Asked in
World War 2
Holocaust
Germany in WW2
Judaism
Adolf Hitler

Can you explain simply why the Nazis hated the Jews?

Answer

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November 15, 2013 2:24PM

Putting it as simply as possible:

  • The Nazis thought that the German Jews were 'alien', 'un-German' and a 'corrupting influence' on Germany and that they were encouraging immorality.
  • The Nazis believed that the Jews were Communists (and that Communism was a specifically Jewish ideology).
  • There were strange conspiracy theories that claimed that the Jews were trying to achieve 'world domination'.
  • The Nazis said that the Jews were enemies of Germany, and that Jews and Germans were locked in a struggle to the death. (This was another of those conspiracy theories that many Nazis took seriously).
  • The Nazis believed that the Jews had made Germany lose World War 1.
  • The Nazis subscribed to racialist theories that claimed that the Jews were inferior to others.
  • However, Nazi propaganda also portrayed them as very clever indeed, very dangerous and close to achieving world domination: the two don't even begin to fit.
  • With the start of World War 2 in September 1939 Hitler became obsessed with the idea that 'the Jews' had started the war.
  • Earlier, 'religious' hostility to Judaism had often demonized the Jews and painted them as sinister and evil.
  • Because some Jews were affluent and influential, they represented political positions in opposition to Hitler, and were targeted like others he saw as rivals.

All this was much more important than stories about what a Jew might or might not have done to Hitler in his childhood. There is no firm evidence that Hitler was anti-Jewish before about 1916. Beware of naive explanations.

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