Reasons Why The German People Followed Hitler Into The Holocaust
The Holocaust was a historical tragedy that occurred in and around Germany during the Second World War which was from 1941 till 1945. The Holocaust was under the command of the dictatorial ruler, Adolf Hitler who was the totalitarian leader of the Nazi party. Over six million Jews died at the hands of Hitler during the Holocaust in death camps. Despite this horrific reality, Hitler was still able to gain the full support of the German people, therefore increasing his political power, through his skillful use of propaganda, antisemitism, and fear and ignorance. Consequently, he was able to heavily implement his racial ideologies and effectively lead Germany into the Holocaust.
Many people followed Hitler blindly into the Holocaust fully trusting in him that he was the best way for a brighter future for Germany, the irrational nature of his radical and racist views really makes clear how convincing and manipulative Hitler was. He made people’s lives so good under his rule that when it came to his politically unjust laws and regulations the German citizens just turned a blind eye to it justifying it with having to “take the rough with the smooth”. Also with such an improved quality of living it made it asker to follow the crowd and especially with the constant threat from the SS and the Gestapo who made public images of or even murdered those who didn’t support Hitler and his party. Hitler also knew how hard it would be for people to agree to the slaughter of millions of innocent Jewish people therefore he dehumanized them in any way possible and made them out to be the most horrible and evil people on earth thus making it easier to condemn them. These strategies gave Hitler full control and support of the people of Germany who were then fully committed to following him into the Holocaust.
The use of propaganda greatly assisted Hitler in encouraging the German people to lead him into the Holocaust. Propaganda can be applied to media that are designed to change the way people feel or influence their actions. Hitler used propaganda to increase appeal to his Nazi authoritarianism regime, further anti-Semitic ideologies, and ultimately cause the systematic dehumanization of an entire group of people, the Jewish. Through the propaganda film “Triumph of the Will”, a narrative film published in 1935, it has been said that the entire German population was influenced and brainwashed. In the recent documentary titled “Triumph of the Will of Propaganda,” it was noted that Hitler was well aware of the power of propaganda as he writes in his famous book Mein Kampf ‘Propaganda should not depict truth’. Hitler cunningly manipulated the German people with a plan to indoctrinate all citizens to his anti-Semitic ways. Hitler used the propaganda principle of repetition of information of a biased or misleading nature, to promote the Nazi political cause, assert his power and ultimately lead the German people into the Holocaust.
Antisemitism dehumanized the Jewish population and gave the Germans someone to blame for their misfortune and returned their pride making it easier to allow them to be exterminated. It made the Jews appear lower and far less significant than the human race ergo, making it less morally confronting to accept the idea of their exclusion from society and eventual slaughter. Also through Hitler degrading the Jews gave them a scapegoat for all of their problems that were caused through the repercussions of losing world war one and the effects of the Treaty of Versailles which gave them more reason to follow Hitler. Hitler knew that through the use of antisemitism he could effectively normalize the idea of Jewish discrimination and cause most people to agree to or to turn a blind eye to the wrongs portrayed against them such as boycotting, murders, death camps, and public abuse. An example of the use of Hitler’s antisemitism can be seen in an extract from the primary source of Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf”. In the extract you can see how highlights Hitler’s argument with reasoning against the Jewish and communist population, he outlines their ludicrous ideologies based on Marxism and how it “rejects the aristocratic nature of society”, conveying the idea that core Jewish beliefs and political systems would not allow the man to work and reap the rewards adequate for their efforts, consequently never moving up in society no matter how hard they tried, always be equal to every other person. Hitler also describes them as uncontributing “deadweight” which only bring down society by not contributing to the community and only having this communistic mindset to not be left behind and to keep everyone at their equal level, even though they are working much harder and deserve a better life but cannot due to the level society based system. Many Jewish people were already communists as the doctrine of Marxism was Jewish-based teaching which allows Hitler to deface two groups ultimately in one. After Hitler came into power he did not allow Jews to have well-paying or meaningful jobs which reinforced to the people that they were a deadweight to society. Through this many Jews were trapped into becoming only communists as if they didn’t they would be removed from society and this was distressing as many had families to provide for. Due to this, Hitler’s views about the Jews were confirmed to the people making them follow Hitler as he promised to deal with the Jewish problem and eliminate them from society.
Fear and ignorance caused the people to follow Hitler in fear of the consequences of what would happen if they weren’t in support of the Nazis and also it made following him more rational as so many other people were, so, therefore, it surely couldn’t be wrong. The German people feared greatly what might happen to them if they weren’t in full support of the Nazi party through the abuse of the SS and Gestapo, as they were ruthless in their punishment if you were found in resistance. Ignorance allowed Hitler to also gain much power as anyone who was niece in any way to politics or the dark side to Hitler’s rule regarding the Holocaust, would just join in and follow the crowd, as he made life in Germany so great. Some of how Hitler used the power to cause fear in the people through the use of the SS and Gestapo by various methods involving public embarrassment, arrests, and even murder to make sure they were eliminated as any threat. Hitler made life so wonderful that any hint of the holocaust was brushed to the side being justified for their own benefit and turning a blind eye to the discrimination of the nonaryan race. A primary source of a photograph of the Nuremberg rally taken by Heinrich Hoffman on the 10th of September 1936 clearly displays how effectively Hitler could use the human nature of fear and ignorance to drive his political power amongst the people. 700,000 German citizens who were all from different areas of life including low and high-class citizens were attending this rally, which really reinforced the idea that the Nazi party infiltrated and influenced all areas of the general public’s life. Readers can understand through this that you couldn’t escape the Nazi way of life in any way and so had to conform to it or suffer the severe consequences. In the center of the photograph, there are thousands of soldiers dressed in uniform aligned in perfect unison all awaiting the command of Hitler, their leader, this displays Hitler’s unquestionable power and undeniable strength, which more than sufficiently scared any other political opponents or other resistors into joining his party, or completely stepping down. Also in the picture where Hitler is standing and surrounding the stadium is to color white, and there is a motif of the Nazi emblem reinforcing the Nazi ideologies, the white is alluding to a sense of holiness and purity making the people believe in him because he surely must be the right way to a greater Germany. Through this primary source, responders can understand how Hitler used fear and ignorance to manipulate the people into following him, through these rallies he made life as a German under his rule seem so great and made the appearance that he was such a pure and righteous leader. In total, he brought great fear amongst his opponents and anyone who did not wish to follow his rule and hence gained their support as they also began to follow him.
Hitler skillfully used a range of techniques such as propaganda, antisemitism, and fear and ignorance to gain political power and popularity from the people.
As you can see Hitler was a very powerful man that could effectively manipulate people’s ideologies and morals through the effective use of antisemitism and fear and ignorance which resulted in his dramatic gain in power and lead Germany into the Holocaust. The lies of propaganda caused many people to conform to Hitler’s unreasonable ideologies and be led astray from their morals and the truth, antisemitism further caused the people to hate the Jews and not recognize them as even human allowing them to agree to their execution, and in addition, he also effectively manipulated the people through the human nature of fear and ignorance to ultimately gain popularity in the people in increase greatly in political power wiping out any opposition to his rule. Many people followed Hitler blindly into the Holocaust even if it was against their core beliefs as they were manipulated into following him and his radical ideologies which lead them into one of history’s most horrific events, the Holocaust.