• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
  • PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS
  • RELIGION AND THE CHURCHES
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
  • INVASION OF RUSSIA
  • HITLERS PLANS FOR EUROPE
  • TURNING OF THE TIDE,
  • THE HOME FRONT
  • THE RESISTANCE
  • PHILIP MELANCHTHON
  • D-DAY TO DEFEAT NAZI GERMANY
  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
  • DENAZIFICATION
  • POLITICAL PARTIES AND TRADE
  • LOCAL STATE FORMATION
  • PARLIAMENTARY COUNCIL AND THE
  • ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION
  • T
  • ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM
  • BUNDESTAG ELECTION AND
  • REGAINING SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRATION
  • RECONSTRUCTION AND THE ECONOMIC
  • TRANSITIONAL YEARS AND
  • THE GRAND COALITION AND YOUTH
  • THE SOCIAL-LIBERAL COALITION
  • OSTPOLITIK (FOREIGN POLICY
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • SCHMIDT ERA: SOCIAL UNREST,
  • PRINTING AND MEDICINE
  • THE KOHL ERA, 19821998
  • T
  • UPRISING OF JUNE 17, 1953
  • ECONOMIC SYSTEM
  • SOCIETY, EDUCATION, AND
  • RELATIONS WITH THE FEDERAL
  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
  • UNIFICATION POLITICS AND ITS
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
  • Abwehr
  • Adenauer, Konrad
  • Afrika Korps
  • Agadir Incident
  • Agrarian League
  • NEED FOR CHURCH REFORM
  • Agricola, Rudolf
  • Air Force
  • Albert (Albrecht) of
  • Albert V
  • Algeciras, Conference of
  • Allied Control Council
  • Alsace-Lorraine
  • Altdorfer, Albrecht
  • Amiens, Battle of
  • Anabaptists
  • P
  • Anglo-German Naval Treaty
  • Anschluss
  • Anti-Comintern Pact
  • anti-Semitism/Jew hatred
  • anti-Semitism
  • Anti-Socialist Law
  • Ardennes, Battle of the
  • Arendt, Hannah
  • Armed Forces (Wehrmacht)
  • Armed Forces (Bundeswehr):
  • LUTHER AND MELANCHTHON
  • Army (Prussian to 1860)
  • Army (Second Empire,
  • Asylum Law
  • Atlantic, Battle of the
  • Auerstadt, Battle of
  • Augsburg, Diet of
  • Augsburg, Religious Peace of
  • Augsburg, War of the League
  • Augsburg Confession
  • Augspurg, Anita
  • LUTHER AND ZWINGLI
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau
  • Austerlitz, Battle of
  • Austria
  • Austrian Succession, War of
  • autarchy
  • autobahns
  • Axis, The
  • B
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Ballin, Albert
  • CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE
  • KNIGHTS REVOLT AND GREAT
  • Barbie, Klaus
  • Barmen Declaration
  • Barth, Karl
  • Basic Treaty
  • Bauernschutz
  • Bauhaus
  • Baumer, Gertrud
  • Bavaria
  • Bavarian Peoples Party (BVP)
  • Bavarian Succession, War of
  • REFORMATION AND THE TOWNS
  • Bayer AG
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  • Bebel, August
  • Beck, Ludwig August Theodor
  • Beckmann, Max
  • Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van
  • Benjamin, Walter
  • Benn, Gottfried
  • Bennigsen, Rudolf von
  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
  • Benz, Carl Friedrich
  • Bergen-Belsen
  • Berghof
  • Berlin
  • Berlin, Battle for (Fall of)
  • Berlin, Congress of
  • Berlin-Baghdad Railway
  • Berlin Blockade
  • Berlin Conference
  • Berlin Wall
  • CALVINISM IN GERMANY
  • Bernstein, Eduard
  • Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald
  • Biedermeier
  • Biermann, Wolf
  • Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold
  • blank check
  • Bleichröder, Gerson von
  • Blenheim, Battle of
  • Blomberg, Werner von
  • Blücher, Gebhard
  • CHARLES V AND THE REFORMATION
  • Böll, Heinrich
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich
  • Bonn
  • Bormann, Martin
  • Born, Max
  • Borsig, August
  • Bosch, Robert
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brahms, Johannes
  • Brandenburg
  • C
  • Brauchitsch, Walther von
  • Braun, Eva
  • Braun, Karl Ferdinand
  • Braun, Otto
  • Braun, Wernher von
  • Brecht, Bertolt
  • Bremen/Bremerhaven
  • Brentano, Elizabeth Bettina
  • Breslau
  • The Bridge
  • THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
  • Britain, Battle of
  • Brüning, Heinrich
  • Buchenwald
  • Bülow, Bernhard von
  • Bundesrat
  • Bundestag
  • Burschenschaft
  • C
  • Canisius, Peter
  • canton system
  • A
  • Carlsbad Decrees
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  • Center Party
  • Chamberlain, Houston Stewart
  • Charles V
  • Charles VI
  • Charles VII
  • Charlottenburg, Palace of
  • Christian Democratic Union
  • Christian Social Union
  • LITERATURE
  • Civil Code, German (Revised
  • Clausewitz, Carl von
  • Concordat of 1933
  • Condor Legion
  • The Confederation of the Rhine was a
  • Confessing Church
  • Congress of Vienna
  • conservatism
  • constitutional traditions
  • Counter-Reformation
  • MUSIC
  • Cranach, Lucas, the Elder
  • cultured elites
  • D
  • Daimler, Gottlieb
  • Danish War
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  • Degenerate Art
  • SAXON AND SALIAN DYNASTIES,
  • SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
  • denazification
  • Denck, Hans
  • Depression, The Great
  • Depressions
  • détente
  • Diesel, Rudolf
  • Dietrich, Josef Sepp
  • Diplomatic Revolution of 1756
  • Dix, Otto
  • Döblin, Alfred
  • GOTTFRIED WILHELM VON LEIBNIZ
  • Dönitz, Karl
  • Dresden
  • Droste-Hülshoff, Annette
  • Dual Alliance
  • Dürer, Albrecht
  • Düsseldorf
  • E
  • Edict of Toleration
  • Ehrlich, Paul
  • Eichendorff, Joseph von
  • PIETISM
  • Eichmann, Adolf
  • Eicke, Theodor
  • Einsatzgruppen
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  • El Alamein, Battles of
  • Elbe River
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  • ROCOCO
  • ENIGMA/ULTRA
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  • Ernst, Max
  • Erzberger, Matthias
  • Eugene, prince of Savoy
  • European Coal and Steel
  • European Defense Community
  • A
  • European Economic Community
  • European Union
  • euthanasia
  • expressionism
  • Falkenhayn, Erich von
  • F
  • Fatherland Party
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  • TURKISH WARS
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  • feminism, 18151945
  • feminism, 19452005
  • Ferdinand II
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  • Fichte, Johann Gottlieb
  • Final Solution
  • Fischer, Josef Joschka
  • Fischer von Erlach, John
  • Fontane, Theodor
  • WARS OF AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION
  • Four Year Plan
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  • STATE REFORMS
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  • Free Corps
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  • FOREIGN POLICY AND KAUNITZ
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  • Führerprinzip
  • G
  • Galen, Clemens August von
  • Gellert, Christian
  • General Directory
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  • Gentz, Friedrich
  • JOSEPH II AND REFORM
  • German Christians
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  • German National Peoples
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  • HOHENSTAUFEN DYNASTY,
  • VIENNA AND ARCHITECTURE
  • German Reich (Imperial) Party
  • German Womens Bureau
  • German Workers Party
  • Germany Treaty
  • R
  • FREDERICK III
  • FREDERICK WILLIAM I, THE
  • FREDERICK THE GREAT
  • SEVEN YEARS WAR
  • S
  • ECONOMY
  • POLITICAL DECENTRALIZATION
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • HABSBURG DYNASTY
  • CULTURE
  • THE ENLIGHTENMENT
  • LITERATURE AND DRAMA
  • PHILOSOPHY
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  • T
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  • THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
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  • EARLY INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
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  • REVOLUTIONS OF 1848
  • ARMY REFORM AND PARLIAMENTARY
  • O
  • THE DANISH WAR, 1864
  • AUSTRO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 1866
  • THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR,
  • COLLAPSE OF THE SECOND FRENCH
  • I
  • N
  • ART AND ARCHITECTURE
  • ORIGINS OF CAPITALISM
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  • EDUCATION
  • T
  • POLITICAL PARTIES
  • THE KULTURKAMPF, SOCIALISM,
  • FOREIGN POLICY AND ALLIANCE
  • BISMARCKS DISMISSAL
  • WILHELMINE GERMANY
  • T
  • THE QUESTION OF
  • LATE MEDIEVAL CULTURE
  • CONDUCT OF THE WAR
  • PEACE RESOLUTION, REFORM, AND
  • AN UNPLANNED REVOLUTION
  • N
  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
  • A REVOLUTIONARY PATTERN
  • WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
  • KURT EISNER AND REVOLUTION IN
  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
  • A SEVERE ARMISTICE
  • T
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLUTIONARY
  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
  • INTERPRETATION OF THE
  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • THE HOLOCAUST

    The most horrible aspect of Nazi rule arose from the inhumanity and brutality

    inherent in Hitlers racial doctrines. He considered the Slavic people to be subhuman

    creatures, who like beasts did not have to be treated as human beings.

    In parts of Poland the upper and professional classes were entirely jailed,

    deported, or killed. Schools and churches were closed; marriage was controlled

    by the Nazis to keep down the Polish birth rate; and harsh living conditions

    were imposed. In Russia things were even worse. The Russian campaign,

    according to Hitler, was a war of extermination. Heinrich Himmler planned to

    eliminate 30 million Slavs to make room for the Germans. The number of Russian

    prisoners of war and deported civilian workers who died under Nazi rule

    reached about 6 million.

    The control of Poland provided Hitler with the territory outside of Germany

    in which to execute the Final Solution to the Jewish question. The responsibility

    for the systematic murder of the Jews called the Holocaust lay primarily

    in the hands of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, and Heydrichs

    successor, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who had been head of the Austrian SS

    before the Anschluss. All of them were fanatic anti-Semites who firmly believed

    that the world war was a battle between Aryans and Jews for control of the

    world. The SS was given responsibility for what the Nazis called the Final Solution

    to the Jewish problem. Heydrich, head of the SSs Security Service, was

    given administrative responsibility for carrying out the annihilation. Systematic

    planning for the Holocaust began in February 1939, when Heydrich

    ordered Adolf Eichmann to forget about encouraging emigration and make

    plans for the ghettoization of Jews. During the invasion of Poland the roving

    killing squads, the Einsatzgruppen, simply executed thousands of Polish Jews.

    After the defeat of Poland Heydrich ordered the Einsatzgruppen to concentrate

    Polish Jews in ghettos established in some Polish cities. In June 1941 the Einsatzgruppen

    followed the regular armys advance into Russia and executed

    Jews in their villages and buried them in mass graves. An estimated 1 million

    Jews were killed by the Einsatzgruppen. This method of eliminating the Jews,

    however, was judged to be too inefficient.

    Between July 1941 and January 1942 the machinery for the Holocaust was

    set in motion. Although there was no written order by Hitler, he was known to

    be responsible for authorizing Görings order to Heydrich to begin drawing up

    plans for the Final Solution. In January 1942 Heydrich presided over the

    Wannsee Conference, which organized the methods and location where the

    extermination would occur. The plan involved the roundup of Jews who were

    to be transported in freight trains to Poland, where six extermination centers

    were to be constructed. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the most infamous. The use

    of Zyklon B (hydrogen cyanide) was to produce an efficient killing of many

    people in gas chambers, and then they were to be cremated. By spring 1942 the

    death camps were in operation. Jews were brought from all over Europe, even

    from Berlin as late as 1943. Despite the pressures of transporting military supplies,

    the movement of Jews took priority. Some argued that the Jews could be

    used for military production, but extermination took precedence. When Jews

    arrived at Auschwitz, about 30 percent went to the labor camp while the

    World War II and Holocaust 151

    remainder were executed. More than 6 million Jews were killed, more than 3

    million in death camps. More than 90 percent of the Jewish population of

    Poland and some other countries were killed, which was the equivalent of 2

    out of 3 European Jews. Only 1 million Jews remained alive and those in

    pitiable condition.

    152 Germany

    This 1945 photo was

    taken at Buchenwald

    concentration camp

    by a member of the

    U.S. 80th Infantry.

    (United States Army)

    Not since the Thirty Years War had Germany been so devastated when the German

    armed forces surrendered unconditionally on May 8, 1945. As the German

    historian, Friedrich Meineke, stated, it was a burned-out crater of power politics.

    Years of bombing had left German cities like endless rows of empty shells.

    People were hungry and miserable. Millions had war disabilities; millions were

    widowed and orphaned. Most suffered from malnutrition. Refugees and expellees

    moved endlessly here and there. The housing shortage was severe. Eighty percent

    of the houses in Cologne and 50 percent in Hamburg were destroyed. Only half

    of the 4.3 million prewar population of Berlin still lived there. The transportation

    system had broken down due to the destruction of thousands of locomotives and

    freight cars, 3,000 railroad bridges, including all the bridges on the Rhine and

    Weser Rivers, and two-thirds of those on the Danube. The Ruhr coal industry was

    producing only one-sixteenth of prewar production.

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