What was the holocaust?
The Holocaust was an orderly, technical, state-sponsored persecution and murder of more than six million Jews by the Nazi regime. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in 1933, believed that Germans were ethnically better and that the Jews who were thought to be inferior, were a foreign threat to the German racial community. Of all the injustices against humanity in history, the Jewish Holocaust was one of the most prominent. From the Nazis waged a brutal war against Jews and other lesser races. The Nazi's plans for the Jews of Europe were outlined in the Final Solution to the Jewish question in 1938. In a meeting of some of Hitler's top officials, the idea of the complete annihilation of Jews in Europe was hatched. By the time the meeting was over, the Final Solution had been created. The plans included in the Final Solution included the deportation, exploitation, and eventual extermination of European Jews.
This war came to a head with the Final Solution in 1938 whose end result was horrible concentrations and death camps. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews which was also part of the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some Gypsies were murdered.
The concentration camps were used to detain actual and imagined political and ideological opponents. Increasingly in the years before the outbreak of war, SS and police officials imprisoned Jews, Roma, and other victims of ethnic and racial hatred in these camps whose main aim was to focus on and monitor the Jewish population as well as to facilitate their later deportation .The Germans and their colleagues created ghettos, transit camps, and forced-labor camps for Jews during the war years. The German authorities also established many forced-labor camps, both in the Greater German Reich and its territory for non-Jews whose labor the Germans sought to exploit. As the war progressed, more and more concentration camps were distorted into extermination or death camps, some of which were equipped with gas vans and chambers and crematoria for quick and easy extermination and disposal of the bodies of the captives. Some of these camps also had facilities for scientific research, where scientists and doctors preformed barbaric medical experiments on twins, dwarves, and other genetically different subjects in hopes of advancing and breeding the so-called Aryan race of perfect Germans for Hitler. (Helpme, 2011)
In 1941, the mobile killing units and militarized battalions of Order Police officials, moved behind German lines to carry out mass-murder operations against Jews, Roma, and Soviet state and Communist Party officials. More than a million Jewish men, women, and children were executed. Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities extradited millions of Jews from Germany and its occupied territories to killing centers, often called extermination camps, where they were murdered in specially developed gassing facilities.
Some of the most notorious of the death camps were located in Poland. These include Auschwitz where more than one million Jews killed, Treblinka where approximately eight hundred thousand Jews were gassed), Belzec where six hundred thousand Jews were gassed, and Sobibor Where more than two hundred and fifty thousand Jews were gassed). These camps were the major centers for the slaughter of Jews and other groups.
In the final months of the war, SS guards moved camp inmates by train or on forced marches, often called the death marches in an attempt to prevent the Allied liberation of large numbers of prisoners. As Allied forces moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Germany, they began to encounter and liberate concentration camp prisoners, as well as prisoners en route by forced march from one camp to another. The marches continued until May 7, 1945, the day the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. (holocaust)
The Impact of the Holocaust
The impact of the holocaust was different for different people of the world depending upon where they were and who they were at the time. To Germans, the Holocaust was a blot of shame on their country's history of culture and sophistication. Sometimes people take aggressive steps to fill voids in power, because they want power. And how the Holocaust impacted the world was that it was in a time of media technology. It was the first genocide which had newsreel footage of survivors looking like walking skeletons walking out of the camps they had been imprisoned in. So it impacted the world so shocked to find that this was even a possibility. Seeing is believing, in the worst possible way. And it made everyone afraid of the darker natures of power. To look at the impact of the Holocaust on politics we have to deal with the extent, depth, type, and dynamics of the impact but not with the impact itself. The impact itself is considered obvious because it is so far-reaching and enormous.
Due to the holocaust, a steady liberal-democratic republic has been established on the ruins of Nazi Germany. Under the leadership of France, Italy, and West Germany, Germany has become a support of democracy and a focal point of economic renewal and prosperity. Under the influence of the United States and of Western Europe, Communist dictatorship in the Soviet Union and its Eastern and Central European colonies has crumbled, in a process that peaked and matured with the collapse of the Berlin Wall. A process of de-colonialization swept the world and dictatorship and Fascism became illegitimate and worthy of eradication, either through internal uprisings on the part of nations that had been the victims of benighted Fascism or through outside intervention political, economic, moral and sometimes military that was usually belated and lacked resolve and total mobilization of the democratic community.
The horrors of the holocaust led to the energy that has powered the de-colonialization and democratization processes in the past five. This process was complex, lengthy and accompanied by bloodshed, as Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe were abandoned to the influence of oppressive Communism as a prize to the Soviet Union for their role in eradicating Nazi Germany. In this sense, the beneficent effect of the lessons the Holocaust reached Western Europe before it made its way to Eastern Europe. Thus it happened that, following this most horrendous wars with the murder of millions of Jews, large numbers of Gypsies, and millions of Poles, Germans, and members of other nations, the world underwent a catharsis of sorts and revised its regimes, political borders and political behavior in a democratic, social-democratic and liberal direction. Traditional dictatorial regimes in Europe, the Far East and Central and South America also took a democratic turn, either pursuant to outside force or as a result of victories by local democratic forces, mostly inspired and sometimes assisted by the United States and its partners.
The world's moral and human level and its honoring of human rights have undergone a stepwise improvement since the holocaust and its impact may be gauged today in the response of European countries and the United States. Despotism as a barbarian political method, as a collective and a collection of sickening and frightening phenomena such as racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and dictatorship, has become due to holocaust, repugnant, deserving of eradication and blatantly illegitimate. The price paid for this awareness was intolerably high, unjust, terrifying and lethal, by the Jewish people of that wretched generation and in time without end, since this wound will never stop bleeding, let alone heal.
Lastly, the State of Israel is not only a symbol of the Holocaust-resurrection nexus it is also duty-bound to carry the additional burden of sounding a public alarm when any injustice is committed and it has a exceptional moral vital in the conduct of its own affairs. (Weiss, 2009)
The Holocaust remains, and will continue to be one of the most horrific things that ever happened to a group of people. The complete brutality of the Holocaust puzzles people even to this. Modern people still wonder just how it happened, how people could be thoroughly killed, tortured, murdered. The answer will probably never be found, but future generations can avoid something like the Holocaust by studying it, and never forgetting there is little doubt that the Holocaust changed the face of the Jewish people and the world as a whole. The large Jewish communities of Poland that were also centers of Torah study and Jewish thought are gone forever. In 1900, eighty one percent of all the Jews in the world lived in Europe. Today, the Jews have ceased to be European people altogether.
In looking at the current demographic picture of Jewish group of people throughout the world, most of them have improved their economic situations as compared to their previous conditions in Europe. However, there has been a drift toward absorption and away from customary Judaism. Intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews is on the increase, and less significance is given by this generation to providing a Jewish education for children and youth. In the past Yiddish was a common language that united many Jewish societies in the Diaspora. This is gone. At the beginning of the century, there existed in countries such as Russia, Rumania, Lithuania, and Poland where the masses of Jews spoke Yiddish and wrote prose and poetry, an extensive literature. This was an important uniting and consolidating force in Jewish society.
The center of Jewish identity was located within the various Jewish communities themselves and they were the source of their own sustenance. Today, except for the ultra-orthodox, Israel now provides the focal point of Jewish identity and national consolidation. It is often said that the passage of time helps ease the pain and can reduce the extent of the grief over loss of relatives and community. But it can also be said that time creates perspective and thus highlights the historic significance of these events. Almost fifty years have passed and what has been learned? Germany, Poland, and other nations in whose midst the Jews lived for hundreds of years, must ask themselves why the greater part of the populations gave silent agreement to Jewish deportations. Neither those nations, nor indeed the entire free world which may have been far from the scene of those events but were not lacking information, resources, and power, are left off the hook from responsibility.
For the Jewish people the Holocaust represents a lesson in history which is a permanent part of their lives. The course of Jewish history has finally left Europe. The future lies in a contest between the American Jewish community and the Israeli Jewish community. The holocaust led to a new beginning, not only in Germany, but also in most parts of the world. Although the positive effects were a result of the lose of lives of many people, it is still worth the sacrifice. As we remember the havoc caused by the holocaust, we should also learn from it avoid any other lose of life in the future. The holocaust gave us a lesson that we should not forget, that the human life is worth more than anything including power.