Ethnic Conflict Assignment – The Holocaust
The Holocaust is generally defined as the mass murder of more than 6,000,000 Jewish
men, women, and children, along with people belonging to other groups such as gypsies, the mentally and physically handicapped, and homosexuals, by the Germans during World War II. Adolf Hitler, the dictator and leader of the Nazi Party, was held most responsible for this terrible crime against humanity and was the driving power of the fervent and obsessive Nazi persecution and ultimately the mass genocide of the Jews among various other groups. Although there were numerous events that led up to the holocaust, the nightmare began following World War I, when Germany was humiliated due to the Treaty of Versailles which forced Germany to surrender its land to other countries, such as France, Belgium, and Denmark. Moreover, any colonies that Germany acquired overseas were now possessed by the League of Nations. The Versailles Treaty furthermore forced Germany to pay enormous amounts of money to the Allies. Without any other alternative, Germany took loans from the United States to pay this money. However, once the Great Depression began in the United States, banks demanded that Germany repay their loans, which crippled the German economy even more. This allowed the rise of the Nazis who took advantage of the vulnerable state Germany was in, and ensured the susceptible Germans that they would make Germany a major world power again, playing on their desperateness to rebuild their nationalism. The influence of anti-Semitism, extreme nationalism, and the appeal of Nazi propaganda depicting Germans as the “master race” were all major factors that resulted in the holocaust.