Toward%20the%20Final%20Solution%204

Toward%20the%20Final%20Solution%204 - 4 WAR, REVOLUTION,...

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4 WAR, REVOLUTION, FASCISM, 1914-33 THE IMPACT OF WAR AND REVOLUTION It would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of World War I for the origins of Nazism and the Holocaust. The titanic clash of Europe's major powers and the seemingly endless slaughter at the front resulted in a staggering toll of death and destruction, giving rise by 1917 to mutinies and revolution. The intervention of the Americans in the same year allowed a final victory for the Entente powers, France and Britain, a victory that contributed to a collapse of those empires (Austro-Hungarian, German, and Turkish) that had been allied against the Entente. But the year 1917 witnessed an even more portentous collapse of the Russian Empire, until then allied with France and Britain. Many believed the rise of the Bolsheviks to power in Russia would be short-lived; Lenin and his followers were believed to be wild-eyed fanatics who, even if capable of exploiting the chaos of the summer and fall of 1917, could never retain power. But they did, with finally vast implications. The tragedies of 1914-19 gave rise to further calamities in the interwar period - run-away inflation, economic depression, the rise of the Nazis, mass murder in the Soviet Union. We might add to the phrase 'no Hitler no Holocaust' the equally apt 'no World War I no Holocaust,' since Hitler's own experiences as a front-line soldier had much to do with his later successes and program. Similarly, the Bolshevik Revolution provided him with one of his most effective propaganda tools, the threat of 'Jewish' Communism. In early August 1914, Jews in most countries joined the general enthusiasm for war and hoped that their demonstrated willingness to risk their lives at the front would silence the long-standing allegations of Jewish disloyalty and cowardice. German Jews joined in the exhilarating anticipation of rapid victory that united Germans of all stations. Germany's mission in modern times, the triumph of German idealism, was about to be confirmed yet again on the battlefield. One
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76 Anti-Semitism before the Holocaust Jewish observer wrote that for German Jews the outbreak of war was an 'unbelievable experience, an intoxicating happiness which enabled them to forget their complicated egos and be able to participate in the fate of the fatherland with millions of others' [140 pp. 222-3]. Even the Social Democrats, after initial efforts to preserve the peace, finally joined in the general frenzy for war and rapid victory. H. S. Chamberlain wrote that after August 1914 Jews in Germany were no longer visible as Jews, 'for they are doing their duty as Germans' [127 p. 411]. A number of German Jews won praise and favorable visibility from the authorities, perhaps most notably Ernst Lissauer, whose 'Hate Song Against England' became wildly popular in Germany and earned him a decoration from Kaiser Wilhelm II [127 p. 30].
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Toward%20the%20Final%20Solution%204 - 4 WAR, REVOLUTION,...

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