Government and Politics

The Holocaust

Was the holocaust directed by the German government?

Yes. When fervent nationalist Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) rose to power in Germany in 1933 he quickly established a reign of terror based on his philosophy that the German (Aryan) race is superior to all others. He established a violent policy against Jews: Those who did not flee the country were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, where they were kept without cause. This was before Hitler’s acts of military aggression in Europe. But after German troops invaded Poland and World War II began, the führer’s anti-Semitic campaign was accelerated. Jews in Germany and in Nazi-occupied countries of Europe were severely persecuted. Those who were put into concentration camps—including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Buchenwald, and Dachau—were exterminated, many of them in gas chambers. By the end of the war, in 1945, Hitler’s “final solution to the Jewish question” had been under way for some 12 years, and 6 million Jews had been systematically murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, or Shoah (Hebrew). As his defeat was imminent, the despotic ruler took his own life in 1945. By then he had destroyed Europe’s Jewish community. Many of Hitler’s leaders were later tried by an international court at Nuremberg.


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