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This investigation evaluates the degree to which internal party struggles within the Third Reich contributed to the conception of Die Endlösung, or 'The Final Solution.' To assess the extent to which these developments led to Heinrich Himmler's architectural formulation of the systematic eradication of the Jews , the investigation focuses on documents from the bureaucracy of the German Government-General of Poland, and the contention within the unstable Nazi power structure. The details and motivations contributing to the Holocaust are considered within this investigation, and the connections between the actions within and the discord within the National Socialist Party are explored. Actions within the zeitgeist and consequent war unrelated to the anti-Semitist events, are not assessed in this investigation.
The two sources selected for this evaluation, 'Final Solution': Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European Jews by Götz Haydar Aly and Christopher Browning's speech "La Décision Concernant La Solution Finale" are evaluated for their origins, purposes, limitations, and values to answer the question "To what extent was Die Endlösung a result of internal power structures in the Third Reich?"
SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
The euphemistic language used by the Nazis to disguise the nature of the genocide of the Holocaust, Die Endlösung, was used before its official announcement " ..as early as 1931" according to "an investigative report by theÂ Münchener Post, aÂ socialistÂ newspaper that was an early opponent of Hitler.."(Rosenbaum, 27). Dated around this time are Sturmabteilung documents, plans for the Nurember Laws where the term is used as a suggestion "for the final solution of the Jewish question it is proposed to use the Jews in Germany for slave labor or for cultivation of the German swamps administered by a special SS division." ( Nuremberg Trial, 366).
Heinrich Himmler was the chief arquitect of the plan, but there is continuing academic debate on when Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer initiated proceedings to implement the systematic extermination of the Jews through "The Final Solution," or whether it was his individual assessment at all (Browning, 52).
The Intentionalist school's debate emphasizes Hitler's intentions of a planned Holocaust. The dispute lies within the dates of the inception of this planned genocide as well as the direct order from above. Extremists of this school claim that Hitler had definite plans by 1924. To support the notion of a 1919 influence on Hitler, Lucy S. Dawidowicz extracts the single reference to killing Jews from Hitlers Mein Kampf which laments German gasification in World War I and yearns to replace their loss with "Hebrew corrupters."
Furthermore, "Popular opinion in Germany was already sympathetic to a policy of Jewish extermination before the Nazi party came to power" (Goldhagen, 74). This, being years prior to the Nazi Party coming to power cannot account for Hitler's sole orchestration of Die Endlösung.
Still, moderate intentionalists believe that Hitler 'decided ' upon the systematic genocide in the late 1930s, often correlating it to the "Prophecy Speech" to the Reichstag where he stated that if "Jew financiers" provoked yet another war, "...the result would be the annihilation of the entire Jewish race in Europe."( Goldhagen, 102).
The Functionalist school's debate emphasizes the notion that the part played by Nazi leadership was unrelated in the initiation of the Holocaust and that rather, the initiative for Die Endlösung came from "the lower ranks of German bureaucracy"(Götz Aly, 34). Further revisionist reflection believes that competition within the National Socialist structure provided the vitality of Die Endlösung.
"A structural interpretation of National Socialism does not exclude Hitler, yet opts to see him the 'propagandist' and 'slave driver' of an increasingly radical systemâ€¦[he] allowed his count palatines free reign as long as they did not infringe on his personal position as the highest leader of the regime" (Borejsza , 146). The internal power structures of the Third Reich show that "Hitler did not exclusively designate the destructive path of national socialism.." and that "the central complex of National Socialist extermination of Jews.. is more subject to a structural interpretation.. [rather than] the personalist approach assumed that Hitler had planned from the very beginning to eliminate all Jews.. [where] the Final Solution was seen as a direct execution of Hitler's 'programme'" (Borejsza, 152).
EVALUATION OF SOURCES
'Final Solution': Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European Jews by Götz Haydar Aly provides a detailed reconstruction of "The Final Solution." It deals with the ideological imperative for the Nazi Party, as well as the extent of Hitler's role. Published in 1999 the journalist, and professor of social science makes extensive use of Russian, German, and Polish archive, making use of documents from the bureaucracy of the German Government-General of Poland. With these resources, the purpose of his writing is to maintain that the population of Poland would have to decrease by 25% to allow the Polish economy to grow. The source is limited through inconsistency; it has been criticized for this incomplete explanation of French and Dutch Jews' deportation to Polish death camps, if Polish advancement was the reason of Nazi concern. Having been created as a critique to challenge the intentionalist approach that Hitler followed a 'master plan' to the Holocaust, Götz succeeds in elucidating the 'Bottom-Up Approach to the Holocaust' which argues that lower ranks within the Nazi bureaucracy influenced the perceived leadership of the Fuhrer in The Final Solution, making this source particularly valuable in that is a combination that through primary evidence, builds an image of the Nazi race policy that gradually shaped systematic genocide.
While Götz Haydar Aly's book focused on provided extensive evidence for "the actions of those running the Reich Security Headquarters in Berlin and of those numerous lesser figures on the ground who were in the eye of the storm," Christopher Browning's speech delivered in Paris, 1982 to the Symposium of the School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, consisted of a summation of the state of German historiography, though it focused on "[the] two modes of exposition of history useful for the analysis of the strongly divergent meanings that people attribute to the Jewish policy of the Nazis in general and to the Final Solution in particular" (Gallimard-Le Seuil,19). Interestingly Browning's this speech expresses his belief that there was a "crooked path to Auschwitz," both the value of the source in its explicit self-proclaimed functionalist approach, but biased in its purpose of disproving intentionalist theories by demonstrating that "Nazis aimed to expel all of the Jews from Europe, but only after the failure of these schemes did they resort to genocide," or Die Endlösung.
The zeitgeist employed the German population as a whole in anti-semitism, manifested in massacres of over one million Jews and vicious pogroms such as KristallnachtÂ before the installment of "The Final Solution" during the Second World War. While there is no denial that the Holocaust happened within the Intentionalist and Structuralist debate, scholars still disagree on the administrative origins of genocidal solution to the Judenfrage.
The intentionalist argument rests as insubstantial in reference to the mention of Dawidowicz's theory of Hitler's rationalization of the Holocaust in that single mention of Jewish massacres within Mein Kampf, given the book's 694 pages, an interpretation of such magnitude is far-fetched. Likewise, Goldhagen's interpretation of Hitler's prophetic speech is complicated by the fact that though the Fuhrer's statement does commit him to genocide, his lack of subsequent initiative does not. Sir Ian Kershaw also gathered evidence to disprove the thesis. Within the Nazi power structure, Joseph Goebbel's testimony within diary entries on September1941 state that "the Führer's prophecy is coming true in a most terrible way." Kershaw elaborates that the feeling one acquires is that Goebbels was surprised that Hitler was serious about carrying out the threat in the aforementioned speech.
The Functionalist school does not deny that "a direct path seemed to lead Hitler's anti-semitism common in Linz to the first mass shootings .." but instead takes a more careful approach and speaks "..of a twisted road to Auschwitz [as] it became clear in 1933, no sort of master plan on type, content, and amount of the persecution of the Jews existed" and most importantly ascertains that "mass killing and extermination most likely was not a political goal Hitler initially strove to achieve." (Borejsza, 152).
"A structuralist interpretation of National Socialism [comes] to the conclusion that just as the policy for Jews developed erratically, the ultimate decision on the genocide was improvisedâ€¦ it rules out that there had ever been a direct order from the Fuhrer due to the existence of the countless isolated activities" which were, most likely, carried out by the different factions of the party.
It is unrealistic to say that struggles within the Nazi Party were solely responsible for the conception and implementation of Die Endlösung. It has been said that "popular opinion in Germany was already sympathetic to a policy of Jewish extermination before the Nazi party came to power" (Goldhagen, 74). The National Socialist Party as an entity took advantage of this zeitgeist, and did due to its internal power structure. Developments such as pogroms on Jews escalated and unlike the assumption made by intentionalists that it influenced and incited reaction from just the leader, but also the Nazi structure as a whole.
It is however, undeniable that the National Socialist's internal power structures influenced the direct order from the Fuhrer to Heinrich HimmlerÂ for the architectural design that would decide the implementation of "The Final Question" in the duration of Second World War.
Word Count: 1590
LIST OF SOURCES
Aly, Götz Haydar. 'Final Solution': Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European Jews. 1983. Print.
Borejsza, Jerzy W. Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes in Europe:Â Legacies And Lessons from the Twentieth Century. 1994. Print.
Browning, Christopher R.Â Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. Print.
Darnton, Robert.Â Bohème Littéraire Et Révolution: Le Monde Des Livres Au XVIIIe Siècle. Paris: Gallimard, Le Seuil, 1983. Print.
Dawidowicz, Lucy S.Â A Holocaust Reader. New York: Behrman House, 1976. Print.
Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah.Â Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Knopf, 1996. Print.
Hilberg, Raul.Â The Destruction of the European Jews.Â Chicago: Quadrangle, 1961. Print.
Rosenbaum, Ron.Â Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil. New York: Random House, 1998. Print.
Margaliot, A. "The Reaction of the Jewish Public in Germany to the Nuremberg Laws" Vad Yashem Studies, Volume 12, 1977. Print.
"The Avalon Project : Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 22 - Saturday, 31 August 1946."The Avalon Project : Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 22 - Saturday, 31 August 1946. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2013.