World War differed from its predecessors, mainly by the magnitude, intensity, and mechanized nature of the killing. The landscape of World War I is the domain of the innocent, inhabited by souls who never expected to end up in them, ND conforming to no rational plan or logic decipherable by their victims (Bartok 33).
As Bartok says in his essay on Industrial Killing: “The predicament of the individual soldier on the modern battlefield, argue, was confronted both on the technical, practical level, by inventing and producing new technologies which freed the armies from the fate of being pinned down by the combination of trenches, barbed-wire, machine guns and artillery, and on the representational level, by forging a new ideology and producing a new imagery of heroism and liberation.
In the course of the First World War, and throughout the interwar period, the inevitability of a perpetual cycle of industrial killing on an ever greater scale in the future was accepted by all but a small minority of Europeans. ” Similarly, the Nazi’s based their intentions and policies throughout an articulated, shared understanding of Jews, namely their eliminations, racial anti-Semitism (Collagen 132). By 1939, the Germans had succeeded in rendering the Jews socially dead with German society.
The Germans had ensued policies towards the Jews that repeated, encouraged, tolerated violence against Jews, and promulgated social separation of Jews from Germans. The Germans witnessed the promulgation of almost two thousand laws and administrative regulations that degraded the country’s Jews, in a manner and degree that no minority in Europe had suffered. Industry and finance played an important role in the expropriations in the forced labor system and even in the gassing of the victims.
By the year 1942, the Nazi Regime conceived a more “methodical” way of committing a mass murder, and established crematorium death amps. The killing centers worked quickly and efficiently. A system of railway lines transported Jews to the killing factories, where they were carefully murdered in a step-by-step technique. The Germans would mask their fatal intentions by telling the victims they were “resettling to the east. ” A man would step off a train in the morning and in the evening his corpse was burned and his clothes were packed away for shipment to Germany (Hilbert 863).
The destruction of the Jews constituted the work of a far-flung administrative machine. No special agency was created and no special budget was devised to destroy the Jews of Europe. It was managed by the bureaucracy, military, and political organizations. Each organization played a specific role in the process and each found the means to carry out its task. As mentioned before, the Holocaust has become the standard by which ethical responses are judged. What is our responsibility to a neighbor in need- -or to a stranger? Will we once again remain bystanders in the face of evil?