The Final Solution Racial Cleansing Sources — страница 2

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German people towards the final solution?It seems that source I is far more critical of the German people. We first have to look at the title, which says a lot: ?Hitler?s willing executioners.? The source refers to the Ordnungspolizei, who were everyday family men. They represented a large proportion of the German population. It says that these men were passionate and overfilled their ?quotas?, killing with sadistic abandon. Source I suggests that it was the everyday German people who murdered the Jews. Source J does not use strong critical language, it simply says the Germans turned a blind eye to the Jewish situation and were indifferent. This, it could be argued is very damning criticism. However, source I is more critical, as it states that Germans as a people, participated

actively in genocide.Q6. What are the strengths and weaknesses of sources K and : for an historian studying the Final Solution?Source K is a useful source because it gives us an insight into the point of view and feelings of a camp commandant. It is a subjective source and one of its weaknesses is that it is an extract of a judicial statement. The commandant was not going to say anything to implicate himself, but things to influence the court and obviously his future. Source l is also useful. It interprets well who controlled what and how they were involved. It is a subjective source as the commander is trying to distance himself from what happened by constantly claiming his innocence. This makes us suspicious. This source also has the weakness that the commander is making a

judgment with hindsight. After 45 years, he would have had plenty of time to make up excuses and reflect on what had happened. An historian should be wary about taking both these sources at face value, as they contain possibly misleading information, and their use of emotionally persuasive language should be viewed guardedly as well.Q7. What light does Source M shed upon conditions in Germany that would have permitted the Final solution to take place?M tells us that Hitler?s dictatorship gradually corrupted the German People. People were afraid to comment on the rumours they heard about the Jews. Some even made themselves believe that nothing was happening, while many were simply indifferent. Even those who rounded up the Jews and transported them to the East may have tried to

believe that the deportations had no sinister implications. The propaganda the Nazis used to publicise resettlement plans and the fear of government reprisals may have contributed to creating the conditions that existed in Germany at this time.Q8. The German people were ?Hitler?s willing executioners?. Using the sources and your own knowledge to what extent do you agree with this statement.Idisagree with this statement. While it is clear that some people knew, and some didn?t even care, it is impossible to say that 80 million Germans wanted the Jews to die. When we consider that the executions happened in the east, outside Germany and that the authorities kept the news from the public and tried to deliberately mislead them, then it is very unlikely that the Germans were Hitler?s

willing executioners; Himmler?s speech illustrates this in particular. From one perspective, Germans always had a notion at the back of their minds that there was something sinister, but wanted to believe or were made believe by propaganda that nothing strange was happening and that the Jews were being treated well. People were not stupid; they had heard the rumours, and those in the town of Dachau outside Munich could smell the stench from the camps. Some did not care, some knew and were in favour, but the majority were unsure about what was happening, and could only speculate so they chose to keep quiet, trying to believe that everything was o.k. They knew if they protested, they would end up in a camp themselves. Not many spoke out because of the fear imposed on them by the

Nazi police state. Some will point out that the Einsatzgruppen comprised of ordinary family men who overfilled their ?quotas? by killing Jews with ?sadistic abandon?, which meant that the Germans surely were Hitler?s ?willing executioners. All that can be said about the men in the Einsatzgruppen is that, given the chance, every man woman and child would pull the trigger and kill a Jew because of the national hatred of Jews which existed in Europe for centuries; and it was in their blood; however how realistic a view is this? And what about the millions who had that fear, but really knew nothing? How could they? They never told exactly where the Jews were going or about the Final Solution. All this information was being covered up by propaganda, which was used to allay people?s