Anti-Semitism in Pre-World War II


Anti-Semitism had been around in Germany and the whole of Europe for hundreds of years prior to World War One. Many scholars trace German anti-Semitism back to the time of Martin Luther and even farther back into history. So is it a fair assumption to say that World War One was the turning point in the history of German anti-Semitism? In this paper, I will attempt to see views on both sides of the argument, but show you how instrumental the war was in bringing German ant-Semitism to the forefront.
One question that can be raised is that of which Jews are of a race or of a religion? "Anti-Semitism is not just a racial, ethic, or cultural hating of "Jews", it is a hate of "the Jewish idea."(Geoff Price 2003) The definition of anti-Semitism is hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. I believe that the reason that Jews in Germany were disliked was not their religion, but rather their race.
Race did however, play a part in the degrading and mistreating of the Jews during the end of World War One and on into the height of the Nazi's power. The teaching's of Jesus in this time were skewed to fit with the growing beliefs that Jews were not God's chosen people, but people made from Satan's own blood. "The teaching that Jesus was not a Jew was an integral part of German religious education during the Nazi era."(Geoff Price 2003) So religion did play a part in the anti-Semitism, but there were many other more important factors involved.
During World War One, Jews fought for Germany much like any other man that was fighting for his country. But during the war, there was a pact between Great Britain and the Jews called the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised all Jews land in the Middle East. Germans knew of the pact with Great Britain, and thought immediately that the Jews were no longer fighting for Germany, but for the greater…

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