Here is a persuasive paper I wrote for my performance assessment in my history class. The topic was to write about the most important/significant person, event, or invention studied throughout the year. I chose “Kristallnacht” & enjoy your brief history lesson 🙂
To start off, between November 9th and 10th, 1938, the Nazis and their supporters staged violent pogroms against Jewish communities throughout Germany, Austria and areas of Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. These anti-Jewish riots came to be known as Kristallnacht, often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass”. Not only was the Kristallnacht the most significant event studied throughout the year, but also it was the cause for many other historical events.
Firstly, Kristallnacht earned its significance through the hardships that many Jewish people had to face. In 1938, after a Polish-Jewish youth shot a German embassy officer in Paris, France; this fueled attacks on German Jews to be even more brutal. Under the veil of the Nazi regime, rioters and supporters knew no boundaries to violence. Seven thousand Jewish shops were either vandalized or looted, 267 synagogues were either burned or destroyed, 20 000 Jews were arrested and many were savagely beaten. Also, many rioters damaged Jewish cemeteries, hospitals and homes – without the intervention of police and firemen. These events came to to be commonly referred as “Night of Broken Glass”, a reference to the broken windows of numerous synagogues, Jewish shops, etc… Previously, laws targeting Jews had been passed, such as the Nuremburg Laws. However, Kristallnacht is far more significanct as it showed Jews that they were no longer protected under law from acts of violence and assault commited by Nazi-influenced German citizens. Therefore, not only were the pogroms the first time the Nazi regime deliberately targeted Jews and their property, but they were the first time that Jews faced such brutal attacks with no protection from their government – a true violation of basic human rights.
Secondly, Kristallnacht was a turning point in the National Socialist (Nazi) anti-Semitic policy. After the events of Kristallnact, the treatment of Jews increased in brutality and radical acts were taken. The Nazi regime intensified its operation in removing the Jewish people from German economic and social life. Kristallnacht is a perfect example of the treatment of minorities, an important theme in Canadian History. The consequences that Jews faced were devastating and long-lasting – Jewish businesses and factories were confiscated, Jews were barred from a vast majority of public places, forced into emigration and expelled from school. In addition, Jews were forced to wear the Star of David for identification – an iconic symbol during Hitler’s regime, something that wouldn’t have happened without Kristallnacht. In the forthcoming years, policies of forced emigration and deportation of Jews were taken, only to culminate in the Holocaust – the mass murder of Jews. Moreover, Kristallnacht is significantly more important since without it, two other extremely significant and tragic historical events – the Holocaust and World War II – would have never occurred. Thus, Kristallnacht was an essential turning point in Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews, which culminated in the attempt to exterminate the Jewish population.
All in all, far more than glass was shattered on Kristallnacht – the treatment of Jews, a true minority in Nazi Germany, was appalling. Jewish people lost their basic human rights, their dignity and hope. Kristallnacht is the most significant historical event studied this year, because not only did many Jewish people face discrimination amongst other hardships, but also many believe that Kristallnacht was the fuel for Hitler’s actions and the start of World War II.
To learn more, please visit:
- Cruxton J.Bradley & Wilson W.Douglas. Spotlight Canada Fourth Edition. Canada. Oxford University Press Canada. 2000. Print
- Berenbaum, Michael. “Kristallnacht (German History).” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Jan. 2014. Web. 14 May 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/323626/Kristallnacht>.
- “Kristallnacht: A Nationwide Pogrom, November 9–10, 1938.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 10 June 2013. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005201>.
- “Kristallnacht: November 9-10.” The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2014. <http://www.holocaustandhumanity.org/kristallnacht/kristallnacht-november-9-10/>.
- “Kristallnacht: Background & Overview.” Background & Overview of Kristallnacht. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/kristallnacht.html>.
By: Purple Pansy