"Feeding the Flames" Written in response to the prompt: Can we learn from history? Discusses the reign of Hitler and the Holocaust.

Essay by thinkfreeHigh School, 11th gradeA-, November 2002

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With a lock of hair falling over his forehead and a square little mustache on his often, somber face, Adolf Hitler seemed to the public a comical figure when he first entered politics. He was a public speaker who ranted and raved until his voice was hoarse and sweat dripped from his brow. Hitler was an evil genius. With the help of fanatic disciples and gullible masses, he profoundly changed Germany and the political face of Europe; unleashing the most terrible war in history and unprecedented genocide in which more than six million Jews died.

The Nazi machine began to take up steam and began an extensive propagandistic campaign. Among advancements promised were debt relief to desperate farmers, new jobs for the unemployed and the perfect answer to very problem plaguing Germany. But it was more than that. Hitler and his Nazis provided hope. Hitler with his words wove a comforting picture of a united, prosperous Germany, which was exactly what the desperate nation needed to hear.

As soon as Hitler took power he put his beliefs into practice. He abolished freedom of speech and assembly, banned all parties except for the Nazi party and had his political enemies murdered. The Nazis beat Jews in the streets, raided synagogues, trod on sacred Jewish objects, and burned holy books, with a sense of jocularity as they did so. They mocked, humiliated and murdered Jews. All over Germany, the press reported false acts of Jewish treachery, even stories about Jews drinking the blood of Christian children. The lies rang like truth when they appeared in bold, black ink on the placid pages of respected newspapers.

Movie houses, cafes, concert halls and other public places began to put up signs reading, "Jews not wanted." Signs at swimming pools read, "No Jews and no...