1. Scholars have considered the Holocaust as either ‘intentional’ or ‘functional’ in its
causation. ‘Intentional’ is meant as a body of ideas held by Hitler and others in Germany
in relation to the Jewish people that deemed genocide as acceptable, given the cultural
aims Hitler and his collaborating associates espoused. ‘Functional’ was seen as a
causation rooted in the way World War II transpired, genocide solving problems of
settlement and upkeep of the Jewish people.
My lectures have argued both the intentional thesis (which includes the Social Darwinism
as well as the ecological plans of Hitler and his cohorts for resettlement of the Germans
themselves), and the functional thesis (as I described changes in policy in what I have
termed the two phases of World War II—before and after the German attack on Russia).
Review the political and social-economic events between 1939 and 1945 which saw the
Einsatzgruppe killings, the establishment of ghettos, then the shift in the use of existing
concentration camps to extermination centers, then the movement of the inmates of the
concentration camp/extermination centers westwards into Germany. As you give your
accounts, reflect upon the role of the Social Darwinist and ecological theory as it
coexisted with the functional needs of Nazi German in the midst of World War II.