Nazi Anti-Semitism Shares Several Elements with Earlier Forms of Anti-Semitism

Nazi Anti-Semitism Shares Several Elements with Earlier Forms of Anti-Semitism1) Nazi Anti-Semitism shares several elements with earlier forms of Anti-Semitism.
What similarities do you find between the two, and what elements do you think are new to Nazi Anti-Semitism?
The term anti-Semitism refers to hatred towards Jews. It can take the form of religious or xenophobic anti-Semitism. The term itself was coined in 1870, but Anti-Semitic behaviour dates back to the time of Jesus, when Jews were regarded as the killers of Christ. The most obvious account of anti-Semitism occurred in WW2 and was carried out by the Nazi Party. But many of their anti-Semitic actions and proposals up until 1939, share similarities with the anti-Semitism which has evolved since the Middle Ages.
Hitler regarded the Jews as a threat to both the economy and the Aryan Race but this ideology dates back to the Middle Ages when Jews were blamed for Natural disasters and forced to leave their land. At the same time Jews were forbidden to fight but where then branded as cowards. This bares similarities to the Nazi’s blaming the Jews for the failures of WW1. Further to this, they became the scapegoats for economic decline and the image of the money grabbing Jew was born. This same image was used to motivate the 1933 boycott and the kristalnacht of 1938.
The Nazi programme of population decimation can also be traced back to Middle Ages Europe where in the 13th Century England expelled its entire Jewish population. However you might argue that the Madagascar plan proposed to take this one step further. The Ghettoization which grew out of the failure of the Madagascar and Lublin-Nisko Plans, is also not unique to Nazi ideology. Ghettoization of Jews can be traced back to the renaissance when the Jews were segregated from Christian society and lived in much the same conditions as those under Nazi Germany.
Whilst there are many similarities the Fuehrer iPrinzip did mark a point of public acceptance of anti-Semitic policy compounded by Hitler’s Prophet Speech in 1939. This was the first time when the issue of “Jewish annihilation” was spoken about openly and whilst it may not have been liked by all it met little public opposition. The Nazi “final solution” was also a unique element of Nazi anti-Semitism, moving from expulsion to genocide, a previously unseen form of anti-Semitism.

2) In the period leading up to “The Final Solution” what steps did the German government take in implementing anti-Jewish policy?

In the early years after coming to power the Nazi party put forward many anti-Semitic beliefs but failed initially to implement them. It wasn’t until April 1933 that the Nazi Party issued a nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses and shops, and issued legislation eliminating the Jews from civil service and restricting their education. For the first time the Jews were publically defined as a race thus emphasising the “Jewish Problem”.
In 1935 after a period of relative calm, the Nazi Party enacted a regulation stating that returning Jewish immigrants would be imprisoned in concentration camps for “re-education”. Following this, in September the Nuremburg Laws were passed forbidding inter- racial marriage and driving home the point that the Jews were separated by race.
In 1938 the Government initiated a pogrom, later known as the Kristalnacht, whereby 70 Jews were killed and approximately 30,000 were sent to concentration camps for the crime of being Jewish. Shortly after this Hitler made his “prophet Speech”, making public for the first time his goal of “Jewish annihilation” and warning the Jews of their inevitable extermination. The schnelbrief of 1939 marked another step towards the final solution by proposing a form of ghettoization – a tool which would prove essential to the implementation of the final solution.
All in all between 1933 and 1939 the government succeeded in passing legislation which not only restricted Jewish life but also made it at times unbearable. They made it clear to the public for the first time what their true intensions were and even warned the Jews of the end they had in store should war break out. They also succeeded in turning the tide of public opinion and left the German public in no doubt of the consequences of not supporting the fuehrer prinzip.

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