Few historians can agree about any aspect of the Holocaust. But what every historian can agree on is that Adolf Hitler held a dominant position within the Nazi Party and the governance of Nazi Germany. Any full and meaning ful understanding of the Holocaust must begin with an assessment of Hitler’s views and policies on the Jewish Question before the Second World War. This approach may seem to corroborate the intentionalist view that Hitler’s views on the Jews displayed a remarkable consistency, and to reduce the ‘Final Solution’ to just another aspect of Hitler’s ‘master plan’ to dominate Europe and destroy the Jewish race. In reality the alternative functionalist position, which suggests that Hitler never planned the destruction of the Jews in advance, can be equally invigorated by examining evidence culled from his early life and political career. Indeed, when Hitler’s views on the Jewish Question are examined in detail it can be seen that there was no ‘straight road’ to Auschwitz. It was a much more complicated long and winding route. The socalled ‘essential continuity’ of Hitler’s views on the Jewish Question so beloved of intentionalist historians is immediately compromised by an examination of his early life.
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