After reading the book thief I cant help but wonder how someone such as Adolf Hitler could rise to such a powerful political position in German society and create a nation that lived under his cruel dictatorship. Hitler was one of the most cruel dictators ever to walk the earth and understandably so having been the cause of one of the largest genocides in human history and the dictator that sparked WW2. He is discussed very little in the Book Thief however the times he is mentioned there is often a sense of great power and that he is someone whose not to be messed with. I felt this even when Hitler was not the center of what ever was going on in the story. But how did a such a man ever rise to this power?
After the end of WW1 Germany’s economy was in a very weak state and there were many Germans who were angry about this defeat and felt betrayed by their politicians as they had promised the nation that they would walk away from this war victorious. Amoungt these angry citizens was Hitler who believed change was necessary in the German society.
Through joining the Nazi party when it was young he used this as a stage to spread his ideas to larger groups of people. Its important to note that Hitler was never afraid to put fear into people that opposed him as he had young Nazi party members to intimidate those who resisted his ideas. However his momentum came to a halt when he was jailed Apr 01 1924 for the attempt of seizing the German government by force. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for high treason however only after a short 9 months he was released due to the political pressure from the Nazi party. However these 9 months in prison had not gone to waste as he had written Mein Kampf and forged new ways to convince more people that the Nazi party was the future. He would gain more power through his words and he knew just what needed to be said. The German nation was already struggling from the debts they had to pay from the damage of WW1 but when the great depression hit, the economy took a turn for the worst. With the German people already angered and desperate from these problems Hitler found a way to pinpoint these problems, he did so through using the Jews as a scapegoat.
At this point in time Hitler was taking a much more higher up position in the Nazi party through much hard work and forming allegiances with Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler who were prominent Nazi party members. Himmler was one of the most directly associated people in the creation of the holocaust and Gobbles was the minster of propaganda and public enlightenment. Through Hitlers hard work and perseverance he became the fuhrer and acted much like dictator who wanted complete control over the masses.
Hitler needed to pinpoint the German people anger towards something and so he used the Jews as a scapegoat since they were indeed different to the German masses. But how were the different?
Before WW2 Jewish people never really had a country they could call home and were always treated like foreigners despite their historical claims on Palestine. They were completely spread all over western society and because of this were a minority. This always lead to them being treated differently despite never wanting to be treated as minorities. Usually ethnic groups are centered in one particular area. For example there are the Kurdish people who live in three countries bordering the same region in, Iran, Iraq and Turkey however they don’t see themselves as Iranian, Turkish or Îraqîyan, they all identify as Kurdish. and despite Jews not having a country they identified with as home they still had genetic makeup that determined their ethnicity.
Jewish people typically typically wore a garb, had curly hair and a large nose. Such features were prominent among many Jews as they generally mixed among themselves. Many of the Jewish people before WW2 were owners of banks and controlled the banking system, they also worked as jewelers which would often showed in their names, Gold-Smith, Silversmith, Gold stein, etc they were also tradesmen such as bakers and butchers. It is best kept in mind that these are all just generalizations. Due to them being trades people they tended to better off in economic hardships as they would be able to trade. This was a skill that would allow them to always have a tiny bit more than what Germany people would have. The Jewish people also attended a different church, and religion is such an important thing especially for Germany back then it was awfully strange to have these foreigners who believed in a different religion living among them.
After winning the elections in March 19th 1932 the Nazi party was in power and began introducing laws that made Jewish lives a lot harder. These changes started with small things such as being branded with a David Star on your clothing if you were a Jew. Police would check the papers of people and if a jew didn’t have their papers they would get beaten. If anyone stepped in to help a Jew from being beaten o they too would get beaten as there was no tolerance for being a “jew lover”. Laws were changed so that Jews couldn’t own a business anymore which made lots of Jewish families poor and desperate. The Jews were deprived of their rights and treated like animals and to this day the holocaust remains one of the largest tragedies in human history.
His dictatorship will be taught to future generations and its amazing to think that all of what Hitler did really wasn’t that long ago. Hitlers rise to leadership wasn’t fair in any manner, especially towards the Jewish people as he oppressed them and scarred their people for generations to come. For me I find the most important thing to take away from the events of WW2 is to learn and not repeat. Thank you for listening and I hope I I have left you with something new that you can take away.