Why did Adolf Hitler persecute the jews?
Hitler persecuted the Jews because he hated them. He blamed them for problems in his society. Throughout the 19th and 20th Century, several different societies and countries persecuted the Jews. The Jews and the Masons were blamed for gaining control of the country through their influence in business and banking. This was a way for people to put blame for bad government onto a group of people.
There was a period that Jews were persecuted in Russia and other countries. Hitler turned this distrust into a racists hatred.
The earliest firm evidence of Hitler's antisemitism dates from 1916, when Hitler was aged 27, so stories about early experiences in his life should be treated with caution.
Hitler believed that the Jews were involved in a great conspiracy to control the wealth of Europe and to dominate and destroy the German or Aryan people. Whether that belief was the basis for his hatred or was a result of it is not something I think can be determined.
The reasons most commonly given are that Hitler believed that the Jews:
- Were Communists (and that Communism was a Jewish political philosophy).
- Had deliberately caused Germany to lose World War 1 by wrecking the home front in Germany itself.
- Had caused the Great Depression.
- He believed a bizarre conspiracy that claimed that the Jews were planning to dominate the world.
The first of these views - of the Jews as Communists - was also widespread in many other countries, including Britain and the U.S. However, most people elsewhere seem to have taken this with a pinch of salt and certainly didn't get so worked up about it.
As for the conspiracy theory that the Jews were trying to dominate the world, Yehuda Bauer summarizes it neatly as follows:
"The basic motivation [of the Holocaust] was purely ideological, rooted in an illusionary world of Nazi imagination, where an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world was opposed to a parallel Aryan quest. No genocide to date had been based so completely on myths, on hallucinations, on abstract, nonpragmatic ideology - which was then executed by very rational, pragmatic means."
Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002, p.48. (Quoted in Wikipedia article on the Holocaust, accessed 31 March 2009).
Obviously, there is something nutty about such notions, but there is no evidence that Hitler was clinically insane.
In the interwar period (1918-1939) it was perfectly acceptable to express racist, ethnic, religious and cultural prejudice loud and clear, both in Europe and the U.S. Most German Jews did not take the Nazis' antisemitism particularly seriously before 1933. Almost none had made any practical arrangements in advance to leave the country, for example. Hitler's Jew-baiting was not particularly popular outside the beer-halls of Bavaria and a few other places and was not the vote-catcher that the above answer claims.
Please see the related questions.
Hitler like most Europeans did not like the Jews as a result of religious and cultural differences that had been ingrained for centuries. The Jews themselves did not endear themselves either by being racially insular. In any case many leaders who can get a better toe hold by vilifying a particular group will do so as it gives the average man in the street something to hate. He did the same with Gypsies various religious groups and the disabled. And it worked as a result of the fear he managed to spread he attained absolute control of Germany. There was also a lot of wealth confiscated which Hitler had use for. There is no clear answer to this question. If you examine Hitler's policies you will discover that he did not have much, if any, original thoughts. He simply chose thinking that had been done previously and put them all together in his Nazi philosophy.
Both Poland and Russia were persecuting the Jews before Hitler was born. Anti Jewish feeling existed in nearly every nation, including America. The degree of discrimination varied, but the dislike was not uncommon.
Some influences that MAY have influenced Hitler were ...
1. The Great War (WW I) for Germany started falling apart when the German sailors refused to make a suicide voyage against the British. This mutiny involved both Jews and Communists.
2. Hitler was anti-Communist, a type of government invented by a Jew - Karl Marx.
3. The German government that surrendered to the Allies (the Weimar Republic) had Jews in its leadership at times.
4. When a child falls off a bike it is not uncommon to see them kicking the bike, as if it was the bike's fault they had an accident. Likewise it was convient for the Germans to kick the Jews and blame them for Germany's defeat and surrender.
5. The Christian religions blamed the death of Christ on the Jews. One can see in the Bible the statement that the Jews demanded the death of Jesus, and said, "let it be upon our heads and that of our children." This became an excuse to abuse the Jews for more than a thousand years. It was not until the 1960's (I think) that the Catholic Church stated that the Jews were NOT to blame for the death of Jesus. (Their statement was based on the idea that Christ died for the sins of ALL PEOPLE, therefore ALL those that sin are equally a cause of the death of Christ!
6. Hitler not only objected to the Jews, but also to Christanity as well. While the belt buckles of the Wehrmacht had the words: "God is with us" written on them. Hitler's god was not the same as we think of. He was going back, in his thinking to the time of the Vikings, and the pre-Christian Germans. To the ancient gods of the Germanic people. He tolerated the Christians only because he was not powerful enough to oppose them. But if one investigates the thinking of the SS troops they will find no Christian thinking, but only those of the ancient times.