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To what extent, and for what reasons, did Jewish people fail to resist Nazi policies in the period 1933 and 1945? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > To what extent, and for what reasons, did Jewish people fail to resist Nazi policies in the period 1933 and 1945?

To what extent, and for what reasons, did Jewish people fail to resist Nazi policies in the period 1933 and 1945?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 2400 | Submitted: 26-Jan-2007
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During the Second World War the Nazis killed 6 million Jews. This essay explores the reasons why there was little and limited resistance on the part of Jews to the holocaust, both before and after the Nazis implemented the final solution.


Anti-Semitism did not just start with the Nazis. It was a European problem that had been happening for centuries, for example the Jews had been forced out of Britain and many occasions from the 13th century onwards, and were used as scapegoats when ever any thing went wrong. Before 1914 anti-Semitism in Germany was probably less of a problem then most of the rest of Europe, for example German Jews were given there civil rights in 1870, and had a substantial role in finance and culture at the turn of the century [1]. However the loss of the First World War was blamed on the Jews. Many Germans on the far right (including Hitler) thought that they had betrayed by the Jews, and that there was a Jewish conspiracy trying to challenge Aryan civilisation, this was because the main leaders of the Russian Revolution of 1917 were Jewish. The far right were scared that Bolshevism would take over Germany, which they saw as a Jewish problem [1]. All this was important in building a strong feeling of anti-Semitism in Germany. When Hitler was elected to power in 1933 he started a campaign of anti Jewish legislation and propaganda to try and convince all Germans in believing in what he did, and with out this anti Jewish feeling In Germany before the war the Holocaust would have not have happened.
The Nazi party were clearly anti-Semitic, for example the forth point of there twenty five point plan said, “No Jew can therefore be a German National”. When elected to power in 1933 Hitler quickly started passing anti-Jewish legislation. On September 15th 1935, at its annual party congress at Nuremberg, the Nazi Government passed twp momentous decrees as part of an overall legal assault upon the Jews of Germany. The first of which stripped Jews of their citizenship reversing the entire process of Jewish emancipation, which they had achieved in 1871. The second outlawed marriage and sexual relations between Jews and Germans. An implementing decree of the 14th November 1935 defined more precisely the terms “Jew”, and “Aryan” and “Mishchling” (one of mixed parentage). Germans whose parent or grandparents were Jewish could now be considered as full Jews for all purposes. The Nuremberg Laws effectively institutionalised Nazi racism and served as the basis for many further anti-Jewish regulations and pronouncements [3]. There was little to no resistance by Jews of the Nuremberg Laws. This was for a number of reasons. Firstly, the anti-Semitic campaign was relaxed during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, so as not to offend foreign opinion. This convinced Jews that the worst excesses were now over and even enticed some Jew back from exile. Furthermore, this kind of persecution was nothing new to the Jewish people, who had only just got there rights sixty five years ago, as it was relaxing in 1936 they thought it would end [4]. However there was some resistance to the Nuremberg Laws, many Jews went in to exile of fled the country to evade German oppression. In addition to anti-Semitic legislation to strip Jews of there civil rights, as soon as the Nazis were elected to power in 1933 they conducted a relentless propaganda war, with the aim to try and portray Jews as aliens, subversive and sub-human, in the eyes of ordinary Germans [4]. Nevertheless the anti-Semitic policy had no real clear aims, the momentum for attacks on Jews was much the same as before 1933, and that it was done to raise party morale. Yet the propaganda seemed to be working because November 1938 saw the first example of large-scale violence against Jews.

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