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Q5. How did Hitler exploit the weakness on German economy to his benefit?

With Germany at its weakest and most vulnerable point, Hitler took the opportunity to begin his ascent to power. Hitler had two significant ideas that helped launch him in to power. He had someone to blame for the economy and he had a plan for a swift economic recovery. In Germany, Hitler used the Jewish people as a scapegoat for all of Germany’s problems. With disproportional numbers of wealthy Jewish business owners, Hitler convinced much of Germany that the Jews were to blame for the poor economic state.

Hitler outlined a plan where in four years he would completely eliminate unemployment throughout Germany. Germans were eager to see any economic success. Hitler used an extremely detail and well-organized plan for economic revitalization. Through his method, Hitler was able to keep his promise of economic growth and begin his climb to power.


A brief history of anti-Semitism

Antisemitism is a form of racism against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. Since early history, the Jews have been treated as outsiders by varied cultures.  The ancient Egyptian, Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires all played a role in the Diaspora, or dispersion, of the Jews.

The laws of Judaism demand a specific way of life, own codes, laws and practices. The ancient political powers saw this as a form of resistance against their influence and control over the Jews. Restrictions were placed on the Jews, which began with isolation from the city, eventually torturing and murdering them.

Over time, the Greek Empire replaced the Persian, and the Roman Empire replaced the Greek.  During this time, Jews migrated to Europe, Asia, and Africa.  As the weakening Roman Empire adopted Christianity, its leaders began targeting the Jews for persecution.  The Christians falsely held the Jews accountable for the Roman execution of Jesus Christ.  Thus, the early Christians used Jews as the scapegoat for the problems of the world.  Church and civil leaders began to ban, separate, and exclude Jews from full participation in European society during the early medieval period.

From the 1000’s to the 1200’s, the Christians incited a series of Crusades in an attempt to “rid Jerusalem of infidels,” or non-Christians. Although the Crusades also attempted to displace Muslims, the Crusaders’ widespread attacks on Jews throughout Western Europe and Germany began to form the early roots of anti-Semitism.

Christians created and popularized many cruel and negative myths about Jews.

Christians blamed Jews for causing the bubonic plague epidemic, or “Black Death.”  In reality, it was the flea-infested rats that spread the disease.  These actions forced Jews to migrate into Eastern Europe, with many settling in Poland.

The Spanish Inquisition, which began in 1480 and lasted for over three hundred years, represents another period of terrible crimes against the Jews. The Catholic Church authorized the Spaniards and Portuguese to force Jews to accept the Christian faith under the threat of torture and death. They persecuted and murdered thousands of Jews who refused to accept the Christian faith and forced many others to leave their homes, putting them in concentration camp-like prisons.

During the Reformation, Jews were not any more accepted than in previous centuries. The Cossack rebellion in Poland, also known as ‘the Deluge’ of 1648-58, resulted in hundreds of thousands of Jewish deaths, more than the Crusades and the Black Death pogroms combined.

In response to the loss of World War I, many German politicians were looking for a scapegoat and chose German Jews. In 1934 under the Nazi regime, Jews in Germany were declared by law to be racially inferior to Aryans. Even though the Jews had proudly lived in Germany for at least a thousand years and had fought in World War I alongside their countrymen, the shameful anti-Semitic attitudes once again overpowered the light of reason and tolerance.


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