Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
During the 1800s, Germany was pulled into the modern world with the Industrial Revolution. The economy dropped and had many looking for reasons. In the midst of obtaining a German identity, many Germans looked for those that were not entirely “German” as the force behind all of Germany’s problems. One enemy had to be named. The Jew became the obvious scapegoat. Aiding this stance for Germany was Darwin’s published theories of biological evolution. The superior being is the one left standing. Darwin’s works gave the German people a chance to see current history through “a new and meaningful interpretation.” Germany was going to be one of them still standing as their latest military actions showed them to be of the strongest. Biological evolution had to be within the blood.
Despite coming into Germany and becoming “German”, many Jews still followed their religious and ethical traditions. They were German with a Hebrew twist. To many, including the Nazi party, this proved that they were not German and could not be fully assimilated. Only one man was needed to bring the Jewish-German relationship into the racial category. Wilhelm Marr gave the Nazis that weapon.
Unfortunately, most people have to blame someone for their problems. Marr blamed the Jew for his job loss and problems in life. He did not blame an industry, political movement, or even one individual. He blamed an entire group. The need to separate groups and label people was already there. Marr gave it a push in the “right” direction. The “traditional anti-Jewish attitude based on religious and economic stereotypes” was always there and just needed flaming. As more and more intermarriages occurred, the racist used it to prove how the Jew was trying to weaken German blood and destroy the superior race.
The racial categorization by Germans was not held by all Germans. During the boycotts held by the SA, many Germans were not turned away by the SA men standing guard. Public support for the boycotts was minimal. Most Germans continued about their days and even shopped at stores owned by Jews and boycotted by SA men. The Nazis were determined to prove that being German or Jewish was based upon something concrete within the blood. Research was conducted to find that proof and show the world how the Jew could stand out even from a biological perspective. The Nazis searched in vain.
The Nazi party, particularly Hitler, needed someone to focus the country’s attention on and to create a common enemy. If there was an enemy that all Germans could unite against, Hitler had more of a chance to strengthen his power and take Germany in the direction he saw that it needed to go. The common enemy became the Jews. They were different. They were not German. They would be the reason Germany would not survive or become the superior nation that all hoped for. The fact that they seemed to succeed under the Weimer Republic was a good reason to promote their intrigue and evil works. As Hitler painted the Weimer Republic as the reason Germany was held back, it was only logical to show the Jew as part of that dam. Seeing Jews succeeding in strong areas such as the media and entertainment was too much for many who desired power and a strong German presence.
The idea of race became important for the Nazis because they needed to be something that others could not become even if they wanted to. By making everything a racial issue, others could be easily excluded. Being German, according to the Nazi party, was based on what flowed through a person’s veins and not by assimilation into the culture. Blood could not be changed. Therefore, the blood had to be pure. The end result was focusing on the race of each individual. There was no excuse to avoid the purification of Germany.