Functionalist Views Of The Holocaust

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The Holocaust was the genocide of approximately 6 million Jews and 5 million other people such as the disabled, communists, homosexuals and Soviet prisoners of war by the Germans leading up to and during WWII under the command of Nazi Party leader, Adolf Hitler. Historians have problems putting a date on the Holocaust due to the fact that there are three different views all backed with their own evidence and subjective interpretations to support them. The views are the intentionalist view, the functionalist view and the opportunist view. The intentionalist view is that Hitler had always intended for that Holocaust to occur and had planned for it in advance. The functionalist view suggests that Hitler was a slave to circumstance and that he …show more content…
Evidence that backs this view up is Hitler 's hatred towards Jews which is shown in "Mein Kampf" Hitler 's autobiography. In "Mein Kampf," Hitler mentions that he blamed the loss of WWI on the Jews and thought that if thousands of them had been killed, then Germany might have won the war and that there wouldn 't be as many German casualties [Hitler, 1943, p. 679]. Intentionalist view Hitler as the main cause of the Holocaust and that without him the Holocaust would have never occurred. Mimi-Cecilia Pascoe mentions in "Intentionalism and Functionalism: Explaining the Holocaust" that in Hitler 's announcement in 1939, he says "Jewish financiers within and outside Europe should succeed. . . in plunging the nations. . . into a war, the result will be. . . the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe" which is more evidence to back up the intentionalist view. Also, the Nuremberg laws which were implemented in 1935 targeted Jews and disadvantaged them. The Nuremberg laws shows Hitler’s hatred towards the Jews as he wanted to disadvantage them and make them the lowest social class in German society. However, the flaws within the intentionalist view is that it all depends on the interpretation of the evidence and quotes from Hitler as it can be interpreted to support different views and that it is basically impossible to prove that Hitler had planned for the Holocaust. The intentionalist view …show more content…
The opportunist view looks at all the interpretations of Hitler’s actions such as the fact that “Mein Kampf” clearly shows Hitler’s hate and anger towards the Jews, Hitler’s speeches, the Nuremberg laws and Kristallnacht. Historian A.J.P. Hitler’s speeches also contained a lot of hatred towards the Jews and the Nuremberg law which was made to disadvantage the Jews and make them the lowest members of German society, makes it easy to believe that Hitler had planned the Holocaust. Taylor wrote that “Hitler was an opportunist and that he had no plan to begin a great war” in his book “The origins of the Second World War”. He also says that in his view all politicians are opportunists as they take a step, see what happens and then evaluates the possibilities that open up. However, the opportunist view doesn’t help with dating the Holocaust as it dates it between 1933 –

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