Free «Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi» UK Essay Paper
During the work on the presented issue, much attention was paid to the historical aspect of this study. As this narration concerns the precise analysis of the specific sociopolitical background which was depicted in this story, some of the vital notions are worth considering in the question of interpretation and personal understanding. This paper aims at defining the nationalism, exploring the problem further taking a close-up look at its influence on the major historical events in Europe during the post-war period. Additionally, the essay underlines an apparent role of a personality in this epoch and describes the major changes that have happened to the German community.
After the First World War, the world entered a new phase of development. As most of the societies had become more interdependent, minor alterations had an external impact on a complicated structure of international relations. During the 1920’s Germany had experienced a total humiliation as it was divided, had to pay additional reparations, and faced a prohibition of having national forces. In other words, the state’s revenge attitude in the nearest future was a result of such policy. The new government engendered a process of reconstruction. Germany was to overcome the unequal payments and deliver from the control of special committees. That is why the rise of patriotic spirits transformed into a common notion in the context of those years.
Specifically, that nationalism in Germany had gained more aggressive manifestation in comparison with other European countries. What is more, such tendency intensified when the power was centered in the arms of one Fuehrer whose posture did not require any presentation. This politician had implemented new strategies in the sphere of political regulation, and the country started focusing on the broadening of its Lebensraum. So, any methods might be treated as positive as they promoted the vital interests of Germans. That is why the violation of the code of ethics and human rights became an ordinary practice.
At that time, Hans Massaquoi became a witness of such things happening. During this period, he had to experience the complicated reality in the German community. Being a son of a German woman and a Liberian law student, he automatically lost any chance for a peaceful cohabitation due to the Nazi ideology. According to this fact, his childhood turned to be the greatest disappointment for a boy. As he was black, he could not join Hitler Youth – the organization that every boy dreamt of (Massaquoi, p. 52). As the ideas of nationalism assured the racial purity, the hero avoided an intervention into his private life. He was not sent to the concentration camp, neither was he sterilized nor tested in a scientific experiment that was a real miracle of those years. The author attributes a chance the boy survived only to the fact that the black population was not so numerous in Hamburg. His following dissatisfaction dealt with the situation when he could not receive the secondary education and obtain a well-paid job (Massaquoi, p. 14). However, during that time of a terror and collective extermination, it was a less damaging consequence. Due to this dominant ideology, most of the people had to overcome a number of obstacles to continue their existence. As a result, the increasing role of nationalism as a political factor ruined the lives of thousands of people.
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Despite the fact that Hans Massaquoi was never a target of the propaganda, he continued fighting against it trying to express himself in different ways. He noted that the government should manifest love, obedience, and authority instead of a total horror, militarism, racism, and anti-Semitism. During the whole life, he criticized the propaganda machine of Nazis highlighting its gaps. However, the narrator’s reactions were based rather on courage and intelligence than on violence and aggressive behavior towards the opponents. Moreover, he portrayed the events in a modest and unbiased manner which was considered to be a perfect approach preserving historical truth.
The first challenging situation came to his reality when his friend Ralph Giordano had to cope with the complicated situation because of his Jewish origin (Massaquoi, p. 247). Fortunately, his family survived during the Holocaust. However, the other members of their community died. Remarkably, that the author expressed a decisive disagreement with the Nazi occupation policy but he had nothing but resign. He missed his friend during this period but at the same time, he understood that nothing should reveal his true nationality. That is why the long period of their separation began.
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The second agitating and alarming part of this story was the Olympic Games in 1936. The writer provided a detailed description of this event allowing a reader to have a glance at the political, cultural, and social aspect of the German society during this period. Hans Massaquoi realized that the Olympics were a way to demonstrate Hitler’s position on the issue of racial minorities and express his ideas in the sphere of racial supremacy of the Arian nation. However, the results of the Games were different from the dictator’s expectations. Eventually, German politics met a boycott when assigning the participants. Such situation resulted in the further confrontation and increasing antagonism between different nations (Massaquoi, p. 120). Despite the fact that one woman, Helen Mayer received permission to participate in this contest, the common hostility to the Jewish nation was still in the German society. Promoting the racist idea, this Olympic Games became not a sports competition but a method of expressing the radical attitude towards the other representatives who did not belong to the Aryan race.
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The following action was not long-waiting. In November 1938 the well-known political terror occurrence of Kristallnacht took place. Again, most of the German Jews were killed during this night just because of their nationality. Additionally, around 267 temples and churches were ruined by order of Hitler (Massaquoi, p. 69). This manifestation of his might, power, and authority had a profound influence on the writer.
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