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PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust
 pg. 34 
Alfred Rosenberg

Alfred Rosenberg, self-styled National Socialist "philosopher," joined the Nazi Party in 1919 and became editor of the Party newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter, four years later. He is most widely remembered for his book, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), which made him the chief ideologue of the National Socialist movement.

Rosenberg's book was among the most widely circulated of the Nazi years, with more than one million copies in print by 1942. Permeated with hatred for the Jews, it promoted "purity of blood" for the German people "under the sign of the swastika." Rosenberg characterized all of history as a conflict between the forces of light (the Nordic or Aryan peoples) and the powers of darkness (the Jews). The Jews were the most virulent enemy of German culture and racial purity, and their influence, according to Rosenberg, had to be eradicated.

From July 1941 Rosenberg had, as minister of Occupied Eastern Territories, the opportunity to put his ideas into practice. In spite of his apparent influence, the Nazi leadership widely despised him as a crackpot, and his underlings regularly circumvented his authority. This caused him to quit in disgust in October 1944. After the war, Rosenberg was arrested and tried at Nuremberg. Convicted of crimes against humanity, he was hanged on October 16, 1946.
Photo: Ullstein Bilderdienst

Up to the end, the German leadership did little to prepare people for war's outcome, which proved to be disastrous. More than 13 million men, almost 20 percent of the German population, had served in the Army. About two million were killed, another five million wounded. Contrary to Hitler's oft-repeated claim, no "stab in the back" had defeated Germany. Rather, superior Allied resources and German exhaustion eventually brought this devastating war to an end. From March to July 1918, 750,000 German soldiers were wounded and about 1.75 million more were incapacitated during one of the world's most severe influenza epidemics. Nevertheless, the Hitler who had gone off to war elated became the revengefully determined Hitler of Mein Kampf, where he recalled his bitterness about the outcome of World War I during his Pasewalk convalescence from gas-attack blindness: "And so it had all been in vain....The more I tried to achieve clarity on the monstrous event in this hour, the more the shame of indignation and disgrace burned in my brow. What was all the pain in my eyes compared to this misery?"
 1914: The first American-Jewish movie with an all-Jewish cast, A Passover Miracle, is released.
 1914-1918: The First World War devastates Europe.
 1915: The Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is created in the wake of the Leo Frank Affair.
 1917: The Russian Revolution develops.
 April 6, 1917: The United States declares war on Germany.
 November 2, 1917: The Balfour Declaration is published. This letter, from British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour to British-Jewish leader Lord Rothschild, promises qualified British support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The declaration contradicts the earlier McMahon-Faisal agreement, which promised the same territory to Arabs.
PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust
 pg. 34 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.