Topic: To what extent was the racial ideology of Hitler the main cause of the Holocaust? Consider in the context of the years 1850-1945. The extent to which the racial ideology of Hitler was the main cause of the Holocaust is an often debated cause, with ranging positions between fundamentalist and intentionalist perspectives, based off of each group’s own interpretation of National Socialism. Intentionalist arguments may focus on the development of Nazi Germany as a result of Adolf Hitler and his ideologies, as well as including how many Germans later accepted and thought of Hitler as being the main orchestrator behind the Final Solution, and include historians such as Lucy Dawidowicz and David Goldhagen. On the other hand, functionalists focus on the pre-existing anti semitism and external factors in their build up of the Third Reich and the Final Solution rather than Hitler, as well as the chaos involved in decision making during the Nazi Party’s Government rule that often led to improvisation at new heights, as well as cumulative radicalization. These two separate views on the period of the Holocaust provide strong positions for analysing what was truly behind the Final Solution and Jewish Policy within Nazi Germany. > Open the ideology of Hitler argument with Mein Kampf. Need help? The interpretations of Lucy Dawidowicz, an extreme intentionalist, are focused through the belief that Hitler had plans for the Holocaust no later than 1919. To support her interpretation, Dawidowicz pointed to numerous extreme anti-Semitic statements made by Hitler throughout Mein Kampf (whereas he blamed the Jews for the German loss of World War I). However, her interpretation is further based solely on one sentence of Mein Kampf, in which Hitler states that t if only 12,000 to 15,000 Jews had been gassed instead of German soldiers in World War I, then “the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain.” Through this, the embryo of the appeal of exterminating Jews to Hitler may be seen, and it may be understood that Dawidowicz did not perhaps intend to be taken so literally as much as she meant that Hitler was already insinuating his comfort and appeal to the idea of extermination. Although Hitler clearly has embryonic thoughts of Jewish extermination, it is then a further question of to what extent we are able to say this was indicative of how Hitler formed his government policy later on. In opposition to the Dawidowicz argument, however, there is the pre-existing context of World War I that changes the statement which she claims to support the idea of Hitler’s exterminatory embryonic views in that Hitler only states these mass murders would be alright in the case of a World War. The argument of Dawidowicz may then be further clouded through the notion that, out of the 694 pages written in Mein Kampf, Hitler only stated once explicitly his thoughts of Jewish extermination, it is arguable the degree to which this can be taken as a key role in his early political stance. Furthermore, in his 1939 Reichstag Speech, there is again the evidence that Hitler states that “only should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!” Therefore, we can see that rather than focusing on the idea of extermination or annihilation, it is Hitler’s firm belief that only in the case of another war will Jews be extinguished – and if that, it will be of their own will. In hindsight, through the perspective of the Madagascar Plan, the question is also led into that if his only ideal was to kill all Jews, what would the purpose of the plan have been? The evidence from his speeches and even Mein Kampf shows that, as it becomes apparent that the war is not short, and that there is a massive amount of jews, the pressure for a Final Solution to a Jewish question increases (particularly as the war is not being won).The Goldhagen argument is another interpretation of the Intentionalist point of view, in which he accuses Hitler’s people and military of being willing, and even provocatively encouraging of Hitler’s views. Goldhagen asserted that this mentality grew out of medieval attitudes with a religious basis, but was eventually secularized. He suggests that popular opinion in Germany was already sympathetic to a policy of Jewish extermination before the Nazi party came to power. He asserts in his book Hitler’s Willing Executioners that Germany enthusiastically welcomed the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime in the period 1933–39. Much of his argument is based off of 19th Century anti-semitism, which bred the rice of racial nationalism and integration, as well as the birth of religious and political zionism. There are people who refer to biblical precedent for a reason as to why Jewish people should have a separate nation. In reference to Germany, the Jews in Germany are some of the most assimilated Jews in the world – the majority of German Jews would see it as a part of their culture or religion. Impact of WW1November Criminals + Stab in the Back mythProtocol of the Elders of Zion exists prior to WW1 – but Jewish involvement in left wing disturbance promotes the belief that Communists, etc are jewish.Jews were part of a conspiracy to bring down Germany +Jewish Department Store Octopus1917 Russian revolutionMarxists are perceived as being Jewish in Germany. Judaism and Bolshevism are inextricably linked. Karl Liebknecht, for example, is often accused of being a jew. Following the loss of WWI, there was cumulative antisemitism beginning to arise in Germany due to the need for scapegoats.Hitler’s ideologies were already encouraged and agreed upon by much of the population prior to Mein Kampf, albeit on a much less radical scale.Following the popularity of Mein Kampf and his rise to power, it can be argued that his supporters were willingly radicalised and appreciated his highly radical ideas of eliminating the Jews.On the other hand, the fundamentalist argument of American history Christopher Browning was that the literal extermination of the Jews was due to the mass cumulative radicalisation which stemmed from the Third Reich, not Hitler. Hitler was not the decision-maker; instead, he was simply the catalyst. The sporadic murder of Jews by the populace and random members of the military were what birthed the idea of eliminating Jews through death as a real solution. Even as Browning says in The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution, “it is very likely, moreover, that the Einsatzgruppen Paramilitary Death Squad leaders were told of the future goal of a Judenfrei Jew-free Russia through systematic mass murder.” The extermination and Final Solution was also not a far planned out decision, but rather one that was thought of as a final ode because Germany recognised they would not win the war. The initial thoughts for a Jew-free solution came from the pressure for a Jewish-free Europe, but more importantly, a Jewish-free Deutschland – the Madagascar Plan was created with the idea that Germany could at least beat Britain, and therefore they would simply be able to expel the Jews to Madagascar – thereby, initially avoiding the idea of mass extermination. The Final Solution was the result of the “cumulative radicalization” of the German state, who, as they began to see themselves losing the war, felt the 3 million Jews they had forced into ghettos between 1939-41 were a problem. It is of great importance to understand that the Final Solution did not initially have an exterminationist meaning in Browning’s interpretation – rather, it was a question of how to rid Germany of the Jews on its territory. The progression of the Final Solution into the Holocaust as we know it to be an extermination was not ordered by Hitler directly – instead, it was a series of massacres which escalated into a planned program by the end of 1941. In particular, Browning specifically uses the Goring/Himmler/Greiser dispute as an example of the ways in which Hitler would encourage his subordinates to engage in battles for his favour, often creating more and more radical plans. This is a reference to the way in which each subordinate would fight to create a more radical plan than the other in order to win over his affection. This is highlighted when in 1940, Himmler showed Hitler a memo entitled “Some Thoughts on the Treatment of Alien Population in the East”, which Hitler called “good and correct”. The memo called for expelling all of the Jews of German-ruled Europe into Africa and reducing Poles to a “leaderless laboring class”. The approval given by Hitler led to the major change in German policy towards Poland, and is a crucial example of how Hitler did not directly decide on a certain policy option or command it.