Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
John K. Roth
The Holocaust was the systematic, state-organized persecution and murder of nearly 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany, its allies, and collaborators. They destroyed two thirds of Europe's Jews and one third of the world's Jewish population. If Nazi intentions had fully prevailed, all Jewish life and tradition would have been annihilated globally, because Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) and his most dedicated followers took the Jews to be so threatening and unwelcome—racially, economically, and politically—that their total destruction became the plan. The Holocaust shows where racism can lead. According to Nazi ideology, Jews were the lowest of the low in the Nazis' extensive racial classification, which put Germans at the top but also fueled twin fears: (1) that German superiority could be harmed by race mixing, which would pollute German “blood,” and (2) that “inferior” races had to be controlled, if not destroyed, to ensure that German power and culture were triumphant. ...