History of Book Burnings
When most people hear book burnings they think of the Holocaust, Nazis, and Germany. Although book burnings did happen during this time, they were started hundreds of years ago, 213 BC, China. There, Chinese emporer Qin Shi Huang starter of the Great Wall and Terracotta Army preformed book burnings. He used them to signify defeating your enemies.
Torch and Transport
The job of a Nazi durning a German book burning varied. Most Nazis were responsible for gathering those books deemed "entarlet" or not to be read by decent Germans. Most of those books were stolen from Jewish homes, university libraries and book stores. The majority of those books stolen at the first book burning came from the University of Berlin. The NAZI SA storm troopers and some other student groups broke into these places around Germany with a list of book criteria, if books did not meet the criteria they were transported to be burned. Once all of the books were gathered in a common area such as a town square able to occupancy thousands of viewers a torch was lighted and the burnings would begin. The first recorded book burning in Nazi Germany was May 10, 1933. Durning that book burning alone 20,000 "un-German" books were burned by many different Jewish authors such as Albert Einstien, Hellen Keller, and H. G. Wells. As soon as the torches were lighted students would announce the titles and authors of the books being burned, telling their content and why they were being burned. Propaganda Minister Joseph Gobbels spoke at the first book burning talking about anti-Germany to new Germany.
Hitler was elected leader of Germany in January of 1933. The first book burning happened in May of 1933. Although Hitler did not start book burnings and was not present when they were taking place he still had a large influence on them. He instructed the books to be collected. His influenced of the "perfect aryan race" led people to doing many different things and book burnings was one of the drastic measures Germans took to show support for their Führer and their dominance over the Jewish people
Although most Germans were in full support of Hitler, some did not agree with book burnings. Most intellectuals such as doctors, artists, and writers did not appreciate the books they studied and practiced everyday being deemed un-german. Most even fled the country in hopes of being able to practice somewhere else. There was no common ground, Germans were either on Hitlers side or the Jews side there was no in between. The United States even got involved in their own way by performing counter demonstrations in different cities such as New York City.
Why Book Burnings?
Book burnings were a way in the Nazis eyes of signifying defeating your enemies. Anything they could take and burn that was against Hitler was considered a victory to them. These acts were appealing to many German people because it gave them the idea that they were turning from "men of books to men of character."