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Not all Germans supported Hitler and the Holocaust
in History

Similar to my Germany wasn't the cause of World War I debate. People are always told that all Germans supported Hitler and the Holocaust during World War II. This isn't true because some Germans were just fighting for their country, not to help Hitler plans to kill people. This is historical hindsight at it's finest for World War II 

In fact, when some Germans saw videos of the Holocaust, they were shocked and disgusted

Here are German POWs watching a video of the Allied liberation of a death camp. Does their reaction look like they approve if this?

Image result for german reaction to the holocaust
  1. Live Poll

    Did all Germans support Hitler and the Holocaust?

    9 votes
    1. Yes
    2. No

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  • The support Hitler and the Nazi Party received was widely out of economic and social desperation. This had to do with the poor economic conditions in Germany at the time, primarily due to the Great Depression. When the Nazi regime was in power, Hitler was exasperated by the devoid public support for war. This had to do with the terrified population of engaging in war. If anything, the public was concerned with another Great Depression which resulted from World War I. Also, there was no time where the majority of German citizens supported anti-semitic violence. Often, people are misled by photos displaying Germans participating in anti-semitic violence. Even though racism was fairly severe in Germany at the time, it didn’t go to this unjust extent of prejudice, which was present in Hitler. The vast majority of German citizens were racist but did not want minorities to be subjected to government repression and violence.
  • edited December 2018
    How the public could know the cruel decisions and planning of their rulers. They only portray it politely and progressively in front of their people. Even, I can say people of Iran are not knowing the intentions of their masters behind their aggressive strategy to kill Syrians who don't belong to Shia sect. Similarly, people of America are not aware of why their taxpayer money is being spent on war or useless wars. 
  • Nazi party membership only peaked at about 10% of the population, and that was in 1945 right at the very end. Nazis were originally not allowed in the military because it was supposed to be nonpolitical, but that changed during the war. I'd imagine not a lot of Germans knew about the camps either.
  • piloteerpiloteer 384 Pts
    The guy on the top right hand corner of the photograph, with his hand under his chin seems pretty satisfied with what he's watching.
  • right also not all jews support zionism so lets not demonize whole races like that its evil
    The passion for destruction is also a creative passion. Mikhail Bakunin

  • piloteerpiloteer 384 Pts

    Pretty much all Germans are evil and guilty for the holocaust 
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1715 Pts
    I recently read an interview of a Goebbels' secretary. You would think someone who interacted every day with the director of Nazi propaganda would have been informed of everything happening in the country - but, as she said, nobody in the office was actually aware of any concentration camps or experiments on humans. It is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of Germans did not even realise any atrocities were happening.

    Now, obviously, the anti-semitic propaganda was very strong, and overall the state was totalitarian, with constant arrests of people over minor things. Everyone knew that was the case. At the same time, the majority of Germans likely thought that this was where the line was drawn: that Hitler's regime simply took down the opposition, like any dictatorship does. They were willing to put up with it in exchange for the economical renaissance the nation was experiencing.

    There are very few records, if any, of common citizens taking violent action against other people based on their race or nationality. It was a prerogative of the police and the army. Regular people just went about their lives as usual, and even though there was definitely a racist vibe going in the society, it tends to be exaggerated nowadays. In fact, a lot of Germans had Jewish friends or friends of other minorities.

    Hitler's support really started deteriorating when the war started, as @Oppolzer noted: people didn't want another depression and/or invasion and weren't thrilled about Hitler's plans to conquer Europe. This is one of the reasons why, once the war turned around, there was barely anyone left in Germany to defend the country. Unlike, say, Soviet Union, where common civilians took up arms and fought the German invaders at every corner, in Germany few civilians fought against the allied forces.

    On the trials in Nuremberg, a lot of the high-ranked officers claimed to not have known what was going on in the Nazi death camps. At the time their claims were dismissed, both due to how unbelievable they sounded, and to the political pressure to deal with them with extreme prejudice - but looking back now, what they said may very well have been true.
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 314 Pts
    I thought it was pretty much a given that not all Germans supported Hitler and the Holocaust.

    The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

  • piloteerpiloteer 384 Pts

    Nope. It's not a given!!!!
  • piloteerpiloteer 384 Pts
    edited May 18

    Although krystalnacht was planned by the Nazi government, and it was the largest known pogrom, there were many other documented pogroms that were planned by normal German citizens going as far back as 1819. Now obviously my remarks about all Germans being evil and guilty of the holocaust is purely for shock value, and I don't actually believe that. However, the idea that antisemitism in German society is "overexaggerated" is simply untrue. Hence the reason Jews didn't gain civil rights until 1871.

     As far as high ranking officials being unaware of the death camps, that I can believe. There was actually documented instances early in Nazi rule where German citizens resisted certain laws that put Jews lives in danger. They couldn't stop the Nazis from passing the Nuremburg laws, but when it became known that some Jews were being murdered simply for being Jewish, many citizens, most notably the Christian church, were shocked and appalled at the idea of murder. Hence the reason the "final solution" was kept secret, because it was known that the bulk of German citizens would resist if they knew murder was involved. That doesn't mean that people who were against the murder of Jews weren't antisemitic themselves. Devout Christians are against murder, but that doesn't mean some of them don't think Jews are evil. You don't have to want to see Jews murdered to be antisemitic. You just need to buy into the absurd idea that Jews are conspirators.
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