Why did Hitler hate Jews is a question often posed in hopes of finding a sensible explanation for the largest and most horrendous genocide in history, the Holocaust. Although there are no confirmed origins of Hitler’s hate, there are several well-founded assumptions. These stem from:
– Racial Ideology
– Influential Figures
– Losing the WWI
– Using Jewish People as Scapegoats
– Fear of Jewish Uprising
– Intriguing Rumors
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Hitler strongly believed that the Aryan race was the master race. Furthermore, his belief was that Jews were the lowest in the race hierarchy. Along with Slavs and Romani (Gypsies), he viewed them as subhumans. He compared Jews to germs, a cause of a disease that needed to be removed.
There were two influential figures in Hitler’s life who shared or perhaps even sowed his hate. One of these was Karl Lueger, a mayor of Vienna at the time Hitler had lived there, who successfully incorporated antisemitism into social reforms. The second figure was Georg Ritter von Schönerer, who believed that Jews cannot be legitimate citizens of Germany and must be purged from this country.
Losing the WWI
The WWI loss was difficult to accept for many Germans. Germany lost its superpower status and was forced to pay reparations in billions to the rest of Europe. The widespread “stab-in-the-back legend” blamed the German defeat on a betrayal at home, rather than the loss on the battlefield. The Jews, social democrats, and communists were deemed responsible for this betrayal.
Using Jewish People as Scapegoats
The hate toward Jewish people started long before WWII, sometime in the Middle Ages. The Jewish faith was thought an aberration by Christians, and across many European countries Jews were forced to convert. People who were still allowed to practice Jewish faith had to live in segregated quarters known as ‘shtetls’ and were not allowed to practice certain professions, thus they often turned to money lending and banking.
Already surrounded by a cultural stigma, Jews were the perfect scapegoat to blame for all the wrong in Germany and the world. Hitler used the predominant aversion and discrimination to better manipulate the masses and further his political goals.
Fear of Jewish Uprising
Hitler feared the Jews were after world dominance. Building on the existing prejudice linking Jews to monetary power, he urged capitalism was their tool. Contradictorily, he blamed them for communism too. Along with his head of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler worked on spreading the irrational idea of Jews plotting global domination, and later played on it.
A popular, but never confirmed theory behind Hitler’s hate is his supposed Jewish heritage. Since Hitler’s grandmother was working for a wealthy Jewish family before the birth of her son, Hitler’s father, who was registered an illegitimate child, it was easy to jump to some conclusions there.
Another popular rumor is that Hitler had contracted neuro-syphilis from a Jewish prostitute. If untreated, this type of venereal disease can result in madness, and many believe this could have been a trigger and fuel for his hate.