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A Timeline of the Holocaust
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and their collaborators as a central act of state during World War II. In 1933
approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed.
Although Jews were the primary victims, hundreds of thousands of Roma (Gypsies) and at least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons were also victims of Nazi genocide.
As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe from 1933 to 1945, millions of other innocent people were persecuted and murdered. More than three million Soviet prisoners of war were
killed because of their nationality. Poles, as well as other Slavs, were targeted for slave labor, and as a result, almost two million perished. Homosexuals and others deemed
"anti-social" were also persecuted and often murdered. In addition, thousands of political and religious dissidents such as communists, socialists, trade unionists, and Jehovah's
Witnesses were persecuted for their beliefs and behavior and many of these individuals died as a result of maltreatment.
The concentration camp is most closely associated with the Holocaust and remains an enduring symbol of the Nazi regime. The first camps opened soon after the Nazis took power
in January 1933; they continued as a basic part of Nazi rule until May 8, 1945, when the war, and the Nazi regime, ended.
The events of the Holocaust occurred in two main phases: 1933-1939 and 1939-1945.
On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor, the most powerful position in the German government, by the aged President Hindenburg who hoped Hitler could lead the
nation out of its grave political and economic crisis. Hitler was the leader of the right-wing National Socialist German Workers Party (called the Nazi Party for short); it was, by 1933,
one of the strongest parties in Germany, even though * reflecting the country's multi-party system * the Nazis had only won a plurality of 33 percent of the votes in the 1932 elections to
the German parliament (Reichstag).
Once in power, Hitler moved quickly to end German democracy. He convinced his cabinet to invoke emergency clauses of the Constitution which permitted the suspension of
individual freedoms of the press, speech, and assembly. Special security forces * the Special State Police (the Gestapo), the Storm Troopers (S.A.), and the Security Police (S.S.) *
murdered or arrested leaders of opposition political parties (communists, socialists, and liberals). The Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, forced through a Reichstag already purged of
many political opponents, gave dictatorial powers to Hitler.
Also in 1933, the Nazis began to put into practice their racial ideology. Echoing ideas popular in Germany as well as most other western nations well before the 1930s, the Nazis
believed that the Germans were "racially superior" and that there was a struggle for survival between them and "inferior races." They saw Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and the
handicapped as a serious biological threat to the purity of the "German (Aryan) Race,"[footnote #1] what they called the "master race."
Jews, who numbered around 500,000 in Germany (less than one percent of the total population in 1933), were the principal target of Nazi hatred. The Nazis mistakenly identified
Jews as a race and defined this race as "inferior." They also spewed hatemongering propaganda which unfairly blamed Jews for Germany's economic depression and the country's
defeat in World War I (1914-1918).
In 1933, new German laws forced Jews to quit their civil service jobs, university and law court positions, and other areas of public life. In April 1933, a boycott of Jewish businesses
was instituted. In 1935, laws proclaimed at Nuremberg stripped German Jews of their citizenship even though they retained limited rights. These "Nuremberg Laws" defined Jews
not by their religion or by how they wanted to identify themselves but by the blood of their grandparents. Between 1937 and 1939, new anti-Jewish regulations segregated Jews
further and made daily life very difficult for them: Jews could not attend public schools, go to theaters, cinemas, or vacation resorts, or reside, or even walk, in certain sections of
German cities. ... more
Find essay on Us And Canada
America is the stereotype for countries wounded by salutary neglect and looking to set themselves free. All countries do not decide to become separate from their mother overnight, it is a long, drawn-out process that requires many actions and reactions, plus unity and nationalism. The American Colonies were strained to the limit before they became one to battle injustice. England had put forth too many acts and duties against it's American colonies for them not to rebel. For example, the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was introduced by the British prime minister George Grenville and passed by the British Parliament in 1765 as a means of raising revenue in the American colonies. The Stamp Act required all legal documents, licenses, commercial contracts, newspapers, pamphlets, and playing cards to carry a tax stamp. The act extended to the colonies the system of stamp duties then employed in Great Britain and was intended to raise money to defray the cost of maintaining the military defenses of the colonies. Passed without debate, it aroused widespread opposition among the colonists, who argued that because they were not represented in Parliament, they could not legally be taxed without their consent. Opposition culminated in the convening of the Stamp Act Congress to consider organized means of protesting against the tax, a joining of American forces for the good of the colonies. Colonial businessmen agreed to stop importing British goods until the act was repealed, and trade was substantially diminished. Refusal to use the stamps on business papers became common, and the courts would not enforce their use on legal documents. The Stamp Act helped enflame the fire burning in American bodies of independence. Richard Henry Lee wrote to Arthur Lee in 1774, (Document C) saying "The wicked violence of the Ministry is so clearly expressed, as to leave no doubt of their fatal determination to ruin both countries unless a powerful and timely check is interposed by the Body of People...all N. America is now most firmly united and as firmly resolved to defend their liberties ad infinitum against every power on Earth that may attempt to take them away." Americans realized that England was stealing their rights, and they began to join together. It wasn't an individual against England, it was the country against England. Salutary Neglect was the cause of all American problems. It was the precursor to all the troubles. Salutary Neglect was the negligence of England toward the colonies for reasons such as war or distance. Letting the America's live one way for decades, then becoming strict on them, did not work for either the colonies or Britain. In 1754, a meeting in Albany, NY, of commissioners representing seven British colonies in North America to form a treaty with the Iroquois, chiefly because war with France, impended. A treaty was concluded, but the Native Americans of Pennsylvania were resentful of a land purchase made by that colony at Albany and allied themselves with the French in the ensuing French and Indian War. The meeting was notable as an example of cooperation among the colonies, but Benjamin Franklin's Plan of Union (Document A) for the colonies, though voted upon favorably at Albany, was refused by the colonial legislatures (and by the crown) as demanding too great a surrender of their powers. This congress showed Americans could represent themselves and did not need to be virtually represented in parliament. Colonist despised virtual representation, as evident in document "B". Edmund Burke writes "Govern America as you govern an English town which happens not to be represented in Parliament?" The colonies did not feel that they should be governed by a power that does not care about them. They cannot be governed without say in a government. Would England govern London without representation? No. Therefore, it is not fair for the American colonies. England once again is pushing America to revolt. Document E states, " ... the arms have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen, rather than live like slaves." This quote comes from the Continental Congress on July ... more
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