Functionalism And The Holocaust

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When the subject of the Holocaust is brought up, there are many ideas, debates, and theories that surround the topic; some even debate that it never even happened. Many different scholars as well as others have discussed and debated the reasons why it happened, how it happened, and so forth. One of the most popular debates surrounding the Holocaust is whether or not the atrocities that took place were the intent of Hitler from the beginning or whether they were just outcomes of the circumstances of the war. Was Hitler’s answer to the “Jewish problem” mass murder from the beginning or was the genocide just the result of power driven Nazi generals who decided to commit those acts without any indication or order for Hitler himself? The Intentionalism …show more content…
Some anti-functionalists insinuate that the functionalist argument not only diminish Hitler’s responsibility for the Holocaust but also “underrates the capacity of Nazi leaders for premeditated evil” and that the regime was not as horrific as it is commonly believed to have been [Mason, 1995, p. 217]. Historians have been evidently capable of discovering proof verifying that some “Nazi officials . . . had no inkling of a master plan for the Jews and that within the party there were examples of opposition to mass murder” which thwarts the Functionalist notion that orders for mass murder came from lower in the ranks [Breitman, 1991, p. 25]. Intentionalists argue that Hitler was the only one radical enough to initiate genocidal programs, so the orders for mass murder could have only come from him. It has been argued that evidence provided by Himmler explicitly depicts Hitler’s genocidal intentions. Himmler reported that in 1941 Hitler made an order regarding the irretrievable resolution of the ‘Jewish question’ saying that ‘every Jew that we can lay our hands on is to be destroyed’ [Höss, 1995, p.

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