Unit 3 – The Final Solution
During the War
Middle and High School
The “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” was the euphemistic name the Nazis used to describe their program of mass murder directed against the Jews of Europe. The main problem with this phrase is that its vagueness obscures the enormity and brutality of the crime. This was intentional, as it allowed the perpetrators to discuss it without having to continually confront its true nature. It also allowed them to maintain a degree of obfuscation in their conversations, speeches, letters, and documents. They also used phrases such as “appropriate treatment,” “special handling,” “resettlement,” and “evacuation” in the same way.
The corruption of language with the intent to deceive was part of the Nazis’ stock in trade. There is one way, though, in which the words “Final Solution” were clear and appropriate. The Nazis did not consider their earlier actions against the Jews to be far-reaching enough to be “final.” Step by step, over the course of eight and a half years, through vastly changing circumstances, Hitler and the Nazis arrived at the decision to commit genocide.
How and why did they make this decision? How did they convince people to participate or did they even have to try to convince them? How many people were involved?
Unit 3 Daily Lessons