Research Proposal: Nazi Concentration and Death Camps

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Nazi Concentration and Death Camps

In attempting to analyze the causes and the history behind the concentration camps and death camps that Nazi Germany created all over the conquered places and more particularly in German soil itself, there are a set of questions that the student of history must answer first. One relates to the concept of the concentration camp -- the segregation and treating differently of people who are not confirming to the ideals, policies or politics of the majority, and secondly the causing of the disappearance of such communities found harmful. The second question that the researcher ought to ask is if the killing fields at Dachau were the beginning or mere repetition of history on a grander scale?

In answering these two questions it is possible to find the psychology and social forces that created such a horror machine among other wise highly intelligent and thinking people as Germans. Why did the Germans succumb to a puny and probably insane person like Hitler? The answer to that question also lies in examining the earlier history and later developments after the Second World War. Thus we cannot help regress into history a little and find that death camps were not an 'Aryan' invention. There were methods of eliminating opposition that earlier also bordered on the same principle. Contain or eliminate that which is not a perfect fit in the system. (History of Roman Circus and Gladiators 2004)

The Nazi concentration camps were a culmination of centuries of anti-Zionism that had stalked the world, and mostly the intolerant nations of Europe. Prior to that the Christians were stalked by the Romans, and thus through history we find death camps. Thus the Roman amphitheaters popularly called the circus were a mini death camp for gladiators, mainly criminals and slaves, and the use of wild animals. Thus the unarmed criminals or high-principled Christians who were treated as criminals at the time faced death at these circuses. (History of Roman Circus and Gladiators 2004) Colosseum in Rome opened by Emperor Titus and was the first known orderly method of disposing unwanted humanity providing entertainment to the rest.

Targeting of People- a Career Need:

The essence of death camps were methods of disposing of people not wanted in the state. We find that in Nazi Germany the politics of hate was the beginning of the movement, and the hate was targeted against Jews, Communists and those in power. German romanticism and the concept of 'Volk' ideology which was perpetuated by other writers was taken up by Adolf Hitler in the Mein Kampf, and the concept of a nationalist superiority and at the same time a struggle by the 'National-Socialist German Workers' Party -- NSDAP and the promotion of the Volksgemeinschaft or Volk-community was the answer of National or German Socialism which believed in the racially purified fatherland was the beginning of the death camps. This was also fuelled by the rabid hate of Hitler of Jews which he mentions in the Mein Kampf. There were special speeches given as the 'Why are we anti-Semites?' (Cesarani 1996)

Hitler's writings and speeches denote two Jewish problems, and the primary was the Jewish conspiracy of world dominion, or the Jewish power of international finance and the other was the so called 'sub-human Jewry,' which was based on the race theory and that the corruption of German blood has occurred. Thus in 1934 Captain Roehm was seen as a threat by Hitler and the disarming of the SA took place. Thus Hitler's body guards known as the Schutzstaffeln or 'Protection Formations,' or SS. Was made powerful. Thus from 1929, the commander of the SS was Heinrich Himmler. The Reichsfuehrer SS, Himmler by 1934 incorporated into the SS the other divisions of Nazi power -- the Gestapo created by Heydrich, the entire German police system, and had equal and parallel departments of the SS, that monitored every thing in Germany. It later turned out that the Reichsfuehrer Himmler, was the prime motive after General Goring in the 'final solution' and running of the death camps. (Reitlinger 1953)

There was also a need for the adherents of Nazism to show that they hated Jews. Ribbentrop for example had influence inside the Nazi party. Power proceeded with a display of anti-Semitism, and for which Ribbentrop Foreign Minister. (Feingold 1970) Thus the Jewish problem and seeing the Jew as a being to be dispatched initially at least from Germany was the correct politick of the times. Many officials who wished to have great careers thus had to be Jew haters. However the death camps did not have their origins in hating Jews. It began elsewhere and for ideologies different from the hatred of the Jews. One question we have to answer is, apart from having a victim or enemy against whom the masses can be assembled, why were the Nazis bent on elimination Jews? If we look at the question in detail, we can observe that there was an intertwined principle that Jews were the creators of financial problems for the Reich both inside and outside. While it was easy to react to other forces, there was the historical question involved with Jews. The hatred of that community flows through history and therefore the Jew is an easy target to be picked. So we have to answer why pick the Jews?

Why Jews?

Anti-Semitism was a different kettle of fish altogether. The 'chosen people 'considered slaves by the Egyptian masters had to find the Promised Land. There is evidence that there was some pressure on the community in the early days of Egypt. The first antisemitic statement is on record from the third century B.C. One priest, "Manetho, wrote that Jews spread leprosy, and that they were exceedingly unsociable." (Weinberg 1986) Thus in finding a land for them the community further came in the way of the Greeks and later the Romans. The persecution of Jews, as seen in the case where "Emperor Caligula ordered the Jews as well as others to worship his image, Jews refused." (Weinberg 1986) This resulted in creation of a ghetto the first in a.D. 38 with a pogrom that killed many Jews is the first one in history. (Weinberg 1986)

Thus the Roman Empire was followed by the spread of Christianity which needed a new enemy to target, found Jews to be that target. Thus the singling out of Jews and blaming them for everything that happens was not a new phenomenon that the Nazis invented. Neither was all the cruelty. The only difference that we can see is the colossal scale in which the cruelty was perpetrated. Earlier pogroms of history were localized to a city or at worse a part of a nation. The Nazi final solution was aimed at wiping out of existence every person who was of the Jewish faith and every other who was not good Nazis. This naturally made it a big figure about six or more million people and it will haunt the conscience of mankind, for centuries to come. There is the argument that the roots of the holocaust begins with Christian anti-Semitism. This at least is the opinion of many writers like Willehad P. Eckert, Ernst L. Ehrlich and so on. (Wood 1971)

There was thus evidence to show that the 'Jewish question was not a Nazi invention. Konnilyn G. Feig argues that the problem was centuries old. It was seen as a major problem and blown out of proportions and the term 'Jewish question,' was used by various forces to achieve various ends, most of which consisted in highlighting the frustration and fears of the people who confronted the 'chosen people' which was seen as a threat by the developing nations. Thus the problem was that the Jews and those people who did not confirm to the state policies, in any state were always the targets of the authorities. In the case of Nazi Germany it was taken to the extreme and the 'final solution' to the 'Jewish question' raised centuries ago resulted in the horror that came upon mankind. (Feig 1981)

So one of the questions that the holocaust was the result of the collective drive of centuries of persecution and picking of someone to hate -- a principle followed down the ages was the step through which the history of Nazi crimes passes. This is not in any way to support the acts of the Nazis or condone them but to show that where we leave small splinters amongst us to perpetuate hatred -- it will one day result if not in the immediate now, then in the misty future of our descendants when they may address similar 'final solution.' At the receiving end may be the very same persons who now sow the seeds of discord. Having seen that death camps and pogroms were not unique to the Nazis, we now have to examine the rationale behind the death camps. There are two streams of the process that is evident. One is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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