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Why did Hitler blame the Jews for Germany's problems?

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Hitler believed in conspiracy theories that regarded the Jews as Communists and claimed that they had deliberately made Germany lose World War 1 by causing strikes, subversion and revolution on the home front. He also said that they had deliberately caused the Great Depression. Worst of all, some of these conspiracy theories claimed that the Jews were seeking world domination and were therefore in competition with Germany's bid to dominate the world.

The Jews were a traditional target for conspiracy theories and were not well placed to fight back. There were an easy target. Antisemitic attitudes had been rampant in Europe for centuries before WWII, and Germany was no exception.

Hitler was an extreme nationalist, meaning he thought his nation - Austria/Germany - was the best on the planet and by implication that all other nations were inferior. The opposite of being a Nazi/nationalist is to be a Communist.

Many, perhaps for a brief spell a fifth or so, of the original top Soviet Communist leadership was ethnically Jewish. (That soon changed under Stalin). All kinds of conspiracy theories flourished. (These conspiracy theories never mentioned the fact that in Russia the government itself was rabidly anti-Jewish from 1881-1917, so it was not at all surprising that quite a number of Jews joined the Bolsheviks). Hitler and many other Nazis felt a deep hatred for Jews. In fact, the major war effort in WWII by Germany was against Russia in an attempt to destroy Communism and the Jews, whom he believed supported and led them. He also believed that the Jews were the biological root of Communism.

Many, including Hitler, believed that Jews had played a major part in Germany's defeat in WWI. Jews were prominent in some sectors of the economy around the world such as banking/finance and some sections of the media.

If one looks closely at anti-Jewish claims and rhetoric, at the stereotypes, it becomes clear that the prejudices are fundamentally anti-modern. Not surprisingly, sections of society that felt squeezed by economic and social changes in the period from about 1910-33 - such as the landowning aristocracy, owners of small shops and workshops - contained some of the most rabidly anti-Jewish elements.

There was also a regional dimension to this. Hostility to Jews was strongest in Bavaria, where Jews had played a particularly prominent part in the revolutions of Novemeber 1918-May 1919. Hostility to Jews was particulary strong in the Danube region, especially in Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, Romania.

These various anti-Jewish forces and beliefs reached a quasi-religious zeal in parts of the Nazi movement and culminated in the Holocaust.

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