Was the Holocaust a denial of modern European culture, or its fulfillment?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This question does not really lend itself to a simple binary answer. While some of the elements of the rise of the Nazis were a logical outcome of certain innate dynamics of modern European ideology, the phenomenon also was grounded in particular local events and personalities.

On the one hand,...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

This question does not really lend itself to a simple binary answer. While some of the elements of the rise of the Nazis were a logical outcome of certain innate dynamics of modern European ideology, the phenomenon also was grounded in particular local events and personalities.

On the one hand, the rise of nationalism with a strong irredentist flavor is part of the ideology underlying the development of modern Europe. The notion of "volk" or "folk" as combining language, ethnicity, and national boundaries in an integral whole were key parts of the Nazi notion of racial purity. Similarly, the doctrine of Aryanism evolved from nineteenth century philology and anthropology. One can also argue that Darwinism and the notion of the survival of the fittest contributed to Nazi eugenics.

All these factors, though, would might not have sufficed to cause the Holocaust had there not been a great deal of popular anger resulting from the perceived unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles. The personality of Hitler was also significant.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team