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Category: Gordon A. Craig

It was not entirely calculated

“The origins of the annihilation of the German Jews were much more remote in time than the events of Krystallnacht. They are to be found in popular reactions to the dislocations that accompanied Germany’s belated but headlong rise as an industrial Power in the nineteenth century and in the growth of a virulent form of racist anti-Semitism in the Wilhelmine period, which remained latent until military defeat and economic collapse turned it into a potent rallying-cry for the rightist fanatics and demagogues who led the attack upon the Weimar constitution. The most gifted of these, Adolf Hitler, was also the one most obsessed with hatred and fear of the Jews.” – Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945

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How it was done

“In the muddle of competing agencies that constituted the governmental system of the Third Reich, the SS was the effective instrument of domination. Unfettered by the normal restraints of law and accountable only to its commander, and beyond him the Führer himself, it exercised sovereign control over the lives and liberties of German citizens, arresting and detaining them on any pretext, imprisoning them for long periods for unproved or invented crimes (even after the regime was presumably stable and consolidated, there were never fewer than 10,000 Germans in concentration camps), subjecting them to inhuman physical torments, and murdering them for daring to criticize the realities of National Socialism and the crimes of its leadership. The knowledge of the enormities that the SS perpetrated daily, the knowledge that the camps were always waiting for new inmates, the knowledge that many who entered them were never heard of again was never absent from the minds of German citizens, and the fear that it induced was a potent force in maintaining their obedience to the dictatorship. In the Third Reich, terror was the greatest of political realities.” – Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945

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