Race and Territorial Conflict in World War II
Individual ethnic groups possess their own beliefs and ways of doing things. Each group can have varying perspectives; however, some of those perspectives can be overlapping. Some of these ethnic groups have very extremist ways of viewing things. With that being said, many conflicts differ in conformity, social perception, and social cognition. Although these groups pull themselves further and further away from diversity, they all have the same wants; the want of territory. These groups are in a fight of space and race, trying to create their own communities made up of their own beliefs by getting people to conform to a certain ethnic way of living. World War II expressed a strong basis of the race vs space conflict, much as the Nazis in conflict with the Jewish population. These conflicts grow past World War II and into cultures from around the world.
When one thinks of the well known conflict between Nazi Germany and the Jewish community, they tend to think of the ideas of Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. That may be a large contribution to ethnic conflicts; however, the conflict reaches much further than of that. Hitler did indeed kickstart the conflict between the two communities by suspending any kind of democracy in Germany. During this time, the Nazis began to implement their racial ideology into their beliefs. The Nazis soon developed the belief that their community was racially superior, thus sprouting a mindset of a struggle for survival between them and the inferior Jewish community. The Nazis see the Jews, as well as the Gypsies and any handicapped persons as a biological threat to the purity of the German race. In 1933, newly implemented German laws forced the Jewish community out of their civil service jobs, university and law court positions, and other areas of public life. Soon after they started becoming suppressed, by law the Jewish community became second-class citizens. These laws, known as the Nuremberg laws, became to define the way of life for Jewish people and their religion. Within the decade, new anti-Jewish regulations segregated Jewish people further and made daily life very difficult for them. Jewish people were being forced out of public schooling, theaters, and other public attractions. If those restrictions weren’t enough, Jewish people wouldn’t be allowed to walk in certain sections of German cities.
Communities involved in World War II followed this same path of superior thinking. World War II was based upon racism and the want for new communities made up of ideological thinking. World War II was the first armed confrontation to take place in almost every part of the world simultaneously. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history with 70 million fatalities. This war included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war all due to a conflict of communities. World War II began with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations on Germany by France and the United Kingdom. During this time, Japan, which was aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China. During the early 1940s Germany conquered and controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis Allies with Italy and Japan.
Art Spiegelman covers these same concepts of race and space in his graphic novel, Maus. This novel depicts Art Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jewish man and as a Holocaust survivor. Auschwitz prisoners were dehumanized greatly by possessing serial number tattoos on their bodies. This creates segregation, as if there wasn’t any in the first place, among the Jewish prisoners and the Nazis. Much of the harsh punishments remain constant within Spiegelman’s depiction, as well as factual evidence. Spiegelman tells the reader that Vladek, a character from his novel, was extraordinarily careful to stray from Communists, only because a seamstress living in his apartment building was arrested for possession of Communist papers. This trend mirrors the act of speaking ill of the French and being immediately thrown in prison. Vladek and Anja, two main characters, speak of traveling to Czechoslovakia to the sanitarium. During this visit, they talk about seeing a Nazi flag flying in the center of a small town. They tell the reader of the swastika emblems on the train as well. Among all of this, there is also a panel with a large sign that reads “This town is Jew Free” right in the middle of the village. The novel states many more riots and efforts to make the area “Jew Free”, much like when the French invaded. This is much like the scenes from the film, Battle of the Algiers. The French are trying to rid of the Jewish people who originally inhabited the land. French military covered the streets to enforce the conformity of the Jewish people. They went to great lengths to force each and every person under the European way of life, including culture and religion.
The conflict of race and space travels throughout the globe. In many areas, there is a different kind of fight of “paying your dues as a citizen”. This concept is very prominent by the Mexican military. The Mexican military is taking women from their homes to “satisfy” their needs. This is the same concept of race vs space in that because of the women’s race, they are being treated as something less than human, as well as being taken away from their land. The Mexican military has caused tremendous violence, has caused an increase in the consumption of alcohol and in psychosomatic illnesses, as well as tearing apart at least 20 indigenous marriages all because the women had forced sexual relations with the soldiers for payment. (La Jornada, Jan 27, 1997). Prostitution is very strong in the areas of San Quintin and Nueva Providencia due to the soldiers offering more than enough money for these women to provide for their families. The soldiers are taking advantage of these women’s disadvantage while holding authority over them. Although this topic differs from that of a French invasion and the Holocaust, it remains the same in that the Mexican soldiers view themselves as superior and have the ability to do what they please no matter the morals or ethics involved. The soldiers who own the prostitution houses in Ocosingo and Altamirano make daily visits to La Garrucha, Patihuitz, Puente Jatate, La Soledad, La Sultana, and San Quintin, all camps provided by the soldiers. During these visits, the soldiers distribute the women from minivans or large trucks. The women stay around eight to ten days in privately owned prostitution homes with a sole purpose of satisfying the soldiers. This shows how vulnerable cultures can be when threatened, whether the threat be that they cannot provide for themselves or their family, or they are deemed inferior, it is shown to be fairly easy to take control of people.
These sources provide various examples pertaining to a fight of race and space. These fights are shown to be rather violent; however there are some that have a sole purpose of manipulation. When it comes to the battle of race be territory, there is a large conflict concerning the differences of conformity. “Superior” races are largely infatuated with becoming dominant over the less inferior race in any way possible. This dominance is shown through the rise of numbers as well as manipulation pertaining to a certain race. Because of this, different cultures are in a nation wide fight for territory. Maus covers this concept by providing the reader real life examples of what the fight for territory as well as the suppression of Jewish people in their own home is like; whereas, other sources show the reader an inferior race begging for ends meet that is taken advantage of and removed from their own homes. Both concepts understand the idea of the fight, by execute it very differently. Although these examples of colonization and conformity are concerning events from the past, this issue is still prevalent in today’s society. Conformity is especially present when forcing people to conform to the “American way of living”. Instead of intruding on a culture and forcing them to live their lives differently, cultures should be celebrated as they are.