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The Historical and Political Trajectory of Hitler’s Holocaust

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The Historical and Political Trajectory of Hitler’s Holocaust

Historical documents have eerily foreshadowed ground-breaking world events such as the
eruption of German nationalism and justification for ethnic cleansing, leading into WWI and
WWII. Some prominent examples are The Greatness of War (1900), Germany and the Next War
(1912), Mien Kampf-My Struggle (1923), All Quiet on the Western Front (1929), The Revolt of
the Masses (1930), The Doctrine of Fascism (1932), Reichstags Brandverordnung-Presidential
Decree for The Protection of People and State (1933), Deutsche Physik-German or Aryan
Physics (1934), Heredity and Racial Biology for Students (1935) and A Report on the Banality of
Evil (1937). These narratives are redolent with genetic, legal and scientific evidence justifying
ethnic marginalisation, jingoism and war.

Heinrich von Treitschke’s The Greatness of War (1900) communicates the dynamics on
militarism and its unfurling, specifically in Germany. War usually unites a people as the citizens
celebrate lofty and noble ideals, and also realise larger-than-life objectives, transcending the
individual. These congregations stoke the movement of national glorification, implementing and
pursuing more protectionist policies to secure the nation’s own survival and even prestige. In the
absence of war, mental and economic stagnation thrive, however, the concept of a just war stirs
the temper and quickens the senses. Opinions favourable to militarism lay the foundation of the
World Wars stimulating augmented military budgets in an age that considered war as a solution.
War becomes sanctioned by the élite and idealised before the masses. In his writing, Tritshchke
embeds a divine justification of war in which God approves of cause, serving for the best of
humanity. War functions as a means for peace and progress, engenders heroism and
distinguishes honour, awarding models of national pride. In war, one may forever bask in the
euphoria, glory and fond memories, infinitely surpassing the devastation and loss of life.
Friedrich von Bernhardi masterpiece, ‘Germany and the Next War’ (1912) patronises
militarism and war, both prioritised as “a biological necessity of the first importance.” Survival
of the fitness and the primal laws of nature govern in Germany. War is viewed as indispensable
activating a process through which civilization develops, enabling the absorption of weaker
nations into a larger imperial hegemony. Bernhardi recognises the inevitability of war via the
natural law of self-preservation and its political expediency since history witnesses to the fact
that might proves right, and the conquerors write the history. In any case, weaker nations
succumb, although they may either virulently oppose foreign subjugation and conquest or may
yield as tributary – the political struggle is likened to a voracious animal hungry for its prey in
the jungle, the right of possession goes to the conqueror, based on sheer force. In the same vein,
the Germany self-appropriated this right of brutal conquest to colonise and annex territory,
eventually constructing a hierarchal power. To most Germans at the time, denouncing war is
inconceivable as in times of old, it grants occasion for proof of manhood, for economic growth
and for national supremacy.
Adolf Hitler’s Mien Kampf-My Struggle (1923) expounds on his views of social
darwinism, anti-semitism, marxism and völkisch. In Hitler’s view, nature has ordained a superior
race, the Aryans, authorised with the definition and destiny of other races according to blood
lines. Hybridisation or mixture of races defiles the purity of blood, dilutes the strength of the
culture and results in racial decline. He recognises a dominant élite, positioned at the head of the
social hierarchy. The preservation of ethnic superiority equates to survival according to the law
of necessity as the strong possesses and wields the right wage war. Germans inherit their views
on superiority from the Aryan race which invaded Asia and significant regions of Europe. In his
work, Hitler attributes contemporary civilisation, progress and ingenuity to the Aryans, the
natural leadership of the human race.
On the other hand, the Jews are regarded as devoid of culture, value or power; therefore
despised even beneath humankind. Nevertheless, as the prime bankers and lenders of Europe for
centuries, the Jews were dreadfully ostracised, labelled as dishonest thieves, due to their
immense opulence, and unmercifully persecuted in several pogroms. Evincing his raceorientation,
Hitler publishes that Judaism was a race instead of a religion, while speculating on
the adherents’ inclination to treachery owing their Yiddish language, suspected as a secret code
of communication. In support of anti-Marxism, Hitler defends the rule of the bourgeoisie over
the masses, yet the Jews would finance and manage the state enterprises and build privatised
corporations, as the major holders of capital in the national economy. In this regard, it was felt
that they threatened the foundation of the government and undermine confidence in the State. In
addition, not professing fervent national pride or patriotism, it was so felt that they would
contravene the moral fabric and disrupt law and order.
Since he could not manipulate the wealthy bourgeoisie, he employs another manoeuvre –
mass politics or populism in which he presents himself as the guardian and protector of the
people, siding with him through mass rallies and mass media. Inspiring his countrymen with the
sense of belonging to something larger, a utopic national community, he infuses his people with
the notion of the power of the mobilised masses; these notions eventually blot out all
considerations of truth and rationality. As a demagogue par excellence, he makes passionate
appeals to the emotions, angering to action his compatriots, violently protesting the ethnic
supremacy of the Aryans and their entitlement to expansionism and empire status. Hitler
therefore use these premises to draw the conclusion why he deserves to seize/have power.
Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) authored the book “All Quiet on the Western Front”
(1929) and served the German Army during World War I, formerly called the ‘Great War’. The
abstract entitled ‘The Perversion of Technology: War in No Man’s Land’ describes in detail the
dehumanising acts of terror and bloody annihilation, executed by one nation against another.
This particular warfare avails itself of very sophisticated weaponry invented during the NeoIndustrial
Revolution in which factories manufacture biological, chemical and atomic bombs,
shells missiles, machine guns, toxic gas, and hand grenades. The challenges and hardships which
a soldier faces are gruesome, macabre and revulsively horrific. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD), chronic anxiety, dementia, confusion, mental torture, insanity, flashbacks and
claustrophobia number among some of the tragic consequences of warfare on the human mind. A
reason for these psychological complications stem from the suppression of humanity and the
emergence of the killer instinct, becoming second nature as national interest and selfpreservation
take priority. In a word, soldiers are likened to automatons, devils and beasts –
soulless creatures without a human heart. Not only gross violence, but also privation,
malnutrition, and the perversion of life eternally mar a large segment of society. The book takes
care to note the youth of the soldiers of World War I. Boy soldiers are the victims which pay
with their lives for their inexperience on the battlefield while the maimed and diseased remain
scarred for life – even revealing that over eighty percent of a particular military unit perish in the
line of fire. Feelings of nostalgia, hopelessness, disorientation, bewilderment, aimlessness,
loneliness, internal anguish and longing for the end of war are sentiments agonising the heart of
the embattled soldier, while at the end of combat, a slim chance exists for reintegration into
society and regained normality.
Jose Ortega y Gasset penned The Revolt of the Masses (1930) which expresses the
“mass” philosophy as a violent mentality, compelling conformity to certain uniform ideals and
ideas-thus facilitating rule. The ‘mass’ mentality is not governed by reason, but utilises emotion
and several fallacies to appease and woo the crowd. The ‘mass individual’ thinks himself as the
average, common man, often sacrificing his own opinion to the political majority, reeking with
generalities and platitudes. Ortega posits that civilisation does not progress but rather evolves,
from one form to another, although the concept of development gained ground in fields of
science and philosophy. In civilization, codes, guiding principles and authority are necessary to
regulate life and identified as points of reference. Conversely, barbarism tends to foster
lawlessness, incivility and lack of sophistication; therefore, the state of affairs is disarrayed. The
foundation of authorities however is so weak and untrustworthy that again one comes to a dead
end. Fascism conceptualised the strong will to inflexibly govern, oppress and crush to subjection
if necessary, excluding dialogue or negotiation.
Mussolini composed The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) expositing this political philosophy
as the belief of a regal superpower, intolerant of dissidence and adopting a militaristic foreign
policy, exerting an overbearing oppressive and dictatorial control over its subjects, facilitated via
both colonialism and neo-colonialism. Here, Mussolini rebuts pacifism, democracy, liberalism
and socialism, given fascism’s incompatibility with these tenets. However, he stresses fascism’s
belligerence and demand for perfect submission to its authority – and no wonder since the fasces
or fascia comprised of a bundle of tightly bound rods and a protruding axe at the centre. This
tool used at victory processions and death executions symbolised signified Roman judicial
authority, priestly authority, military authority and order by unity. Corresponding with
belligerent militarism, fascism rigidly stratifies society. Men are neither created equal, nor
subjected to the rule of law or the majority. For Mussolini, the State wields absolutist power and
due to its inherent sovereignty, state interest outweighs the common interest or the general will,
therefore the state’s will must prevail in the mind of the populace. But for the initiated statesman,
the common man cannot determine state affairs. However, the State obligates the common man
to total obedience and sacrifice for its installation and continuance. Fascism aims at colonialism
(the fusion of imperialism and expansionism) which exhibits strong governance and vigorous
dynamism, adopting certain moral and spiritual codes which demand the allegiance of the
Hitler Decrees for The Protection of People and State – the Legal Revolution (1933) was
a Nazi mandate against the Communists inhibiting freedom of press, freedom of speech and
freedom of expression. Moreover, it entitled the invasion of personal privacy and confiscation of
property. In this drastic turn of events, the State constitution of the German Reich is abolished,
justified as a measure for state security and public security. At this coup d’état, a superficial
restoration of order follows from the fire at the Reichstag building. The contravention of these
newly introduced laws is punishable by law by fines, imprisonment and even death. Through this
action, the State reigns omnipotent and exercises her sovereignty, endowed with rights to deprive
the citizens of theirs. The Nazi régime ritually suppresses information from the public and
enforces ‘The Enabling Bill’ which instigates an autocratic party rule, all managed and
manipulated by the police arm called the Gestapo. In this action, State transforms to a policed
entity instituted to resist and squelch all dissidence that undermines their monopoly on power.
Johannes Stark’s “The Jewish Science versus German Science” (1934) represents a
compilation of German and other European scientists of renown, asserting the pre-eminence of
the Aryan race. They undertake a study of outstanding achievers and track their ethnicities to
buttress this hypothesis. Publishing biological reasons for the inferiority and justified oppression
of other races, particularly the Jewish, it supports the ascendant Nazi ideology, concluding that
intelligence, reason and objectivity are not characteristic of Jews. However, this self-regulated
committee classifies Jews with objectionable qualities – biased, prejudiced and passionate. In the
eyes of the German, Jews do not possess creativity, innovation or distinction and therefore could
not rightly belong to the human society and share in its benefits. This investigation only supports
social Darwinism which denigrates Jews and attributes to them innate idiocy, inadequacy and
Jacob Graf’s Heredity and Racial Biology for Students (1935) endoctrinates the German
youth in the fundamentals of ethnic supremacy; teachings which set the base of stereotype and
xenophobia, spawning a culture of intolerance. The text communicates that one may decipher the
soul of an entire race by their productions of art and contributions in science. Physicality is
proposed as a decoding tool to unlock information for judging and assessing another people.
Consequently, media propaganda begins to be circulated as references for racial classification.
By scrutinising their own accomplishment, Aryans justified the concept of racial purity and
exclusion, they vigorously try to free themselves from mixture or hybridising – inveigling
separation according to biological features and social inclinations. Again consolidating the
theory of social Darwinism in which the strong brandish a type of natural and divine right to rule
the weak.
Eichmann in Jerusalem – A Report on the Banality of Evil (1937) by Hannah Arendt
documents the charge of Eichmann arraigned before the court for being an accessory to the
genocide of Jews during world war II. Eichmann’s soundness of mind, normality and ordinary
conduct was noted. He was not a monster or depraved individual. He is not particularly anti-
semitic, fanatic nor stupid. Perpetrators of World War II were average people. Eichmann had
religious convictions, was a devout Christian but in the Nazi regime some German soldiers were
forced to renounce their religion in favour of the State. Eichmann had a low education, was a
continual failure in the education system, but has jewish family, had a jewish lover and therefore
had a strong disinclination to go along with the Fuhrer’s “Final Solution” which was the
annihilation of all Jews. Eichmann was accustomed to accepting, obeying orders, following a
leader and was involved in many political groups under the Nazi Regime. He was fed up of
monotony, unpromising future, dogged failures, unemployment and exclusion from upper class
society. He played an active role in the dispatch of Jews to concentration camps by railroad and
did his job religiously. High admiration for Hitler and the awe of being a part of something
higher and bigger than himself activated his devout, fervent allegiance to the Nazi Party. He
carried a social sense of inferiority. He felt unaccountable for his actions for he simply followed
the rules according to the chain of command. Crimes are legalized by the State which citizens
accepted the will of the leadership. Obeying the law and going beyond the call of duty was an
obligation and all feelings of humanity and compunction were silenced before the authority of
the State. For him, Hitler’s word was law and anything to the contrary was criminal and lawless.
Through these historical documents, one observes that most political movements and
regimes begin with good intentions to reform, revolutionize the world and contribute to the
progress of mankind but ultimately vice, opportunism, corruption, thirst for autocratic, and
uncontested power pollute and degrade the lofty ideals. The Church, Marxism, Communism,
Socialism, and other political schools of thought in the end, degenerates to sheer force and
tyranny. The display of duress to consolidate power and rule sacrifices humanity, compassion
and even morality, hence the emergence of several totalitarianism regimes with the waxing and
waning of political powers triggers power shifts, perpetuates inequalities and yet strangely
promotes vicious continuities. A reforming body attempts to crush incumbent forces and
overthrow status quos, while simultaneously denying dissidence and depriving “the other” of
freedom. As is seen in the historical papers and patterns, this recurrent trend seems established
and pervasive.


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