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Current time:0:00Total duration:9:44

Video transcript

in this video we're going to talk about what is one of the darkest chapters in human history the holocaust which involved the massacre of roughly 6 million jews and as many as 11 million civilians in total in order to understand the holocaust we're going to start at world war one even prior to world war one there were massacres especially of jews in places like the russian empire the term pogrom is a russian word meaning these violent riots or attacks on people for their ethnicity and there were several through the 19th century but they go back even before that word was coined as early as the first crusades famously in the rhineland many of the jewish people were killed and attacked and you had a solid thread of anti-semitism throughout much of europe including germany and eastern europe as we get up to and through world war one now as we've talked about in other videos the central powers lose world war one and the treaty of versailles places a lot of the blame on germany the national pride of germany has been shattered they have lost this war they have lost territory their economy is in shambles they're paying reparations and it is in that context that the national socialist party forms officially in 1920 coming out of the german workers party they focused on ideas of national identity and from the start were against ethnic groups blaming their problems including the loss of world war one often on these ethnic groups in 1921 hitler who had fought during world war one and based on some of his writings seem to have found a lot of meaning during the war he becomes the national socialist party leader national socialist it gets abbreviated as nazi national socialist party nazi party in 1923 hitler tries to begin an overthrow of the government but his push his coup is unsuccessful and he is imprisoned and it is while in prison that he writes down his belief system that eventually gets published upon his release in 1925 under the title mineconf which can be translated as my struggle or my battle this is just an excerpt from mein kampf if we pass all the causes of the german collapse in review the ultimate and most decisive remains the failure to recognize the racial problem and especially the jewish menace the defeats on the battlefield in august 1918 so he's referring to the end of world war one would have been child's play to bear they stood in no proportion to the victories of our people it was not they that caused our downfall no it was brought about by that power which prepared these defeats by systematically over many decades robbing our people of the political and moral instincts and forces which alone make nations capable and hence worthy of existence he's blaming germany's defeat in world war one on a relatively small ethnic group so as you can see a very twisted mind very twisted thinking the lost purity of the blood alone destroys inner happiness forever so he's very caught up with these ideas of purity plunges man into the abyss for all time and the consequences can never more be eliminated from body and spirit over time what starts off as this fringe leader of a fringe party as we go into the 20s and as the german economy gets even worse and there's hyperinflation more and more people start to throw their support behind these extremists and as we go into the 30s the national socialist party is actually able to get reasonable representation in the german parliament and in 1933 the president of germany gives appoints hitler to be chancellor which is equivalent of being prime minister despite the nazis not having a majority in parliament this is the official beginning of what the nazis will call the third reich reich translates as realm they considered the first reich to be the holy roman empire they refer to the second reich as the german empire after the holy roman empire up and through world war one they don't consider the weimar republic which they hate the third reich they consider that the interim reich and they consider themselves the third reich the heir to the german empire and the holy roman empire once hitler and the nazis get power they really get a stranglehold on it they start persecuting their political opponents both outside the party and inside the party and they also start to take action on these twisted ideas hitler expressed in mein kampf in 1935 they are able to pass the nuremberg laws which strips german jews of their citizenship it forbids intermarrying between non-jewish germans and jews this is only one of many steps that will continue to demean the rights of jews inside of germany in 1938 you have what is known as crystal knocked or the night of broken glass hundreds of synagogues are burned thousands of jewish businesses are destroyed and many jews are killed in that night then as we get into 1939 hitler's armies famously invade poland beginning what many historians consider be the start of world war ii what would eventually be known as the holocaust goes into full effect in 1941. jews are sometimes executed in the streets in their homes many of them are captured and sent to concentration camps to get a sense of the scale of this operation we have this excerpt from michael barenbaum's book the world must know the policy of extermination involved every level of german society and marshaled the entire apparatus of the german bureaucracy parish churches and the interior ministry supplied the birth records that defined and isolated jews the post office delivered the notifications of definition expropriation denaturalization and deportation the finance ministry confiscated jewish wealth and property german industrial and commercial firms fired jewish workers officers and board members even disenfranchising jewish stockholders the universities refused to admit jewish students denied degrees to those already enrolled and dismissed jewish faculty government transportation bureaus handled the billing arrangements with the railroads for the trains that carry jews to their death and so the point that's being made here is this could not be done just with hitler and some of his close associates to kill millions of people on this scale you needed an entire apparatus and hundreds of thousands if not millions of people were involved in some way and at least several hundreds of thousands of people within germany must have been aware of what was happening needless to say the death toll was considerable this here is a visual depiction of the percentage of the jewish population that was killed in various regions and as you can see 80 to 90 percent of the jewish population in germany czechoslovakia poland was killed during the holocaust in the territories occupied by germany in russia during world war ii almost as many have been killed in france italy a fifth to a quarter of the population was killed to put things more in human terms this is a picture of children who were in in auschwitz one of the most infamous concentration camps and you can see their names their ages and then when they were killed historians believe five to six million jews were killed during the holocaust including a million and a half children this was two-thirds of the jewish population of europe but the holocaust went further it's believed that over 10 million civilians were killed during the holocaust through over 3 million prisoners of war were killed and other people including several hundred thousand romani often referred to as gypsies several hundred thousand people with disabilities many thousands of homosexuals were all put to death during the holocaust now we've covered a lot of world history and a lot of it unfortunately has a lot of death a lot of destruction and sometimes targeting people for their ethnicity but never in world history have we seen something at this scale and because it seemed to be a relatively new concept a term was coined genocide it was coined by rafael lemkin who was a holocaust survivor had 49 members of his family killed during the holocaust and it means killing of a people geno coming from a people or family and side killing but maybe even more interesting than the word definition itself is thinking about why this actually happened and maybe even more importantly how society can avoid it i'll leave you with that question what do you think was the reason why this happened and do you think we have a risk of that happening in the future and how can we prevent it