To say that the Holocaust demonstrates Hitler’s hatred for the Jews is to utter a breathtaking understatement. Seldom in history has a sole person wrought so much death and suffering on a class of people. That this was hate-driven is obvious. [There was undoubtedly a strong element of fear-based thinking involved, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.] Hitler’s own statements indicate the extent of this hatred, starting as early as the letter to Gimlech in 1919, in which he said, “The ultimate objective must…be the irrevocable removal of the Jews in general.” ‘Removal’ should be construed in the worst sense of the word, prefaced as it is by ‘irrevocable.’
Five years later, in 1924, Hitler began Mein Kampf while incarcerated at Landsberg am Lech. In it, there is a section entitled “Der Judische Affe,” the Jewish monkey, evidence that Hitler thought of Jews as less than human, or, at the very least, wanted Germans to think so.
In the early ’30s, Hitler’s speeches were filled with anti-Semitic rants. Those of Goebbels were, is anything, even worse.
In August of 1933, Ernst Hanfstaengl discovered that wealthy American Jews were ready to finance the emigration to the US of all Jews who wished to leave Germany. Hanfstaengl considered the idea “an admirable solution to the prickly problem.” Other prominent Nazis agreed, so Hanfstaengl approached Hitler to explain the plan.
“His response appalled me: ‘Mein lieber Hanfstaengl. The die is cast. Events are taking on quite a different shape.’
“But Herr Hitler,” I protested, “this is our finest chance to deal with an insoluble problem,”
“Do not waste my time, Hanfstaengl,” he answered sharply. “I need the Jews as hostages.”
[From Hitler: The Memoir of the Nazi Insider Who Turned Against the Fuhrer, by Ernst Hanfstaengl and John Willard Toland]
Hostages. Mere bargaining chips, whose lives would be put at risk in an attempt to force other nations to cooperate with Nazi Germany. At some point, the fact that the Jews were hostages must have been communicated to the Allies. Was this warning given formally through diplomatic channels? Or was Hitler’s speech of January 30, 1939, considered sufficient notice? History is silent on this.
Hitler told the Reichstag that day:
“People will soon realize that Germany under National Socialism does not desire the enmity of other Volk. I want once again to be a prophet. If the international-finance-Jewry inside and outside of Europe should succeed in plunging the peoples of the earth once again into a world war, the result will not be the Bolshevization of Earth, and thus a Jewish victory, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.” [See the film: https://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/1939-1941/hitler-speech-to-german-parliament ]
On December 12th, 1941, the day following Germany’s declaration of war on the United States and four days after the US’s declaration of war on Japan, Hitler reminded the Nazi Party Gauleiters of his “prophecy.” Goebbels put an entry in his diary for the following day, December 13th, 1941, saying that Hitler was “determined to make a clean sweep” of the Jews. On December 18th, 1941, Himmler made a log entry that Hitler had said Jews in occupied territories would be “killed as partisans,” i.e., murdered, regardless of their status as unarmed civilians. [http://ww2history.com/key_moments/Holocaust/Wannsee_Conference]
So Hitler hated the Jews sufficiently to use them as hostages and then, when that didn’t work, to exterminate them, blaming them for the world war he had created. [This was not new behavior for Hitler; he always accused countries he invaded of aggression. He also officially blamed the Jews for Crystal Night and the German courts levied a fine of one billion marks against them.]
The question remains to this day. “Why?”
Various hypotheses have been advanced for the origins of this hatred. They are listed below, but none are to be taken as proven fact; they are only hypotheses, and not very bright ones, in most cases. They are in quotes for a very good reason; these are the statements of others, not anyone associated with this site.
1. “The Jewish bankers caused Germany to lose WWI.”
2. “Hitler’s mother was unsuccessfully treated for cancer by Dr. Eduard Bloch. She died painfully and Hitler blamed Bloch and, by extension, all Jews.”
3. “Hitler was advised to kill all the Jews by Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem from 1921 to 1937.”
4. “Hitler believed he had a Jewish grandfather and wanted to prove to his fellow Nazis that he was not Jewish by killing Jews.”
5. “Jews, aided by hard currency from US relatives, took over many businesses during financial hard times in Germany, resulting in jealousy and resentment.”
6. “Jews were communists, Zionists, and/or socialists and therefore disloyal to Germany.”
7. “Hitler was infected with anti-Semitism after he moved to Vienna as an inexperienced and impressionable young man of 19.”
8. “Hitler didn’t hate Jews as such, but there was so much anti-Semitism in Germany, he used them as whipping boys to gain political power.”
9. “Hitler trashed the apartment of his Jewish boyfriend and was thrown out on the street in Vienna.”
10. “Hitler once contracted syphilis from a Jewish prostitute.” He included a long diatribe against prostitution in Mein Kampf.
11. “Jews ‘caused the Depression.’”
12. “Jews were of ‘impure blood,’ and therefore not fit to be part of the ‘Master Race.’”
13. “As a Catholic school-boy, Hitler was taught that the Jews killed Jesus.”
14. “As a young man, Hitler was spurned by a Jewish girl he was in love with. Deeply wounded, he sought revenge for this ever afterward.”
15. “Hitler’s application to the Vienna Institute of Fine Arts was rejected by Jewish panelists, while Jewish applicants were accepted.”
16. “Hitler’s niece killed herself when he stopped her from visiting her Jewish lover, a tennis player or a violinist, in Vienna.”
17. “Hitler read the works of several anti-Semitic writers and was convinced by their logic.”
Some of these are clearly nonsense. Some are easily disposed of with a little research. Some are impossible to prove or disprove. There are probably other hypotheses I haven’t heard of. And then, of course, there is the actual reason, as disclosed in the pages of In the Mouth of the Lion, a historical novel.