Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution by Ian KershawThis book is the culmination of more than three decades of meticulous historiographic research on Nazi Germany by one of the period’s most distinguished historians. The volume brings together the most important and influential aspects of Ian Kershaw’s research on the Holocaust for the first time. The writings are arranged in three sections—Hitler and the Final Solution, popular opinion and the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Final Solution in historiography—and Kershaw provides an introduction and a closing section on the uniqueness of Nazism.
Kershaw was a founding historian of the social history of the Third Reich, and he has throughout his career conducted pioneering research on the societal causes and consequences of Nazi policy. His work has brought much to light concerning the ways in which the attitudes of the German populace shaped and did not shape Nazi policy. This volume presents a comprehensive, multifaceted picture both of the destructive dynamic of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behavior of ordinary Germans as the persecution of the Jews spiraled into total genocide.
"Final Solution": Overview
It brought an end to policies aimed at encouraging or forcing Jews to leave the German Reich and other parts of Europe. Those policies were replaced by systematic annihilation. The decision was probably made sometime in , with the invasion of the Soviet Union. Leading police and civilian officials discussed the continuing implementation of the "Final Solution. The Nazis frequently used euphemistic language to disguise the true nature of their crimes. It is not known when the leaders of Nazi Germany definitively decided to implement the "Final Solution.
On 22 June , the German invasion of the Soviet Union brought many more Jews within the German sphere of influence. Now, as the German army rolled into the Soviet Union, they were again trapped. In addition, the shooting process used by the Einsatzgruppen was expensive. Heinrich Himmler witnessed this killing process and decided to develop a cheaper, more effective method of murder that would not be as upsetting for the perpetrators. The Nazis were already using gas to murder the mentally and physically disabled; this was now to be applied to the Jews as well. In the beginning, doctors killed them by lethal injection. This was not considered fast enough, so they developed a new process of gassing that was faster and more effective in killing large numbers of people.
The "Final Solution to the Jewish question " was the official code name for the murder of all Jews within reach, which was not restricted to the European continent. The nature and timing of the decisions that led to the Final Solution is an intensely researched and debated aspect of the Holocaust. The program evolved during the first 25 months of war leading to the attempt at "murdering every last Jew in the German grasp". The term "Final Solution" was a euphemism used by the Nazis to refer to their plan for the annihilation of the Jewish people. Euphemisms were, in Mark Roseman's words, "their normal mode of communicating about murder". From gaining power in January until the outbreak of war in September , the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany was focused on intimidation, expropriating their money and property, and encouraging them to emigrate.