The Holocaust: Intenctionalism And The Holocaust

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The Holocaust is a period of history known widely as the extermination of the Jewish race and other minorities that occurred in Germany during World War II. For years, there has been a debate among historians on whether the Holocaust was an idea created by Hitler or if it was one that emerged from the Nazi party ranks. These two differing ideas became known as intentionalism and functionalism and have both gained support among historians. Intentionalism holds Hitler accountable for the actions taken against Jews and believes that the Holocaust originated from him rather than the Nazi party. The functionalists believe that the Nazi party was a party in disarray, with members competing with each other for dominance within the party but with the…show more content…
It was Hitler’s ability to make group identity salient within the Aryan German population, the transformation of his ideas to ideology, and his deep hatred for the Jews that ultimately led to the Holocaust. Although Anti-Semitism was already present within German society before Hitler rose to power, he was the actor that enacted policies against Jews and what ultimately led to the Final Solution Hitler was successful in activating a group identity within the German population when he associated Jews as the enemy and Aryans as the dominant race who would save the world from the Jews. By making the Aryan Germans group identity salient he created an in-group/out-group relationship between the Aryans and the Jews. This in-group/out-group relationship leads to group bias which affects how people perceive others that are not part of their group. By cultivating the idea that the Jews were different than the Aryans, Hitler was able to successfully create a divide between…show more content…
Since anti-Semitism was already present, it made manipulating the German public into perceiving the Jew as an enemy an easy task. In political psychology it is believed that politics can cue identity and this is clear when it comes to German society and Hitler. He was able to play on the fear of others and the threat to German culture in order to come to power and fulfill his plan of the extermination of the Jew. Which is what intentionalist believe was what he had set out to do from the beginning. Like Karl Dietrich Bracher states, “Hitler was the most radical expressor and the most effective propagator of a set of ideas and emotions forming the nucleus of extreme German nationalism, that is, anti-democratism, imperialism, and racism.” Hitler was the perfect leader for a nation that was disappointed with the Weimar government and that had a strong sense of nationalism. He tapped into this deep love of nation and used it to turn Germans against Germans, making them fear and hate one another. Intentionalists believe that without Hitler there would have been no
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