The Jew as a Monster
Six million innocent Jewish people were murdered by the Nazi party under the rule of Adolf Hitler in WWII. The Jews were systematically exterminated in heinous ways in what is known as the Holocaust. Though these tragedies may seem utterly senseless in nature, they can be understood by examining the Nazi regime’s use of anti-Jewish propaganda which effectively turned the Jews into monsters in the eye of the German people. Again, one may be dumbfounded on how a society could so easily turn against one group and accept certain beliefs as truths. A quote from Hitler’s Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda sheds light on how Jews were so easily villainized, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it… for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State” (Levine). In order to understand the aftermath of such propaganda, one must first look back to the past to understand why Jews were so easily believable as the monsters to the German public.
It’s no surprise that the First World War tore up Europe, but the effects it had on Germany were far more devastating and would eventually lead to the second world war. After Germany’s ruinous lost in the war, the Allied powers placed the burden of the war debts on their already fractured economy and stripped them of their colonies in Africa. Germans, like Hitler, were disgusted by the loss of the war and believed that the loss was the Jews fault. This belief can be displayed in post-war cartoons, one of which depicted the German government being influenced by gluttonous rich Jewish men trying to stab their own countrymen in the back by agreeing to a peace...
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...the Jews being dehumanized as monsters, they would not have been persecuted or even killed in the staggering numbers that they did. If the Jews had been perceived as positive people, perhaps the second world war may not have ever even happened. It is important to recognize the same media trends and the demonization of certain groups in our own lives today. For instance, Mexicans and Muslims have been portrayed poorly in the media recently and if left to fester, perhaps we may have another instance of monstrous misdeeds like the ones committed against the Jews on our hands. Based on the example of the Jews, the effectiveness of propaganda and monsterization of a certain group as a means to make it easier to kill them holds true. If the German public hadn’t been led to believe that Jews were monsters, the atrocities of WWII probably wouldn’t have happened.
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