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Yet Another World War II Essay Research

Yet Another World War II Essay, Research Paper

Did the

Western World do enough for the Jews in the Holocaust

"When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am

not a gypsy. When they came for the Jews, I did not speak,

because I wasn?t a Jew. When they came for the Catholics,

I did not speak, for I am not a Catholic. And when they

came for me, there was no one left to speak." -On the Wall

at the Holocaust Museum in Washington It is impossible to

learn about the Holocaust and the Second World War

without the question of how it possibly could have happened

arising, and along with that question comes another. The

question of whether or not the Western World did enough to

help the Jews in Europe. What was their reaction to the

campaign of systematic persecution, robbery and murder the

Third Reich inflicted upon the Jewish people? During the

time leading up to the outbreak of World War II, the

Western Press consistently carried numerous reports of the

German?s anti-Jewish policies and their purposeful

victimization of the Jews living in Nazi Germany as well as

the annexed territories. The general public cannot claim that

they did not know what was going on, that they were

uninformed. Whether or not they chose to believe it

however, is a completely different story. The public were

indeed outraged in many of the cases but the governments of

the major European democracies felt that it was not for them

to intervene for they felt that the Jewish problem classified as

an internal affair within a sovereign state. The truth behind

this is simply that the governments were anxious to establish

cordial relations with Germany and didn?t want to cause any

hostility. Thus they stood idly by and remained silent as

Hitler went from denying the Jews of their civil rights to

denying them of their means of earning their daily bread. As

much as they wanted to remain neutral, the countries of the

Western World were finally forced to take a stand on the

issue of emigration of Jews from the Reich who were

seeking refuge. The United States maintained strict

immigration quotas which severely limited the number of

Central and Eastern Europeans admitted to the country each

year. Even under such extreme circumstances, the US

insisted on adhering to these policies and refused to modify

them even slightly. Great Britain proved to be merciless as

they blocked entry into Palestine and limited the amount of

entry permits. The states that had the ability to absorb the

immigrants such as Australia, Canada and most countries of

South America, accepted agricultural workers but denied

entry to professionals, merchants and skilled artisans. There

were actually protests in the US and Britain organized

against the admission of immigrant doctors. The President of

the United States initiated the Evian Conference in 1938 in

an attempt to find a means that would aid emigrants from

Germany and Austria and enable their absorption elsewhere.

Thirty-two countries sent delegates with hopes that a

solution would be found however, it quickly became clear to

all that the even the great powers who had initiated the

conference were not willing to take any significant steps

towards accepting the refugees. Despite the speeches and

the appeals, no one country was willing to commit

themselves to practical measures, the smaller countries

following the example of the larger ones. An international

committee was set up in London for refugee affairs but it

lacked funding as well as a place towards where they could

direct the refugees. It is evident here that it is not a lack of

knowledge that something had to be done, but rather an

unwillingness that prevented the Western World from helping

the Jews. Words are just that, mere words, unless they are

put into action. As a result, the Evian Conference is regarded

as a complete failure. Once the war began, the

comprehensive information regarding the conditions in

Germany that the Western World had at one time been

provided with, ceased. Still, news of the Einsatzgruppen ?s

activities and the mass killings in the death camps found its

way to the west. Up until the middle of the year 1942, the

general tendency was to regard the consistent persecution of

the Jews as just one part of the complex of oppression in the

occupied countries. By the mid-1942 the horribly terrifying

rumors about Hitler?s Final Solution as well as the operations

and atrocities being conducted were confirmed. Once again

the reactions of the United States and Britain, who were the

major countries of the anti-Nazi alliance, were of horror and

anger. The Jews put forth plans to combat the Nazis

persecution of their people such as a demand for the

exchange of Germans for Jews or the launching of retaliation

strikes against the Germans until the murders ceased. Not

only were these proposals refused simple consideration, but

there was not even a willingness to halt the formal

procedures governing the transfer of dollars abroad which

may have saved the lives of many Jews. All proposals which,

if out into action, could have saved thousands of children and

other victims, were submitted to administrations that merely

contemplated rather than decided and thus, produced no

tangible results. As Jews were fighting for their lives in

Warsaw Ghetto, a conference of the major allies convened

in Bermuda to consider the "problem" of refugees. As with

the Evian Conference, no practical solutions were proposed,

The only thing it did accomplish was an attempt at reviving

the International Committee for Refugee Affairs, which had

no executive powers. Finally, the conclusion of the Allies

was that rescue would only be accomplished through a final

victory over the Nazis. It was decided that in the meantime,

no military action should be taken which was not part of the

purely military-strategic plan. This policy was strictly

adhered to and therefore no operation for relief or rescue

was undertaken, even if such an action did not conflict with

military objectives or require the use of military power. "He

who preserves one life, it as if he has preserved an entire

world." – The Talmud. Anytime the world stands idly by and

remains silent as 6 000 000 worlds are shattered, not only

did they fail to come up with a solution, but they became a

part of the problem. Hitler attempted to erase an entire race

of people, because of him there was a generation lost. My

entire grandparents family was murdered and many of their

friends still bear the numbers that were etched into their skin.

They have endured nightmarish atrocities not fit for the world

of the awake. They have been witness to ideas, thoughts and

actions one would deny human being?s capability of even

imagining. Their eyes have been robbed of their innocence

after seeing sights that would cause anyone to shut them in

fear and disgust but this was an option they did not have.

Now you look into those eyes and you tell them that the

Western World did all they could to help the Jews.