I was browsing another WWII Newsgroup…when I came across a message from a youngster wanting to know why Hitler hated the Jews so much.
I considered for some time how to reply to this question, and finally came up with the following draft submission:
Albert Speer, Hitler’s Economics Minister, writing after the war commented “He (Hitler) had read a lot but had interpreted all that he had read according to his own lights…without improving his knowledge”. This is however only half-true. In fact Hitler was an avid if rather narrow minded and selective reader, with a particular interest in Modern popular psychology, Political Sciences and Economics. He read the works of Schopenhaurer, Lenin, and Paul de Lagarde (the nineteenth century apostle of the ‘leader principle’), and in addition he also read and was influenced by Houston Stewart Chamberlain who was perhaps the most widely known of the late nineteenth century ‘Race theologists’.
From these Hitler, blind to rational or critical objections, became convinced that the world was about to witness one of the periodic upheavals of world history in which the survival of civilization could be only be achieved by replacing the traditional breakdown of society into classes, with a society where the importance of ‘Race’ (or Nation) replaced the class system (which to Hitler benefited only the interests of the bourgeoisie and created class envy, the worship of money, and alienated the working classes from the nation). Hitler wanted the nation to represent a particular kind of community, with ‘Race Comrades’ instead of classes, and an economy controlled in the name of the people. For this a common blood would be the most defining form of allegiance.
The enemy of these ambitions was, principally, the Jews. At some point at the end of the Great War, Hitler absorbed the popular anti-Semitic argument that the Jews were to blame for the German defeat, either as Marxists preaching an ideology of festering social decomposition, or as capitalists pulling the strings of the world market, or as a biological challenge to the purity of the blood. Thus, ‘Jews’ became a historical metaphor for explaining Germany’s troubles and its economic crisis.
So in Hitler’s warped political mind, the success of ‘New Order’ depended upon people being either seduced and mastered, or excluded and eliminated – a view that Hitler maintained until the end. Obviously this is not a definitive explanation, and so I was wondering if anyone here would care to comment or improve on the draft.