The Final Solution Racial Cleansing Sources

The Final Solution : Racial Cleansing Sources Question Essay, Research Paper

Q1. To what extent do the

views in Source D support the information on the Final Solution in Source A?Source A

suggests that the mass murders carried out by the Einsatzgruppen

took place to the east of Greater Germany. This is

supported in source B: ?In the course of the Final Solution, the Jews should be

brought to the East.? Source B

goes on to say: ?Doubtless a large part will fall away through natural

reduction. The remainder will have to be dealt with appropriately.? It should

be noted the vague language is used to cloud responsibility for the

extermination of the Jews. There is

no suggestion in Source A as to how the Jews were to be ?separated by sex? or

how those capable of work will join labour camps; although it does suggest that

Europe will be combed from west to east as mentioned in source B.Q2. Are similar sentiments of

ruthlessness towards the Jews implied in sources C and D?Yes, but

in different ways. The person in Source C seems to enjoy his work: ?We are

ruthlessly making a clean sweep, with a clear conscience.? The source

suggests that he passionately dislikes Jews, as he gives them a lot of abuse,

bringing into question their sexual morality and their physical and mental

ability. Source D expresses similar sentiments, but it seems to be much more

sinister and ruthless, for Himmler was the man who masterminded the

extermination of the Jews, while the officer in Source C follows the orders. We

can see the enthusiasm at the end of Source D: ?This is a

glorious page in our history? Indeed, Himmler?s

ruthlessness is much more cold and detached. Q3A. What was the Nazis? aim

in publishing source E?This photo

could have been used as propaganda to influence public opinion on the Jewish

problem or to counteract rumours of Jewish maltreatment. The

picture shows Jews in a camp wearing fur coats, ear muffs and being offered

cigarettes! The

picture would have allayed people?s fears because it suggested that the Nazis

were compassionate towards its enemies. I would question the reliability of

this source and be wary of what it suggests, as it is misleading. The ?Jews?

in the picture many not have been Jews at all but camp guards dressed up for

this staged photograph.Q3B. Do sources F and G

suggest that the Nazis were successful in their aim?Yes,

Source E was meant to give a good impression of Jewish treatment; although we

don?t know if either person saw Source E. The person in source F wasn?t

necessarily fooled. Its

suggested that she was a nazi supporter and could have convinced herself that

nothing bad was happening, if she had seen source E, it would give her more

reason to do so. The girl

in Source G seems to be from a Nazi School and could have been ?programmed? to

believe that the Jews were treated well; more so if an S.S. officer told her so.

However, what she says is coloured by hindsight, casting some doubt upon its

reliability.Q4. How does Source H attempt

to represent the views of different Germans towards the final solution?Source H

is an extract of the film ?Schindler?s List?. It is meant to enlighten people

on the treatment of the Polish Jews. Most of the Germans we see in the film are

army officers; therefore, the source is not terribly representative of German

public opinion. The views

expressed by the Germans about the Jews are always negative, even those of

Oscar Schindler; who is initially presented as being dismissive of the Jews,

although he becomes like a saviour to them. The source

should not be taken as entirely historically accurate because although it is

meant to enlighten people about what happened, it is essentially for

entertainment and was made by a Jewish director on a Jewish topic, making it

subjective and we cannot say for certain that the views expressed applied to

all S.S. men.Q5. Which of the Sources, J

or I is more critical of the role of the German people towards the final

solution?It seems

that source I is far more critical of the German people. We first have to look

at the title, which says a lot: ?Hitler?s willing executioners.? The source

refers to the Ordnungspolizei, who were everyday family men. They represented a

large proportion of the German population. It says

that these men were passionate and overfilled their ?quotas?, killing with

sadistic abandon. Source I suggests that it was the everyday German people who

murdered the Jews. Source J does not use strong critical language, it simply

says the Germans turned a blind eye to the Jewish situation and were

indifferent. This, it could be argued is very damning criticism. However,

source I is more critical, as it states that Germans as a people, participated

actively in genocide.Q6. What are the strengths

and weaknesses of sources K and : for an historian studying the Final Solution?Source K

is a useful source because it gives us an insight into the point of view and

feelings of a camp commandant. It is a

subjective source and one of its weaknesses is that it is an extract of a

judicial statement. The commandant was not going to say anything to implicate

himself, but things to influence the court and obviously his future. Source l

is also useful. It interprets well who controlled what and how they were

involved. It is a subjective source as the commander is trying to distance

himself from what happened by constantly claiming his innocence. This makes us

suspicious. This source also has the weakness that the commander is making a

judgment with hindsight. After 45 years, he would have had plenty of time to

make up excuses and reflect on what had happened. An

historian should be wary about taking both these sources at face value, as they

contain possibly misleading information, and their use of emotionally

persuasive language should be viewed guardedly as well.Q7.

What light does Source M shed upon conditions in Germany that would have

permitted the Final solution to take place?M tells us that Hitler?s dictatorship gradually corrupted

the German People. People were afraid to comment on the rumours they heard

about the Jews. Some even made themselves believe that nothing was happening,

while many were simply indifferent. Even those who rounded up the Jews and transported them to

the East may have tried to believe that the deportations had no sinister

implications. The propaganda the Nazis used to publicise resettlement plans and

the fear of government reprisals may have contributed to creating the

conditions that existed in Germany at this time.Q8. The German people were

?Hitler?s willing executioners?. Using the sources and your own knowledge to

what extent do you agree with this statement.Idisagree

with this statement. While it is clear that some people knew, and some didn?t

even care, it is impossible to say that 80 million Germans wanted the Jews to

die. When we consider that the executions happened in the east, outside Germany

and that the authorities kept the news from the public and tried to

deliberately mislead them, then it is very unlikely that the Germans were

Hitler?s willing executioners; Himmler?s speech illustrates this in particular. From one

perspective, Germans always had a notion at the back of their minds that there

was something sinister, but wanted to believe or were made believe by

propaganda that nothing strange was happening and that the Jews were being

treated well. People

were not stupid; they had heard the rumours, and those in the town of Dachau

outside Munich could smell the stench from the camps. Some did

not care, some knew and were in favour, but the majority were unsure about what

was happening, and could only speculate so they chose to keep quiet, trying to

believe that everything was o.k. They knew if they protested, they would end up

in a camp themselves. Not many

spoke out because of the fear imposed on them by the Nazi police state. Some

will point out that the Einsatzgruppen comprised of ordinary family men who

overfilled their ?quotas? by killing Jews with ?sadistic abandon?, which meant

that the Germans surely were Hitler?s ?willing executioners. All that

can be said about the men in the Einsatzgruppen is that, given the chance,

every man woman and child would pull the trigger and kill a Jew because of the

national hatred of Jews which existed in Europe for centuries; and it was in

their blood; however how realistic a view is this? And what

about the millions who had that fear, but really knew nothing? How could they?

They never told exactly where the Jews were going or about the Final Solution. All this

information was being covered up by propaganda, which was used to allay

people?s fears. Execution took place mostly hundreds of miles away. Even the

people of Dachau were amazed and revolted when they saw what was happening in

their own back yard. They could believe what went on right under their noses. It is

clear from the sources that people wanted nothing to do with the Final

solution, whether they are just defending themselves or honestly mean it. A lot of

the sources have manipulated the evidence to make a case for the argument that

Germans were Hitler?s willing executioners, but these sources may not be

historically accurate or be representative of everyone?s opinion. The sources

are also very subjective and a lot of them are personalised. They are

all trying to say the same thing: ?I didn?t know anything; I didn?t want

anything to do with it; I only followed orders; how could I be an accomplice??

Some of the sources, particularly Himmler?s evidence appears to be trying to

distance himself form the atrocities. Because

these sources have the advantage of hindsight, we must therefore question their

face value. In

conclusion, it is impossible and far to simplistic to say that the German

people were Hitler?s willing executioners.


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