Our assignment was not difficult; just to journal about what was new to us from the two lectures on Tuesday, one from a Religious standpoint and the other from a Psychological base. I learned that the hate and bias towards Jewish people went much farther back than I knew. When Jesus was crucified, it was said that the Jews had done that, when actually it was the Romans. And, of course, Jesus was Jewish.
Psychologically, we explored the fear-generated concept that majority/minority was not about numbers but was about POWER. I had expected to hear more about the psychological makeup of Hitler himself.
After journaling, I decided to refresh my memory about Hitler's family, childhood, his life before and after he rose to his evil power. Thank heavens for the internet! I was able to read a great deal about him, that his grandfather was illegitimate and was in all probability the son of a member of a Jewish family his mother worked for. Hitler's father was a cruel and difficult man; his Mother spoiled Hitler in trying to counteract his father's harshness. Even though Hitler's education ended at age 16, he read a great deal and became obsessed with power. After his father died, Hitler decided he did not want to work for a living, and soon spent everything his father had left to him, becoming homeless and shabby, sleeping on benches and eating at soup kitchens.
This did not make him at all sympathetic to homeless or poor people; instead, he angrily blamed everything on Jewish or Gypsy or other groups.
Interestingly, he began growing powerful only when Germany's people were suffering from hard times. He would promise anything and everything just to get their support and vote, with no intention of following through with anything except his very own agenda. When Germany was doing well for a short period of time, Hitler had to sit back and wait. When America went into the Great Depression in 1929, and the rest of the world was hit as well, Hitler knew it was the time for him to make his outrageous promises. Businessmen and bankers pretty much thought he would save them from financial disaster.
Even the swastika and the colors of the flag it was displayed on were craftily designed to incite strong feelings. Hitler would always come a bit late to make a speech, so that by the time he entered, there would be a huge swell of excitement and noise. He would begin with a low voice, slow and steady, then build to a higher, faster tone and finally to an angry dramatic finish.
Everything, once he'd established the Nazi party, was carefully planned, from the young boys in their brown shirts, to groups of young women, and also housewives, every group meant to feel "special" to the ultimate goal of a unified Germany...unified in his mind meaning only Aryan. He had eye color charts designed to determine if a person had the "right" color blue eyes to qualify as Aryan. They were also judged by hair color (blonde) and height (tall). Of course, Hitler himself did not meet these standards.
While his father was alive, he refused permission for Adolf to study art, in particular architectural drawings, even though he showed a lot of potential. After his father died, Hitler was unable to pass the exams that would let him enter those schools in Vienna. It makes you wonder what might have happened had his father supported his art endeavors early on, early enough for him to have gotten the necessary instruction and training to continue on that path. Much of his anger seems to stem from his failure in realizing his dreams.
I'm glad I am taking this class; there is so much I just did not know, and the Holocaust itself is still ahead.