Why did the Nazis hate the Jews?
In the Christian world the Jews had for centuries been blamed for the crucifixion of Jesus. This produced a general anti-Jewish environment, which the Nazis built upon. Putting it as simply as possible:
- The Nazis claimed that the German Jews were 'alien', 'un-German' and a 'corrupting influence' on Germany and that they were encouraging immorality.
- The Nazis claimed that the Jews were Communists (and that Communism was a specifically Jewish ideology).
- There were 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 claimed 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.
- Earlier, 'religious' hostility to Judaism had often demonized the Jews and painted them as sinister and evil.