History of Germany
Decade - 1930s

Why were the Jews hated in 1930s Germany?

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September 01, 2009 4:24PM

The Nazi leadership consisted of ardent devotees of conspiracy theories that claimed that the Jews had caused Germany's defeat in World War 1 and had caused the Great Depression. Many Germans found this kind of thing hard to believe. ___ Most German Jews were well assimilated. (Germany was the birthplace of the Reform Movement in Judaism). They were loyal, law-abiding Germans, and a disproportionately high number of Jews fell on the frontline in World War 1. Except in Bavaria, where some Jews had been prominent in the revolutions of 1918-1919, the idea that ordinary Germans were seething with hatred against the Jews is inaccurate. The rowdy beerhalls of Bavaria were not typical of Germany, and antisemitism was not the big vote-winner that Hitler thought. He was often urged by close adverisers to tone it down as they thought it was actually losing the Nazis votes. Many German Jews worked in the professions, for example as teachers and doctors. On the whole, those people who came into regular contact with Jews and actually knew them, were not anti-Jewish. Antisemitism tended to be strongest among hardline nationalists and people who fell for antisemitic conspiracy theories. Obviously, once the Nazis were in power they subjected the German population to a barrage of antisemitic propaganda, with mixed success. There was little enthusiasm among ordinary Germans for the Nazis' anti-Jewish policies. That is one reason why the regime kept the Holocaust secret. Please also see the related questions below.