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Social Studies
World War II

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Bailey, Ronald H. World War II: Prisoners of War. N.p.: Time Life, 1981. Print.Bailey, Ronald H. World War II: Germany: The Home Front. N.p.: Time Life, 1981. Print.Silverstrim, Karen. "Overlooked Millions: Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust." Overlooked Millions: Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust. University of Central Arkansas, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.Slideshare. "Nazi Experimentation And Treatment Of Twins." Nazi Experimentation And Treatment Of Twins. Slideshare, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 26 May 2014.Willmott, H. P., Robin Cross, and Charles Messenger. World War II. New York: DK Pub., 2004. Print.

By: Cameron Blood

After WWI the German Empire was humiliated. It had lost a war it was sure to win against Russia, France and the UK; its eastern lands, very prized by the people, had been given to the creation of a new nation, Poland, it was forced to pay reparations for the war to France and the UK and probably the most painful punishment was that the treaty Germany was forced to sign at Versailles destroyed the German pride; its armed forces could number no more than 100,000 at any time. After these terms the German Empire was dismantled, economically, geographically and more importantly morally. The empire became the Weimar Republic where unemployment was in the millions. The Treaty of Versailles was made to humiliate Germany, but it would end up backfiring due to one thing; a young Austrian Gefrieter (rank private) who had fought in the war and had strong feelings for Germany who was also humiliated. This Soldier was Adolf Hitler. Hitler would rise to power in the divided Weimar Republic as the head of the Nazi Party through his charismatic charm, great ability to speak in public and ability to unite the people of a humiliated Germany against a people he blamed for their humiliation, the Jews. Adolf Hitler did many good things for the German people. He took the unemployed 6 million and by 1937 had dropped it to 1.7 million and by 1938 Germany did not have a problem of unemployment, but rather shortages of labor. The start of the Holocaust began with the treatment of Jews as second class citizens. They had their own benches and were not allowed to date Germans of ‘Aryan’ blood. Hitler then had many German Jews deported to neighboring Poland. In 1939 Hitler invaded Poland and ended up regaining the Jewish population he had gotten rid of in the years before. Hitler then put the Jews into ghettos and transported them to concentration camps. After the invasion of the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa, named after a king of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1941 Hitler now felt he had ‘more Jews than he could handle’. Hitler then came up with the “Final Solution” with the help of SS deputy Reinhard Heydrich. This ‘solution’ was the building of camps like Auschwitz in which thousands of people were killed by Hitler’s various death methods including gas chambers, furnaces for quick deaths while others were starved and worked to death with disease always rampant within the prisoner population. Many concentration camps were built, but many had specific purposes.

During the Holocaust concentration camps were built and run by the Nazi Regime to Intern Jews, Slavs, and many others whom the Nazis did not approve of. One of these camps was the infamous Bergen-Belsen discovered and liberated by the Western Allies in April of 1945. In this camp were large numbers of mistreated prisoners brought there for political crimes, as P.O.Ws (prisoners of war) or were there because they were Jewish. Other similar camps were Mauthausen, Natzweiler, and Buchenwald. These were the camps built before Hitler’s “Final Solution” or just hadn’t been heavily equipped with their ‘tools’ (gas chambers, furnaces) yet. Camps that were liberated by the speeding Red Army on the Eastern Front were quite different. The camps encountered by the Soviet were camps that had been designed only for death. These camps had certainly been equipped to complete Hitler’s wishes against the Jews. One of the most famous of these camps was Auschwitz-Birkenau which had attained a daily death rate of 12,000 prisoners and was known for their iron barred entry sign saying “Arbeit macht frei” meaning ‘Work shall set you free’. Extermination camps like Auschwitz ran during WWII include; Treblinka, Maly Trostinets, Belzec and Majdanek. The men who ran these camps were very loyal to Adolf Hitler and understandably so. Hitler had given a humiliated people pride, he had given the unemployed work, Adolf Hitler had given Germans a purpose. This is why men like the former chicken farmer Heinreich Himmler, commander of the feared SS and the Gestapo, had followed him unflinchingly. This man had raised their nation and whatever he must say must be for the good of Germany. That was one way of seeing it through German eyes whereas prisoners saw it a different way. Within these camps were a variety of prisoners, many of whom met the same grisly fate.

The men and women who would be sent to concentration camps in Hitler’s Nazi Germany would suffer through the hardest times of their lives. Prisoners in concentration camps had a complex system of designation. Prisoners had a color coded system of stars, red designating you as a political prisoner, a green star marking you as a common criminal, a brown star showing you were an attempted emigrant, purple representing a religious fundamentalist and a pink star for homosexuals. These marks were further specialized with bars meaning repeat offenders and disks for prisoners who were to receive ‘special treatment’ or were escape risks. After being marked, prisoners were segregated by gender and then by region of service for P.O.Ws. British and American soldiers were often sent to regular concentration camps whereas Russians would usually be thrown in with Jews and be sent to extermination camps. Prisoners were beaten and those who were fit were forced into any kind of available labor on and around the camp. At camps like this, those who were forced to work were given a “stay of execution” meaning as long as they worked they would not be sent to the gas chambers or the furnaces. German scientists then furthered the punishments by taking prisoners and using them for test subjects. The most common subject tested on being twins to answer question that perplexed the scientist Josef Mengele who thought twins had the answer to genetics and heredity. He would keep the twins in good health and they had more freedoms than other prisoners, including exemption from labor and punishment, but were subject to massive blood draws, weekly transfusions and often were tested on with harmful chemicals to try to turn their eyes blue and hair blonde in an attempt to turn them into true ‘Aryans’. Now Slavic prisoners (Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, etc.) were subject to German stereotype in which they were supposed to be brutes of low intelligence. Often, German guards shot Soviet P.O.Ws simply because he “looked as if he could read or write”. All of these atrocities took place during the Holocaust which had started out as the internment of Jews and had resulted in the death of around six million Jews, around three million Soviet P.O.Ws and ten million Slavs from all over eastern Europe. Though the holocaust had been Hitler’s fight against the Jewish people, less than half of the recorded killed Eastern Europe alone were Jewish. Eventually when Hitler’s Third Reich, imitated from the Holy Roman Empire and Great Prussia which had shown German might in the past fell, those responsible for the Holocaust, who were still alive, would be brought to justice within the Nuremburg trials.

Holocaust: the Background

The Camps

The poor prisoners who were sent to concentration and extermination camps were a variety of people. Even though Hitler’s war in Europe appeared to be a crusade against the Jews, many others were sent to the camps. The German sense of pure ‘Aryan’ blood gave the nation the notion that other ethnicities such as Slavic and Eastern Europeans were ‘subhuman’ and inferior and almost as hated as Jews. German soldiers and police often rounded up any kind of political and/or religious dissidents, homosexuals and Soviet P.O.Ws, all of whom were sent to concentration camps along with Jews. What had begun as a political boost to Hitler, by giving the German people someone to unite against, had turned into a racial crusade against Jews and Slavs in a replication of the crusades of the Teutonic Knights of the late Holy Roman Empire he had tried to emulate so much throughout his reign.

People in the Camps

Life in the Camps

The Holocaust

The concentration camps built and ran by the Nazis are similar to the Internment camps the Japanese were sent to in The United States. Even though Hitler's camps were worse undoubtedly the mentality that allowed these camps to be built and ran were similar between the public of both nations and proved that evil happens on both sides of a war.


Liberation of Bergen-Belsen


  • cl0wn 6 years ago

    cl0wn's avatar

    There could have been some brighter section(s) of the Glog to highlight the positive outcomes of the Holocaust.
    However, the red and black theme helped set the darker mood.

  • Aqurelle 6 years ago

    Aqurelle's avatar

    well done, but if you put a connection to the book then it was not properly labeled.

  • amynoji 6 years ago

    amynoji's avatar

    You learned a lot it look like. You chose great subtopics that helped the reader to understand a great deal. Your presentation is interesting to look at. However, consider leaving some white/blank space so the presentation is not overwhelming.

    Lastly, you HAVE TO CITE YOUR SOURCES!!! Otherwise, I can assume that you plagiarized all of it!