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The Reich Chancellery meeting of 12 December 1941 was a meeting between Adolf Hitler and the highest ranking officials of the Nazi party. Almost all important party leaders were present, to hear Hitler declare the imminent destruction of the Jewish race; yet it remains less known than the later Wannsee Conference.

Contents

Background

The announcement Hitler made on 12 December to the Reichsleiter and Gauleiter refers to an earlier statement he had made on 30 January 1939 [1]:

"If the world of international financial Jewry, both in and outside of Europe, should succeed in plunging the Nations into another world war, the result will not be the Bolshevization of the world and thus a victory for Judaism. The result will be the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe."

With the entry of Japan and the United States into the Second World War on 7 December 1941 and the declaration of war on the US by Nazi Germany on 11 December, the war, especially in regard to the above statement, had become truly a World War.[1]

Adolf Hitler announced this declaration of war on 11 December in the German Reichstag, a speech broadcast on radio as well.

The next day, in the afternoon of 12 December 1941, he had a meeting with the most important Nazi leaders.

The meeting

On the afternoon of 12 December 1941, Hitler ordered the leading members of the Nazi party to a meeting in his private rooms at the Reich Chancellery.[2]

Attendance at this meeting was obligatory for the Reichsleiter and Gauleiter.

Joseph Goebbels noted Hitler's words in his records:

Regarding the Jewish question, the Führer is determined to clear the table. He warned the Jews that if they were to cause another world war, it would lead to their own destruction. Those were not empty words. Now the world war has come. The destruction of the Jews must be its necessary consequence. This question is to be regarded without sentimentalism. We are not here to have sympathy with the Jews, but rather with our German people. If the German people have sacrificed 160,000 dead in the eastern campaign, so the authors of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.

Apart from the fact that the "European war" had turned into a "World War", another reason for this shift must been seen in the fact that the entry of the USA into the war meant that the Jewish population had lost its value for Hitler as hostages against this war entry and he was finally free to act according to his long-term plans [3].

The much more well-known Wannsee Conference in January 1942, was the next step along the Nazis plans to exterminate the Jews. However, unlike this meeting, it was only attended by relatively low-level party officials. It also destroys the myth that Hitler was ignorant of The Holocaust and that it was carried out by subordinates without his knowledge.[2]

Because the meeting took place in the privacy of Hitler's rooms rather than his office, no official record of it exists. However, entries in the diaries of Goebbels and Frank confirm it and the "Führer's" statement.[4].

Attendance

Attendance in this meeting was obligatory for Nazis in high party offices. No official list of the people who attended this meeting exists, but the following leaders of Nazi Germany, out of the about 50 present, are known to have been there [2] [5]:

Known to have been absent from this meeting were Hermann Göring, who held no party office, and Reinhard Heydrich.

References

  1. ^ a b The Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies page: 81, accessed: 29 June 2008
  2. ^ a b c The Holocaust History Project - December 12, 1941 by Götz Aly, accessed: 29 June 2008
  3. ^ The Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies page: 82, accessed: 29 June 2008
  4. ^ Hitlers "Prophezeiung" des Völkermords an den Juden (in German) Die Gazette, published: January 2001, author: Friedemann Bedürftig, accessed: 29 June 2008
  5. ^ The Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies page: 81-82, accessed: 29 June 2008

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