In Europe, the ravages of World War II and the Holocaust brought the question of meaning to the fore. How can life have meaning and purpose in the face of such senseless slaughter? The philosophical movement of Existentialism came out of these circumstances and provided a backdrop for the humanistic psychologists. Phenomenology, an earlier branch of European philosophy, also influenced the humanistic psychologists with its focus on the rich complexity of subjective experience. With regard to psychological schools, the functionalism of William James also played a role, as did the holistic theories of the Gestalt psychologists.