The Treaty of Versailles and the Holocaust
The treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919 after the end of the First World War. Among the conditions set in the treaty was the requirement for Germany and her allies to accept responsibility for the damages and losses that occurred during the war. As a result, Germany was forced to pay reparations. The conditions set in the treaty also affected the German economy as it restricted its commerce and led to an increase in unemployment. As new countries were born after the signing of the treaty, a massive number of Germans found themselves locked out of their country. This bred resentment among the German people towards western countries. The treaty undermined the Weimar republic as the German population felt betrayed that the government had accepted the conditions set out in the document. Therefore, the feelings of nationalism increased and fascism began to take root, leading to the rise of Adolf Hitler and eventual outbreak of the Second World War.
The Nazi party headed by Adolf Hitler was enthroned in Germany in 1932, and he was appointed German chancellor in 1933. The holocaust, which killed approximately 6m Jews and 5,000,000 non-Jews, occurred during Hitler’s leadership. Hitler was influenced by different ideologies: anti-communism, anti-Semitism, German racial superiority, and nationalism. In order to influence the German population against the Jewish people, the Nazis used propaganda to encourage anti-Semitism. The Nazis wanted a pure Aryan race and considered the Jews and other races to be weak, or as pollutants; therefore, they had to be exterminated. They believed that the Jews wanted to control the world. Jews in Germany and neighboring countries were rounded up and taken to concentration camps and ghettos. Some camp prisoners were used as medical experiments.