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The Holocaust, the Bomb, and the Legacy of Mass Killing The West CHAPTER 27.

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Presentation on theme: "The Holocaust, the Bomb, and the Legacy of Mass Killing The West CHAPTER 27."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Holocaust, the Bomb, and the Legacy of Mass Killing The West CHAPTER 27

2 Anti-Semitism: The Necessary Precondition Rise of quasi-scientific racial theories perpetuated the suspicion of Jews, even in secular, Western Europe In radical right politics, Jews and communists were often lumped together as partners in a plot to destroy Europe In the political and economic chaos, after WWI, anti-Semitism flourished, especially in central and eastern Europe

3 Intensified Persecution of Jews, in Germany Hitler clearly identified Jews as a threat to German revival and planned to drive them from Germany Western appeasement convinced the Nazis that they could pursue more aggressive anti-Semitic policies Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938 As German-controlled territory expanded, expulsion of Jews no longer appeared a workable policy, and the fact of war made murderous violence more acceptable

4 The Radicalization of the “Final Solution ” The Nazis hoped to construct a new racial order, in Eastern Europe Nazi policy enslaved Poles, murdered Polish intellectuals, and drove Jews into ghettos In spring or summer 1941, Nazi policy toward the Jews shifted from expulsion to extermination Jewish emigration was ended, and the SS Einsatzgruppen began to kill thousands of Jews, by firing squads

5 The Evolution of the Death Camps In 1939, the Nazis embraced a systematic policy to kill mentally and physically impaired Germans The Nazis used Europe’s railroad system for systematic and efficient transport, in resettlement and exportation programs As early as 1933, the Nazis had used concentration camps to imprison enemies of the Reich and to provide a pool of forced labor for German industry

6 Auschwitz and the Death Camp System Auschwitz began, in 1940, as a concentration camp for Polish and Soviet prisoners of war The camp became a huge industrial complex, with prisoners serving as slave labor In 1942, a death camp, Birkenau, was built within Auschwitz, to kill Jews At least 80% of all Jews sent to Auschwitz were killed upon arrival

7 Jewish Resistance Members of Nazi-appointed Jewish Councils attempted to delay Nazi directives and save some European Jewry Violent uprisings occurred in many ghettos, and thousands of Jews fought in resistance movements In the face of Nazi policies to dehumanize the Jews, any act that affirmed their human identity was a form of resistance

8 The Widening Circle of Responsibility Regular German army units and civilian administrators all participated in the vast machine that perpetrated the Holocaust In occupied Western Europe, local police and bureaucracies aided the identification and deportation of Jews Both Protestant and Catholic churches failed, as institutions, to protect Jews Nazi policy did encounter resistance, even in allied or satellite countries, such as Italy and Bulgaria

9 The Allies’ Response Allied governments, media and populations received information about Nazi atrocities and the death camps British and American Jews lobbied their governments to take action December 1942 - the Allies announced and condemned the Nazi “Final Solution” No concrete action was taken to halt the killing

10 Remembering the Holocaust 1945-1946 Nuremberg trials highlighted Nazi crimes against European Jewry Foundation of Israel was one of the most dramatic consequences of WWII West German artists and writers struggled with notions of collective guilt The centrality of industrial technology and techniques, in the perpetuation of the Holocaust, challenged the assumed linkage between progress and rationality

11 Splitting the Atom Einstein’s theory of matter as “frozen energy” 1932 - James Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron made splitting the atom possible 1938 - Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman split the atom in Berlin To prevent Nazi Germany from gaining the atomic bomb, Leo Szilard began to campaign for an Allied nuclear weapon program

12 The Manhattan Project October 1941 - Roosevelt and Churchill agreed on a top secret project to build an atomic bomb The Project was run by the US military December 2, 1942 - University of Chicago scientists produced a nuclear chain reaction July 16, 1945 - First atomic bomb test, in New Mexico

13 The Decision to Drop the Bomb Desire to prevent horrifying casualties from an invasion of Japan Pressure from British and American public for Japan’s unconditional surrender Concern to impress American military and scientific power upon the Soviet Union Widespread use of mass air bombing and high civilian casualties, throughout WWII

14 The Dawn of the Nuclear Age The damage caused by the Hiroshima atom bomb exceeded its creators predictions The deaths caused by radiation sickness were unexpected and signaled the revolutionary horror of nuclear warfare The “scientists’ movement” attempted to ensure international control of nuclear weapons, after WWII

15 The Nuclear Arms Race August 1949 - First Soviet atomic test The possession of nuclear weapons raised the stakes in the cold war, but also acted to restrain military action Militarization of daily life to prepare for nuclear attack Proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, across the world

16 Learning to Live with the Bomb Formation of campaigns against nuclear weapons, across Western Europe and the US The Nuclear Age reinforced the hold of abstract art in visual culture Films and novels attempted to grapple with the technological threat to civilization posed by nuclear weapons

17 The West, Progress and Power Cultural linkage between the Nazi obsession with power and the Cold War quest for nuclear dominance The carnage of the Holocaust and Hiroshima demonstrated the destructive capacities of science and industrialization Need to re-evaluate Western self- identification and culture


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