The Holocaust is One of the Worst Events in Human History
The Holocaust is one of the most horrific events to occur in the twentieth century, it lasted from 1933 to 1945. For years the question that still remains is was this final solution an intentional plan created by Hitler, made ahead of time or was it a last minute decision based off of the circumstances surrounding Germany? These two groups have been in disagreement for years attempting to find the answer when the truth is, there is no real answer. Although are there are no written documents, written or spoken commands from Hitler regarding the death of the Jews, at the end of the day, internationalists are the ones to argue that murdering the Jews was his intention all along and was planned out before the war began, whereas functionalists will argue that the involvement of him in the murder process developed over time and gradually before and after the war. After reading Karl Schleunes book, ‘The Twisted Road to Auschwitz’ and seeing how he interprets both sides of the argument and creates a large debate, I am one to believe the war had influenced the Final Solution and without it, the chances of it happening become much slimmer.
Functionalism is the idea that the Holocaust was a primary result of the circumstances the Nazi’s found themselves in during World War II. Adolf Hitler suffered many discouragements throughout his life. He was born on April 20th, 1889, in an Austrian town along the German border. As a child, his life was mostly dictated by his father. When his father passed away, Hitler then started acting out becoming more defiant. He eventually decided to leave of school around 1905 and began to pursue his other interest in the arts hoping to one day become a professional artist. In 1907 his mother passed away and he moved to Vienna with a plan to enroll himself in the Academy of Fine Arts. He was quickly denied admission to the school and was told his work was very bland and boring which led him to spiral into a deep depression. It was during this time that Hitler started to become intrigued by mass political manipulation. What impressed him most was the success of the anti-Semitic nationalist party of Vienna. This party used propaganda, which is to spread a message through all forms of media.
Once exposed to the party, Hitler developed anti-Semitism and based it off of his own ideal thoughts as well as being influenced by those of the Nazi party. These men proposed radical suggestions which were accepted by many other individuals. In May of 1913, Hitler went back to Munich where he volunteered in the German army during the war against Europe and America. During the war, he was injured twice and left the war with little to no motivation. He continued to serve in Germany along with all the other veterans until he found employment in 1919 as a political officer. He started to attend meetings with anti-semitic, and socialist groups where he was convinced more and more that the Jews were causing problems for Germany. He later became the leader of this party and renamed it the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, also known as the NSDAP which became the official name of the Nazi party. Through the Nazi party, many individuals began to become more convincing for Hitler, making it seem like the Jews had started the war to corrupt Europe and make them submerge into Jewish control. They started saying Jewish people had more jobs in Germany than the German people themselves even though statistics can show that a very small portion of Germany’s labor force was Jewish. Thus, Nazi ideology saw the Jews as an extensional threat to the world. Negative propaganda was slowly being broadcasted which led to the Nazi party number to rise rapidly. Following the growth of the Nazi Party, economic conditions began to worsen.
Hitler had noticed the numbers of the party had grown and used that as an advantage to take charge and attempt to overthrow the Berlin government. His attempt quickly failed and he was sentenced for treason and put in jail. During this time, he wrote out his plans and beliefs in Mein Kampf in which he published shortly after. Some believe this is where he began planning what became the Holocaust but no one noticed because not only did it not sell well, but in general no one took him seriously or thought he was capable of going through with his plans. Evidently, functionalist have created a probable answer which is that when Hitler gained power he used it to make a life for the Jews in Germany so unendurable that they would eventually want to flee away from Germany. One of the things they started to do was take away their jobs regardless of the positions they held although if you obtained a higher position, you had a greater chance of fighting to keep it. Mass genocide became a last resort option when the attempts to drive the Jews out failed. Alongside this theory, some could say that Hitler’s many discouragements in life caused him to build up anger and eventually become power hungry and use that gaining power to prove himself to himself and to his country as well. It is psychologically proven that those who grow up in a lower social class, leads to poor cognitive development, language, memory, emotional processing, and poor health in adulthood. With the evidence that resides with history, it is evident that the holocaust was not predetermined nor was it planned out but rather Hitler’s last resort.