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Summary: Realists View on the Holocaust

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Realism is roughly one of the oldest international relations theory that promotes the manipulation of an anarchic world to prevent things from blowing up. They believe that war cannot be eliminated but slightly managed and the drawback to global obedience is impossible to reach. Humans are built to be aggressive and selfish in which they cannot improve and imperfect people cannot become perfect. Evil acts like war, theft, murder, and etcetera can’t be erased and important aspects to global politics are permanent and inflexible. Individuals and actors are seen as commonly competitive because the natural tendency to behave a particular way is assured by the anarchic nature. 

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Realism is a very supported view by which people think that a society or a system should be led by an elite. Professional diplomats and politicians who can discuss differences freely and make deals to minimize conflict should be conducted by in privately according the realists. A subscriber to this theory would not look at Hitlers personality to explain how the Holocaust came about, but rather they would look at it through the content of the state and how it got to these measures by past invasions and such. Individual leaders are not the operative factors to war or conflict but rather the history and geography of the state is. After the uprise of the Treaty of Westphalia, a concept known as sovereign came to be which made leaders/rulers responsible for their own land. For realists, this means states are unitary actors, each under the control of a sovereign. Thus a subscriber would say if Germany and its alliances are responsible for the acts of the concentration camps it is because another state pushed them or made them do it, simply saying another state is to be blamed. Power is also focused on in the realism theory, but in a much broader concept than just military strength. Power consists of the economic, political, psychological, and military tools which allows A to get B to do whatever A wants. Power is needed to accomplish anything whether thats to do good or evil, or just to survive. 

In the eyes of the Holocaust, that sent a message of power all over the globe. Germany became powerful and took over in large areas. They began to invade other lands, taking things not belonged to them, and brought fear too much of the world. They left a label of dominance which allowed them to get other states, like Poland, to do whatever Germany wanted. Instead of ideology as a basis for policy, a trick to con the gullible, realism is based on national interest. The term ‘feasibility’ links national interest with power. National interest, if pursued logically, tells leaders how to use their powers adequately. By improving its security rather than serving the interests of individuals or some global interest, leaders serve the interest of their state instead. A man by the name of Hans Morgenthau stated that if you are preserving your power you are rational but if you are wasting your power you are harming your national interest and therefore are irrational. Realists would view the Holocaust a national interest because it is a war that turns unavoidable and is not an event that can be considered waited out. It is a vital national interest because the goal of Germany is to not be conquered meaning they are essentially trying to over power or “win” World War II. To prevent being conquered one must have armed forces and allies which Germany did with Italy and Japan. “Many realists argue that balance of power is a natural outgrowth of the force on power and national interest.” Attempting to offset adverse power, states automatically boost their own arms and allies. With the goal of states to survive and not get consumed by other states, the balance of power seldom aims for peace. Realists may relate this to the acts of the Holocaust because Germany formed an axis alliance with other states in hopes to offset threatening power. The axis partners had two similar interests: to gain some extra territory and foundation based on military conquest and overthrow of the post World War 1 international order as well as the destruction of the Soviet Communism. When supported by national interests, realists then emphasize human rights. Human rights is accomplish more when diplomats stay quiet rather than bringing them into public view according to realist Henry Kissinger. 

Realists noted that doing the right thing might be widely infeasible. When Germany made the choice to invade Russia they had the wrath of both the Soviet Union and Britain. Britain decided to join the force of the Soviet Union because for a whole year it stood alone against the Nazi might. Signaling a critical turning point for the war, Britains alliance with Russia was one reason the German troops failed to defeat the Soviet Union. The decisions to invade on Russia and Britain may have been part to some contribution of German failure.

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