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Outline Nazi Racial Policy from 1933-1939.

Luke Scrimes

The destruction of the Weimar Republic and the appointment of Adolf Hitler to Reich Chancellor in 1933
allowed the dissemination of Nazi ideology to permeate throughout Germany. Incorporated in this ideology
were the Nazi Racial policies. According to the Nazis races other than Aryans were inferior Untermenschen,
Hitler sought to eradicate all the Untermenschen, and this incorporated many racial groups including the Jews
but also particular non racial groups such as homosexuals and the handicapped. All groups were targeted for
persecution and subsequently execution for going against Aryan culture.

Nazi ideology was encompassed in Hitlers book Mein Kampf (1924). A key part of Hitlers ideology was
concerned with race. According to Hitler, the Aryan race, which was made up of pure Germans, was the
master race. Every other race was considered inferior; particularly the Jews who were portrayed as the mortal
enemies of the Aryans. German historian K.S. Pinson states, The Jew, in the Nazi ideology, was the
embodiment of all their enemies rolled into one....above all he was the destroyer of the purity of the German
race. In Nazi ideology their own survival meant the Aryans must struggle against the Jews and defeat them.
Hitlers desire to accomplish a Volksgemeinschaft of Aryans is a pivotal factor for the growth of Anti-Semitism
in Germany after 1933. In the early 1930s Jews in Germany made up less than 1% of the total population.
However, they were a visible minority holding high positions and status throughout German society. To
reverse this trend, the Nazis passed anti-Jewish legislation; from 1933 to 1939 over 400 pieces of anti-Jewish
legislation were introduced. These statutes were designed both to bereave Jews of their civil rights and
reaffirm Aryan Germans racial superiority.

The legal campaign against the Jews increased in intensity with the Nuremburg Laws of September 1935. The
two laws, which were announced at the annual Party Rally at Nuremberg, deprived German Jews of their
citizenship and outlawed marriage between Jews and Germans. Subsequent legislation made the position of
Jews in Germany increasingly tenuous. Jews could no longer study at German school or universities, were
excluded from many professions including doctors, salesmen, lawyers, vets and dentists and Jews were
forbidden to own land virtually excluding Jews from German economic life. Jewish property was repossessed
and their businesses forced into bankruptcy or Aryanisation that is sold at low prices to Aryan firms. The
attacks on the Jews had changed from being the work of the SA to the task of the government. In 1937 the
campaign against the Jews continued at an even greater ferocity after a small respite during the 1936 Berlin
Olympics. New mandates after 1937 prevented Jews from entering restaurants and theatres. Jews were
required to have separate identity papers and a red J on their passport. The Reich Chamber of Culture also
prohibited Jews from participating in the artistic and cultural pursuits; the restricted fields included literature
and media.

In 1938 the Nazi initiated persecution culminated in the most brazenly violent act against the Jewish minority
within Nazi Germany before the Final solution. This pogrom was christened Kristallnacht, on 9-10 November
1938, 7,500 Jewish shops and 400 synagogues were destroyed and over 90 Jews killed. Joseph Goebbels
initiated the pogrom, which was fully supported by Hitler and the Nazi Party, who had been eager to initiate
open violence against Jews for years. The development of Nazi sponsored anti-Semitic policy from 1933-1939
became increasingly radical, moving from legal discrimination to threats, a gradual deprivation of economic
power and final open hostilities. By 1939, Jews were practically expelled from the economic, political, legal,
cultural and social life of Nazi Germany. In January 1939 the fate of German Jews was sealed when Hitler
addressed the Reichstag saying that another war will mean the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.


Through the work of the Propaganda minister Goebbels, the entire people of Germany was seduced; in Hitlers
Germany, all aspects of German life had to incorporate Nazi ideology, thus meaning that anti-Semitism was
rife, and the German people knew of this. The Nazi racial policy specifically targeted Jews and those
Untermenschen that Hitler and the Nazis had deemed inferior.