Kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people, how far do these sources support this claim
If I evaluate the sources from different historians in order to discover their different opinions, I will be able to conclude if the German people were responsible for Kristallnacht. I have evaluated nine different sources in which people have written/drawn about the causes of Kristallnacht.
By looking at the different sources I can look into which ones I agree with; B, D and I. ‘…Were not to be organized by the party’- a quote from source B, from this source we are able to see it is blaming the German people for Kristallnacht. However, this source is not very reliable being very vague. Due to the fact the writer is anonymous; they were able to write what they wanted..
Source D implies Jewish people were made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome by the German people when it quotes, ‘unrest among the masses’. Signs were put up in a variety of shops that read, ‘Jews not wanted’, suggesting the discomfort Jews may have felt, also telling us they weren’t wanted.
A vague conversation between a member of the public and Hitler was written into account for source I, it does not state who Hitler blames. It is obvious Hitler blames the German people as he says the event was terrible and didn’t like it. If Hitler had even organized Kristallnacht, he would certainly not have told a member of the public.
Sources A, C, E, F, G and H all blame the Nazi’s. Hesse, mentioned in source A, blames the Nazi’s, being a witness. Hesse heard Goebbels talking about a mass attack; Kristallnacht; the SA were going to destroy Jewish shops, Synagogues and homes. Hitler allegedly slapped his thigh with joy when he heard about this idea. Hesse being at the dinner party along side Goebbels and Hitler and hearing them talking, makes this source quite reliable. However, it was only a whisper he heard and may have mistaken what Goebbels was saying, he also released his account 16 years after the event. If he had released it closer to the time and got found out, he would have been killed.
Source C is written by an American living in a German town called Leipzig. He claims Kristallnacht is the Nazi’s fault, police provided them with tools such as axes, firebombs and ladders, tools good enough to rob houses. He also tells us the fire brigade made no attempt to put out the fires and knew which houses contained German people, preventing them from being in danger. As the fire brigade knew exactly what fires to put out, the attack couldn’t have been spontaneous. This source is only set in one city, yet still reliable.
A ‘true report’ is presented to us in source E, by a civil servant. He mentions the fact police provided the Nazis with tools good enough to rob a house. He also says a list of Jewish shops and flats were provided, this is how the fire brigade knew where the Jews lived. The source would be fresh in his memory as it was written 2 days after the events.
By illustrating a cartoon in a Russian newspaper, source F blames the barbaric Nazis. The cartoon shows a thug like Nazi in uniform with a knife covered in blood whilst standing on a Jews belongings. The Nazi is up at a man named Tsar Nicholas the 2nd, who ruled in Russia. Being similar to Hitler, he also hated the Jews and tried to kill them off like animals. He says to the Nazi, ‘attacking the Jews didn’t do me any good, my fascist friend’.
Sources G and F share a few similarities, but published in a British magazine. In the picture it consists of a Nazi towering over a German citizen who has been killed. In one hand he holds and truncheon and with the other hand he salutes Hitler. An innocent woman representing the German people is also in the picture, she is gagged and tied up, unable to move or physically react to the Nazis outrageous actions. A shield, helmet and sword are on the floor in front of her, representing the Germans defenselessness.
Source H was by a Nazi who surprisingly blames the Nazis. A man in charge of the economic plan to prepare Germany for war called Goerring, blames Goebbels for Kristallnacht. He says it was an act to get back into Hitlers good books, but even Hitler himself liked it, he apparently made an apology for him.
In conclusion, sources A,E and H continue to disagree with the opinion that Nazis are responsible for Krisallnacht yet are inside Germany. A huge amount of belief must be in order for a Nazi to blame one of his fellow Nazis unless they only blame them to prevent themselves from being shot. In Germany, Nazis became a much hated race. On the other hand, there are still some sources that blame the German people but these sources appear to be extremely ambiguous. Several sources outside of Germany blamed the Nazis i.e. the illustrated sources which came from Russia and Britain. Being Germanys enemies, it comes to a surprise that they blame the Nazis. More to the point, sources written by Nazis, blaming their own race, lead us to disbelief.
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