by Becca "The Cat's Pajamas" Walls


Introduction

11 million people killed, 1.1 million of which where children. 6 million being Jewish, the other 5 million including Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, disabled people and Gypsies. These staggering numbers are sourced from one mans thoughts, and one mans persuasive speeches to approximately 21,600,000 German soldiers, to kill all of these people. It only took one mind to change that of millions. Hitler managed to convince these people through his famous three hour long speeches, his passion, his pure whole hearted hatred of the Jewish, and his determination of executing the plan “Final Solution”, meaning annihilating the entire Jewish population and cleansing Europe. Most of the German population believed in Hitler and wanted to pursue his thoughts due to his beginning actions of shooting a gun and declaring the Nazi Revolution. These factors did not suppress everyone though; some people even boycotting German products in order to not fuel Hitler’s army (Boycotts, Anti-Nazi).

Thesis

Though there tons of odds against them, those who stood up for themselves in the Holocaust show that, no matter the circumstances, anyone should and can stand up for their basic human rights.

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"File:Adolf Hitler as a Child.jpg." Wikimedia Commons. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

Hitler's Past


Hitler began despising the Jews since he was young, growing up in an Anti-Semetic town with a mayor that didn’t like them. Hitler also had an abusive father who was so harsh due to the fact that his previous son was arrested for theft, and he didn’t want Adolf going down the same road. This abusiveness led to Hitler hating his father and relying on his mother. His father, Alois, wanted him to join the “civil service”, but Hitler wanted to become an artist. His dreams were constantly crushed by his father. His mother was the only one who truly accepted him, and he never really liked school, considering the fact that after he failed his exams at age 15, he dropped out of school. Once Adolf’s mother passed away when he was 18, it’s rumored that he spent hours staring at her dead body on her death bed, sketching her. After her death, Adolf applied to Vienna
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"Paintings by Adolf Hitler." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paintings_by_Adolf_Hitler>.
Academy, but he was rejected when they discovered “he had no School Leaving Certificate” .




Since he couldn’t go to art school and his mothers death sent him into a deep depression, he tried to go into “civil service” like his father wanted. Though he was rejected from the Austrian army due to his medical issues of being underfed and barely sleeping for years, he managed to make it into the German army. This is how he made it into the dictator we know him as today. What's something horrifyingly relevant to notice is how many children in our times today have been known to have abusive parents. Students are constantly dropping out, and actually have close to the same "childhood" that Hitler had. This idea should definitely be noted, because since it's so frequent for people to have this history, everyone in society should keep a look out for the signs that Hitler showed, in order to not have a repeat in history.

Top Assassination Attempts


Beginning Assassination Attempts

Having been forty-two assassination plots and attempts on Hitler, the only thing that could truly stop this man was a bullet from his own gun. Overall, there have been attempts ranging from gunfires on trains, a fountain pen rigged with explosives, and even a bouquet of flowers set to spray poison in Hitler’s face. Several people had reasons for wanting to attack Hitler, some even being government officials that thought he was going mad with power. Others believed that he had terrible morals and had no reason for wanting the “Final Solution”. Some attacks worked better than others when it came to attempting to assassinate Hitler.

Tresckow Attempts

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"Operation Spark; The Plots to Kill Hitler - 13 March 1943." - World War II History Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://wwiihistorynetwork.com/page/operation-spark-the-plots-to>.

Brandy Bomb
Technology started off not at its best, then throughout trial and error, assassins realized how to improve their weapons in order toget desired results. The 28th recorded attempt was actually planned by government officials. Colonel Henning von Tresckow set up most of the planning for this plot. Once a faithful follower of the Führer, he noticed how the leader had unfavorable ideas, and quickly decided that this man must be stopped. When he discovered that Hitler was going to take a visit to his military base, he manifested a plan that would be the closest attack on Hitler that the world had yet seen (1943). Tresckow planned to convince one of the men in Hitler’s entourage to transport a Brandy box to a close friend in a different country. Little did they know that in this box, which would be on the same plane as Hitler, contained two time bombs that only needed to take down the plane. The plan was executed to the best ability that these people had, seeing that the bombs made it on the plan without discovery. The reason that this plan failed, was not at the fault of the attempted assassins, but because of the fuses failing to work. This was not the fault of Tresckow or anyone else participating, but it did give people the intuition and encouragement to create a better bomb and better fuses.

First Attempted Suicide Bomb

The same bombs that were retrieved after they failed on the plane, and were later repurposed to fit into a new plan that Tresckow had. There was another stop that Hitler would make after the plane ride to an exhibit of captured Soviet Union weapons. Treskow decided that he would disguise himself as a tour guide and keep the bomb in his pocket, taking out Hitler and himself in the process. This would have been the first suicide bombing ever contemplated in History. They switched the fuses to 10 minute fuses that could make it easy to fit the explosive and fuse into the Colonel’s pocket. Everything was going according to plan until during the tour, Hitler became appealingly suspicious, and then suddenly vanished behind a curtain, leaving Tresckow with an active bomb in his pocket. Tresckow realized that hopes of taking out the Führer were lost, and deactivated the bomb in private. Though the plan failed, this is a huge turning point in history for someone to feel the need to take out their own life in desperation to take out a terrible leaders. Tresckow knew it would be the best for society, so he put his life on the line in order to make that of others better than it was in that time period.

Elser

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"Bombing Hitler: Georg Elser, Man Who Almost Assassinated the Führer - Review." History in an Hour. N.p., 08 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://www.historyinanhour.com/2013/04/09/bombing-hitler-georg-elser/>.

Going back to 1939, there have been cases where bomb technology has exceeded standards instead of failing. “By March 1939, Hitler has seized control of Austria.” (42 Ways to Kill Hitler). The event of Hitler seizing Austria definitely hit home for one man. Johann Georg Elser was a carpenter who made a near flawless plan to bomb Hitler. When this man found out that Adolf would have having a speech in a Beerhouse, he immediately went to work trying to create a plan in order to assassinate the Führer. He went into the Beerhouse every night for two months, taking off a wooden panel on the pillar behind the podium where Hitler would make his speech. He flawlessly replaced the panel and cleaned up his mess for two months, while during the day he crafted a bomb that is known, even in comparison to technology today, to be an incredible feat. Elser set the timer for 9:20pm, knowing that Hitler’s speech was set to start at 9pm, it should be the perfect time and would be in the middle of the speech. He also planned to leave the bomb in the carved out pillar for several days in order to make his escape to Switzerland, which required a long fuse. Little did Elser expect that Hitler would change his speech to start at 8pm, and instead of his usual 3 hour lecture, it only lasted a little over an hour, and he quickly left to catch a train. The bomb went of at the exact time Elser had planned, but Hitler had left just before the explosion which left the balcony collapsing, over sixty people injured, and eight deaths. Meanwhile, Elser was at the border, caught with fence cutters, a detailed drawing of the bomb, and a postcard of the Beerhouse. He was later executed for attempted murder of a government official. This plan just goes to show that it’s not impossible to create a good plan to kill an oppressive ruler.
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The aftermath of Elser's Bomb"Hitler Escapes Assassination." World War II Today RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://ww2today.com/8-november-1939-hitler-escapes-assassination>.

Strauffenberg

There has also been another instance of government officials planning against Hitler. Another instance of someone on the inside of the government forming a plot to take down someone of greater power was the plan that Claus von Strauffenberg created along with other government officials. Strauffenberg had the job of having meetings with Hitler about once a week, and in this occasion in which he planned to bomb him was at Wolf’s Lair, which was one of the most heavily guarded places in which Hitler stayed. His bunker having walls of concrete that were 16 feet thick, the entire base being surrounded by heavy artillery, there was no way that Hitler wouldn’t feel safe here; that is, until Strauffenberg changed everything. This bombing is one of the most well-known attacks on the Führer, leaving 4 people with fatal injuries, the conference room left with all the windows blown out, one wall taken down, and the floor buckled. Somehow, Hitler managed to leave this place after the explosion with only minor injuries. Though this attack did not kill the Führer, it definitely was a wake up call, and if Strauffenberg had been able to pack the second kilo of explosive into his briefcase that day, Hitler would have definitely been taken down.

Ghetto Uprisings

Warsaw

Warsaw is one of many ghetto uprisings, but the reason this one is so important is due to the fact of how long it lasted and how few people it took. These people were taken from their homes and forced to live in Warsaw due to them being Jewish. These people managed to smuggle in or create homemade weapons and would end up standing up against well armed German soldiers. This uprising lasted a very long time, and even ended up encouraging other ghettos to uprise as well. The particular event at Warsaw let 7,000 Jews shot, inspired 100 more ghetto uprisings and created the Z.O.B. (in English translates to “Jewish Fighting Organization) (Susan D. Bachrach). One thing to recognize throughout these attempts is that no one became discouraged, but rather enlightened and heartened. These people noticed how they failed and tried to better their technology in order to create a better product and plan to carry out what they knew was right to defend their basic human rights. Never giving up is always key in defending what you believe in. Never be pushed over, and never letting someone take advantage of something you can change and control.
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"Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (Polish History)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/636138/Warsaw-Ghetto-Uprising>.

Other Ghettos

Other ghetto uprisings like Warsaw include that in Vilna, Mir, Lachva, Kremenets and Czestochowa (. When Hiter invaded Poland on September 1st 1939, leaving Warsaw to fall in weeks. People were infuriated and the Polish refused to fall without putting up a fight. The reason that Warsaw is such a huge benchmark event is because it really showed how it doesn’t take many people to stand up for what you believe in. These people stood up for what they wanted and put up a huge fight against heavily armed German soldiers. These people had a small amount of terrible weapons, but they still managed to fight off these people for weeks just because of their sheer will-power. Though the Polish put up a strong fight and inspired millions, they did end up losing to the Germans. Hitler invaded and took Poland, then later at his fall he would end up destroying as much of it as he could so when people tried to take it back they wouldn’t have anything to gain. Though the Polish did not win, they did everything in their power to assert their dominance, and take a stand to prove to their country that they deserved to practice what religion they desired. Though there were not many people fighting, it truly went to show how people can take a stand for what they believe in and numbers don’t always matter. It doesn’t take many people to make a change.

White Rose

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"Siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst (left to Right) of the Student Resistance Group "White Rose" (1942)." GHDI. GHDI, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fgermanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org%2Fsub_image.cfm%3Fimage_id%3D2197>.

The White Rose, founded by Sophie and Hans Scholl, was an Anti-Nazi organization that was started in the University of Munich. These
two sibling students knew that Hitler had to be taken down and would do anything in their power to speak their mind. The reason it’s called White Rose is because of the leaflets that Hans and Sophie released at their school. Tons of small leaflets that said words such as “DOWN WITH HITLER!” and many other phrases would fall like snow all over their fellow students. These two are also known for writing “DOWN WITH HITLER” and “FREEDOM” on the college’s walls. There were other similar agencies and groups that would try to make an uprising and assert their dominance and beliefs. One included the Red Orchestra, that was founded in Germany by Arvid Harnack, and sided with the Soviet Union. This was an organization that did a general stand against Hitler and stood up for what they believed in. One interesting thing that makes the Red Orchestra stand out is that Arvid’s wife was a college professor, and she later was fired in fifteen months for “not being Nazi enough” (Cotrell). Hans and Sophie learned from a young age to have a distaste in Anti-Seminism. Their father taught them to think of everyone as equals, so when Sophie and Hans went to college and noticed what Hitler was doing, they would do everything in their power to stand up for what they believed in (Holocaust Resistance). When people found out that Sophie and Hans were trying to take down Hitler, actions soon followed through, and they would both be executed in 1943 once caught distributing the leaflets. Hans’ last words were “Long live freedom!”. Sophie and Hans were well aware of the consequences that would follow to standing up to the most powerful man in Germany, though they still did what they thought was right in order to make everyone else’s life better. They both knew that, even though people were disgusted by them standing up to the Führer, it meant the world for someone to stand up for basic human rights.

Conclusion

Overall, though the Holocaust was a traumatic and horrifyingly crippling event, it taught millions of people to stand up for basic human rights. The determination and will-power that it took to take down Hitler is a true work of passion. There will always be people in anyone’s life that will oppress them, regardless of the scale of oppression. It could be a bully, a President of a club, or the President of the country; regardless it’s truly up to those being oppressed to have the strength within them to stand up for their basic human rights. Inside everyone there is a Hans, there is a Sophie, a Strauffenberg or even a Elser. It might take time and thought to channel that part of one’s self, but there is that power in everyone. Those in Warsaw proved that it doesn’t take many people to stand up for what’s right. Elser proved that, with pure determination, anyone can try to make a difference. Tresckow proved that it might even take the amount of passion to risk everything one has, even their life, in order to make that of millions better. Regardless of how large or small the scale of oppression may be, regardless of how hard one tries to fix lives of others, anything makes a difference.

Linked Sources

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/rose.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogVyN05sRcc
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005407
http://history1900s.about.com/od/holocaust/a/holocaustfacts.htm
https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-holocaust
http://www.spiegel.de/international/a-german-hero-the-carpenter-elser-versus-the-fuehrer-hitler-a-383792.html
http://www.history.co.uk/biographies/adolf-hitler
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005407
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/opinion/global/when-the-red-orchestra-fell-silent.html?_r=0
Bachrach, Susan D. "Part Three: Rescue, Resistance, and Liberation." Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust. Boston: Little, Brown, 1994. N. pag. Print.

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