Daniel Halliday
Nov 10 · Last update 7 days ago.
What lead to the collapse of tolerance leading up to the Second World War?
Growing intolerance played a significant role in the progression toward World War II, but what lead to this fanatical narrow-mindedness?
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An advance in military technology in the First World War
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Propaganda
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An advance in military technology in the First World War

With improved weapons technology during the First World War came the end of the idea of a just war, or honour in warfare. The rampant killing the newly invented generation of light machine guns unleashed, and the consequent unimaginable scale of death and destruction, changed the very notion of acting honourably in wartime. The effect of this and new phenomenon such as shell shock had massive social impact on societies and effectively normalised levels of extreme violence and mass killing on previously unknown scales. It was during this climate that a generation of intolerant and contemptible acts were perpetrated independently by different regimes around the world.

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Propaganda

Following Germany’s defeat in World War I, Hitler noticed the affective nature of Allied propaganda during the war effort, dedicating three chapters to the study and practice of propaganda in his autobiographical manifesto, Mein Kampf. Propaganda played a large part in the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, and guided public opinion to reduce the complexities of Germany’s loss of the First World War and subsequent economic turmoil to a simple ‘us versus them’ narrative. Nazi’s utilised propaganda to spread a message of nationalism and German racial superiority, and played on widespread German antisemitism by declaring war on ‘Jewish Marxism’. The party sort to eradicate democracy, pacifism, and internationalism from German society, and as a similar concept tolerance saw a sharp decline with the rule of the Nazi Party.

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