributed to the debate of Hitler's role in decision making. I shall examine the evidence to see to what extent Hitler was personally responsible for the Holocaust.

It is widely accepted by both 'schools' of thought ,that that Hitler had first developed his hatred of the Jews during his years in Vienna, due to the fact that in Mein Kampf Hitler himself attributes his anti-Semitic views to experiences he had undergone there. Mein Kampf is a is a book written by Hitler which combines elements of an autobiography and with an exposition of Hitler's National Socialist political ideology. In this book, Hitler showed he own undisguised hatred of the Jews which would inevitably result in genocide. He devoted almost 700 pages of Mein Kampf to a personal unreasoning diatribe against the Jews. (1)'Was there any shady undertaking, any form of foulness in which at least one Jew did not participate.' They were responsible for war, revolutions, the decline of national values and for the 'mixing of the races'. Hitler described his own radical views about 'removing' the Jews from Germany and referred to the Jews as 'germ carriers of the foulest kind' and 'parasites in the body of other peoples'. The language that Hitler used in this early period to describe his thoughts on the Jews was filled with boundless hatred, which is regarded by intentionalist historians as a evidence for his own personal involvement and the first foundations of the Final Solution.

Hitler's anti-Semitic statements during his political career suggest a further increase in hostility towards the Jews. Hitler's very first political statement when he became Fuhrer in 1934, his letter to Adolf Gemlich, includes a clear declaration of his anti-Semtic position. (2)'The ultimate unalterable objective of rational ant-Semitism must be the removal of the Jews altogether'. This attitude is constant throughout all Hitler's public statements on the issue....

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