Before the outbreak of the war in 1939 Hitler kept his actions fairly subtle and secretive. He was aware that he needed to gently settle Germany into his extreme beliefs, ensuring the population didn’t become anxious about his policies. He did not want to rush the process, and needed time to build trust. This clever, leisurely approach is a great indication into what an evil genius Hitler really was.
The main, obvious, factor that changed the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews was the outbreak of World War II. With it came much more freedom for Hitler. His neighbouring countries’ attention was now focused on the war. Before this there had always been the threat of another country noticing what the Nazis were doing, and therefore interfering. I believe that this freedom allowed his treatment to become a lot harsher and he was also more obvious. They no longer needed to cover up what they were doing as there was no immediate danger from other countries.
Hitler had also managed to previously enforce severe and extreme laws with little resistance. This meant that his confidence grew with each success. By 1939 it had gone so far that he must have felt he could get away with anything. His policies, laws and views became even more extreme not only meaning the treatment grew even worse but also that resistance seemed almost impossible. Hitler knew this.
War is an extremely unstable and terrifying time; therefore human nature leads us to seek a stable and trustworthy escape from an otherwise petrifying existence. I think that the Nazi’s extravagance and certainty was easy for the Germans to fall back on. Meaning Hitler gained many more followers at this time. This meant that he could get away with more, as there would be less people resisting him. This popularity would also be yet another confidence boost stimulating him to amplify his actions.
The rapid growth of such appalling treatment meant Hitler’s dreams became even more fanatical. Now, not only did he want to conquer Germany, but was aspiring towards all of Europe, and even the World. 1933 to 1939 was merely a tender introduction to Hitler’s views, up until this time he was just testing his boundaries and, in terms of what was to come, he had barely begun. The war was the spark signifying to the Nazis their success so far. This was the concrete evidence the Nazi’s needed to reassure themselves they still had a chance. Before 1939 it may have seemed impossible for Hitler to succeed, yet the war showed they were on the correct tracks. I think that this revelation would have persuaded many to follow the Nazis.
His new dream: world domination, showed just how extreme Hitler really was. It outlined his passion, drive and obsession. Such a dream is surely not physically possible, yet logic was far from Hitler’s mind. With such a goal to achieve Hitler would need to introduce some new, even more intense, laws. He must have felt threatened by the prospect of losing the war therefore would do anything to win.
The fact that Hitler had been fairly relaxed up until 1939 would have also changed his treatment. Nothing he did had been too rushed or hasty, yet now with the war in full swing Hitler must have been aware of ever growing urgency. He needed to quickly invade other countries and introduce his policies so as to put less strain on his army and the Germans. Suddenly there was a sense of pressure. This pressure would force Hitler to make rapid decisions. He would have had less time to think, meaning he would always be looking for the easiest option. He no longer cared about being humane, just about ‘getting the job done’. The terrible treatment continued to spiral out of control.
On top of this, Hitler would have been dreaming of the day when he could invade Europe, when it finally arrived I think his dreams would have become even more intense. With such suspense he would have made himself promise he would do everything to the best of his powers. Nothing was done half-heartedly anymore. Everything was carried out fully and seen through to the end. There were to be no exceptions.
Lastly, war is so definitive. It is so grave, so ultimate that now due to the outbreak there was no turning back. Hitler had to do everything he could to ensure success; this meant stretching his policies to unthinkable lengths. In order to keep his popularity up he needed to keep the Nazi’s interested in what he was doing, show them that he really meant business.
Throughout history, views are continuously altering and changing slightly, this period is no exception. Due to increased confidence, popularity and freedom Hitler’s treatment of the Jews became increasingly bad. The war was the start of the truly extreme discrimination and from there it grew rapidly worse. Hitler was in the mind set that no-one was to be spared and extreme actions were to be taken. Lack of resistance and the gradual time scale amplified Hitler’s dreams moulding them into nightmares. It was inevitable that Hitler would put up a huge struggle and this is exactly what he did during the war. The treatment of the Jews by the Nazis was horrendous and inhumane and over 60 years after it still stands out as one of the blackest periods of human history.