In the Second World War, Adolph Hitler, the leader of the Nazi party, had many problems to deal with. To handle the largest of these problems, he came up with his infamous Final Solution. What was his Final Solution, and which problem was it an attempt to solve? Moreover, how did he carry this solution out?
Throughout time, humans have murdered each other in the worst ways imaginable. The most horrifying type of murder is genocide: ‘the complete extermination of an entire race of people’. In the Second World War, Hitler decided that genocide was the only way to handle the problem of the Jewish people. He believed that the Jewish people were the cause of many societal problems and he resented them because of their financial success. Hitler made the Jewish people scapegoats for the people of Germany to blame for their overall unhappy state. The Jews were convenient to blame and soon they were hated by almost all of the German population. As the publisher of the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer put it, "The Jewish people ought to be exterminated root and branch. Then the plague of pests would have disappeared in Poland at one stroke." (Keegan, John. The Second World War. New York: Viking Penguin Group, 1990.)
When the Nazi party took over Germany, Adolph Hitler was selected to be the leader of this new regime. Hitler immediately started to strip away the rights of the Jewish people living in Germany and its controlled territories. For example, in 1937, the Jews were banned from many occupations such as teaching, accounting, and dentistry. Other rights such as tax reductions and child allowances were taken from the Jews. Jewish students were even kicked out of German schools and forced to attend all-Jewish schools. This was all part of Hitler's very secret Final Solution. Though this solution was not fully plotted, its essential purpose was Hitler's intention to kill every Jew. Hitler needed help devising a plan on how to accomplish this goal.
What should the Nazi Party do to get rid of the Jews? This was the question that occupied Hitler's mind. Hitler did not come up with the solution to the "Jewish question" himself, he had trustworthy people working on the solution for him. Hermann Goring was given the job of planning extermination without drawing the world's attention to the killing that would take place.
At first, nobody knew about the plan to exterminate the Jews besides Hitler and his very close advisors. Slowly the news got out and other government people gradually became aware of what was going on. The whole Nazi government soon knew about the plan that Hitler was trying to carry out.
The first major step towards the Final Solution came when Goring ordered the evacuation of all Jewish people to ghettos that were sealed off from the rest of the world. There were many different ghettos that the Jewish people evacuated to, located throughout Nazi-controlled territories. Some, like the ghetto of Lodz, held 230,000 Jews within their limits. Goring had every ghetto strategically placed near railroad lines so he could easily accomplish the final goal, which became to destroy the Jewish people. Once the Nazis had rounded up all of the Jewish people, they had each ghetto report its population, financial assets, and the occupation of every person held within. The Nazis confiscated the Jews' assets in order to finance the ghettos.
During that time, the SS Einsatzgruppen, a Nazi paramilitary agency that gained power over other government agencies during the Nazi regime, were patrolling and killing the Jewish population in a systematic fashion as ordered by the SS chief adjutant Reinhard Heydrich. The SS would have Jews line up along side a large mass grave. They would then be cut down with machine gun fire, and their bodies would fall into the grave. The SS would then bury the evidence. When the SS leader Heinrich Himmler witnessed one of these executions, he ordered a new, "humane" method to be