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Please refer to the Syllabus instructions for Discussion Forum posts and follow instructions for length and quotation requirements.(10 sentences, choose one of these three to answer)
The reading material for this week can be hard to take. However, we want to bear witness to the atrocities of the past and the choices people made. This is part of building historical consciousness so that our present is more informed.
The film Night and Fog is optional viewing this week. However, if you can manage it, please watch it. You can leave it out of your discussion for question #2, but will need to watch it if you want to answer question #3.
1)Compare and contrast the speeches made by Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle in 1940. Remember that both of these countries were imperialist and maintained colonial ties.
How do Churchill and de Gaulle use the language of empire and nationalism in their speeches? Cite at least one example. Do you find their speeches inspiring or not? Explain.
2)Compare and contrast Hitler’s Mein Kampf with Anne Franke’s Diary, and the (optional) film Night and Fog. Describe examples of fascism and anti-Semitism that lead to dehumanization.
What are the dangers and consequences of fascist and anti-Semitic language, such as Hitler’s depiction of Jews? What actions are taken against them to make them seem less human? Why do you think societies permit the dehumanization of a group of people?
3)In response to the film Night and Fog, consider what it took for the Nazi’s to naturalize mass death. What were the industrial and mechanical methods used by the Nazi’s and how did German businesses and professionals collaborate with them? Describe at least two examples.
Please refer to the Syllabus instructions for Discussion Forum posts and follow instructions for length and quotation requirements.(10 sentences, choose one of these three to answer) The reading mater
1 Winston Churchill (1874 -1965) Speech 4 June 19 40, House of Commons From the moment that the French defenses at Sedan and on the Meuse were broken at the end of the second week of May, only a rapid retreat to Amiens and the south could have s aved the British and French Armies who had entered Belgium at the appeal of the Belgian King; but this strategic fact was not immediately realized. … However, the German eruption swept like a sharp scythe around the right and rear of the Armies of the north. Eight or nine armored divisions, each of about four hundred armored vehicles of different kinds, but carefully assorted to be complementary and divisible into small self -contained units, cut off all communications between us and the main French Armies. It severed our own communications for food and ammunition, which ran first to Amiens and afterwards through Abbeville, and it shore its way up the coast to Boulogne and Calais, and almost to Dunkirk. Behind this armored and mechanized onslaught came a number of German divisions in lorries, and behi nd them again there plodded comparatively slowly the dull brute mass of the ordinary German Army and German people, always so ready to be led to the trampling down in other lands of liberties and comforts which they have never known in their own. … Thus it was that the port of Dunkirk was kept open. When it was found impossible for the Armies of the north to reopen their communications to Amiens with the main French Armies, only one ch oice remained. It seemed, indeed, forlorn. The Belgian, British and French Armies were almost surrounded. Their sole line of retreat was to a single port and to its neighboring beaches. They were pressed on every side by heavy attacks and far outnumbered i n the air. …. The enemy attacked on all sides with great strength and fierceness, and their main power, the power of their far more numerous Air Force, was thrown into the battle or else concentrated upon Dunkirk and the beaches. Pressing in upon the narrow exit, both fr om the east and from the west, the enemy began to fire with cannon upon the beaches by which alone the shipping could approach or depart. They sowed magnetic mines in the channels and seas; they sent repeated waves of hostile aircraft, sometimes more than a hundred strong in one formation, to cast their bombs upon the single pier that remained, and upon the sand dunes upon which the troops had their eyes for shelter. Their U -boats, one of which was sunk, and their motor launches took their toll of the vast traffic which now began. For four or five days an intense struggle reigned. All their armored divisions – or what Was left of them -together with great masses of infantry and artillery, hurled themselves in vain upon the ever -narrowing, ever -contracting appen dix within which the British and French Armies fought. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy, with the willing help of countless merchant seamen, strained every nerve to embark the British and Allied troops; 220 light warships and 650 other vessels were engaged. They had to operate upon the difficult coast, often in adverse weather, under an almost ceaseless hail of bombs and an increasing concentration of artillery fire. Nor were the seas, as I have said, themselves free from mines and torpedoes. It was in conditions such as these that our men carried on, with little or no rest, for days and nights on end, making trip after trip across the dangerous waters, bringing with them always men whom they had rescued. The numbers they have brought back are the measure of their devotion and their courage. The hospital ships, which brought off many thousands of British and French wounded, being so plainly marked were a special target for Nazi bombs; but the men and women on board them never faltered in their duty. 2 … I return to the Army. In the long series of very fierce battles, now on this front, now on that, fighting on three fronts at once, battles fought by two or three divisions against an equal or somewhat larger number of the enemy, and fought fiercely on some of the old grounds that so many of us knew so well -in these battles our losses in men have exceeded 30,000 killed, wounded and missing. I take occasion to express the symp athy of the House to all who have suffered bereavement or who are still anxious. The President of the Board of Trade [Sir Andrew Duncan] is not here today. His son has been killed, and many in the House have felt the pangs of affliction in the sharpest for m. But I will say this about the missing: We have had a large number of wounded come home safely to this country, but I would say about the missing that there may be very many reported missing who will come back home, some day, in one way or another. In th e confusion of this fight it is inevitable that many have been left in positions where honor required no further resistance from them. Against this loss of over 30,000 men, we can set a far heavier loss certainly inflicted upon the enemy. But our losses in material are enormous. We have perhaps lost one -third of the men we lost in the opening days of the battle of 21st March, 1918, but we have lost nearly as many guns — nearly one thousand -and all our transport, all the armored vehicles that were with the A rmy in the north. This loss will impose a further delay on the expansion of our military strength. That expansion had not been proceeding as far as we had hoped. The best of all we had to give had gone to the British Expeditionary Force, and although they had not the numbers of tanks and some articles of equipment which were desirable, they were a very well and finely equipped Army. They had the first -fruits of all that our industry had to give, and that is gone. And now here is this further delay. How long it will be, how long it will last, depends upon the exertions which we make in this Island. An effort the like of which has never been seen in our records is now being made. Work is proceeding everywhere, night and day, Sundays and week days. Capital and Labor have cast aside their interests, rights, and customs and put them into the common stock. Already the flow of munitions has leaped forward. There is no reason why we should not in a few months overtake the sudden and serious loss that has come upon us , without retarding the development of our general program. …. We have found it necessary to take measures of increasing s tringency, not only against enemy aliens and suspicious characters of other nationalities, but also against British subjects who may become a danger or a nuisance should the war be transported to the United Kingdom. I know there are a great many people aff ected by the orders which we have made who are the passionate enemies of Nazi Germany. I am very sorry for them, but we cannot, at the present time and under the present stress, draw all the distinctions which we should like to do. If parachute landings we re attempted and fierce fighting attendant upon them followed, these unfortunate people would be far better out of the way, for their own sakes as well as for ours. There is, however, another class, for which I feel not the slightest sympathy. Parliament h as given us the powers to put down Fifth Column activities with a strong hand, and we shall use those powers subject to the supervision and correction of the House, without the slightest hesitation until we are satisfied, and more than satisfied, that this malignancy in our midst has been effectively stamped out. Turning once again, and this time more generally, to the question of invasion, I would observe that there has never been a period in all these long centuries of which we boast when an absolute guar antee against invasion, still less against serious raids, could have been given to our people. In the days of Napoleon the same wind which would have carried his transports across the Channel might have driven away the blockading fleet. There was always th e chance, and it is that chance 3 which has excited and befooled the imaginations of many Continental tyrants. Many are the tales that are told. We are assured that novel methods will be adopted, and when we see the originality of malice, the ingenuity of ag gression, which our enemy displays, we may certainly prepare ourselves for every kind of novel stratagem and every kind of brutal and treacherous maneuver. I think that no idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered and viewed with a searching, but at the same time, I hope, with a steady eye. We must never forget the solid assurances of sea power and those which belong to air power if it can be locally exercised. I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government -every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will def end to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of t he old. Charles de Gaulle (1890 -1970) Appeal of 18 June 19 40 The French government, after having asked for an armistice, now knows the conditions dictated by the enemy. The result of these conditions would be the complete demobilisation of the French land, sea, and air forces, the surrender of our weapons a nd the total occupation of French territory. The French government would come under German and Italian tutelage. It may therefore be said that this armistice would not only be a capitulation, but that it would also reduce the country to slavery. Now, a gre at many Frenchmen refuse to accept either capitulation or slavery, for reasons which are called: honour, common sense, and the higher interests of the country. I say honour, for France has undertaken not to lay down arms save in agreement with her allies. As long as the allies continue the war, her government has no right to surrender to the enemy. The Polish, Norwegian, Belgian, Netherlands, and Luxemburg governments, though driven from their territories, have thus interpreted their duty. I say common sens e, for it is absurd to consider 4 the struggle as lost. True, we have suffered a major defeat. We lost the battle of France through a faulty military system, mistakes in the conduct of operations, and the defeatist spirit shown by the government during recen t battles. But we still have a vast empire, our fleet is intact, and we possess large sums in gold. We still have allies, who possess immense resources and who dominate the seas. We still have the gigantic potentialities of American industry. The same war conditions which caused us to be beaten by 5,000 planes and 6,000 tanks can tomorrow bring victory by means of 20,000 tanks and 20,000 planes. I say the higher interests of the country, for this is not a Franco -German war to be decided by a single battle. This is a world war. No one can foresee whether the neutral countries of today will not be at war tomorrow, or whether Germany’s allies will always remain her allies. If the powers of freedom ultimately triumph over those of servitude, what will be the fat e of a France which has submitted to the enemy? Honour, common sense, and the interests of the country require that all free Frenchmen, wherever they be, should continue the fight as best they may. It is therefore necessary to group the largest possible Fr ench force wherever this can be done. Everything which can be collected by way of French military elements and potentialities for armaments production must be organised wherever such elements exist. I, General de Gaulle, am undertaking this national task h ere in England. I call upon all French servicemen of the land, sea, and air forces; I call upon French engineers and skilled armaments workers who are on British soil, or have the means of getting here, to come and join me. I call upon the leaders, togethe r with all soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the French land, sea, and air forces, wherever they may now be, to get in touch with me. I call upon all Frenchmen who want to remain free to listen to my voice and follow me. Long live free France in honour and independence! Adolf Hitler (1889 -1945) Mein Kampf (1924 -1925) [The Jew] sticks where he is with such tenacity that he can hardly be driven out even by superior physical force. He expands into new territories only when certain conditions for his existence are provided therein; but even then –unlike the nomad –he will not change his former abode. He is and remains a parasite, a sponger who, like a pernicious bacillus, spreads over wi der and wider areas according as some favourable area attracts him. The effect produced by his presence is also like that of the vampire; for wherever he establishes himself the people who grant him hospitality are bound to be bled to death sooner or later . Thus the Jew has at all times lived in States that have belonged to other races and within the organization of those States he had formed a State of his own, which is, however, hidden behind the mask of a ‘religious community’, as long as 5 external circum stances do not make it advisable for this community to declare its true nature. As soon as the Jew feels himself sufficiently established in his position to be able to hold it without a disguise, he lifts the mask and suddenly appears in the character whic h so many did not formerly believe or wish to see: namely that of the Jew. The life which the Jew lives as a parasite thriving on the substance of other nations and States has resulted in developing that specific character which Schopenhauer once describe d when he spoke of the Jew as ‘The Great Master of Lies’. The kind of existence which he leads forces the Jew to the systematic use of falsehood, just as naturally as the inhabitants of northern climates are forced to wear warm clothes. He can live among other nations and States only as long as he succeeds in persuading them that the Jews are not a distinct people but the representatives of a religious faith who thus constitute a ‘religious community’, though this be of a peculiar character. As a matter o f fact, however, this is the first of his great falsehoods. He is obliged to conceal his own particular character and mode of life that he may be allowed to continue his existence as a parasite among the nations. The greater the intelligence of the indivi dual Jew, the better will he succeed in deceiving others. His success in this line may even go so far that the people who grant him hospitality may be led to believe that the Jew among them is a genuine Frenchman, for instance, or Englishman or German or I talian, who just happens to belong to a religious denomination which is different from that prevailing in these countries. Especially in circles concerned with the executive administration of the State, where the officials generally have only a minimum of historical sense, the Jew is able to impose his infamous deception with comparative ease. In these circles independent thinking is considered a sin against the sacred rules according to which official promotion takes place. It is therefore not surprising t hat even to -day in the Bavarian government offices, for example, there is not the slightest suspicion that the Jews form a distinct nation themselves and are not merely the adherents of a ‘Confession’, though one glance at the Press which belongs to the Jews ought to furnish sufficient evidence to the contrary even for those who possess only the smallest degree of intelligence. The JEWISH ECHO, however, is not an official gazette and therefore not authoritative in the eyes of those government potentates. Jewry has always been a nation of a definite racial character and never differentiated merely by the fact of belonging to a certain religion. At a very early date, urged on by the desire to make their way in the world, the Jews began to cast about for a m eans whereby they might distract such attention as might prove inconvenient for them. What could be more effective and at the same time more above suspicion than to borrow and utilize the idea of the religious community? Here also everything is copied, or rather stolen; for the Jew could not possess any religious institution which had developed out of his own consciousness, seeing that he lacks every kind of idealism; which means that belief in a life beyond this terrestrial existence is foreign to him. In the Aryan mind no religion can ever be imagined unless it embodies the conviction that life in some form or other will continue after death. As a matter of fact, the Talmud is not a book that lays down principles according to which the individual should pr epare for the life to come. It only furnishes rules for a practical and convenient life in this world. 6 The religious teaching of the Jews is principally a collection of instructions for maintaining the Jewish blood pure and for regulating intercourse between Jews and the rest of the world: that is to say, their relation with non -Jews. But the Jewish religious teaching is not concerned with moral problems. It is rather concerned with economic problems, and very petty ones at that. In regard to the moral value of the religious teaching of the Jews there exist and always have existed quite exhaustive studies (not from the Jewish side; for whatever the Jews have written on this question has naturally always been of a tendentious character) which show up the kind of religion that the Jews have in a light that makes it look very uncanny to the Aryan mind. The Jew himself is the best example of the kind of product which this religious training evolves. His life is of this world only and his mentality is as fore ign to the true spirit of Christianity as his character was foreign to the great Founder of this new creed two thousand years ago. And the Founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of His estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary He d rove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God; because then, as always, they used religion as a means of advancing their commercial interests. But at that time Christ was nailed to the Cross for his attitude towards the Jews; whereas our mo dern Christians enter into party politics and when elections are being held they debase themselves to beg for Jewish votes. They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation. Ann e Frank (1929 -1945) Diary July 8th 1942 : “At three o’clock (Hello had left but was supposed to come back later), the doorbell rang. I didn’t hear it, since I was out on the balcony, lazily reading in the sun. A little while later Margot appeared in the kitchen doorway looking very agitated. “Fa ther has received a call -up notice from the SS,” she whispered. “Mother has gone to see Mr. van Daan” (Mr. van Daan is Father’s business partner and a good friend.) I was stunned. A call -up: everyone knows what that means. Visions of concentration camps an d lonely cells raced through my head. How could we let Father go to such a fate? “Of course he’s not going,” declared Margot as we waited for Mother in the living room. “Mother’s gone to Mr. van Daan to ask whether we can move to our hiding place tomorrow. The van Daans are going with us. There will be seven of us altogether.” Silence. We couldn’t speak. The thought of Father off visiting someone in the Jewish Hospital and completely unaware of what was happening, the long wait for Mother, the heat, the sus pense – all this reduced us to silence. July 9th 1942 : “Here’s a description of the building… A wooden staircase leads from the downstairs hallway to the third floor. At the top of the stairs is a landing, with doors on either side. The door on the left takes you up to the spice storage area, attic and loft in the front part of the house. A typically Dutch, very steep, ankle -twisting flight of stairs also runs from the front part of the house to another door opening onto the street. The door to the right of the landing leads to the Secret Annex at the back of the house. No one would ever suspect there were so many rooms behind that plain grey door. There’s just one small step in front of the door, and then you’re inside. Straight ahead of you is a steep fl ight of stairs. To the left is a 7 narrow hallway opening onto a room that serves as the Frank family’s living room and bedroom. Next door is a smaller room, the bedroom and study of the two young ladies of the family. To the right of the stairs is a windowl ess washroom with a sink. The door in the corner leads to the toilet and another one to Margot’s and my room… Now I’ve introduced you to the whole of our lovely Annex!” August 21st 1942 : “Now our Secret Annex has truly become secret. Because so many hous es are being searched for hidden bicycles, Mr. Kugler thought it would be better to have a bookcase built in front of the entrance to our hiding place. It swings out on its hinges and opens like a door. Mr. Voskuijl did the carpentry work. (Mr. Voskuijl ha s been told that the seven of us are in hiding, and he’s been most helpful.) Now whenever we want to go downstairs we have to duck and then jump. After the first three days we were all walking around with bumps on our foreheads from banging our heads again st the low doorway. Then Peter cushioned it by nailing a towel stuffed with wood shavings to the doorframe. Let’s see if it helps!” October 9th 1942 : “Today I have nothing but dismal and depressing news to report. Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenth e to which they’re sending all the Jews. Miep told us about someone who’d managed to escape from there. It must be terrible in Westerbork. The people get almost nothing to eat, much less to drink, as water is available only one hour a day, and there’s only one toilet and sink for several thousand people. Men and women sleep in the same room, and women and children often have their heads shaved. Escape is almost impossible; many people look Jewish, and they’re branded by their shorn heads. If it’s that bad i n Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they’re being gassed. Perhaps that’s the quickest way to die. I feel terrible . Miep’s accounts of these horrors are so heartrending… Fine specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I’m actually one of them! No, that’s not true, Hitler took away our nationality long ago. And besides, there are no greater enemies on earth tha n the Germans and Jews.” October 20th 1942 : “My hands still shaking, though it’s been two hours since we had the scare… The office staff stupidly forgot to warn us that the carpenter, or whatever he’s called, was coming to fill the extinguishers… After w orking for about fifteen minutes, he laid his hammer and some other tools on our bookcase (or so we thought!) and banged on our door. We turned white with fear. Had he heard something after all and did he now want to check out this mysterious looking bookc ase? It seemed so, since he kept knocking, pulling, pushing and jerking on it. I was so scared I nearly fainted at the thought of this total stranger managing to discover our wonderful hiding place…” November 19th 1942 : “Mr. Dussel has told us much about the outside world we’ve missed for so long. He had sad news. Countless friends and acquaintances have been taken off to a dreadful fate. Night after night, green and grey military vehicles cruise the streets. They knock on every door, asking whether any J ews live there. If so, the whole family is immediately taken away. If not, they proceed to the next house. It’s impossible to escape their clutches 8 unless you go into hiding. They often go around with lists, knocking only on those doors where they know the re’s a big haul to be made. They frequently offer a bounty, so much per head. It’s like the slave hunts of the olden days… I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed, while somewhere out there my dearest friends are dropping from exhaustion or being knocked to the ground. I get frightened myself when I think of close friends who are now at the mercy of the cruellest monsters ever to stalk the earth. And all because they’re Jews.” May 18th 1943 : “All college students are being asked to sign an official statement to the effect that they ‘sympathize with the Germans and approve of the New Order.” Eighty percent have decided to obey the dictates of their conscience, but the penalty will be severe. Any student refusing to sign will be sent to a German labour camp.” March 29th 1944 : “Mr. Bolkestein, the Cabinet Minister, speaking on the Dutch broadcast from London, said that after the war a collection would be made of diaries and letters dealing with the war. Of course, everyone pounced on my diary.” February 3rd 1944 : “I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, and I can’t do anything to change events anyway. I’ll just let matters take their course and concentrate on studying and hope that everything will be all right in the end.” July 15th 1944 : “It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more. In the meantime, I must hol d on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I’ll be able to realize them.”