Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

Essay by bklynhitman88High School, 10th grade June 2005

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Almost immediately following his rise to power, Adolf Hitler began the creation of his concentration camps. His primary step towards the Holocaust was the creation of the "T-4" program. The T-4 program, also known as the Reich Work Group of Sanitariums and Nursing Homes, was created for the medical killing of mental and physical defectives. It operated from the Berlin Chancellery, at Tiergartenstrasse 4, giving it the "T-4" code name. The program was rationalized as the elimination of "unworthy lives".

This program paved the way for the Holocaust in several important ways. One way was it had the effect of legitimizing government-sponsored killing. In keeping with the Nazi emphasis on racial purity and national health, "T-4" was presented as a necessary program for eliminating those who carried defective genetic materials which might endanger the quality of the German race.

Another way was that it was the beginning stage in the corruption of the German medical profession.

Robert J. Lifton (a Nazi doctor) asked the question, "How did a profession committed to healing, the protection of human life, and the relief of human suffering become part of the Nazi killing machine?" The answer to this question is that it was a gradual process, a "slippery slope" which began with the "T-4" Program of "merciful killing", and resulted in the full scale involvement of some members of the medical profession in the mass extermination of Jews and others in the Nazi concentration camps.

After WWI, Germany experienced difficult times. The Treaty of Versailles, which ended WWI, completely humiliated Germany. According to the treaty, Germany had to pay other countries for their economic losses, surrender all of its overseas colonies, give back provinces to France, Belgium, and Denmark, and assume full responsibility for the war. This made Germany very poor in the...