Like other Germans who were in the World War II, Hitler was referred to as the one most ruthless and cruel. He is reported to have exterminated millions of Jews in the Nazi genocide. He had raised himself to power in a bid to defend Germany against the World War I defeat. He attributed the loss to the existence of Jews in German territories and thus planned a wipe out plan for them.
Holocaust was a bureaucratic, state- sponsored systematic persecutions and murder by the Nazi targeting all the Jews and their collaborators. Holocaust is a Greek word that stands for sacrifice by fire. The Nazis who rose to power in Germany had a belief that the Germans were racially superior while the Jews were inferior. Germans also considered this a reason why they were subjected to so much discrimination.
Genocide is a crime. The process that develops in eight predictable but exonerates stages. Preventive measures can be applied to stop genocide at each stage. Each stage has to be preceded by an earlier stage though earlier stage continues to operate throughout the process even without intervention (Arendt, 1963).
The following stages apply for a crime to be considered as genocide.
- Classification- all cultures have classes to distinguish people as ‘we and them’, by race, religion, ethnicity or nationality, e.g., the Germans and the Jews. The most effective preventive measure in this stage is to create universal institutions that transcend these divisions and those that will actively promote understanding and tolerance.
- Symbolization- name or symbols are given to this classification then applied to members of the group e.g., the Jews were distinguished by their way of dressing or color. Symbolization and classification are normal in the human race and do not necessarily result to genocide unless used along dehumanizing lines combined with hatred. To combat this move, the hate symbols can be forbidden e.g. the swastika, which was used as a hate speech, and gang clothing can also be outlawed.
- Dehumanization- this happens when one group denies another the right to humanity. Members of the inferior group are equated to animals, insects or disease. This overcomes the normal human distaste for murder. To control this, incitement to genocide should not be confused with protective speech. Local and global leaders should condemn hate speech at all levels and perpetrators promptly punished.
- Organization- genocide is usually a state organized responsibility to deny involvement by use of militias. In most cases, army units are trained and armed, then mandated for genocidal killings. To control this, U.N should impose arms embargo to countries suspected to plan genocide.
- Polarization- the hate groups proclaim polarizing propagandas and drive the group apart. Laws may be put in place to check intermarriage between the groups or any form of social interaction. Extremists target the moderates in the group and becomes the first to be arrested and killed. To control this, the extremist’s properties can be seized and international travels banned.
- Preparation- victims are identified and separated from others on their religious or ethnic stand. Death lists are drawn and group members coerced to wear identity symbols. They are deprived the right to have their property and driven to concentration camps and confined to hardship. A preventive measure can be provided by protecting the victim groups.
- Extermination- mass killing quickly begins. To the killers, it is extermination because they don’t perceive their victims as full human. Revenge killings may also come from the victims resulting to a cycle of genocides. A refugee camp can be established with high international protection from an impartial army.
- Denial- this is the last stage that follows the genocide and is an unquestionable indicator of other massacre. The perpetrators burn bodies, dig up mass graves intimidate witnesses or blame the victims for what happened. They block investigations and continue to rule unless forced out of power. This situation happened in Germany during the Nazi regime.