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Predicting the Holocaust

 
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Mighara Sovmadhi
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:24 pm    Post subject: Predicting the Holocaust Reply with quote

For various reasons Wink I have been debating whether it would have been possible, at some relatively "early" or preliminary point in time, to have rationally predicted the Holocaust. Let's suppose it was 1931, you're living in Germany, have a copy of Mein Kampf and a bunch of those other pseudophilosophy/pseudoscience books the Nazis used to construct their theory, pay attention to the news, are aware of German's history of anti-Semitism, etc. I think in MK there's something about gassing the Jews though how specific it is IDK. Basically, I think it would have been possible to survey the information in this hypothetical 1931 context and conclude that if Hitler took power (as happened 2 years later of course), there was a strong chance that he would try to oversee a genocide of Jews.

Now, the details of this, of course, would be less forthcoming, I suppose, like, that Poland would be the site of most of the killing might not have been readily evident as of the 1931 context just delineated. Even if there were a reason to look to Poland as such, though, that Auschwitz and Treblinka would have been the major subsites I doubt would have been rationally predictable. (Indeed the initial plan, as carried out in the USSR especially, involved no death camps at all but shootings and gas vans.)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given that mass killings were almost commonplace in Europe for most of the first half of the twentieth century I would have said that almost certainly some sort of pogrom against the Jews would have been predictable - and more chillingly, even approved of, by a survey of the source material of the day and the pertaining Zeitgeist. Odd to say so though, because to this day there is argument between historians as to whether the Holocaust occured top down (ie. as a planned exercise from day one) or bottom up (just a loose organic development resulting from overzealous interpretation of general ideological principles). (See 'Functionalism Vs Intentionalism' page on Wikipedia.)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose I would favor the top-down idea a little more than the other one, but just because of the bureaucracy involved (the special selection of the Einsatzgruppen and the diversion of the train system in service of the special camps).
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lean towards "bottom up". The plan initially was to round them all up, take all their valuables, put them into camps, and use them as slave labor but that plan ultimately warped into "just get rid of them all". At this point, though, I concur with Mig--the bureaucracy did it because no individual person stopped to look at the process of what was happening and say "what the hell, guys?". Of course, by 1944 Hitler wasn't really in charge any more--his degenerative nerve disease (probably Parkinson's) and the drugs he was being given would have prevented him from functioning normally much of the time.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I think of it... In light of Hashi's point about Hitler's later role in things... It's one of the weird things about truly totalitarian systems, that they have all these bureaucracies but there's also a hyper-mob atmosphere to all of it, so that in another sense what happens, what the systems do, results from mass attitudes and actions. Bottom-up, that is. Yet, then, the total event seems equally bottom-up and top-down; indeed, perhaps something such as the Holocaust could not but happen if it were not for both such conditions being satisfied...?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the top-down was there--there is evidence in some of Hitler's early speeches (1933-1937) where me actually uses the phrase "final solution"--even though no one at the top ever actually said "let's kill them all". Still, Jews in Germany were vilified as the internal enemy which had caused Germany's downfall (when, in actuality, France's desire to be harshly punitive at Versailles had more to do with Germany's problems during the 1920s); when coupled with the occult overtones (I believe the evidence that many of the early NDSAP members were true believers in the myths of the Ayran race and that they were destined to cast down the other 'mongrel' races) the recipe for disaster was complete.

So it started top-down via the early leaders who had occult links but morphed via bottom-up from "enslave them" to "kill them" because the bureaucracy prevented any individual person from stopping--or even naming--the process.

At some point, there *had* to be at least one person who stopped and said "what the hell is going on here?" even though they were part of what was going on. Of course, that person probably risked being shot for treason for questioning the system but that person still questioned it, even if only mentally. At that point, it became a case of "the avalanche has already begun; it is too late for the pebbles to vote".

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hitler was a very lazy person, rarely working more than a few hours a day. He was surrounded by a coterie of sycophants who hung on his every word and translated even his loosest pondering a into official policy. An example of this was the killing of mental defectives in children's home. A man wrote him a letter asking for permission to euthanase his severely disabled child (of no use to the Reich) and Hitler held up the letter and proclaimed to the surrounding group of officials that "this is the spirit that Germany needs!". Within weeks that simple proclamation had been transformed into an official order circulated to all children's hospitals and home's that it was not helpful to the system to maintain the lives of 'cretins and defectives' who were of no use to themselves or to the State. This was then taken as a carte blanche to euthanase said individuals by overzealous administrations within the institutions. This was duly done and the deaths recorded as resulting from some bland cause that could not be challenged by the families of the murdered. Such was how the system chaotically operated.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could easily make an argument for something like that (the euthanasia of the severely disabled) in some cases. Very Happy

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