The Persuasion of Hitler
What posses a man to create such actions as the largest mass murder in the history is beyond my imagination. It is hard not to wonder what Adolf Hitler was thinking through out his time of power. Overpowering thousands of people, and creating a life of fear for all is unsettling. Walking on the grounds of where these actions took place, and how the German people gave their country up to such an awful man is something many people may not understand. Learning the depths of this time period puts a better perspective on what really was going on. It is important for the world to learn about the holocaust, so these events will never happen again. Most citizens learn about this time period through books, and the Internet; coming to Germany to learn visually and through experience has enhanced my knowledge a great amount. Hitler’s use of propaganda and ruthlessness against his political opponents, Jews and other foreign powers empowered him to rise in power eventually leading up to the Holocaust.
The backbone of the holocaust started with the Treaty of Versailles, essentially a peace treaty. After World War 1, the French decided to make Germany sign a peace treaty, limiting many aspects of their world and putting an end to fighting. Germany had to pay France billions of dollars to pay back from what got ruined in the war so called reparations. Germany was only allowed to have a certain number of soldiers in their army so Germanys army was very small compared to the surrounding countries. France was allowed to come into Germany at any time and check in on their country to insure Germany was following the rules of the Peace Treaty. Germany felt cheated, they should not be under surveillance and that they didn’t deserve this treatment. Dodd agrees by stating, “The Treaty of Versailles, so loathed by Hitler, was “unfair at many points, like all treaties which end wars”, Larson (p.43). Germany didn’t feel this treaty was fair, they where happy to of ended war but could have been under different circumstances. Adolf Hitler felt strongest about this situation, as he started out as a prime minister his voice was heard. Hindenburg was president at the time, and Hitler soon took over after Hindenburg passed away.
With the help of the SA, Hitler imprisoned communists by sending them to concentration camps so he would have no other competition in the vote for president. German people saw it, as it was their only choice. In the German culture one is not supposed to be Prime minister and President at the same time, Hitler failed to care and he took charge. Hitler believed in supreme identity, he was the ruler of all people and there is no one that could change the way he wanted his country to run. The people of Germany where in desperation, and needed a ruler at the time of Hindenburg’s death. Hitler expressed his ruthlessness when he expressed revenge from the Treaty of Versailles; he didn’t want to follow the rules because all of Germany disagreed with the strict rules of the treaty.
Adolf Hitler over powered Germany, by mastering rhetoric, the art of persuasion. He persuaded people by making speeches and putting on a show to “wow” people. For example when he made speeches at the Zeppelin field, he had installed hundreds of spotlights to go on while he made his speeches. As all the lights shine up, it was hard for people not to be impressed about such an event. As outsiders viewed it, they wanted to be a part of it because it looked so intriguing. Germany believed that Hitler wanted peace; little did they know he wanted to wipe out all of his political opponents and majority of the non-Aryan race people.
The main tactic of Hitler’s persuasion was fear, and it began with the Purge. Created were the SA, SS and the Gestapo. The SA were storm troopers trained to beat citizen of Germany to convince them to join the Nazi party, and also beat and torture the Jewish people. The SS was more of an elite group of the SA. The secret police, “the spies” were the Gestapo; they would torture people in secret prisons and started the concentration camps. The purge was a mass killing of about 800 people and the SA, SS, and the Gestapo completed Hitler’s mission. It started up because a speechwriter for Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen was killed. Hitler saw that as an opportunity to persuade people by bringing fear into people lives so they would obey him. The night of the purge included killing many other religions, political opponents such as communists, social standards, workers, Jewish people…etc. The purge was meant to scare all other citizens of Germany. The people of Germany felt as if they did not know who was next to be killed because many different kind of people where killed that night.
Nazis killed anyone who did not obey Hitler, darker races, Jews, communist, political opponents, and Lutheran and Catholics. Hitler only believed in the Arian race, which consist of blond hair, and blue eyes he felt this was the master race and he only wanted one race to exist. After theses events happened the people of Germany where living a life of fear. They did not want to die, and the only way to survive was to be faithful to Hitler. Hitler’s scare tactics persuaded all to obey Hitler, serve Hitler and to be supportive of their country.
Hitler persuaded people to think Jews where bad because of their financial success and power. The Jewish people were a minority living in Germany only about 2%. More of the Jewish people settled in Poland and Russia. Hitler disliked Jews due to economic reasons, they were wealthy and wealth meant power. Hitler disliked anyone who had power because he felt he was the one and only ruler and he could only have power he was the superior. Many others did not like Jewish people because they felt they where taking their jobs, they were wealthy, successful and they usually were privileged by attending universities. Hitler started off by making race laws and all the Jewish people leave their homes and business and move to ghettos, making them less superior and no longer wealthy. Jewish people were no longer considered citizens of Germany they were dependents.
Hitler’s ruthlessness was expressed when war was declared and concentration camps began to peak. Germany declared war on Poland and in a matter of a week Hitler took over Poland and their people including all Jews. After Poland was taken over by Hitler the largest war in the world began, Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union. All Nazi soldiers had to go fight the war for Hitler, so they needed people in Germany to work. Hitler started concentration camps, or work camps. First it was communist and political opponents sent into these camps, then majority of Jews were then taken from all over to be sent in these camps to work. Hitler portrayed it, as these people have to work to repay their sins.
Hitler persuaded people to think work camps where serving justice, and the people sent to these camps had to work to repay their sins. Hitler did a great job of hiding what was behind walls, from an outsiders point of view work camps seemed ok it had to be okay to people because there was nothing they could do they were living in fear. These concentration camps had a purpose of working people to death. All people of the camps lived in very unsanitary conditions and the working conditions were very harsh and inhumane. Towards the end of the war, Hitler though they were loosing the war so they came up with “The final solution”. The final solution was to wipe out all Jewish people in the countries taken over by Hitler. By this time, all Jews were in these concentration camps that now have been turned into death camps. They killed all of the Jewish people in the camps by gas chambers, torture, starvation and more. By this time people knew about the death camps, and realized this was not right. Hitler brainwashed many people by persuading them that he was right, and he knew best.
There was no one that could stop Hitler from committing these crimes because he made himself seem more superior. He controlled hundreds of Nazis, and he had full control of Germany. People did not try to stop him because they were afraid, they were living a life of fear. Hitler was far too powerful to be able to stop what he was doing. Hitler had a saying, “You as a person does not matter, buy your people as a whole do”, meaning one person does not matter, you are nothing but your race as a whole does matter. Hitler did a great job of making people feel in superior, creating a life of fear for all was the only way to control thousands of people. The holocaust was a hard time for everyone in history, Hitler’s actions will never be forgotten and people can now understand what it was like during this time period. Hitler persuaded people to later on allow the holocaust to occur, people did not stop him because they where living a life of fear no one was powerful enough to of stopped what was going on. Hitler succeeded in his superior life style by persuasion and ruthlessness; sadly it turned into the holocaust time period, the largest mass murder in history.
Larson, Erik (2011-05-10). In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin (p. 43)