What the outside world knew about what was going on in Nazi Germany

Several countries in the outside world knew some things about what was going on in Nazi Germany, and each of the countries reacted differently. Primary sources including historical newspaper articles indicate that the outside world was closely watching what was going on in Nazi Germany, and was keen in stepping in to intervene in various ways.

The Palestine Post (1938) suggests that English investigators had a bad picture of Nazi Germany. The article suggests that the two investigators who conducted a research on “Education in Nazi Germany” found out that Germany has been conditioned by the control of the minds of the nation’s youth to accept some fallacies as truth. The article indicates that the youth of Germany have been convinced to propagate evil and put an end to peace and security of the German people. The English investigators also observed that Germans threatened the peace of free communities such as the British Commonwealth. The Englishmen also regarded German education system as a hub of militarism and war-mindedness, and that the Germans were full of glorification for only themselves.

German schools taught Nazi racial theories to enhance the feeling of superiority by its youth over other nations (The Palestine Post, 1938). This made German youth to become ready for engagement in aggressive militarism as a philosophy of life.[1] German authorities often prepare children’s’ minds systematically and thoroughly for racial hatred and militarism. In schools, treating Jewish children decently was not tolerated. Jewish children were punished for their birth, and Aryan children were also punished for showing decency to Jewish children. This indicates that the English investigators were part of the people in the outside world who considered Nazi Germany as a racial, unjust, unfair, and a dangerous regime. The outside world considered Nazi Germany as nothing but war-minded nation without any consideration for peace and security, both for the Jews in Germany and other parts of the world.

British Ambassador’s Report of 1933 also highlights how Jews were treated badly in Germany. Sir John Simon had received a report from British Ambassador to Berlin about the situation of Jews in Germany. The report indicated that elimination of Jewish lawyers in Germany was implemented despite earlier announcements that the regulation would be modified. The report further indicated that the Nazis kidnapped a Jewish lawyer, Herr Weiner, of Chemnitz who was later murdered (The Palestine Post, 1938). Discrimination was also considered by the report as a key element in Nazi Germany. The report reveals that a German sports person is eliminated from his country team because he was a Jew of Russian origin.

Denmark has also not reacted positively to the Nazi Germany. The Germans sought to extent the Nazi grip to the free city of Danzig. Uniformed Nazis reportedly crossed Danish-German border, but Denmark protested and criminalized the wearing of political uniforms, arm-bands, emblems and other symbols (The Palestine Post, 1933). This shows that Denmark viewed the actions of Nazi Germany as detrimental, so they had to react with hostility towards them.

Another aspect of the Nazi Germany that was highly condemned by the outside world was the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a mass killing of Jewish by the Nazis (Von Klemperer, 1994). Britain and the United States are the notable countries that received the news of Holocaust with a lot of bitterness and disapproval. Some of the Europeans who were against Nazism helped the Jews from being killed by hiding them and giving false documents and providing them with mechanisms to escape. The key allies who fought against the Nazi Germany were: USA, France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

One of the tools that the Nazis used to deceive the outside world regarding its intentions, especially during the Holocaust was the Propaganda. Spread by Joseph Goebbels and his pro-Nazi team, the propaganda served to deceive and manipulate the German population and the outside world. Before the US knew what had happened, several Jews had died in the Holocaust. The propagandists pretended to be preaching peace, unity and utopianism that was acceptable to all Germans and everyone around the world (Gruner, 2006). This propaganda of deception was intended to portray Germany as a victim of foreign aggressors and a peace-loving country. The Nazi propagandists deceived the world by suggesting that it participates in war to protect its citizens. At first, it seemed that this propaganda succeeded in the deception of Germans and the outside world. However, the world came into the reality later.

Despite the propaganda that seemingly disguised the intensions of Nazi, the outside world still had a view of racial warfare and territorial expansion in the Nazi Germany (Buell, 1939). However, the US did not react immediately to the plea to save the Jews although it had already known about their suffering and sympathized with them. This does not mean that the US was not willing to help the Jews. One of the main problems was that the outside world was so influenced by the propaganda that few of the countries in the outside world was willing to enter into war with Germany in regards to the Holocaust. It was up to France and Britain to start war with Germany because they are European countries that hosted the Jews, and knew that the lives of the Jews depended on their rebellion.

Although the US did not intervene with the Nazi war against the Jews, it indeed believed in and preached democracy and freedom for everyone, including the Jews. Most of the allies who were fighting the German aggression upon the Jews communicated with the Jews on quite a number of occasions. Czechoslovak and Poland were among the most affected countries in the outside world. The Germans used propaganda to attack Poland. Poland considered the Nazi Germany as a war-minded regime (Buell, 1939). Poland knew that Germany was not acting in good faith as a nation. So it acted as one of the allies that fought against the Germans. Czechoslovak also did the same. A member of the Czechoslovak State Council wrote to the US government in 1942 informing her about the situation of Jews. Czechoslovak described the situation as a moral challenge to all allies, including the US.[2] The member of Czechoslovakian State Council reiterated in his letter to the US that the allies should join hands so that they do not become guilty of sins of omission. This meant that allies who did not join hands in fighting against the Germans were considered to be committing a sin just like the Nazi killers.

The US did not react with weaponry or war, but it is clear that like other nations, the US considered Nazi Germany as threat to peace and security. Roosevelt, US president in 1930s was not indifferent to the Jews’ plight. He considered Nazi as a criminal party and the crimes of the Nazi disturbed him profoundly. He looked forward to the time when the leaders of Nazi and their allies were punished for the crimes they committed against the Jews (Bukey, 2000). However, Roosevelt did not see any way of rescuing the Jews from the Hitler who had already had control over Europe. Finally, he was one of the people who led the allies to resettle the Jews who survived the Holocaust. Some historians argue that the involvement of US came late after millions of Jews had been murdered through Hitler’s Holocaust.

From the above analysis of the views and reactions of the outside world towards Nazi Germany, it may be argued that some countries reacted appropriately to the Jewish situations while others did not. Specifically, the Great Britain and France were among the powerful nations who allied to fight against the Nazi (Buell, 1939). Reports in Historical newspapers in England indicate that the government of the Great Britain followed the situation of the Jews closely and attempted to report some of the injustices that the Jews faced. Unfortunately, the Great Britain did not have enough power over Hitler.

Other countries which took satisfactory steps to stop Germany from mishandling and killing the Jews include: Romania, Poland, Czechoslovak, and Denmark. Some Jews hid in Poland but they were found by the German soldiers.  Czechoslovak called for help from allies including the US to save the Jews from being destroyed by the Germans. The efforts of those small countries were heavily felt. Through their persistence to help the Jews, the allies finally agreed to settle them in a new land, although this came after millions of them had been killed.

USA was seemingly reluctant to react to the calls of Germany’s European neighbours concerning Nazi Germany. US had the same view as other allies who were against the Germans, but they were reluctant to act immediately despite being a very powerful nation. However, the US remained a strong supporter of the Jews. Generally, the outside world viewed Germany as a great threat to security, peace, justice and freedom. As a result, allies came together to fight against the Germans.


Reference list

Buell, R.L. 1939. Poland, Key to Europe. New York: A. A. Knopf.

Bukey, Evan Burr. 2000. Hitler’s Austria: popular sentiment in the Nazi era, 1938-1945. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press.

Gruner, Wolf Dieter. 2006. Jewish forced labor under the Nazis: economic needs and racial aims, 1938-1944. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.

The Palestine Post 1938. Education in Nazi Germany: Views of two English Investigators.             http://www.jpress.nli.org.il/Olive/APA/NLI/?action=search&text=Nazi%20Germany

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, N.D. Introduction to the Holocaust: The Path to Nazi Genocide. Accessed February 17, 2014 from http://www.ushmm.org/learn/introduction-to-the-holocaust/path-to-nazi-genocide

Von Klemperer, Klemens. 1994. German resistance against Hitler: the search for allies abroad, 1938-1945. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[1] The Palestine Post 1938. Education in Nazi Germany: Views of two English Investigators. http://www.jpress.nli.org.il/Olive/APA/NLI/?action=search&text=Nazi%20Germany

[2] Buell, R.L. 1939. Poland, Key to Europe. New York: A. A. Knopf.

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