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czahar
August 21st, 2008, 08:48 AM
I apologize if I'm on a little bit of a Nazi kick; I'm in the middle of reading Ian Kershaw's biographies on Hitler: Hubris and Nemesis. Anyway, there are two debates going on about Hitler and the Holocaust: the functionalist argument and the structuralist argument: Let me explain both:

Functionalism: Though staunchly and violently anti-semetic, Hitler never planned on commiting a genocidal Holocaust against the Jews. While certainly approving of it in the end, neither Hitler nor any other Nazis had any serious ideas about exterminating the Jews until the early 1940's. Supporters of this theory point to the fact that Hitler was not only in power for almost a decade, but was in the middle (or more acurately nearing the end) of the bloodiest war in human history, when the gas chambers and other devices of mass killings were put into full swing. Why would Hitler have waited so long to put something into place that he had always wanted, and why would he he have done it in the middle of a war, when he would've not only had the power to have done so earlier, but would've had significantly less to worry about? To top it all off, Hitler can't even be credited as the individual who conceived of the mass genocide. Reinhard Heydrich would be a far better individual to credit as the architect of the Holocaust.

Structuralism: Hitler had wanted to exterminate the Jews from day one. He makes frequent mentions of it in speeches and even in Mein Kampf. The simply reason it took him so long was because he didn't believe it was technologically possible. However, after experiments with poison gas, Hitler realized his dream of living in a Jew free world could be attained, and actively pursued it.

Which argument do you agree with? Do you think both are correct or neither?

Aspoestertjie
August 30th, 2008, 06:55 AM
Functionalism: Though staunchly and violently anti-semetic, Hitler never planned on commiting a genocidal Holocaust against the Jews. While certainly approving of it in the end, neither Hitler nor any other Nazis had any serious ideas about exterminating the Jews until the early 1940's. Supporters of this theory point to the fact that Hitler was not only in power for almost a decade, but was in the middle (or more acurately nearing the end) of the bloodiest war in human history, when the gas chambers and other devices of mass killings were put into full swing. Why would Hitler have waited so long to put something into place that he had always wanted, and why would he he have done it in the middle of a war, when he would've not only had the power to have done so earlier, but would've had significantly less to worry about? To top it all off, Hitler can't even be credited as the individual who conceived of the mass genocide. Reinhard Heydrich would be a far better individual to credit as the architect of the Holocaust.

Structuralism: Hitler had wanted to exterminate the Jews from day one. He makes frequent mentions of it in speeches and even in Mein Kampf. The simply reason it took him so long was because he didn't believe it was technologically possible. However, after experiments with poison gas, Hitler realized his dream of living in a Jew free world could be attained, and actively pursued it.

Which argument do you agree with? Do you think both are correct or neither?

Warning: I am not a big fan of the holocaust history or any history for that matter, but will give it a try.

I agree with the Structuralism theory more because I don't think Hitler had one decent bone in his body. But that is however my opinion.

There can be a number of reasons why he took so long to erect the gas chambers and the sole reason will not necessarily be because it was not his plan from the very beginning. Who knows if financial factors had not played any role in his decision taking process?

Charlatan
August 30th, 2008, 08:51 AM
Well why would he wait? In a campaign to gain popularity, he would certainly have used the hatred for the jews as fuel for his campaign and started killing them right away. The fact that he only started delivering on his promises some way through the war means that he may not have had time, but in looking for morale rather to boost his people's attitude. If he was looking to make people more proud though, he would have started it earlier while he was marching through Eastern Europe taking down the easy prey. That he didn't do it until he had other things on his mind means he was merely trying to get a kick out of it to ease his worries and the worries of his peers, as they were not doing it formerly, so it must have come into action as a result of 'kicking the puppy', seeing as how you rode a wave of success formerly he might have wanted to relive the feel of being all powerful over other types of people. It had no financial gain to it, no aiding the war, so it must have been for pleasure. What we need to remember is that he said he would in his campaign, so it was always on the agenda, but why wait to start doing it until you needed to do other things? I think it was merely a tool for making the people not panic, by the media coverage they would think of him as still being on the winning trail, this evidence of what happened to their enemies must have been only for publicity. It didn't directly help them at all, in fact the Jews were contributing factors to their economy, so it harmed them too.

When you kill a minority for the joy of the majority, that is all it is, joy. He therefore wanted his people to believe in him, and after saying all those things, he thought to quickly follow up and make a genocidal situation to do just that.

I reckon it was just for making the people happy and keeping them from panicking.

czahar
August 30th, 2008, 09:49 AM
Well, personally, I suppose I am something of a Structuralist, believing that Hitler did have the desire to murder the Jews even before he came into office, yet simply didn't realize the possibility or how to do it until the Tierstrassevier programs were large amounts of Lebensunwertes Leben (i.e., "Life Unworthy of Life" - the physically and mentally handicapped) were exterminating using intravenous euthanasia and poison gas. It was here that the Nazis realized the potential of killing with the later.

Heijtink
August 30th, 2008, 10:47 AM
Well I suppose that poison gasses were already well known and used during the first world war. I doubt it that Hitler didn't think of this and didn't know about this. He knew that in history whole battle fields were poisoned by gasses. How much more is possible with large chambers and gas. I however think it is more like a process of progressive conscience digression. At first it is hard to kill a person. Later it becomes easier and later other horrible acts are easier to commit. Of course this can be a process of a few years. Writing about killing millions of people is something totally different than actually doing it.

If we look at this chart [The Destruction of the European Jews - Revised and Definite Edition 1985,Holmes and Meier Publishers, Inc. Table B-3, p. 1220]

http://lh5.ggpht.com/tom.heijtink/SLmGTurdtBI/AAAAAAAAABQ/g0N0HTsQ2xU/s144/WWII%20Jewish%20death%20count.png

We see that already in 1942 the genocide was already in full speed.

One can even see that in 1941 the genocide was already in full speed.

So that is not the end of the war but at the beginning near the middle of the war. So maybe Hitler was not the one responsible of figuring out how to actually kill so many Jews he definitely instigated the process.

onalandline
August 30th, 2008, 04:12 PM
Structuralism: Hitler had wanted to exterminate the Jews from day one. He makes frequent mentions of it in speeches and even in Mein Kampf. The simply reason it took him so long was because he didn't believe it was technologically possible. However, after experiments with poison gas, Hitler realized his dream of living in a Jew free world could be attained, and actively pursued it.

Which argument do you agree with? Do you think both are correct or neither?

I read Mein Kampf. It's his autobiography. He clearly despised the Jews. He was just waiting to get into a position where he could do his deed.

czahar
August 30th, 2008, 10:24 PM
Well I suppose that poison gasses were already well known and used during the first world war. I doubt it that Hitler didn't think of this and didn't know about this. He knew that in history whole battle fields were poisoned by gasses. How much more is possible with large chambers and gas. I however think it is more like a process of progressive conscience digression. At first it is hard to kill a person. Later it becomes easier and later other horrible acts are easier to commit. Of course this can be a process of a few years. Writing about killing millions of people is something totally different than actually doing it.

If we look at this chart [The Destruction of the European Jews - Revised and Definite Edition 1985,Holmes and Meier Publishers, Inc. Table B-3, p. 1220]

http://lh5.ggpht.com/tom.heijtink/SLmGTurdtBI/AAAAAAAAABQ/g0N0HTsQ2xU/s144/WWII%20Jewish%20death%20count.png

We see that already in 1942 the genocide was already in full speed.

One can even see that in 1941 the genocide was already in full speed.

So that is not the end of the war but at the beginning near the middle of the war. So maybe Hitler was not the one responsible of figuring out how to actually kill so many Jews he definitely instigated the process.

As the leader of the Nazi party there was no doubt that Hitler instigated the Holocaust, though it is SS Obergruppenfuhrer, Reinhard Heydrich, who is usually credited as the main architect of the Holocaust. However, in Mein Kampf Hitler certainly takes an apologetic, if not promotional viewpoint to the idea of exterminating the entire German race, presenting it as a morally atrocious deed, but one that the world will eventually get over. You can't deny that the idea of exterminating an entire race was not firmly implanted in his head long before he came to power.

It is certainly true that Hitler, along with many other Nazis, was a veteran of WWI and certainly would've been aware of it (Hitler himself was victim to a gas attack), but these poison gasses were more often than not non-fatal, and those that were had numerous defects. Chlorine, for instance, was water soluble, at high concentrations and prolonged exposure, while phosgene can take up to 24 hours to kill a person. Fatalities to poison gas during WWI were also relatively low; therefore, combining all of these factors, it's reasonable to believe that the Nazis wouldn't have thought of poison gas as being a very effective agent of extermination. Though available to them Zyklon B, the agent used to kill the Jews in the Nazi death camps, the Nazis didn't come to the immediate conclusion that it was an effective agent for mass extermination until later, considering that they experimented with numerous other gasses, including carbon dioxide from cars, as poison gasses first.

The death camps and Holocaust also could've been a measure taken in response to the large Jewish and Slavic populations of Eastern Europe. In order to successfully exterminate a population so huge, the Nazis would've needed a far quicker and more efficient means of killing off millions, and simple shootings just weren't doing the job.

There are even some theories that humanitarianist elements could've been present in the decision to use death camps. Of course, by "humanitarian", I don't mean towards the victim, I mean towards the perpatrator. Killing off hundreds of people everyday can cause a lot of emotional stress to the perpatrator, especially when s/he sees them die right in front of him/her. Humans are visual creatures, and not seeing the actual violence and consequences or deeds can help to lessen the trauma. When Jews died in the death camps, there was a large wall between them and the perpatrators. The perpatrators, therefore, though knowing their victims fate, never would've seen them die.
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I read Mein Kampf. It's his autobiography. He clearly despised the Jews. He was just waiting to get into a position where he could do his deed.

The argument by Functionalists, however, is that he was in a position of power long before he commited his most genocidal deeds.

Dela Cruz
August 31st, 2008, 07:40 AM
However, in Mein Kampf Hitler certainly takes an apologetic, if not promotional viewpoint to the idea of exterminating the entire German race, presenting it as a morally atrocious deed, but one that the world will eventually get over.

Support? In all 694 pages of Mein Kampf Hitler only once mentions killing Jews, and he certainly doesn't suggest exterminating their entire race. Certainly Mein Kampf is filled with racist and anti-Semitic comments, but your statement that he suggests or promotes the extermination of the Jewish race in the book is downright false. Indeed, when in it does he ever even mention or allude to such an act?

czahar
August 31st, 2008, 10:11 AM
Support? In all 694 pages of Mein Kampf Hitler only once mentions killing Jews, and he certainly doesn't suggest exterminating their entire race. Certainly Mein Kampf is filled with racist and anti-Semitic comments, but your statement that he suggests or promotes the extermination of the Jewish race in the book is downright false. Indeed, when in it does he ever even mention or allude to such an act?

Well, someone certainly knows his Mein Kampf. You're right. Having read it over four years ago in a course on Hitler I was confusing his infamous Armenian quote, made in 1939 of all things, as having come out of Mein Kampf! :embarassed: Anyway, thanks for the correction.

Heijtink
August 31st, 2008, 12:52 PM
Support? In all 694 pages of Mein Kampf Hitler only once mentions killing Jews, and he certainly doesn't suggest exterminating their entire race. Certainly Mein Kampf is filled with racist and anti-Semitic comments, but your statement that he suggests or promotes the extermination of the Jewish race in the book is downright false. Indeed, when in it does he ever even mention or allude to such an act?

Absolutely. However, Hitler also made many speeches. For example in a speech delivered by Hitler in Salzburg, 7 or 8 August 1920 (NSDAP meeting) Hitler said:


This is the first demand we must raise and do [reversal of the Versailles Treaty provisions]: that our people be set free, that these chains be burst asunder, that Germany be once again captain of her soul and master of her destinies, together with all those who want to join Germany. (Applause)

And the fulfillment of this first demand will then open up the way for all the other reforms. And here is one thing that perhaps distinguishes us from you [Austrians] as far as our programme is concerned, although it is very much in the spirit of things: our attitude to the Jewish problem.

For us, this is not a problem you can turn a blind eye to-one to be solved by small concessions. For us, it is a problem of whether our nation can ever recover its health, whether the Jewish spirit can ever really be eradicated. Don't be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don't think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst. (Applause) [1]

This definitely implies eradication of the Jews. Also Hitler said in a personal conversation with Josef Hell in 1922.

When Hell asked Hitler what he intended doing if he ever had full freedom of action against the Jews, his response was:


If I am ever really in power, the destruction of the Jews will be my first and most important job. As soon as I have power, I shall have gallows after gallows erected, for example, in Munich on the Marienplatz-as many of them as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged one after another, and they will stay hanging until they stink. They will stay hanging as long as hygienically possible. As soon as they are untied, then the next group will follow and that will continue until the last Jew in Munich is exterminated. Exactly the same procedure will be followed in other cities until Germany is cleansed of the last Jew! [2]

A interview with Hitler in the New York Staatszeitung, 1933.


Why does the world shed crocodile’s tears over the richly merited fate of a small Jewish minority? … I ask Roosevelt, I ask the American people: Are you prepared to receive in your midst these well-poisoners of the German people and the universal spirit of Christianity? We would willingly give everyone of them a free steamer-ticket and a thousand-mark note for travelling expenses, if we could get rid of them. [3]

I find this a very interesting quote. I wonder if this interview was brought back up when the extermination of the Jews started.

1. D Irving, The War Path: Hitler's Germany 1933-1939. Papermac, 1978, p.xxi
2. John Toland, Adolf Hitler. London: Book Club Associates, 1977, p.116
3. N H Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, Oxford University Press, 1942, Volume I, pp.727-28

Dela Cruz
August 31st, 2008, 12:57 PM
Well, someone certainly knows his Mein Kampf. You're right. Having read it over four years ago in a course on Hitler I was confusing his infamous Armenian quote, made in 1939 of all things, as having come out of Mein Kampf! Anyway, thanks for the correction.

:)


Absolutely. However, Hitler also made many speeches...

I never contested that Hitler didn't suggest the eradication of Jews. I contested that he said anything about it in Mein Kampf. Go back to read what I responded to, and you'll see.

Regarding your quotes, Hitler expressing his approval for the extermination of Jews doesn't prove that he planned it. Whether he supported the Holocaust or not isn't being contested here; whether he planned and masterminded it is. (And for the record, I'm not a believer of either viewpoint)

Heijtink
August 31st, 2008, 04:04 PM
@Dela Cruz


I never contested that Hitler didn't ever say things suggesting the eradication of Jews. I contested that he said anything about it in Mein Kampf. Go back to read what I responded to, and you'll see.

I never said that you contested that Hitler didn't ever say things suggesting the eradication of Jews. I just brought it in the debate stating that Hitler was already very determined to eradicate the Jews even though in his book he doesn't mention it explicitly.

I do believe that Hitler had the desire from the start to eradicate all the Jews. In the late 1919 and early 1920 Hitler became member of a nationalistic party. That is where Hitler moved towards politics. I think as the party grew bigger and gained more and more influence in Germany, Hitler saw more of a chance to deploy his desire and plans. Hitler was a dictator during the genocide was going on. I'm sure Hitler didn't devise the specifics how to actually kill or imprison the Jews. But Hitler sure approved all the means as he must have known it as a dictator.

Dela Cruz
September 1st, 2008, 05:20 AM
I just brought it in the debate stating that Hitler was already very determined to eradicate the Jews even though in his book he doesn't mention it explicitly.

Still irrelevant. Whether Hitler desired to kill the Jews or not isn't the topic of this debate. It's well known that Nazi officials constantly took Hitler's words and converted them into law; this combined with Hitler's policy of allowing government agencies and officials to freely compete and joust with each other for advancement makes it perfectly possible that the Holocaust could have been started, planned, and carried out on the initiative of senior and/or junior Nazi and SS officers.


I do believe that Hitler had the desire from the start to eradicate all the Jews. In the late 1919 and early 1920 Hitler became member of a nationalistic party. That is where Hitler moved towards politics. I think as the party grew bigger and gained more and more influence in Germany, Hitler saw more of a chance to deploy his desire and plans. Hitler was a dictator during the genocide was going on. I'm sure Hitler didn't devise the specifics how to actually kill or imprison the Jews. But Hitler sure approved all the means as he must have known it as a dictator.

And you are entitled to your opinion. By the way, Welcome to ODN.

Heijtink
September 1st, 2008, 07:57 AM
And you are entitled to your opinion. By the way, Welcome to ODN.

Thank you. Everybody is guessing and making theories so I just made mine I guess.

Trav
September 16th, 2008, 08:15 AM
Hmm. I suppose I would lean towards Functionalism only for the fact that not only did Hitler not come up with the idea of genocide against Jews, Anti- Fascists, Homosexuals, and the like, but Hitler's declaration of Martial Law happened during the war as well. If you recall before Hitler's Nazi Socialist Party, Germany was under the Weimar Republic which was unstable. After the Treaty of Versailles was enacted the Wiemar Fell out of public respect which allowed Hitler (The Proliteriat) to rise to power. It was only until later though that Hitler began to use Jews as scapegoats for Germany's failing economy. However, whether Hitler thought of the genocide long before the war or whether he enacted it on a sudden desire it is clear from "Mien Kempf" that Hitler was a mentally unstable war mongerer. Does it really make a difference to that extent though. What Hitler did to the Polish, French, Jews, Homosexuals and just in general anyone who wasnt pure German was dispicable and absolutely outrageous.

Also Czahar is it? You may want to say abit more on Structuralism because to me it feels like your mind is already made up because you write this two paragraph explanation of functionalism and only a small portion for structuralism which suggests almost subconsciously that you are trying to make a rhetorical statement, but perhaps I am looking to deeply into your harmless lack of description.

djlee6
January 2nd, 2009, 10:13 PM
Look, who says that Hitler was the one who had absolute power? The man was mentally unstable and had zero artistic talent. All he was concerned with was being seen as someone who was worth recognition after he was shunned by the art community. The one thing he did have was his public speaking ability. This is what drove so many into becoming Nazis. In my opinion, it was the party, not the leader, who really drove to the destruction of so many. And in all this, it wasn't onlt the Jewish people involved. Any race that wasn't German or opposed the Nazi party was eliminated. And as if that wasn't enough, the homosexual and gypsy communities were also targets.
Where the desruction truly began, I can't say, but it's clear Hitler didn't infuence all of this through rules. It was his ideals and the way they appeared to his fallowers.

czahar
January 3rd, 2009, 03:12 AM
[QUOTE=djlee6;352899]Look, who says that Hitler was the one who had absolute power? The man was mentally unstable and had zero artistic talent.

Define mentally unstable. Also, I don't Hitler was lacking in artistic talent. His architectural and landscape pieces were actually quite good. It was his figure drawings that were lacking, I believe. I don't have any of my Hitler texts on me, so I can't back that up right now, but I want to say that was the case.


All he was concerned with was being seen as someone who was worth recognition after he was shunned by the art community.

I don't know about that. Hitler certainly was influenced by all the racial, pro-German propaganda that permeated Vienna.


The one thing he did have was his public speaking ability. This is what drove so many into becoming Nazis. In my opinion, it was the party, not the leader, who really drove to the destruction of so many.

Interesting. Could you clarify this a bit for me, though.


And in all this, it wasn't onlt the Jewish people involved. Any race that wasn't German or opposed the Nazi party was eliminated. And as if that wasn't enough, the homosexual and gypsy communities were also targets.

You're absolutely right, there, though I do believe the Jews made up the overwhelming majority of his targets, both in speech and actual number of murders.


Where the desruction truly began, I can't say, but it's clear Hitler didn't infuence all of this through rules. It was his ideals and the way they appeared to his fallowers.

Again, could you give me a bit of clarification here.

Nicholas H
January 3rd, 2009, 06:38 AM
The 'Final Solution' to the Jewish question was as much an evolutionary process as a plan. Contrary to popular belief and Germanic stereotypes, the Nazis lacked structure and organisation at all levels, no more so than at the very top. Many individuals, and many more events helped shape the Nazis policies toward European Jews: the intervention of allied forces, partisan uprisings in Poland and Czechoslovakia, Operation Barbarossa...
The idea, as suggested in both arguments, that Adolf Hitler was the architect of the holocaust through deliberate and thorough planning is misguided. The vast majority of attrocities were commited without his knowledge or endorsement. They differed from camp to camp, general to genaral and country to country.
Adolf Hitler was simply the figurehead. The policies and measures used by both high ranking and low ranking Nazi members were carried out in order to impress the Furher. They were not orders.
Although the Nazis had experimented with various techniquies in vast extermination, it was not a technological advance that saw the killings reach their height in the last 18 months of the war. It was the advancement of Soviet forces. Long befere 1945, the writing was on the wall for Nazi Germany, they were well aware of the reprisals in store from the advancing Soviet army. Their only option was retreat, and in doing so they hoped to take all traces of their presence and their crimes with them. It was a total liquidation of their assets; the Jews.
Adolf Hitler did not instigate or 'plan' the Holocaust by stucture or for function, he simply gave birth to the monster who perpetrated it- The Nazis

The Mist
January 3rd, 2009, 07:25 AM
I read Mein Kampf. It's his autobiography. He clearly despised the Jews. He was just waiting to get into a position where he could do his deed.

I agree
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The idea, as suggested in both arguments, that Adolf Hitler was the architect of the holocaust through deliberate and thorough planning is misguided. The vast majority of attrocities were commited without his knowledge or endorsement. They differed from camp to camp, general to genaral and country to country.
Adolf Hitler was simply the figurehead. The policies and measures used by both high ranking and low ranking Nazi members were carried out in order to impress the Furher. They were not orders.
I heared such theory and I agree with that (more or less), Hitler was the figurehead...
I read some book(i don't remeber the title) in which there was said that this all (war and other accidents) were driven by freemasonry... It seemed a little stupid theory to me, but maybe it is the truth (I could agree with that when i am thinking about fact that Hitler wasn't quite healthy person -mentally).
Maybe he was just used by them as figurehead...

Nicholas H
January 3rd, 2009, 07:31 AM
Hitler wrote his autobiography as a young man. There is no doubt he harboured deep resentment towards European Jews and he did use that as leverage to gain and maintain power. But the question is, is what was the extent of his influence at any stage of the war regarding the mass murder of European Jews? Can your only source on this subject be Mein Kampf? The structure of the Nazi party and it's inner workings is well documented, as is their policies and how they were shaped. Hitler was not a one-man-band anti-semite and was not omnipotent within the regime.

The Mist
January 3rd, 2009, 07:52 AM
Hitler was not a one-man-band anti-semite and was not omnipotent within the regime.

I agree with that sentence...
After war it was so easy and safe to tell to everyone that it was all his fault, and he was the only guilty person, but he wasn't alone...

Nicholas H
January 3rd, 2009, 08:05 AM
I agree with that sentence...
After war it was so easy and safe to tell to everyone that it was all his fault, and he was the only guilty person, but he wasn't alone...

please clarify

The Mist
January 3rd, 2009, 12:33 PM
please clarify

After the First world War Hitler came to Munich, where joined the German Party of Workers, little then of left-wing party. Thanks to his abilities and leadership qualities quickly he became the leader for her, changing the profile gradually for her from leftist to right-wing. In 1923 he converted her into the NSDAP (Deutsche Arbeiterspartei Nazional-Socialistische) - National socialist German Workers' Party, for whom the swastika became the symbol. In the same year, of 8 November in the capital of Bavaria, Hitler tried to conduct the coup national, called the Munich putsch who failed. Organisers were judged, but sentences weren't too hard. The future chancellor was sentenced to 5 years of the prison, but 1924 was already in December released r. While serving the sentence he dealt with writing his book, "Mein Kampf", consisting of two volumes and describing views, as well as fragments from the life of the author.
The putsch in spite of its failure brought the considerable popularity to Hitler, therefore quickly he could return to the political life. Meetings presided over with the population among others of Munich and Hamburg, whom brightly could expound visions of the future state and charismatic and energetic addresses on gave him the huge support. In 1932 the party of Hitler already had the most representatives at Reichstag (German parliament), but she didn't have at her disposal by a majority vote, however, when in 1933 the batch of conservatives underwent the split, chancellor Franz von Papen offered forming a coalition to Nazis.

In this way Hitler became the chancellor of Germany?(It could be this moment, when someone helped him to get this job ;) just to use him). It took place on 30 January 1933. As the high-ranking official of Mr and Mrses he could demonstrate the firmness and right decisions who put his state on the road to world power statuses. After the fire of Reichstag he made the Communist Batch of Germany illegal, getting the dictatorial power and becoming Fuhrer with leader - of the III Crowd.
They were important decisions of the new head of state: the rearmament and restoring the enlistment into the armed forces. When the prestige of Germany rose considerably, he made annexation of Austria and he reported grudges against The Czech Republic areas in the Sudeten mountains who at the conference in Munich were granted Germans, putting The Czech practically completely defenceless. Poland however who went to no concessions to the III Crowd, was a next state, towards whom Hitler put requests forward, what resulted on 1 September 1939 in r. with outbreak of war German-Polish whom Poland quickly lost.

It isn't possible however to blame very Hitler for defeat of Germany. As the clever, resolute and incredibly intelligent man, constituted the phenomenon to the scale of the entire world, one from biggest, if not biggest in the history of history. One should assign the fact that the Crowd collapsed to rather dignitaries, for generals and so-called palatyns of Hitler who still fought for large impacts and each other were attacked. Apart from that it is necessary to mention numerous conspirators who could not keep the faithfulness and the Fhurer confidence. Their activity, but first of all coups of the leader for life (the most important of July 1944.), certainly didn't help him.

Apokalupsis
January 3rd, 2009, 12:57 PM
A different approach to the debate...

Does it matter (functional vs structural)? If so, how...or why? Isn't it like arguing over whether or not the murderer planned the butchering of the family 2 days in advance...or 2 hours in advance? If it is, then what is the relevancy of the debate? What value is there, or is expected to be there?

If it isn't similar to the above analogy, how is it not similar?
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The idea, as suggested in both arguments, that Adolf Hitler was the architect of the holocaust through deliberate and thorough planning is misguided. The vast majority of attrocities were commited without his knowledge or endorsement. They differed from camp to camp, general to genaral and country to country.

Hitler disagrees with you.

"If I can send the flower of the German nation into the hell of war without the smallest pity for the spilling of precious German blood, then surely I have the right to remove millions of an inferior race that breeds like vermin ..." -- Adolf Hitler

It was one of Hitler's campaign promises in 1930, to rid the country of Jews, what he called the "anti-race", and who he blamed for Germany's depression, and loss of WW1.

He used the threat of Jewish genocide, in hopes of keeping the allied forces at bay. He did so publicly, it was no secret.

He himself ordered the mass execution of Jews in Poland in 1939 and 1940.

In preparation for the Final Solution in 1941, he gave public speaking appearances about wiping the country clean of Jews.

The idea that Hitler wasn't responsible (directly) for the butchering of Jews, is one of a revisionist's.


. Their only option was retreat, and in doing so they hoped to take all traces of their presence and their crimes with them. It was a total liquidation of their assets; the Jews.
Wait...so living Jews = presence of Nazis...dead Jews = no trace of Nazi presence? That was the Nazi plan or reasoning? Who did the Nazis think the allies would blame for the butchered Jews...Japan?



Adolf Hitler did not instigate or 'plan' the Holocaust by stucture or for function, he simply gave birth to the monster who perpetrated it- The Nazis
Disagreed. See above. Hitler wasn't some puppet.

I'd be interested to know, for those who don't think Hitler is responsible...if they apply their own logic (even though it's faulty), and hold that Bush is not responsible for much of the last 8 years.

Vargo
January 3rd, 2009, 12:57 PM
I agree
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I heared such theory and I agree with that (more or less), Hitler was the figurehead...
I read some book(i don't remeber the title) in which there was said that this all (war and other accidents) were driven by freemasonry... It seemed a little stupid theory to me, but maybe it is the truth (I could agree with that when i am thinking about fact that Hitler wasn't quite healthy person -mentally).
Maybe he was just used by them as figurehead...

As a Mason, I can tell you our little secret society is NOT the Illuminate. Freemasonry is probably the worst kept secret in the world. Anyone can know where we meet, when we meet, and who is present at those meetings. I can even get you pamphlets that tell you some of the stuff that goes on in those meetings and describe our symbolism. That there are some things we keep to ourselves is just that we have something that is OURS that we share as brothers, that make us what we are.

I think Hitler had extermination in mind all along and sped up the process when he saw the war was not going well. Maybe to boost inside support or maybe just to get the deed done before he could be stopped. In a sick mind like his, who truly knew what was going on?

The Mist
January 3rd, 2009, 01:20 PM
As a Mason, I can tell you our little secret society is NOT the Illuminate. Freemasonry is probably the worst kept secret in the world. Anyone can know where we meet, when we meet, and who is present at those meetings. I can even get you pamphlets that tell you some of the stuff that goes on in those meetings and describe our symbolism. That there are some things we keep to ourselves is just that we have something that is OURS that we share as brothers, that make us what we are.

I think i wrote it in wrong words...
As i said in my next post(after those u quote), i think Hilter had people who helped him to win authorities and become Furer, but i shouldn't write it in this way that it was freemasons (It was one a digression that i read such book with strange theory).



I think Hitler had extermination in mind all along and sped up the process when he saw the war was not going well. Maybe to boost inside support or maybe just to get the deed done before he could be stopped. In a sick mind like his, who truly knew what was going on?

yes, i agree with that sentence
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Disagreed. See above. Hitler wasn't some puppet.

I'd be interested to know, for those who don't think Hitler is responsible...if they apply their own logic (even though it's faulty), and hold that Bush is not responsible for much of the last 8 years.

Sometimes i think he believed he wasn't a puppet, but he was in some way.
Anyway I didn't say he is not responsible. He was of course guilty, but he wasn't the only responsible person.

Vargo
January 3rd, 2009, 01:31 PM
I agree with Mist, Hitler was probably not solely responsible, as an undertaking of that magnitude had to be carried out on a lot of different fronts, all of which would strain just one man, much less one trying to also run a war on a couple of different fronts.

czahar
January 3rd, 2009, 03:30 PM
[QUOTE=Apokalupsis;352983]A different approach to the debate...

Does it matter (functional vs structural)? If so, how...or why? Isn't it like arguing over whether or not the murderer planned the butchering of the family 2 days in advance...or 2 hours in advance? If it is, then what is the relevancy of the debate? What value is there, or is expected to be there?

If it isn't similar to the above analogy, how is it not similar?

1) One of the fundamental puposes of history is to understand the mistakes of the past for the sake of preventing them from happening in the future. It was necessary to understand how and why the 9/11 hijackers and al-Qaeda did what they did so that the necessary security measures could be taken at airports and on airplanes and because it's necessary to understand the ideology of those who we're fighting for the sake of understanding them and being able to deal with them better.

Understanding why the Holocaust happened is necessary for understanding what causes mass genocides to happen. A historian could study it, put it into context with other genocides, and find common, relevant factors in their causes. Imagine if it was found that all genocides were caused for functionalist reasons. Imagine what that could tell us about what causes most genocides to happen (is it the dictator him/herself, or the sociological factors of the present society), and imagine how political leaders could use that knowledge to help prevent future genocides from happening. If it was found that X sociological factors were chiefly responsible for the occurence of genocide, then other nations could specifically target those sociological factors to help prevent a genocide from occuring in the country at risk.

2) Most detectives, lawyers, etc. would be interested in knowing how long a murder was being planned for. In the detectives' case, it would help form a profile of the killer (is s/he someone who kills on the spur of the moment or someone who puts a lot of time into planning his/her victims' deaths), while in the case of the lawyers, it would help show the seriousness of intent. Planning a death for two days illustrates that this wasn't just a crime of passion. Your analogy is wrong because it has perfect relevance to understanding a crime.

3) Of course I can't write off curiosity. I've read a bunch of books on the physiology of the human body. I have no desire to be a doctor, and I'll be damned if I ever use that knowledge in my life, but it's just cool to know. For some people, getting that little glimpse into Hitler's mind is just interesting to know and provides for both interesting discussion and debate.

4) Now I have a question for you, grand exalted leader. Why would you possibly start a forum like ODN if you didn't want to hear questions like this? After all, what place could be more of a home to the how and why questions of seemingly irrelevant topics than a forum for philosophers?

5) Furthermore, why would take part in this debate if it lacked any relevance?

djlee6
January 4th, 2009, 12:18 AM
Define mentally unstable. Also, I don't Hitler was lacking in artistic talent. His architectural and landscape pieces were actually quite good. It was his figure drawings that were lacking, I believe. I don't have any of my Hitler texts on me, so I can't back that up right now, but I want to say that was the case.




I don't know about that. Hitler certainly was influenced by all the racial, pro-German propaganda that permeated Vienna.

Look, obviously, he was lacking in more than that if he was rejected to schools. Otherwise he wouldn't have been driven to lead a group of murderers, correct?


Interesting. Could you clarify this a bit for me, though.

His speaking ability: you need this clarified? What else would enfluence so many so quickly?


You're absolutely right, there, though I do believe the Jews made up the overwhelming majority of his targets, both in speech and actual number of murders.

Well of course they were the main target. They were the main inspiration. The one who supposedly shunned Hitler from the art school he wanted in was Jewish.


Again, could you give me a bit of clarification here.

In that statement, I was concluding that the Nazi Party seemed to do more damage than Hitler was planning to do. Therefore, they should be blammed as much-maybe more-than Hitler himself.

czahar
January 4th, 2009, 12:51 AM
[QUOTE=djlee6;353062]Look, obviously, he was lacking in more than that if he was rejected to schools. Otherwise he wouldn't have been driven to lead a group of murderers, correct?

"He [Hitler] sought an explanation [for his failure of the art school entrance exam], and was told by the Rector of the Academy that there was no doubt about his unsuitability for the school of painting, but that his talent plainly lay in architecture." - Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris, p. 24

Ian Kershaw is professor of modern history and Head of Department at the University of Sheffield in England.


His speaking ability: you need this clarified? What else would enfluence so many so quickly?

How about his ideology?


Well of course they were the main target. They were the main inspiration. The one who supposedly shunned Hitler from the art school he wanted in was Jewish.

Who was this "one"? I'm just curious.


In that statement, I was concluding that the Nazi Party seemed to do more damage than Hitler was planning to do. Therefore, they should be blammed as much-maybe more-than Hitler himself.

They were, hence the Nuremburg trials.

djlee6
January 4th, 2009, 01:01 AM
[QUOTE]

How about his ideology?

Of course this came into play. His ideals were expressed through his speeches.


Who was this "one"? I'm just curious.

...The professor,duh...


hence the Nuremburg trials.

Exactly. So why are you arguing?

czahar
January 4th, 2009, 02:43 AM
[QUOTE=djlee6;353069]



...The professor,duh...

The professor was Jewish?


Exactly. So why are you arguing?

You said that the Nazi party should be blamed just as much as Hitler himself. I said that they were.

djlee6
January 4th, 2009, 03:59 PM
[QUOTE]

The professor was Jewish?

That what I was taught.


You said that the Nazi party should be blamed just as much as Hitler himself. I said that they were.

What makes you say that? Whenever the topic of the mass killings of Jews comes up, Hitler is the top ****er on the list. He doesn't share 1st place with the whole Nazi Party!!
Defense?

Nicholas H
January 4th, 2009, 04:45 PM
A different approach to the debate...

Does it matter (functional vs structural)? If so, how...or why? Isn't it like arguing over whether or not the murderer planned the butchering of the family 2 days in advance...or 2 hours in advance? If it is, then what is the relevancy of the debate? What value is there, or is expected to be there?

If it isn't similar to the above analogy, how is it not similar?
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Hitler disagrees with you.

"If I can send the flower of the German nation into the hell of war without the smallest pity for the spilling of precious German blood, then surely I have the right to remove millions of an inferior race that breeds like vermin ..." -- Adolf Hitler

It was one of Hitler's campaign promises in 1930, to rid the country of Jews, what he called the "anti-race", and who he blamed for Germany's depression, and loss of WW1.

He used the threat of Jewish genocide, in hopes of keeping the allied forces at bay. He did so publicly, it was no secret.

He himself ordered the mass execution of Jews in Poland in 1939 and 1940.

In preparation for the Final Solution in 1941, he gave public speaking appearances about wiping the country clean of Jews.

The idea that Hitler wasn't responsible (directly) for the butchering of Jews, is one of a revisionist's.


Wait...so living Jews = presence of Nazis...dead Jews = no trace of Nazi presence? That was the Nazi plan or reasoning? Who did the Nazis think the allies would blame for the butchered Jews...Japan?


Disagreed. See above. Hitler wasn't some puppet.

I'd be interested to know, for those who don't think Hitler is responsible...if they apply their own logic (even though it's faulty), and hold that Bush is not responsible for much of the last 8 years.

What has modern day events concerning Bush got to do with Hitler? Don't get off track please.
There is no documented evidence that Hitler ordered any killing of any Jew during the course of WWII.(revisionist?) My point was that the genocide reached its height during Nazi retreat from eastern Europe.

djlee6
January 6th, 2009, 07:16 PM
What has modern day events concerning Bush got to do with Hitler? Don't get off track please.
There is no documented evidence that Hitler ordered any killing of any Jew during the course of WWII.(revisionist?) My point was that the genocide reached its height during Nazi retreat from eastern Europe.

What the hell do you mean no documented evidense!?! What the **** is wrong with you!? It's shown that Hitler planned his entire rise into power as well as taking down the Jews in his book Mein Kampf!! [Flame Removed] :tickedoff:

czahar
January 6th, 2009, 09:37 PM
What makes you say that? Whenever the topic of the mass killings of Jews comes up, Hitler is the top ****er on the list. He doesn't share 1st place with the whole Nazi Party!!
Defense?

So is your argument that the rest of the Nazis should or shouldn't be blamed for the Holocaust? You seem to be changing your argument as you go along.

Nicholas H
January 8th, 2009, 01:29 PM
What the hell do you mean no documented evidense!?! What the **** is wrong with you!? It's shown that Hitler planned his entire rise into power as well as taking down the Jews in his book Mein Kampf!! Idiot!!:tickedoff:
So, let me get this straight. you are using a book which pre-dates the Holocaust as 'documented evidence' that Hitler ordered mass genocide. Ha-Ha! (And I'm the idiot.) As I said, there is NO documented evidence that Hitler personally ordered the killing of any Jew.(would you like me to tell you again!). I feel your emotions are running a little high djlee6, so I am willing to let your misinformed, personal and uneducated reply rest.....for now!

PS

Would you recommend I change my name from Nicholas H to Idiot?:cry:
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In my opinion, it was the party, not the leader, who really drove to the destruction of so many. .

Sorry, your opinions are not consistent.:huh:

djlee6
January 8th, 2009, 02:57 PM
So, let me get this straight. you are using a book which pre-dates the Holocaust as 'documented evidence' that Hitler ordered mass genocide. Ha-Ha! (And I'm the idiot.) As I said, there is NO documented evidence that Hitler personally ordered the killing of any Jew.(would you like me to tell you again!). I feel your emotions are running a little high djlee6, so I am willing to let your misinformed, personal and uneducated reply rest.....for now!

PS

Would you recommend I change my name from Nicholas H to Idiot?:cry:
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Sorry, your opinions are not consistent.:huh:

Yeah, there is documented evidense that hitler wanted the killings of jews.
What I wanted to get through was is that the Nazis, a group of hundreds, had done more damage than hitler himself-one man.
Get it now?
(It shouldn't take so long for you guys to understand!!)

Nicholas H
January 8th, 2009, 03:06 PM
Yeah, there is documented evidense that hitler wanted the killings of jews.
!!)

Oh yeah, there is evidence Hitler wanted the killing of the jews!(in that book of his you probably have'nt read, mein rant) Go re-read, I stated he didn't order killings.
And no I don't get it, you are quoted as having two opposing opinions. Now that is documented evidence!!

czahar
January 9th, 2009, 02:21 AM
Yeah, there is documented evidense that hitler wanted the killings of jews.
What I wanted to get through was is that the Nazis, a group of hundreds, had done more damage than hitler himself-one man.
Get it now?
(It shouldn't take so long for you guys to understand!!)

I'm fairly sure that there is documented evidence that Hitler wanted the killing of the Jews. I don't think any of it was in Mein Kampf though, as you seemed to suggest in an earlier post. If I'm wrong, let me know and show me where, so I can kick Dela Cruz's butt for post #6. :grin:

djlee6
January 9th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Oh yeah, there is evidence Hitler wanted the killing of the jews!(in that book of his you probably have'nt read, mein rant) Go re-read, I stated he didn't order killings.
And no I don't get it, you are quoted as having two opposing opinions. Now that is documented evidence!!

Look, even if his ORDERS weren't put into mein kampf, they were layed out in his later plans. (fyi, i was taught this. im not reading that ****ing book. I have too much respect toward Elie Weisel)
I was stating that one man didn't make more damage than the entire Nazi party.
Okay?!:afro:

czahar
February 3rd, 2009, 07:31 AM
Look, even if his ORDERS weren't put into mein kampf, they were layed out in his later plans. (fyi, i was taught this. im not reading that ****ing book. I have too much respect toward Elie Weisel)

I don't think there's anything anti-Semetic (if that's what you're insinuating), about reading Mein Kampf as long as you're not buying into any of its ideology.


I was stating that one man didn't make more damage than the entire Nazi party.
Okay?!:afro:

But the question is, would World War II or the Holocaust have happened without Hitler. Granted, he may not have come up with all the ideas for it, but he certainly provided the means for these actions to be carried out. Would Reinhard Heydrich have been able to engineer the Holocaust had he not had the power which the party that Hitler had brought into power had given him?

djlee6
August 2nd, 2009, 02:43 PM
I don't think there's anything anti-Semetic (if that's what you're insinuating), about reading Mein Kampf as long as you're not buying into any of its ideology.

But the people who were taking part in the Nazi party did buy into it.


But the question is, would World War II or the Holocaust have happened without Hitler. Granted, he may not have come up with all the ideas for it, but he certainly provided the means for these actions to be carried out. Would Reinhard Heydrich have been able to engineer the Holocaust had he not had the power which the party that Hitler had brought into power had given him?

That is a good question.
Even if Hitler hadn't released his ideas on the world, I do think that some form of the Holocaust would have happened anyway.
In all truth, the same scenerio has been played out by many different people over a span of countless centuries.
People can't seem to handle diferences well, and thats why these things happen.
So even if it wasn't by Hitler or the Nazi party, it would have been by someone else.

cdubs
August 2nd, 2009, 05:28 PM
I don't think there's anything anti-Semetic (if that's what you're insinuating), about reading Mein Kampf as long as you're not buying into any of its ideology.
Agreed. On a different note, isn't a book that helped inspire an entire nation to follow the radical ideals of a single man worth studying? It must be a good read, if for nothing else but an objective appreciation of one of the world's greatest rhetorics.


But the question is, would World War II or the Holocaust have happened without Hitler. Granted, he may not have come up with all the ideas for it, but he certainly provided the means for these actions to be carried out. Would Reinhard Heydrich have been able to engineer the Holocaust had he not had the power which the party that Hitler had brought into power had given him?
I believe that a regional conflict and a widespread persecution of the Jews would have happened around the same time, even if Hitler had not come to power.

Following the Great Depression and the economically crippling conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, the German economy was essentially stagnant. It would have taken a totalitarianist and radically minded leader to fix the state of the German economy, and it is likely that such a radical leader would have been expansionist like Hitler, and might have sought revenge for the humiliation of Versailles, just as Hitler did.

I don't think many other potential leaders of Germany would have had the innovative sense or the stones to make the excellent reforms Hitler made to the German armed forces, or to flout the restrictions made on German military size and strength made by the ToV, so I think that the conflict would have been significantly less large, and Germany would have been defeated much sooner.

Dislike of the Jews was widespread at that time, and Germany was no exception. A lot of Germans felt that the defeat in WWI wasn't because the Allies outfought the Germans, but that the army had been betrayed by the Jews and other people in power. Also, when the nation was devastated economically, the educated, powerful, and influential Jews were targeted because it was perceived they were less effected by the depression. It was inevitable that the Jews would have been targeted at some point, if on a much smaller scale.

LION OF JUDAH
October 25th, 2009, 04:31 PM
the holocaust as we have been presented, educated and sold in the american educational system did not happen. other ethnic groups (italians, polish, swedish, austrian, etc) were also killed along with the jews. hitler lacked love in his life. without love (meaning, putting someone before yourself continually), the human mind starts a regression to animal like behavior ( survival of the fittest). if you study nature and it's harshness, you see what the world is like when love is missing.

czahar
October 25th, 2009, 05:59 PM
First off, Lion of Judah, red text on our site represents a message from an ODN moderator which must be adhered to if you wish to continue on this site without receiving any fractions. With that being said, please adhere to our standards of proper grammar and punctuation. If you are unfamiliar with them, you may click on the "Rules" link at the bottom of my signature or on the ODN homepage.

Second, welcome to ODN. :grin:


the holocaust as we have been presented, educated and sold in the american educational system did not happen. other ethnic groups (italians, polish, swedish, austrian, etc) were also killed along with the jews.

The Jews, however, were certainly the main target of Nazi ideology and even though other groups were killed in the concentration camps and death camps, the Jews certainly made up the overwhelming majority. This is a well known fact among historians, however, I will gladly provide evidence if asked to do so.



hitler lacked love in his life.

I fail to see what this has to do with the OP (opening post). There is no question that Hitler was an emotionally cold individual. His personality and emotional distance from the rest of humanity has been well documented by historians such as Ian Kershaw. However, how does this prove that Hitler either, a) planned the Holocaust all along, or b) did not originally plan it, but eventually came to the conclusion that it was a good idea?


without love (meaning, putting someone before yourself continually), the human mind starts a regression to animal like behavior ( survival of the fittest). if you study nature and it's harshness, you see what the world is like when love is missing.

Please support this.

Mister X
October 26th, 2009, 05:11 PM
I apologize if I'm on a little bit of a Nazi kick; I'm in the middle of reading Ian Kershaw's biographies on Hitler: Hubris and Nemesis. Anyway, there are two debates going on about Hitler and the Holocaust: the functionalist argument and the structuralist argument: Let me explain both:

Functionalism: Though staunchly and violently anti-semetic, Hitler never planned on commiting a genocidal Holocaust against the Jews. While certainly approving of it in the end, neither Hitler nor any other Nazis had any serious ideas about exterminating the Jews until the early 1940's. Supporters of this theory point to the fact that Hitler was not only in power for almost a decade, but was in the middle (or more acurately nearing the end) of the bloodiest war in human history, when the gas chambers and other devices of mass killings were put into full swing. Why would Hitler have waited so long to put something into place that he had always wanted, and why would he he have done it in the middle of a war, when he would've not only had the power to have done so earlier, but would've had significantly less to worry about? To top it all off, Hitler can't even be credited as the individual who conceived of the mass genocide. Reinhard Heydrich would be a far better individual to credit as the architect of the Holocaust.

Structuralism: Hitler had wanted to exterminate the Jews from day one. He makes frequent mentions of it in speeches and even in Mein Kampf. The simply reason it took him so long was because he didn't believe it was technologically possible. However, after experiments with poison gas, Hitler realized his dream of living in a Jew free world could be attained, and actively pursued it.

Which argument do you agree with? Do you think both are correct or neither?

I personally agree with both theories. My reasoning behind it is because Hitler did not just wish to exterminate the Jews. Hitler was very passionate to Germany, that intense passion most likely spawned from fighting in WWI as a German soldier. His audacious passion towards his country is what gave him the drive to become it's leader.

Hitler's ultimate goal was to create a "perfect" German world. The motive behind his goal came from his immense passion towards his country. After all, the strongest form of ethnocentrism (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethnocentrism)(the attitude that one's own group is superior) is genocide. He believed that Germans were so superior to the rest of the world, that he desired the entire world to be German. As a consequence to this desire, it meant "forcing" the world to be German. How do you force other people to be German? That's where genocide came into play.

Now, as far as his persecution of the Jews, according to Mein Kampf, Hitler really did despise the Jews. The Jewish people were just a stepping stone to his ultimate goal, before making the entire world German, he wished to exterminate the Jewish race "first".

Fender
December 1st, 2009, 12:25 PM
I don't really know that much about Holocaust history...heck. I barely even know the history of my home state, but I'll throw in my opinion like everybody else.
I think I'd stick with Structuralism. Mostly from what I've been taught, Hitler dispised the Jews from the start. And I agree with what Onalandline had to say. Hitler may have taken so long to start exterminating Jews because he had to wait untill he was at a high enough position to do so.

czahar
December 1st, 2009, 04:45 PM
I don't really know that much about Holocaust history...heck. I barely even know the history of my home state, but I'll throw in my opinion like everybody else.
I think I'd stick with Structuralism. Mostly from what I've been taught, Hitler dispised the Jews from the start. And I agree with what Onalandline had to say. Hitler may have taken so long to start exterminating Jews because he had to wait untill he was at a high enough position to do so.

1) Hitler definitely would have despised the Jews from the start, but that does not necessarily mean he would have been an eliminationist anti-Semite.

2) Hitler would have been in a position to have put eliminationist anti-Semitism in practice since 1933.

djlee6
February 3rd, 2010, 11:50 AM
What we also need to remember is that the Jews were prosecuted even before these events took place, before Hitler was even born.
Does no one remember the Bubonic Plague? The Jews had burned with cats, dogs, and accused witches!
The Holocaust is an added chapter to their history of discrimination.

DonAthos
February 3rd, 2010, 04:45 PM
It's been a long time since I've read Mein Kampf--and, honestly, I didn't commit very much of it to memory at the time--so most of what I have to say on Hitler's motives and plans is pure speculation, but whatever, speculation is fun! :)

I expect that Hitler did want to eliminate the Jews "from day one" (depending on where we put "day one"; not from birth, of course, but from before 1939). I guess this puts me into the "Structuralism" camp.


1) Hitler definitely would have despised the Jews from the start, but that does not necessarily mean he would have been an eliminationist anti-Semite.

Agreed. He was "not necessarily" an eliminationist anti-Semite from the start. However, since so much of Hitler's agenda during his rise to power was anti-Semitic in rhetoric, since the Holocaust did happen, since Adolf Hitler was in charge at the time, and since I doubt (though I'm open to contrary evidence) that such a massive project would have been undertaken without Hitler's "blessing," I find it more probable that the Holocaust had been on his mind from the get-go, than not.

As to what "on his mind" might mean, I don't know. Is it likely that he had planned out the sites of the death camps in the 1920s? No. But if he had even a half-formed idea of "the world would be a better place if the Jews were all dead; someday, I'd like to be in power to make that happen" then it meets my standards.

As to whether or not a more-youthful Hitler had that idea, I only can point to the fact that he took power and under his administration the Holocaust happened, and I remember nothing in Mein Kampf (or elsewhere) to discourage me from thinking that he had desired it all along. Moreover, the Holocaust, to my mind, seems something of a logical continuation of Hitler's attitudes, in general, and his policies in the pre-war Reich. That is to say, the Holocaust does not seem to jump out at me as a surprising disconnect in policy.



2) Hitler would have been in a position to have put eliminationist anti-Semitism in practice since 1933.

I wonder if this is true. As has been referrenced in this thread, whether or not Hitler had "planned" the Holocaust, he was not alone in enacting it. It took a large number of people with varying levels of involvement to make it happen, and for which they all share some measure of responsibility. Had Hitler, on day one of his Führership, decreed "today we begin the Holocaust," would it have come to pass?

Perhaps it took some time to put that segment of German (and other) society into the configuration in which the Holocaust could actually take place?

I can't actually "support" this argument that I'm making, here. I don't know how many years of living under Adolf Hitler's rule it would take to convince a given man to follow such heinous directives. But I do question the idea that, because Hitler had technical authority in 1933, he could immediately have convinced all the people required, to accomplish anything that he wished.

Finally, as to the question of "why wait," I wonder if the question is better asked "why hurry"? Why did Germany, in the midst of a multi-fronted battle for her very existence, choose to expend so much resource into the effort of killing non-combatants? (Not that every person killed was a non-combatant, but still...)

I submit that the Holocaust happened when it did because of two things: 1) per my previous point, society had finally "matured" to the point where it was accomplishable; and 2) that, per WWII, there was finally cause to doubt whether or not there would be a "thousand year Reich." If Hitler entertained the possibility at all of losing the war, or any portion thereof, maybe he believed it was necessary to carry out his theretofore long-term plans immediately.

czahar
February 4th, 2010, 03:21 AM
Agreed. He was "not necessarily" an eliminationist anti-Semite from the start. However, since so much of Hitler's agenda during his rise to power was anti-Semitic in rhetoric, since the Holocaust did happen, since Adolf Hitler was in charge at the time, and since I doubt (though I'm open to contrary evidence) that such a massive project would have been undertaken without Hitler's "blessing," I find it more probable that the Holocaust had been on his mind from the get-go, than not.

That does not quite follow, though. Hitler was certainly anti-Semetic well before he attained power, he certainly did approve of the Holocaust, but how does that even suggest he was an eliminationist anti-Semite from the beginning?


As to what "on his mind" might mean, I don't know. Is it likely that he had planned out the sites of the death camps in the 1920s? No. But if he had even a half-formed idea of "the world would be a better place if the Jews were all dead; someday, I'd like to be in power to make that happen" then it meets my standards.

I am sure Hitler would not have protested much against the death of the Jews, but you have to remember that he was not the architect of the Holocaust. Reinhard Heydrich is usually credited with that. This suggests that Hitler probably did not have any serious intent to kill the Jews at first.

Another thing which suggests Hitler did not plan on killing the Jews from the beginning was his support of alternative methods of dealing with "the Jewish Problem". Take the Madagascar Plan, for instance. This plan involved deporting the Jewish population to Madagascar. Why would Hitler have supported this if he simply wanted to kill them?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madagascar_Plan



As to whether or not a more-youthful Hitler had that idea, I only can point to the fact that he took power and under his administration the Holocaust happened, and I remember nothing in Mein Kampf (or elsewhere) to discourage me from thinking that he had desired it all along.

Yet, as Dela Cruz corrected me on a while back in this thread, Hitler never said anything about killing the Jews in Mein Kampf.


Moreover, the Holocaust, to my mind, seems something of a logical continuation of Hitler's attitudes, in general, and his policies in the pre-war Reich. That is to say, the Holocaust does not seem to jump out at me as a surprising disconnect in policy.

The Holocaust certainly did not contradict with Hitler's attitudes. If there were a violent little boy named Johnny who hit Greg in the face, it would certainly not be a disconnect in Johnny's normal behavior. Nonetheless, it does not prove Johnny had been planning on hitting Greg since the day he meet him.


I wonder if this is true. As has been referrenced in this thread, whether or not Hitler had "planned" the Holocaust, he was not alone in enacting it. It took a large number of people with varying levels of involvement to make it happen, and for which they all share some measure of responsibility. Had Hitler, on day one of his Führership, decreed "today we begin the Holocaust," would it have come to pass?

Of course it would have. Who would have stopped him?


Perhaps it took some time to put that segment of German (and other) society into the configuration in which the Holocaust could actually take place?

Keep in mind that none of the death camps were actually located in Germany (Dachau is a concentration camp, not a death camp). Most of German society would have been unaware (or, at best partially aware) of the death camps, and even if they did have something against it, what could they have done? This was a totalitarian society in which any disent would have been immediately crushed in the most brutal way possible.


I can't actually "support" this argument that I'm making, here. I don't know how many years of living under Adolf Hitler's rule it would take to convince a given man to follow such heinous directives. But I do question the idea that, because Hitler had technical authority in 1933, he could immediately have convinced all the people required, to accomplish anything that he wished.

But the question is, what type of convincing would he have needed? What could those who have disagreed with him done?


Finally, as to the question of "why wait," I wonder if the question is better asked "why hurry"?

If you are looking to wipe a deadly disease out of a person's body, you do not sit around and let the disease spread. You kill it as quickly as possible. The Nazis saw the Jews as a disease.


Why did Germany, in the midst of a multi-fronted battle for her very existence, choose to expend so much resource into the effort of killing non-combatants? (Not that every person killed was a non-combatant, but still...)

Germany did not have a very large Jewish population during Hitler's rule. However, as the Nazis expanded east, they would have confronted massive Jewish populations. After experimenting with various traditional forms of execution (such as shooting execution style), more efficient ways would have been necessary to make any type of dent in the population.

DonAthos
February 4th, 2010, 01:11 PM
That does not quite follow, though.

Oh, well, I didn't think that "following," in the sense of being a logical progression leading inexorably to one conclusion, was the standard for this thread. But if it is, I completely agree with you: I have done nothing to conclusively show that my view on Hitler's motives must necessarily be correct.

Instead, I tried to show why I consider my view to be a reasonable one. Not one that can be demonstrated via syllogism, but more of an "educated guess," if you will.

In a second, I'll respond to your analysis of my post bit-by-bit, but before I do, let me say that I think that the manner in which I'd responded makes more sense for this thread than expecting an airtight logical argument. The OP establishes that there is a debate (among historians?) concerning two views of Hitler and the Holocaust. Unless there's a hidden document somewhere that establishes the truth of the matter, I'm guessing that we don't actually know which of the two views, Structuralism or Functionalism, are correct. And unless we dig up such a hidden document, I guess that we never will know.

As such, and because people are as complicated as they are (not always saying what they think; not always doing what they say; etc.), I'd say that it would be impossible to prove that one or the other was true. We just can't know what was actually on Hitler's mind, can we?

Perhaps this means that, if we are to be very sober about it, we're not allowed to "think" one way or the other; the only logical viewpoint to hold is that there is insufficient evidence to conclude for either Structuralism or Functionalism. But that wouldn't be any fun! :) Which is why, in my post, I admitted that I was speculating, but that speculation is fun.

So yeah, I thought such speculation was called for by the OP, albeit speculation with good reason, which is exactly what I tried to provide. However if the standard is actually "what can we prove," either through hard evidence or flawless logic, then allow me to withdraw my argument and concede the point now! Because I agree that, where the internal designs of Hitler are concerned, I have no real way of knowing.



Hitler was certainly anti-Semetic well before he attained power, he certainly did approve of the Holocaust, but how does that even suggest he was an eliminationist anti-Semite from the beginning?

Well, you're right: the fact that Hitler hated the Jews from early on, and then later acted to eliminate them, does not necessarily demonstrate that he wanted to eliminate them from early on (though as we get closer to demanding logical form, I start getting itchy at terms like "beginning" or my own "early on." Precisely at what point would Hitler need to have considered killing the Jews for the Structuralist argument to be true? The OP speaks of "serious ideas"--what differentiates a "serious" idea from some other kind?)

But I think it's reasonable to say that we generally do the things we plan to do, especially when it comes to projects grand in size and scope. For instance, with respect to Obama, outside of any actual evidence (though I'm sure there's a ton) it would be hard to say whether he'd long desired to try to institute national health care, or whether that was a desire he'd only "seriously" taken on once in office. But I take the very fact that he's now pursuing such legislation as being evidence of a kind that he planned to do so. For how long? Impossible to know, but given the immense scope of health care and the fact that Democrats in general have prized health care for some time, I'd guess for a while.

Hitler had hated the Jews long enough and powerfully enough to lead me to believe that he had mulled over the idea of killing them. The fact that he ultimately presided over a program of killing them doesn't establish that he had it planned for any particular length of time--you're 100% right--but it does make me feel that it's likely he'd planned it for a while, as humans often plan on the things they wind up doing. (And again, the grander the scale of the project, typically, the longer the plan, it seems to me.)



I am sure Hitler would not have protested much against the death of the Jews, but you have to remember that he was not the architect of the Holocaust. Reinhard Heydrich is usually credited with that. This suggests that Hitler probably did not have any serious intent to kill the Jews at first.


I'm not sure how the fact that Heydrich had a role in planning the particulars of the Holocaust (which is how I read "architect," but please let me know if you mean something else) means that Hitler "probably did not have any serious intent" for the Holocaust to happen at all.

It's like, if I'm the head of a company and I entrust some project to my Senior VP, does that mean that, because the Senior VP is the "architect" of the project, therefore I had no "serious intent" to have the project happen?

Even if Heydrich was interested in the Holocaust, excited to help it to happen, and signed his name to all of the important documents (and any or all of this could be true or false; I just don't know), that wouldn't mean that Hitler was any less interested or aware. And most importantly for our purposes, it wouldn't have anything to do with whether or not Hitler had wanted to eliminate the Jews from before the early 1940s.



Another thing which suggests Hitler did not plan on killing the Jews from the beginning was his support of alternative methods of dealing with "the Jewish Problem". Take the Madagascar Plan, for instance. This plan involved deporting the Jewish population to Madagascar. Why would Hitler have supported this if he simply wanted to kill them?

Well, I guess we'll have to decide what the idea of "planning the Holocaust" means here. If it means that Hitler was determined to kill the Jews of Europe no matter what, then I agree with you that the Madagascar Plan is potentially good evidence that Hitler did not plan on the Holocaust. However, if it counts as his having planned the Holocaust if Hitler simply counted it as one of many viable alternatives, each with various strengths and weaknesses--a "final solution," if you will, in case other tactics were found wanting--then the Madagascar Plan doesn't necessarily show that the Holocaust wasn't also on Hitler's mind.

It's like, if I decide that I'm going to punish my child, first by grounding, but later by spanking if grounding proves unsuccessful, I don't take the fact that I grounded first to show that spanking was not a part of my plans.


Yet, as Dela Cruz corrected me on a while back in this thread, Hitler never said anything about killing the Jews in Mein Kampf.

I'll stipulate agreement here--like I said, it's been a long time since I've read Mein Kampf (and frankly, it was a slog of a read; it's unlikely I'd remember much if I'd read it a month ago). However, quotes have been raised in this thread, from outside of Mein Kampf, where Hitler did say something about killing the Jews. Here's one (from 1922!):




If I am ever really in power, the destruction of the Jews will be my first and most important job. As soon as I have power, I shall have gallows after gallows erected, for example, in Munich on the Marienplatz-as many of them as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged one after another, and they will stay hanging until they stink. They will stay hanging as long as hygienically possible. As soon as they are untied, then the next group will follow and that will continue until the last Jew in Munich is exterminated. Exactly the same procedure will be followed in other cities until Germany is cleansed of the last Jew!


If Hitler was thinking about gallows in 1922 (!), what kinds of ideas might the next decade and a half brought?

Now, in response to that quote, Dela Cruz said this:



Regarding your quotes, Hitler expressing his approval for the extermination of Jews doesn't prove that he planned it.

I submit to you that Dela Cruz is not being fair to the quote provided by Heijtink, which is more than Hitler "expressing approval," but explicitly saying what he wants to do with power--destroy the Jews.



The Holocaust certainly did not contradict with Hitler's attitudes. If there were a violent little boy named Johnny who hit Greg in the face, it would certainly not be a disconnect in Johnny's normal behavior. Nonetheless, it does not prove Johnny had been planning on hitting Greg since the day he meet him.


I agree with you, primarily because, being human, I understand passion, and how anger can quickly get out of control in a specific, limited instance.

However, if we discovered writings by Johnny which dated from years back, talking about how he hates Greg, and then Johnny sought and gained some sort of power over Greg and engineered a mechanism by which Johnny was daily allowed to hit Greg in the face, over and over again, well...

Would that prove that Johnny had intended to hit Greg in the face for any length of time? No, I suppose not. But I'd take it as a likely theory.




I wonder if this is true [that Hitler would have been in a position to have put eliminationist anti-Semitism in practice since 1933]. As has been referrenced in this thread, whether or not Hitler had "planned" the Holocaust, he was not alone in enacting it. It took a large number of people with varying levels of involvement to make it happen, and for which they all share some measure of responsibility. Had Hitler, on day one of his Führership, decreed "today we begin the Holocaust," would it have come to pass?
Of course it would have. Who would have stopped him?


I have no idea. But I believe that German society was probably different in the early 30s than it was after years of Hitler's rule, and I think that Hitler's escalating policy against the Jews may have had some sort of "dehumanizing" effect. I'm contending that there are different degrees of totalitarian rule; that technically being in charge doesn't mean always getting your way, or that everyone will follow your every command.

Consider this, per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust#Development_and_execution):


In 1933, a series of laws were passed [...] to exclude Jews from key areas [...] At the insistence of then president Hindenburg, Hitler added an exemption allowing Jewish civil servants who were veterans of the first world war, or whose fathers or sons had served, to remain in office. [...] Hitler revoked this exemption in 1937.

Even though Hitler had technical authority to get his way regarding many things, it doesn't mean that everything he wanted to do was always politically expedient or feasible; presumably, Hindenburg's exemption is something that Hitler would have liked to have seen repealed prior to 1937 (or never enacted at all, really). That it was not repealed until 1937 suggests to me that even being a totalitarian dictator doesn't mean that you can simply shape society to your will, by fiat.

To get the thousands of people necessary for something as large as the Holocaust to do what would be required of them, might not be as simple as coming into power and signing a decree. I'm contending that before society reaches the point where a Holocaust can take place, it might be necessary to have events such as a Kristallnacht or a ghettoization. It might be necessary to have a war time state, a populace growing more desensitized to catastrophe, in general.

While I grant that my idea "proves" nothing, I offer it in rebuttal to the idea that Hitler's "delay" in enacting the Holocaust proves it wasn't on his mind. It is a supposition meant to show that there are other possibilities to account for the delay.

Do you feel my supposition has no merit?



Keep in mind that none of the death camps were actually located in Germany (Dachau is a concentration camp, not a death camp). Most of German society would have been unaware (or, at best partially aware) of the death camps, and even if they did have something against it, what could they have done? This was a totalitarian society in which any disent would have been immediately crushed in the most brutal way possible.


Well, I'm not referring solely to the general German populace, but also to the soldiers, the administrators of the camps, etc. Other factors that could account for "Hitler's delay" might be a process of him putting the right people in place around him, strenghtening the ability of the secret police to deal with possible unrest, etc.

You make a fair point about possible ignorance within the borders of Germany, and maybe this also speaks to the timing of the Holocaust? If Hitler did not immediately build death camps in Germany to destroy the German Jews, maybe he didn't want to have death camps in Germany at all? Maybe the execution of the Holocaust was dependent on Hitler being able to address the populations of Europe, as a whole, rather than simply within German borders?

I don't know, of course, but then I don't think anybody does. ;)




I can't actually "support" this argument that I'm making, here. I don't know how many years of living under Adolf Hitler's rule it would take to convince a given man to follow such heinous directives. But I do question the idea that, because Hitler had technical authority in 1933, he could immediately have convinced all the people required, to accomplish anything that he wished.
But the question is, what type of convincing would he have needed? What could those who have disagreed with him done?


I don't know this either :) but allow me to observe that it doesn't have to be true in reality that anyone could have purposefully objected to the Holocaust in 1933 for the perecption that there might have been some objection to have weighed in Hitler's decision-making.





Finally, as to the question of "why wait," I wonder if the question is better asked "why hurry"?
If you are looking to wipe a deadly disease out of a person's body, you do not sit around and let the disease spread. You kill it as quickly as possible. The Nazis saw the Jews as a disease.


Well, okay. But they viewed the Jews as a disease prior to the early 1940s, right? So according to this view, the Nazis should have wanted to kill the Jews "as quickly as possible."

I'm saying that maybe they did. Maybe Hitler enacted his Holocaust as quickly as he judged it possible to do so, owing to more considerations than "technical authority" alone, but also to the realities of German society at the time, the fact that he was not yet master of Europe, the technical requirements as discussed in this thread (that a row of gallows, as Hitler mused in 1922, would be insufficient to get the job done), and so on.

If Hitler had long viewed the Jews as a disease--and I contend that he did--and if you're right that the rational reaction to a disease is to seek its elimination, to kill it, then I say that it's perfectly reasonable to believe that Hitler had thought about and desired to kill the Jewish population of Europe years before he actually attempted to do so in the early 1940s.

If we want to argue about how "seriously" he would have had to think about it, to constitute him "planning" it, I suppose we could. However, I again argue that the fact that the Holocaust happened suggests that Hitler's thoughts on the matter were sufficiently serious, and even though it was not according to his 1920s plan of using gallows, I consider that to be planning enough.

czahar
February 5th, 2010, 06:40 PM
To anyone and everyone participating in this debate,

I seem to have made a very embarrassing mistake. I had always been under the impression that, concerning the study of Hitler and Nazism, a "structuralist" was someone who believed Hitler had planned on killing the Jews from very early in his career, while a "functionalist" believed it was a plan he only came to later in his life. I place heavy emphasis on the word, "seem" because I even dug up some of my old college notes (from six years ago) and they agree with my definitions.

However, after doing some research on the internet, it appears that "intentionalist" is actually the word used for the former case while "functionalist" and ironically "structuralist" are actually used for the latter case. If this is the case, I apologize for making such a stupid mistake in a thread that so many people have participated in. However, just for the sake of not adding any confusion, I will continue using the term "structuralist" and "functionalist" as the OP defined them.

Again, my apologies.


Oh, well, I didn't think that "following," in the sense of being a logical progression leading inexorably to one conclusion, was the standard for this thread. But if it is, I completely agree with you: I have done nothing to conclusively show that my view on Hitler's motives must necessarily be correct.

I do not see why you believed one little sentence said so much. We are certainly dealing with inductive reasoning here and inductive reasoning with very weak cogency at that. Here's an example: Let's say I am talking about a boy named Billy who supposedly stole a cookie from the family cookie jar. The OP asks people to explain if they thought Billy stole the cookie and why. Billy is a real boy and there was actually a cookie stolen from my family cookie jar about two months ago. However, being that it was a very small "crime", there was certainly no serious investigation of it. Also, it happened so long ago, that whatever proof there would have been has clearly disappeared.

Now, let's say someone comes into the debate and says, "I believe Billy stole the cookies because the OP says he was playing Nintendo." What would be your first question? Probably something along the lines of, "how does that follow" - i.e., "why do you feel Billy playing Nintendo means he probably stole the cookie?" Granted, the OP about Billy would be one in which debaters could only supply very weak arguments at best, but a simple, "how does that follow" question would still be appropriate.


Well, you're right: the fact that Hitler hated the Jews from early on, and then later acted to eliminate them, does not necessarily demonstrate that he wanted to eliminate them from early on (though as we get closer to demanding logical form, I start getting itchy at terms like "beginning" or my own "early on." Precisely at what point would Hitler need to have considered killing the Jews for the Structuralist argument to be true? The OP speaks of "serious ideas"--what differentiates a "serious" idea from some other kind?)

Extreme structuralists believed he had plans for the Holocaust as early as 1924 while moderate stucturalists believe it could have been as late as 1938.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functionalism_versus_intentionalism

The difference between a serious idea and any other one would be planning - i.e., to arrange a method or scheme beforehand. It is one thing if Albert thinks about killing Jason. It is another if goes out, buys a gun, draws up maps of Jason's house, and writes out plans on how he is going to kill him.


Hitler had hated the Jews long enough and powerfully enough to lead me to believe that he had mulled over the idea of killing them. The fact that he ultimately presided over a program of killing them doesn't establish that he had it planned for any particular length of time--you're 100% right--but it does make me feel that it's likely he'd planned it for a while, as humans often plan on the things they wind up doing. (And again, the grander the scale of the project, typically, the longer the plan, it seems to me.)

People certainly do the things which they plan, but what about the things they simply follow along with, or agree to? What if my friend drew up plans to build a casino, and I was so enthusiastic about the plans that, being the rich man I am, I supplied him with all the funds to take on such a huge project? Now, perhaps there were times in the past where I made statements along the lines of, "you know, maybe I should make my own casino". But what if I never made any plans to do so? What if I had never made any attempt to talk with local Native American tribes concerning building on their lands, or sat down with any designers or architects to talk about possible designs? Is it more likely that I had planned to build a casino from early on, or that I was simply going along with an idea that I would have been open to for a long time?


I'm not sure how the fact that Heydrich had a role in planning the particulars of the Holocaust (which is how I read "architect," but please let me know if you mean something else) means that Hitler "probably did not have any serious intent" for the Holocaust to happen at all.

It's like, if I'm the head of a company and I entrust some project to my Senior VP, does that mean that, because the Senior VP is the "architect" of the project, therefore I had no "serious intent" to have the project happen?

First, I should point out another embarrassing mistake I have made. It is Himmler, and not Heydrich who is typically credited with being the main architect of the Holocaust. I am also going to concede this point to you considering the following:


On 18 December 1941, Himmler's appointment book shows he met with Hitler, where in answer to Himmler's question "What to do with the Jews of Russia?", Hitler's response is recorded as "als Partisanen auszurotten" (exterminate them as partisans").
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Himmler#Himmler_and_the_Holocaust

The first death camps were set up in 1942. This demonstrates that Hitler did not have the passive stance in simply signing off on the Holocaust which I originally attributed to him.

However, it does not show clear intention to exterminate the Jewish people. Keep in mind that the is responding simply to a question concerning Russian jews. Because conquering Russia was the main objective to Hitler expanding eastward and because Russia had a very high Jewish and Slavic population, Hitler took a very hard line to the Russians (though he did show a particular liking toward Stalin) which he may not have necessarily had with other Jews.


Well, I guess we'll have to decide what the idea of "planning the Holocaust" means here. If it means that Hitler was determined to kill the Jews of Europe no matter what, then I agree with you that the Madagascar Plan is potentially good evidence that Hitler did not plan on the Holocaust. However, if it counts as his having planned the Holocaust if Hitler simply counted it as one of many viable alternatives, each with various strengths and weaknesses--a "final solution," if you will, in case other tactics were found wanting--then the Madagascar Plan doesn't necessarily show that the Holocaust wasn't also on Hitler's mind.

The Madagascar Plan was made in 1938, while, from what I can see, there were no plans for any extermination of the Jews until the early 1940's. This would suggest the opposite - that the Holocaust was an alternative to deportation of the Jews.


I'll stipulate agreement here--like I said, it's been a long time since I've read Mein Kampf (and frankly, it was a slog of a read; it's unlikely I'd remember much if I'd read it a month ago).

LOL! Right you are! Though I could not imagine any manifesto from a dictator as being very exciting.


However, quotes have been raised in this thread, from outside of Mein Kampf, where Hitler did say something about killing the Jews. Here's one (from 1922!):

Very true, though look at my example about the casino from earlier on. The hypothetical me certainly threw the idea around, but did he ever draw up any plans or methods for making his vision a reality? This suggests that his beliefs concerning the annihiliation of the Jews were never strong enough to even enter the planning stages.


I submit to you that Dela Cruz is not being fair to the quote provided by Heijtink, which is more than Hitler "expressing approval," but explicitly saying what he wants to do with power--destroy the Jews.

I agree with you, though I feel the fact that plans were only drawn up for such a project very late in his career shows that his plans were not very serious until that time.


I agree with you, primarily because, being human, I understand passion, and how anger can quickly get out of control in a specific, limited instance.

However, if we discovered writings by Johnny which dated from years back, talking about how he hates Greg, and then Johnny sought and gained some sort of power over Greg and engineered a mechanism by which Johnny was daily allowed to hit Greg in the face, over and over again, well...

Would that prove that Johnny had intended to hit Greg in the face for any length of time? No, I suppose not. But I'd take it as a likely theory.

Though there is a problem with your analogy. Hitler had the power (if by power, you mean "political power") to kill the Jews from early to mid 1933. The Holocaust (or any other attempt to exterminate the Jews) did not begin until the early 1940's.


I have no idea. But I believe that German society was probably different in the early 30s than it was after years of Hitler's rule, and I think that Hitler's escalating policy against the Jews may have had some sort of "dehumanizing" effect. I'm contending that there are different degrees of totalitarian rule; that technically being in charge doesn't mean always getting your way, or that everyone will follow your every command.

Consider this, per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust#Development_and_execution):

From what I gather, you are arguing that Hitler had the same or similar power in 1933 and 1937. Hitler certainly would have been very powerful in 1933, but he also would have had a leash in the form of president Hindenburg. However, after Hindenburg died (and along with the Enabling Act); Hitler would have had complete and unrestrained power:


Following Hindenburg's death, Hitler merged the presidency with the office of Chancellor under the title of Leader and Chancellor (Führer und Reichskanzler), making himself Germany's Head of State and Head of government, thereby completing the progress of Gleichschaltung. This action effectively removed the last remedy by which Hitler could be legally removed from office--and with it, all institutional checks and balances on his power.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_von_Hindenburg#January_1932_-_January_1933:_A_year_of_decisions
(emphasis added)


Even though Hitler had technical authority to get his way regarding many things, it doesn't mean that everything he wanted to do was always politically expedient or feasible; presumably, Hindenburg's exemption is something that Hitler would have liked to have seen repealed prior to 1937 (or never enacted at all, really). That it was not repealed until 1937 suggests to me that even being a totalitarian dictator doesn't mean that you can simply shape society to your will, by fiat.

And that, I will have to concede, is a good point. Though it could also suggest his lack of surity as to how to how far he should go with "the Jewish question".


To get the thousands of people necessary for something as large as the Holocaust to do what would be required of them, might not be as simple as coming into power and signing a decree. I'm contending that before society reaches the point where a Holocaust can take place, it might be necessary to have events such as a Kristallnacht or a ghettoization. It might be necessary to have a war time state, a populace growing more desensitized to catastrophe, in general.

But the death camps such as Auschwitz would not have been located in the middle of cities. In fact, they were not even set up in Germany. Why would it be necessary to desensitize a populace from something they would never see in the first place.


Do you feel my supposition has no merit?

Certainly not. I feel there are problems in it, but to go so far as to accusing you of making suppositions with no merit would be outright stupid of me.


Well, I'm not referring solely to the general German populace, but also to the soldiers, the administrators of the camps, etc. Other factors that could account for "Hitler's delay" might be a process of him putting the right people in place around him, strenghtening the ability of the secret police to deal with possible unrest, etc.

These are certainly all possible factors in it, though I do not know how much a administrative change was made in the years prior to the Holocaust.


You make a fair point about possible ignorance within the borders of Germany, and maybe this also speaks to the timing of the Holocaust? If Hitler did not immediately build death camps in Germany to destroy the German Jews, maybe he didn't want to have death camps in Germany at all? Maybe the execution of the Holocaust was dependent on Hitler being able to address the populations of Europe, as a whole, rather than simply within German borders?

I don't know, of course, but then I don't think anybody does. ;)

Actually, I think this view could justify my view. Eastern Europe would have had significantly larger Jewish populations than western Europe. As Hitler's armies marched eastward, they would have come into contact with bigger Jewish populations which would have been significantly harder to deport. Other means of dealing with them would have been necessary.


I don't know this either :) but allow me to observe that it doesn't have to be true in reality that anyone could have purposefully objected to the Holocaust in 1933 for the perecption that there might have been some objection to have weighed in Hitler's decision-making.

Hitler seems to have had little perception that the Germans would have, in any way, supported or protected the Jews from any type of threat (as he immediately began enacting laws against them), and Kristalnacht suggests he had no perception they would have oppossed any type of violence towards the Jews.


Well, okay. But they viewed the Jews as a disease prior to the early 1940s, right? So according to this view, the Nazis should have wanted to kill the Jews "as quickly as possible."

This I will concede to.

DonAthos
February 6th, 2010, 02:54 AM
I do not see why you believed one little sentence said so much.


It wasn't the sentence alone, but an approach that I thought I felt in general; I used the sentence to talk about it. However, if we're agreed that all of our "conclusions" here are necessarily a kind of educated guess--and it seems as though we are--then no more needs to be said about it (and thank you for taking the time to clarify the matter).



The difference between a serious idea and any other one would be planning - i.e., to arrange a method or scheme beforehand. It is one thing if Albert thinks about killing Jason. It is another if goes out, buys a gun, draws up maps of Jason's house, and writes out plans on how he is going to kill him.


Hmmm... I'm not exactly sure how to relate this to the Holocaust. My absolute guess would be that Hitler had very little to do with planning anything specific. (Though maybe there's evidence to the contrary?) If Structuralism would require Hitler to plan specifics, then I'm not sure I could support it further apart from such evidence.

It seems to me that a person at a certain level of decision making--the CEO level, if you will--often has very little to do with the specifics of the projects he oversees, except to okay or dismiss plans drafted by subordinates.

Of course, every leader will have his own style, and I know that Hitler enjoyed interferring with, for instance, his generals, so maybe that's not true here...?



People certainly do the things which they plan, but what about the things they simply follow along with, or agree to? What if my friend drew up plans to build a casino, and I was so enthusiastic about the plans that, being the rich man I am, I supplied him with all the funds to take on such a huge project? Now, perhaps there were times in the past where I made statements along the lines of, "you know, maybe I should make my own casino". But what if I never made any plans to do so? What if I had never made any attempt to talk with local Native American tribes concerning building on their lands, or sat down with any designers or architects to talk about possible designs? Is it more likely that I had planned to build a casino from early on, or that I was simply going along with an idea that I would have been open to for a long time?


Well in this case it's more likely that you were simply going along with the idea... but that's because you've spelled that very thing out in the scenario! ;)

However, in the case of the Holocaust, all we're really aware of is a younger Hitler's desires as evidenced in the 1922 quote, and the fact that 20 years later those desires were realized. What we don't know is what was on Hitler's mind inbetween. But perhaps our knowledge of Hitler's character can lend some (highly speculative) insight? Let me attempt to explain:

If Hitler's core passion, instead of hating the Jews, had been gambling--if in Mein Kampf, Hitler had said your quote "you know, maybe I should make my own casino" (though Hitler's words would certainly been more direct and emphatic)--do you think that he would have eventually built a casino? I don't think that Hitler was the kind to make idle statements about what he wanted to do, then not follow-up on them. Rather, he seems like he was obsessed to a fault with the things that he wanted, and as much as this accounts for the incredible evil he brought to the world, it also accounts for his "greatness." Not everyone, or hardly anyone else, would have had the drive to achieve what Hitler did, or be able to devastate the world in such a fashion.

You and I (though I'm speaking mostly about myself here; you're probably of sterner stuff) are the type to talk about our dreams of casino ownership, but then just let them slip. But Hitler? Hitler was the kind to write a manifesto while in prison about how he planned to take over, then remake, his country, and then do it. Hitler's one of the few people to have ever existed where if he said "you know, someday I'd like to exterminate a whole group of people," apparently we ought to have listened.

Moreover, do you suppose that Hitler was the kind of guy to "simply follow along with, or agree to" others' plans? Or was he the kind of guy to want to decide on the course of action and then force others to carry out his wishes?

Maybe Hitler didn't have exterminating the Jews directly on his mind when revamping the Nazi party, or rising to the Chancellorship. But of everyone who's ever lived, he's the one guy I wouldn't put it past. And I mean, at the very least, Hitler's drive to power was all about restoring Germany to greatness, right? And we know that he felt that the big drain on Germany was her Jewish population. And we know that Hitler had certainly considered killing the Jews as a possible, and perhaps the preferred, solution. So while you liken Hitler's path to the Holocaust to a person who would like a casino, but never takes self-generated action to acquire it, I think we might be able to view everything that Hitler did in coming to power as being purposeful steps towards putting himself in the position where he could turn to others and say, "Okay boys, now we're in charge; this is what we're going to do."



The Madagascar Plan was made in 1938, while, from what I can see, there were no plans for any extermination of the Jews until the early 1940's. This would suggest the opposite - that the Holocaust was an alternative to deportation of the Jews.


Oh, well, I'm sure that lots of plans were considered. But did Madagascar originate with Hitler? I'm aware that he signed off on it, but since Madagascar was not ultimately pursued--while the Holocaust was--that would suggest to me that Hitler's "heart" was in one plan and not the other. The Madagascar Plan, more than the Holocaust, seems to fit your suggestion of the casino plans drawn up by a friend, but for which Hitler apparently had little true enthusiasm.

(Of course, mostly this is just rhetoric on my part. I'm sure that Madagascar was ditched for many reasons other than just a "lack of enthusiasm." But my main point is that, even if other plans were considered, that wouldn't show that the Holocaust wasn't always "on the table.")



Very true, though look at my example about the casino from earlier on. The hypothetical me certainly threw the idea around, but did he ever draw up any plans or methods for making his vision a reality? This suggests that his beliefs concerning the annihiliation of the Jews were never strong enough to even enter the planning stages.

I agree with you, though I feel the fact that plans were only drawn up for such a project very late in his career shows that his plans were not very serious until that time.


Here's what I really believe about this: I think that Hitler thought he had lots of time to do all of the things he wanted to do. I don't know if Hitler was crazy enough to believe that WWII would never happen, but it seems to me that he expected most countries to either never challenge him, or to go down without too much of a fight (and he was almost right).

Consider that when you describe the Holocaust as being "very late in his career," that wasn't Hitler's initial mindset; he was expecting a "thousand-year Reich." If the Holocaust was the "final solution," then maybe WWII pressed him to get to it immediately, skipping intermediate steps and planning of a more methodical nature, while he could still run trains out of Paris and Warsaw.



From what I gather, you are arguing that Hitler had the same or similar power in 1933 and 1937. Hitler certainly would have been very powerful in 1933, but he also would have had a leash in the form of president Hindenburg. However, after Hindenburg died (and along with the Enabling Act); Hitler would have had complete and unrestrained power


But the Enabling Act happened in '33 and Hindenburg died in '34. My point was that even in the years thereafter (at least up to '37, per my example), Hitler did not do everything that 1) we know he wanted to do, and 2) that he could have done, if we say that he had "complete and unrestrained power."

I'm saying that this shows that, while he may legally/technically have had "complete and unrestrained power," in actuality his power was restrained by certain realities of his particular situation and society. A dictator's power ends at the precise moment when the people around him refuse to obey his wishes, and I'm suggesting that, if Hitler had ordered the full implementation of the Holocaust in 1933 (or 1934) that it's possible that the people around him would simply have refused to execute it. And even if they wouldn't have, Hitler might have been afraid of it.



And that, I will have to concede, is a good point. Though it could also suggest his lack of surity as to how to how far he should go with "the Jewish question".


When you say that Hitler might not have been sure how far he should go, are you suggesting that he would've had any moral qualms or doubts about having the Jews executed, or that he might have judged wiping them out as "too extreme," or "too severe"?

Or are you saying that he might have felt that "going too far" might not sit well in society, or invite some kind of backlash, intragovernmental, international or otherwise? Because if it's the latter, I'd agree, and that's exactly the kind of thing that I think might have kept Hitler from enacting the Holocaust right away upon acquiring power.

I mean, we know that Hitler had considered killing the Jews as being one solution to Germany's problems. Why do *you* think he didn't immediately decree the Holocaust when he technically had the power to do so for most of the 1930s? Not that he was a softie, right? ;) Or do you not think, as he was looking to circumscribe Jewish business activity, civil service activity, etc., that it ever again crossed his mind to simply have them killed? Wouldn't that have appealed to Hitler? What could've stopped him?



But the death camps such as Auschwitz would not have been located in the middle of cities. In fact, they were not even set up in Germany. Why would it be necessary to desensitize a populace from something they would never see in the first place.


Well, maybe not "desensitize" exactly, but maybe more "inure" them to increasingly harsh treatment of the Jews so that, if one day they were sent away on trains, maybe you didn't ask too many questions?

I mean, consider if you wanted to cause something like that to happen in present day America? Suppose you wanted to round up one minority group or another for execution. It'd probably be a mistake to send them to Auschwitz on day one; people'd ask too many questions. There'd be protests and endless headaches for your dictatorship, and quite likely outright rebellion.

If on the other hand you started a propaganda campaign over years, and then started slowly liquidating the assets of the target population, and reducing their role in positive society by restricting their rights to work, school, etc... if you sequestered them away in certain undesirable sections of town, and made them the villians in every speech, in films and newspapers. If you raised the youth to hate them in specially designed educational programs. If you made association with them to be anathema to higher society or important political or labor affiliations.

Well, if you did all of those things, for years, then maybe one day we'd reach the point where you really could round them up and send them off... and not have too many of those aforementioned headaches.



Actually, I think this view could justify my view. Eastern Europe would have had significantly larger Jewish populations than western Europe. As Hitler's armies marched eastward, they would have come into contact with bigger Jewish populations which would have been significantly harder to deport. Other means of dealing with them would have been necessary.


I'm sure that you're partly right here. If nothing else, I think I remember that the larger Jewish populations of Eastern Europe led to a number of mass on-the-spot shootings and impromptu ditch-graves, rather than the rigamarole of trains, camps, and poisoned showers.

But I'm not sure how this would show that the Holocaust wasn't planned, in general; just that maybe the planning didn't take Barbarossa into account very well.

I mean, it sounds like you're saying that deportation would've been the Nazi's preferred strategy of dealing with the Jews, if not for the massive Jewish populations of Eastern Europe which made such deportation logistically impossible. But even in those cases where deportation would've been easier, like in Western Europe, the Jews were shipped to camps and liquidated, were they not? More than that, isn't it the case that Jews were actively prohibited from leaving Nazi-occupied countries? If the goal wasn't to kill them, but just to get them out of Hitler's Europe, why not allow them to leave of their own accord (with less expense for the Reich)?



Hitler seems to have had little perception that the Germans would have, in any way, supported or protected the Jews from any type of threat (as he immediately began enacting laws against them), and Kristalnacht suggests he had no perception they would have oppossed any type of violence towards the Jews.


Well, I'll grant that there was a lot of anti-Semitism in Germany already, even without Hitler--I mean, that's part of how the Nazis came to power in the first place. But still, I think there's a substantial difference between the initial laws and the Holocaust. And also remember that Kristallnacht wasn't till '38 anyways.

I think it's rather like the old story about boiling a frog--that if you raise the temprature slowly enough, the frog won't notice (though I think that's not literally true of frogs, but still, it's a useful analogy). Kristallnacht may have made more sense to the German people (and remember, I mean more than just the civilians, but also Hitler's staff, the army, etc.) in 1938 than in 1933, and the Holocaust more in 1941 than in even 1938. Maybe, also, it was the lack of popular reaction against things such as Kristallnacht that allowed Hitler to feel bold about taking more severe steps, just as the annexations of Austria and the Sudetenland preceeded Hitler's move into Poland.

cdubs
February 7th, 2010, 01:03 PM
Don My absolute guess would be that Hitler had very little to do with planning anything specific. (Though maybe there's evidence to the contrary?) If Structuralism would require Hitler to plan specifics, then I'm not sure I could support it further apart from such evidence.
The concentration camp system had been used for almost a decade to both imprison and gain a profit from Germany's political and racial enemies. There were several entire departments of the SS that organized the concentration camp program, Hitler could by himself could have made only the most broad decisions regarding the matter.


It seems to me that a person at a certain level of decision making--the CEO level, if you will--often has very little to do with the specifics of the projects he oversees, except to okay or dismiss plans drafted by subordinates.
Spot on. This parallel is often drawn in G.S. Graber's "The History of the SS". Many of the highest rankings officials within the SS were former businessmen who would actually have preferred to do away with Himmler and Hiter's love of ridiculous rituals and historical research projects that were a constant drain on the SS's resources and manpower. They also described their work as being like that of a massive corporation during their various war trials.


Of course, every leader will have his own style, and I know that Hitler enjoyed interferring with, for instance, his generals, so maybe that's not true here
Again, spot on. I can't help but think you know what you're talking about.



Hitler was the kind to write a manifesto while in prison about how he planned to take over, then remake, his country, and then do it.
Hitler wasn't quite in prison, as the judicial systems within Germany resented the foreign imposed Weimar Republic and often let anti-government dissidents like Hitler off easy. His guards loved him, he was allowed to write and ( to a limited extent) distribute a book, and he served just over 1 year for an attempted coup of the government. Having said that you are correct in your characterizations of Hitler's rabid determination.


I'm sure that you're partly right here. If nothing else, I think I remember that the larger Jewish populations of Eastern Europe led to a number of mass on-the-spot shootings and impromptu ditch-graves, rather than the rigamarole of trains, camps, and poisoned showers.

But I'm not sure how this would show that the Holocaust wasn't planned, in general; just that maybe the planning didn't take Barbarossa into account very well.

I mean, it sounds like you're saying that deportation would've been the Nazi's preferred strategy of dealing with the Jews, if not for the massive Jewish populations of Eastern Europe which made such deportation logistically impossible. But even in those cases where deportation would've been easier, like in Western Europe, the Jews were shipped to camps and liquidated, were they not? More than that, isn't it the case that Jews were actively prohibited from leaving Nazi-occupied countries? If the goal wasn't to kill them, but just to get them out of Hitler's Europe, why not allow them to leave of their own accord (with less expense for the Reich)?
There were significantly different ways of dealing with the Eastern Europeans and the Westerns for a couple of reasons.

The Thousand Year Reich intended to use Eastern Europe as Lebensraum which roughly translates to living space. The population of this space was to be completely destroyed so that the Aryans could enjoy the idealized life of a yeoman farmer, which greatly appealed to Hitler and even moreso to Himmler, who had tried and failed to be a farmer.

In the Thousand Year Reich Western Europe would be colonized, but the non-Jewish and gypsy populaces would not be slaughtered.

If you round up all the suspected Jews in a given town in WE, you might kill several of your non-Jewish subjects thus damaging the future of the society you were trying to control. If you did the same in EE, no matter who you killed it didn't matter, as they all were going to be slaughtered eventually.

manc
September 16th, 2010, 01:01 AM
Well, if its of any interest, Trotsky wrote this in 1938


"It is possible to imagine without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere outbreak of the future world war. But even without war the next development of world reaction signifies with certainty the physical extermination of the Jews ."

---------- Post added at 11:01 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:32 PM ----------

Trotsky 1933

"The date of the new European catastrophe will be determined by the time necessary for the arming of Germany. It is not a question of months, but neither is it a question of decades. It will be but a few years before Europe is again plunged into a war, unless Hitler is forestalled in time by the inner forces of Germany."

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/germany/1933/330610.htm



Trotsky 1934

"Hitler is preparing for war."

This was at a time when Germany was disarmed following WW1. The gist of the article I think is that Hitler was playing a long, crafty game.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1934/xx/hitler.htm

Leanne1
October 6th, 2010, 09:16 AM
For many many years the jews in Europe were very wealthy people generally speaking and were very proud of their acheivments financially speaking. They were by far more wealthy than most of the Germans also. This in itself created a mass dislike of the jewish people and this was one huge reason that added to the many other reasons of the wiping out of the jews. This is one way of me saying that this is one reason why Hitler had been planning for a long time to wipe them out of the country that he was so proud of. Another thing, Hitler was all for appearance. He wanted Germany to be filled with perfect looking Germans with blonde hair and blue eyes. Hitler would do anything for Germany to have no Jews and to have perfect looking Germans occupying the country. Another thing, apart from the fact that he himself was from a Jewish background and had brown hair and brown eyes and was in fact a small man, he wrote about his plans in his book 'Mein Kampf', and pretty much put them into action. A reason that he took so long to put them into action is because Hitler started from scratch politically speaking. He started from the bottom and worked his way up gaining respect from his intense speeches where he was known to stand in silence on a high platform and stare down at the people with an expression so intense and build suspense before breaking out into a speech that would leave people in awe of him. He gained respect from both the people of Germany but also the politicians who helped him rise in power as they saw how much respect he could gain from just one public speech. This was very important to Hitler. Once Hitler had rose to power, THATS when he used fearful tactics and when he put his plans of extermination of all jews into action. Hitler intended to wipe out the Jews all along, and he intended to be at the very top of the scale when it happened.

manc
October 9th, 2010, 01:54 PM
Of course Trotsky was warning of the dangers earlier, eg in 1931 he wrote
For a Workers’ United Front Against Fascism (http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/germany/1931/311208.htm)


which starts..

"Germany is now passing through one of those great historic hours upon which the fate of the German people, the fate of Europe, and in significant measure the fate of all humanity, will depend for decades."

and ends

"Worker-Communists, you are hundreds of thousands, millions; you cannot leave for anyplace; there are not enough passports for you. Should fascism come to power, it will ride over your skulls and spines like a terrific tank. Your salvation lies in merciless struggle. And only a fighting unity with the Social Democratic workers can bring victory. Make haste, worker-Communists, you have very little time left!"

Who can deny that the ignoring of this advice by the German Communist Party was one of the greatest tragedies in history.