Reason Behind Holocaust
Antisemitism in Vienna :
Many historians point to Hitler’s years in Vienna as having shaped him. Between 1908 and 1913 the young Hitler unsuccessfully tried to set himself up as an artist there. The city had a large Jewish community just before the First World War (1914-1918) – nearly 9% of the two million residents were Jewish – but the social climate was openly antisemitic. With an outspoken anti-Jewish mayor (Karl Lueger) and many anti-Jewish newspapers and magazines there was no restriction on antisemitism, and Hitler was strongly influenced by this.
German Defeat :
The defeat of Germany in the First World War also had a great impact on Hitler’s world view and political beliefs. Hitler was a soldier and – like many other German soldiers – found it hard to accept the defeat of the German Empire. Many nationalists and conservatives believed that Germany had not lost the war on the battlefield but due to betrayal from within, by a ‘stab in the back’. Socialists, communists and particularly Jews were blamed, even though more than 100,000 German and Austrian Jews had served in the war and 12,000 had been killed.
National socialist German workers party :
After the war, Hitler joined a new extreme rightwing party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), quickly becoming its strongman because he could inspire people with his speeches. He noticed that propaganda against Jews and Bolsheviks (often mentioned together) struck a chord with audiences and voters. He claimed Jews were not only responsible for the unfair German defeat but were also blocking Germany’s recovery.