Why Were the Jewish People Targeted by Hitler?

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According to the History Channel, Hitler targeted the Jewish people to fulfill his two main goals of racial purity for the Aryans, or pure Germans, and the need for territory in which that race could expand. In his virulent anti-Semitism, he saw the Jewish people as an evil race bent on dominating the world and blamed them for many of Germany’s problems, including its defeat during World War I.

Anti-Semitism in Europe long pre-dates the Nazi regime, and Hitler’s feelings about the Jewish people echoed those of many Germans between the First and Second World Wars. In his book “Mein Kampf,” written long before he came to power, Hitler made it clear how he felt when he wrote of anti-Semitism that, “its final objective must unswervingly be the removal of the Jews altogether.”

According to Nazi ideology, Jews were regarded as untermenschen, or sub-humans. In their pursuit of racial hygiene, the Nazis did not target the Jewish people only, but also Gypsies, Communists, Poles, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses and trade unionists. In 1939, before initiating widespread slaughter of the Jewish people, Hitler instituted the Euthanasia Program, during which about 275,000 invalids and mentally handicapped people were put to death. The Jewish population, however, suffered the worst casualties. According to Bio, of the 11 to 14 million people put to death by the Nazis and their collaborators, about six million were Jewish, which made up approximately two-thirds of all the Jewish population then living in Europe.