The Holocaust is a part of human history that baffles many, and understandably so due to its magnitude. One may find it difficult to conceptualize the sheer number of innocent people killed at the hands of such hatred. Many people wonder how the Holocaust came to creation.
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Though the Holocaust is a result of an innumerable number of influences, the political and economic situation of Germany following World War I as well as Hitler’s subsequent and rapid rise to power largely influenced the conception of this genocide. Devastated with the results of the war and being forced to pay extensive reparations, Germany was in desperate need of a confident leader. Hitler capitalized upon Germany’s disparity in order to quickly rise to power and normalize his contempt for Jews. Anti-Semitic legislation created a scapegoat for the hardships of the country, further intensifying the hatred of Jews. The Holocaust, one of the largest genocides in human history, stemmed not only from the detrimental effects of World War One on Germany’s economy but was also cultivated through the organized campaign of Hitler that deemed Jews as subhuman. The dehumanization of Jews at the hands of Hitler allowed German citizens to become bystanders to the extermination of an entire population.
Hitler’s rise to power and ability to spread Anti-Semitism results solely from the political and economic climate which he entered himself into following the first World War. Pre-war Germany and post-war Germany held stark differences in terms of economic prosperity. Before the war, Germany was among the highest economically advanced country in Europe. During the war, Germany was unable to import or export goods. As trade restrictions began to intensify, the small number of resources available in the country were allocated towards the war effort. As the war progressed, war bonds were sold to the public to avoid raising taxes. War bonds were purchased by citizens in order to support the war effort with a promise of the bond amount being paid back. By the end of the war, the government was barren of resources and the German population had driven themselves into debt. The Treaty of Versailles, implemented after the war, drove Germany even deeper into economic disparity. The treaty required Germany to pay extensive war reparations and in turn, put an economic strain on a country already trying to recover from the effects of war. In 1921, this amount was set at ??6.6 billion; a sum that Germany could not pay. By December 1922, because the German government could not pay, French and Belgian troops invaded and occupied the Ruhr to take goods and raw materials in lieu of money, (Economic Issues in the 1920s). The presence of French and Belgian troops in Germany launched the economy of the country into a downward spiral.
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