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The Causes of the Holocaust

The Causes of the Holocaust
The Holocaust was the systematic killing of approximately six
million Jewish people during World War Two. There were
many factors which led to the holocaust. The three main
causes were:
In November 1918, as World War One drew to a close,
there was significant unrest in Germany. It had become
clear to the German people that losing the war was
inevitable. They were disillusioned with the politics and
harsh conditions of war, and many lent their support to
extremist parties which had emerged all over Germany.
After World War One Germany was made to pay reparations to
other European countries which it had invaded and the
German economy was almost bankrupt. Under the Treaty of
Versailles, clause 231, the ‘War Guilt Clause’, it had to
accept complete responsibility for the war. Germany lost
13% of its land and 12% of its population to the Allies.
This land made up 48% of Germany’s iron production and
a large proportion of its coal productions so losing it
limited its economic power severely. The effects on the
people were morally and economically devastating and
feelings of anger and resentment lingered for many years.
Anti-Semitism is prejudice against or hatred of Jews. This
existed throughout Europe before World War Two but it
was legitimized and encouraged by the Nazis in Germany
and in surrounding countries which Germany invaded
during the 1930’s. Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to
be an inferior race of people, who set out to weaken other
races and take over the world. Hitler believed that Jews
were particularly destructive to the German ‘Aryan’ race,
and did not have any place in Nazi Germany.
When Hitler came to power in Germany he began
enacting laws which discriminated against the Jews. He
recruited thugs and criminals to ransack Jewish homes
and businesses and to murder Jewish people, often at
night and in secret. German Police were instructed to
remove Jewish people from their homes and to send them
to concentration camps. Often when this happened, nonJewish people would loot the Jewish homes that had been
left behind. Hitler planned what was known as “the Final
Solution”. This involved the building of camps, which
contained “shower blocks” which were really gas
chambers, and crematoriums to burn the bodies once the
people were gassed to death. It is estimated that over six
million people died at the hands of Hitler and the Nazis
during the war.