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The centrality of antisemitism in Nazi Ideology

The centrality of antisemitism in Nazi Ideology
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As Dr. David Silberklang and Prof. Dan Michman have stated, the main principles of Nazi ideology were interlinked with an extremely hostile and negative perception of the Jews. In the following video, Prof. Otto Dov Kulka, one of the leading researchers on Nazi antisemitism, will present a short paper on the centrality of antisemitism in Nazi ideology and its unique redemptive nature. For your convenience, a link to the printed version of the paper appears below. Many scholarly works written on National Socialism have reached the conclusion that antisemitism played a vital role in the ideology and policy of Nazi Germany.
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Of all the ideological and political ingredients that went into the making of Hitler’s outlook, antisemitism, in its broader sense, appears to be not only the one consistent and immutable element, it also bridges such seemingly contradictory leanings as anti-Marxism and anti-capitalism, the struggle against democracy and modernism, and the basic anti-Christian disposition. The same is true of the conceptual bearing and functional significance of these
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apparent contradictions in foreign policy and war aims of Nazi Germany: anti-Bolshevism, conceived as determining the inevitable struggle against the Soviet Union, anti-democracy as a basic motive for the war against the Western Powers - France Britain and the United States. Yet Hitler consistently portrays this ideological war in the international arena as an extension of the struggle that the National Socialist movement had waged, from its
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inception, against its ideological and political enemies within Germany itself: Jewish Marxism, Jewish parliamentary democracy, Jewish Liberalism and even the so-called “Political churches” and the Jewish foundations of Christianity. The fundamental idea of Judaism, namely the unity of the world and the equality of all human beings – a conception that spread within Judeo-Christian civilization, and was manifested in a secular form as the universalistic ideas of democracy, liberalism and socialism – was diametrically opposed to
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the National Socialist world view: its belief in the inequality of the races, their hierarchy, and their eternal struggle of survival and annihilation. In keeping with the core of its ideology, the Nazi redemptive antisemitism and its teleological aim of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” and the destruction of the “Jewish spirit,” should be regarded as an attempt to change the course of human history. Only in this sense and through this perspective can one attempt to propose an explanation regarding both the historical and substantive import of Nazi antisemitism and the “Final Solution.” I wish to conclude this paper by two quotations of Hitler’s declaration made on February 17, 1942, the time when the mass annihilation of European Jews, the
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so called “Final Solution,” began to take its horrifying dimensions.
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I quote: The Jew who fraudulently introduced Christianity into the ancient world - in order to ruin it - reopened the same breach in modern times, this time taking as his pretext the social question. Just as Saul changed into St. Paul, Mardochai became Karl Marx.”
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And further on: “Peace can result only from nature’s order (in German Naturordnung). The condition of this order is that there is a hierarchy among nations. It is Jewry that always destroys this order. A people that is rid of its Jews, returns spontaneously to nature’s order.”

Prof. Otto Dov Kulka

The main principles of Nazi ideology were interlinked with an extremely hostile and negative perception of the Jews. In this step, Prof. Otto Dov Kulka, one of the leading researchers on Nazi antisemitism, will present a short paper on the centrality of antisemitism in Nazi ideology and its unique redemptive nature.

What is Redemptive Antisemitism?

References

  • Aly, Götz , Why the Germans? Why the Jews?: Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2014).

  • Bachrach, Walter Zvi, “Antisemitism and Racism in Nazi Ideology,” in Michael Berenbaum, ed., The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), pp. 64 – 74.

  • Friedländer, Saul, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 (New York: Harper Collins, 1997).

  • Kulka, Otto Dov, “Critique of Judaism in European Thought: On the Historical Meaning of Modern Antisemitism”, The Jerusalem Quarterly, vol. 52 (1989), pp. 127 – 129.

  • Kulka, Otto Dov and Eberhard Jäckel, The Jews in the Secret Nazi Reports on Popular Opinion in Germany, 1933-1945 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010) .

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Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

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