Why did Hitler hate Jewish people?

Expert Answers

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

Why Hitler hated Jewish people: World War I was a great disaster for Germany.  One of that war's causes was competition between industrial England and industrializing Germany for world trade and world markets. 

Hitler was a soldier in the German army during the war; he was very proud of his...

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

Why Hitler hated Jewish people: World War I was a great disaster for Germany.  One of that war's causes was competition between industrial England and industrializing Germany for world trade and world markets. 

Hitler was a soldier in the German army during the war; he was very proud of his war-time service.

Germany was devestated by the war.  The peace settlement imposed upon Germany by the Allies at the end of the war was humiliating and designed to keep Germany in a third-world state of existence. 

During the war, German jews had not rallied to the colors; they did not support the German war effort.  A German once told me that jews were much disliked in Germany after World War I because they had not supported the war.  Considering Hitler's pride in his war-time service and Germany's devestation by the war and the shameful settlement imposed upon Germany by the Allies, it is very likely that Hitler shared this dislike of jews.

Hitler certainly used the German people's displeasure with the jews for his own political advantage, as previous answers have amply described. But how could he murder so many people?

Hitler was extremely power hungry. He started and prolonged World War IIso that he could increase and prolong his hold on power. When it became obvious that Germany would loose the World War II, he continued to make war because it was also obvious that he could hold onto power only so long as the war lasted.

That he could persecute the jews for political power, then use that power to murder so many of them; that he could prolong the suffering and death of so many victims of war so as to hold onto power,demonstrates thatat the very least that he had no value system to form his character. I believe he was a psychopath. Desire for power and lack of empathy for other people's suffering are characteristics of psychopaths.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Certainly, this constitutes a fundamental question about Hitler and his place in History.  I would say that his hatred and depiction of the Jewish people was motivated out of a need to find a political scapegoat, or someone that was to blame for all of Germany's problems after the First World War I.  Hitler was one of the first to use the politics of blame in order to consolidate his own power and ensure that there could be no voices of opposition or dissent.  In the final analysis, his hatred of the Jewish people was motivated by political expediency.  His message would not have resonated with a shattered Germany if he argued that Germans have themselves to blame for their economic and social conditions of disarray.  These types of messages do not allow politicians to hold power for very long.  Rather, it became politically pragmatic for Hitler to argue that there were enemies of Germany, individuals who engineered its downfall and wish for nothing more to keep it pinned under the weight of such a conspiracy.  Hitler chose the Jewish individuals within and outside of Germany because it was easy to target groups that lacked a national boundary- based identity, or a government which could speak for them.  All of Hitler's targets were individuals who lacked that political voice that could stand for them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There is no way of knowing for sure why Hitler singled out Jews to be his scapegoats for all the problems that Germany faced after the end of World War I.  But I can speculate some about why this might have been.

For centuries, Jews had lived in Europe but had not assimilated into European society.  This was not really their fault -- they had often been banned from integrating.  But that doesn't matter -- they were different and separate and kept to themselves.

This made them a perfect scapegoat.  They were a distinct group, pretty much separate from society.  They were often also more successful economically than average.  This meant they did not have a lot of supporters to back them against people like Hitler.

I do not know if Hitler picked them because they would be an easy target or if he hated them just because they were obviously different and often successful.  One way or the other, it was reasons like this that led to the Holocaust in my opinion.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team