World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

Chapter 3: The Spirit Of 1914 :: The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “If only we belonged to the German Empire!”
  • “Religion’s all the same, it’s race that is to blame”
  • “‘Germandom’, ‘Slavdom’, ‘Anglo-Saxondom’ or ‘Jewdom’”
  • “Other races were outbreeding the Germans and threatening to ‘flood’ them; or, like the French, they were declining and therefore exerting a corrupting influence through their decadence.”
  • “Baptism, of course, made no difference to the fact that someone was a Jew in Gebsattel’s eyes; anyone with more than a quarter of ‘Jewish blood’ in his or her veins was to be treated as a Jew and not a German.”
  • “In the eyes of the right, Communism and Social Democracy amounted to two sides of the same coin, and the one seemed no less a threat than the other.”
  • “Sacrifice, privation, death, on a huge scale, left Germans of all political hues bitterly searching for the reason why.”

Thought Questions

  • How did the Habsburg monarchy had restructured itself in the mid 19th century?
  • Compare and Contrast: The approaches to German expansion taken by different German nationalists
  • What was the Linz Programme of 1879?
  • Explain and Expand: “Its constant harping upon the supposedly evil influence of the Jews made it easier for a cynical communal politician”
  • Explain and Expand: “Schönerer never enjoyed this kind of popular support. But where Lueger’s antisemitism, though influential, was essentially opportunistic—‘ I decide who’s a Yid’, he once famously said, when criticized for dining with influential Jews in Vienna – Schönerer’s was visceral and unyielding. He proclaimed antisemitism, indeed, ‘the greatest achievement of the century’.”
  • Compare and Contrast: Antisemitism and anti-Catholicism in German nationalism
  • Explain and Expand: “Antisemitism in Austria was far from being a separate phenomenon from its German counterpart.”
  • In what ways did the lapsing of the Anti-Socialist Law impact German domestic politics
  • Explain and Expand: “Carl Peters was a classic colonial adventurer of the late nineteenth century, whose exploits quickly became the stuff of legend. … Peters’s fertile imagination and restless spirit led him to found a variety of organizations, including a Society for German Colonization in 1884, which merged with a like-minded group in 1887 to form the German Colonial Society.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The most significant, perhaps, was the Navy League, founded in 1898 with money from the arms manufacturer Krupp”
  • In what ways did gender impact the German nationalists
  • Explain and Expand: “Many of these agitators had achieved their status by working hard to get a university degree then moving up slowly through the ranks of the less fashionable parts of the civil service. Here, too, a degree of social anxiety was an important driving force. Identification, perhaps over-identification, with the German nation gave all the leading figures in the nationalist associations, whatever their background, a sense of pride and belonging, and an object for commitment and mobilization.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Alongside the specific aims that each organization followed, and irrespective of the frequent internal rows which plagued them, the nationalist associations generally agreed that Bismarck’s work of building the German nation was woefully incomplete and urgently needed to be pushed to its conclusion.”
  • Explain and Expand: “However, at the same time as they harboured these almost limitless ambitions for German world domination, the Pan-German League and the other nationalist associations also sounded a strong note of alarm, even despondency, about Germany’s current state and future prospects.”
  • What was the significance of the relationship between German nationalists and German monarchists
  • Explain and Expand: “Like other European nations, Germany went into the First World War in an optimistic mood, fully expecting to win, most probably in a relatively short space of time.”
  • Explain and Expand: “In all the major combatant nations, there was a change of leadership in the middle years of the war, reflecting a perceived need for greater energy and ruthlessness in mobilizing the nation and its resources.”
  • What was the significance of: “Ludendorff ordered a systematic economic exploitation of the areas of France, Belgium and East- Central Europe occupied by German troops. The occupied countries’ memory of this was to cost the Germans dearly at the end of the war.”
  • Explain and Expand: “So the Bolsheviks formed a Communist International (‘Comintern’) to propagate their version of revolution in the rest of the world.”
  • In what ways was 1916 a pivotal year for Germany and Russia?
  • Explain and Expand: “It would be difficult to exaggerate the fear and terror that these events spread amongst many parts of the population in Western and Central Europe.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The legacy of the German past was a burdensome one in many respects.”
  • In what ways were “The problems bequeathed to the German political system by Bismarck and his successors were made infinitely worse by the effects of the war”
  • Affirm or Refute: “Without the war, Nazism would not have emerged as a serious political force, nor would so many Germans have sought so desperately for an authoritarian alternative to the civilian politics that seemed so signally to have failed Germany in its hour of need.”

Articles and Resources

 

World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

Chapter 2: Gospels of Hate :: The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Christian hostility to the Jews provided a crucial launch- pad for modern antisemitism, not least because it often harboured a strong element of racial prejudice itself and was subsumed into racial antisemitism in a variety of ways.”
  • “Searching for a scapegoat for their economic difficulties in the 1870s, lower- middle- class demagogues and scribblers turned to the Jews, not as a religious but a racial minority, and began to advocate not the total assimilation of Jews into German society, but their total exclusion from it.”
  • “‘There must be no question here of parading religious prejudices when it is a question of race and when the difference lies in the “blood”’. Borrowing from the fashionable theories of the French racist Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, Marr contrasted Jews not with Christians but with Germans, insisting that the two were distinct races.”
  • “What the 1880s and early 1890s were essentially witnessing, in addition to this domestication of antisemitism, was the assembling, on the fringes of political and intellectual life, of many of the ingredients that would later go into the potent and eclectic ideological brew of National Socialism.”
  • “General Friedrich von Bernhardi famously put it in a book published in 1912, was a ‘biological necessity’: ‘Without war, inferior or decaying races would easily choke the growth of healthy budding elements, and a universal decadence would follow.’”
  • “The self- satisfaction of so many educated and middle- class Germans at the achievement of nationhood in the 1870s was giving way to a variety of dissatisfactions born of a feeling that Germany’s spiritual and political development had come to a halt and needed pushing forward again. These were expressed forcefully by the sociologist Max Weber’s inaugural lecture, in which he dubbed the unification of 1871 a ‘youthful prank’ of the German nation. The most influential prophet of such views was the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who railed in powerful, punchy prose against the ethical conservatism of his day. In many ways he was a comparable figure to Wagner, whom he hugely admired for much of his life.”
  • “Nietzsche was a vigorous opponent of antisemitism, he was deeply critical of the vulgar worship of power and success which had resulted (in his view) from the unification of Germany by military force in 1871, and his most famous concepts, such as the ‘will to power’ and the ‘superman’ were intended by him to apply only to the sphere of thought and ideas, not to politics or action.”

Thought Questions

  • In what ways do the stories of agitators such as Hermann Ahlwardt illustrate the uses of antisemitism in Germany?
  • Explain and Expand: “Germany’s Jewish community at this time was a highly acculturated, successful group distinguished from other Germans mainly by its religion. … The 600,000 or so practicing Jews who lived in the German Empire were a tiny religious minority in an overwhelmingly Christian society, constituting around 1 per cent of the population as a whole.”
  • Describe the economic connection between the United States and Germany
  • Explain and Expand: “His success testified to the appeal of such demagogy to rural voters, and indeed other antisemites such as the Hessian librarian Otto Böckel succeeded in getting elected as well, not least by offering the peasants concrete measures such as co- operative organizations in order to get over their economic difficulties.”
  • Compare and Contrast: Those who viewed Jews primarily as a religious minority and those that viewed Jews as a racial minority
  • Explain and Expand: “boldly elevating his personal experience into a general rule of world history”
  • Explain and Expand: “Nevertheless, their decline and fall was to some extent deceptive.”
  • Who was Wilhelm Richard Wagner and how did he influence antisemitism in Germany?
  • Who was British-born Germanophile Houston Stewart Chamberlain and What was the significance of “The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century”
  • What is the meaning of “Lebensraum”?
  • Explain and Expand: “Alarmed by the growth of Germany’s burgeoning cities, they sought the restoration of a rural ideal”
  • Describe concepts of “Social Darwinism”, “racial hygiene” and “negative selection”
  • Explain and Expand: “Writers such as Ernst Bertram, Alfred Bäumler and Hans Günther reduced Nietzsche to a prophet of power, and his concept of the superman to a plea for the coming of a great German leader unfettered by moral constraints or Christian theology.”
  • Compare and Contrast: “Writers such as Ernst Bertram, Alfred Bäumler and Hans Günther reduced Nietzsche to a prophet of power, and his concept of the superman to a plea for the coming of a great German leader unfettered by moral constraints or Christian theology” and “Christian hostility to the Jews provided a crucial launch- pad for modern antisemitism, not least because it often harboured a strong element of racial prejudice itself and was subsumed into racial antisemitism in a variety of ways.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources