Nazi Germany – Sources Essay

a) I think that a Historian studying Kristallnacht would find both sources useful.

Source A infers that the Kristallnacht was down to Hitler and the Nazis. As Hesse worked with the Nazis, this source appears to be reliable and not biased; it was only written in 1954, after the downfall and death of Hitler. To some this may decrease the sources reliability – but not so in my opinion.

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Source B infers that the Nazis did not discourage Kristallnacht, however they did not order for this to happen. The source was a secret report by the Nazi Supreme and therefore, there is a strong possibility that the context will be biased. Although it was more recent to the time compared with source A.

Overall, Source A is, in my opinion, more useful for the study of Kristallnacht by a historian than source B. It is simply far more reliable!

b) Source C infers that Kristallnacht was planned, and acted upon by Nazis. It confirms my choosing source A over source B in the above text. To me, the source seems reliable enough as it was written at the time of the events, making this a primary source by from an impartial witness. It even goes as far as to say the violence was “carried out by SS men and storm troopers not in uniform”. Buffman would have been able to give his opinion of the Nazis and their actions, all-the-while still remaining relatively safe as an American consul.

The overall impression source C suggests of Kristallnacht is that most knew the Nazis were responsible for the brutality and this horrified them; yet most were too scared to speak up about it. Perhaps they may have been regretting their voting Hitler into power… If only slightly.

c) Sources D and E, make it a lot more likely that the account given in source C is accurate. All three sources express similar views to towards the Nazis – views of dislike to say the least! They all strive to let people know the truth. They infer that German citizens have little to do with the events up-to and after Kristallnacht. Source E was sent anonymously, to the British – a plea for help? It goes on to state that “The police supplied SA men with axes, housebreaking tools and ladders…” while source C states, “No attempts were made to put out the fires, the activity of the fire brigade…”. This suggests that even people who are most portrayed as non-discriminatory, could or would not help Jewish people on or after Kristallnacht. This was a turning point.

Source D also provides some evidence for this theory, as the Jewish people seemed to know this already; a lot became frightened for their safety and left. With good reason. The sources also are all very reliable in my opinion. They were written close to the discussed events; although there may be a possibility that source D is biased in favour of the Jews. Source E says as well that he/she ‘feels the need to present a true report of the recent riots, plunderings and destruction of Jewish businesses. I cannot see why this person would lie, for they have little to gain no matter what religion they follow. The note was signed ‘A civil Servant’, as they probably doubted their safety should a Nazi find out about the note. I think it therefore backs up the statement given in source C all-the-more.

d) The messages of these cartoons are fairly similar, though they do have differences. Both sources portray the cruelty and brutality of Hitler and the Nazis. In source F, Hitler stands on wreckage – the mess that he has made after Kristallnacht. While in source G, Hitler or the Nazi’s stands over a fallen body. A Jewish body. Smoke is in the background to symbolize havoc and destruction. It almost seems as if Russia is empathising with the Fascists, in source F, yet warning them it will not work; a lost cause though in my opinion it seems they still agree with it. Source G, infers that the German people have their hands tied – almost literally. The majority do not want this anymore than anybody else, but standing up to the Nazis would be considered suicide. I think both the cartoons suggest that the Nazi party have gone too far – is it too late for them to be stopped now?

They portray the damage that already has, and the harm that may lead from this (Tsar Nicholas II). It also proves that both countries (Britain and Russia) had a very good idea of the kind of things that were happening in Germany but decided not to act.

e) Source I does prove that Goering was telling the truth in source H. In source I, a woman is complaining to Hitler about the destruction of her property during the events of Kristallnacht. She refers to what the Nazis did as “…destroyed everything for me like elephants in a china shop, and much worse!” In source H, Goering is very angry at this mass destruction. He sates that “it is not acceptable to me that he should upset my difficult economic tasks by destroying so much Jewish property of economic value and by causing so much disturbance in economic life.” His only concern seems to be that it is incredibly wasteful. He wants people to save items they find, such as toothpastes a well as any other useful materials. Goering is telling the truth.

f) The sources do not, in my opinion, support the claim that ‘Kristallnacht was a spontaneous event by the German people’ very much at all. Source A plainly states that the events that happened on 9th November 1938, were organised by Hitler and his Nazi party.

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