Adolf Hitler was an infamous German politician, responsible for causing one of the darkest periods in world history – World War II. Born in 1889, Hitler began his career in the German Worker’s Party and quickly grew to be leader of the Nazi Party. After his party’s failed putsch attempts of 1923, Hitler fled prison, and eventually ascended to being Germany’s chancellor in 1933. During his tenure, Hitler persecuted millions of Jews and other minorities, leading to a war that caused countless deaths and destruction. Today, 2022 marks his 133rd birthday, yet it’s also a year that represents 73 years since his death
Hitler and Nazi Germany
Hitler was a notorious leader in the 1930’s who influenced the German populace in ways they had never seen before. A maverick who rose above Germany’s dismal state at the time and promised a better future, he was a hit with the public who supported his radical dream of creating a “Thousand-Year Reich.” He enforced his doctrine on Germany with an iron fist, leading to the scapegoating of hundreds of thousands of Jews and other minority groups, eventually culminating in a horrific outcome. Through the systematic extermination of Jews and other minorities, the Holocaust caused the death of six million people.
73 years later, Hitler’s legacy still leaves a stain on German and World history. His life and death remain shrouded in mystery, with some historians speculating largely on his childhood and adult experiences that shaped his ideology as leader of the Third Reich. Meanwhile, other scholars have debated his lack of remorse for the millions of Jews and other persecuted people. Despite the passing of time, Hitler’s dictatorship remains to this day an example of what happens when power gets out of control. This understanding has guaranteed Hitler’s legacy of being remembered as one of the most notorious leaders in history.
Restitutions That Remind Us
The United States, in particular, has put a strong focus on restituting victims of Holocaust with hundreds of restitutions in the preceding years, so it’s not uncommon to hear of a new case here and there. After all, when it comes to memorializing the Jewish victims of the Third Reich, the United States has taken on the responsibility of ensuring these victims remain in the history books. From the establishment of the UIHC in 1978 to the passing of the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors today, the U.S. has enacted a number of law and educational efforts to keep Hitler’s legacy alive and well.
In addition to the US’s efforts to keep the legacy of Adolf Hitler alive, it’s important to remember that his legacy has modern-day implications as well. Civil rights every day are being infringed in countries all around the world, and the messages that Hitler stood for are still relevant in modern-day society. The comparison of the racial and ethnic discrimination of the Holocaust to today’s events reminds us that vigilance in defending basic human rights should one of humanity’s highest priorities.
The Growing Far-Right Movement
As we reflect and remember the horrors of the Holocaust, it’s important to also highlight the rise of the Far-Right movement in recent years. The movement emphasizes traditional beliefs in a “master race,” and as a result, has seen a resurgence in Nazi and white supremacist ideology. The mass shooting in 2017 in Charlottesville, VA (which resulted in the death of one woman) is a testament to this fact. While the events of WWII have become somewhat of a distant memory in many countries around the world, they are still a harsh reminder of what can happen when leaders with extremist ideas are left unchecked.
Countering Fascism in the Future
The legacy of Adolf Hitler has left a strong impression on contemporary society, and the world has taken important steps to ensure that the past does not repeat itself. Citizenship laws, Holocaust education, and international agreements like the 1951 Refugee Convention have placed an emphasis on upholding human rights and dignity regardless of who people are and where they come from. Of course, more needs to be done to prevent discrimination and hatred from seeping through certain parts of the world. And yet, despite all these efforts, Hitler’s ideology still remains alive and well, and the fight continues to ensure his legacy is never seen again.
Education as a Weapon Against Fascism
One of the best ways to combat the evil of Fascism is through the provision of Holocaust education. Holocaust related news studies can help students to appreciate different points of view and to better understand the complexities of the past, thus enabling them to develop a sense of belonging in the world. Additionally, Holocaust education can help students to be empathetic and tolerant of all people, regardless of their differences. By teaching students about the consequences of Nazi ideology, which can be seen to this day, it is possible to encourage the development of a more tolerant society which is less likely to fall into the same traps of extinction and discrimination of the past.
The Right to Remember
The memory of the Holocaust victim must remain alive as well. It is our responsibility to ensure that their stories are preserved and remembered so that we may never forget the horrors of what happened. We can do this by honouring the victims of the past, not only by preserving their memory but also by honoring them in our everyday lives. This can come in the forms of visiting the concentration camps or honouring those who perished in museums or tributes. Furthermore, it is only right to remember the millions of innocent lives Hitler’s reign of terror took and ensure their memory remains vivid and lives on forever.
Combatting Hatred Across the World
Remembrance is only part of the solution. We must also actively combat hatred in the world today, be it through education, action, or both. Groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and other organizations fight for justice for the victims of past atrocities and actively advocate for social justice, thus providing the necessary steps for a more just future. Activism, in whatever way it manifests, is a potent tool against Fascism, racism, and discrimination, and must be encouraged and lauded wherever possible.