"The state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany & its collaborators, between 1933 and 1945." -USHMM
The History of the Nazi Party: Gaining Germany's Support
Before the Holocaust began, in 1919 to 1932 Germany's government was in a fragile state due to WWI and had no one political party that was favored. Since their government was very unstable, the Nazi Party saw an opportunity to gain political leverage so they presented themselves in a different light to gain support from Germany's citizens. Hitler was very fluent with words and convinced people he could promise them a time of good economy, order, and a community of an "Aryan" race. When he finally became appointed chancellor and the prospect of war was very likely and approaching, Hitler knew the citizens were scared and he needed their support, so he painted Germany as the victim and thus gained the nation's support.
Camps of Mass Destruction: Concentration Camps
Originally concentration camps were just made to confine real and suspected political adversaries of the Nazi party that either didn't agree with or went against their beliefs. General Theodor Eicke was the one to create and set the example for the structure and procedures for all of the German encampments. As Hitler and the Nazis began to persecute and capture more and more people, new camps had to be created and old ones revamped and expanded. The commandants of the camps kept the prisoners underfed and mistreated them to the point where they couldn't complete the back-breaking labor they were forced to do and eventually died. As WWII went on more people were kept in confinement and concentration camps also became places to execute large groups of people who opposed Hitler or who were Jews.
How the U.S and the Holocaust Were COnnected
The United States' first role in the Holocaust was as a sort of refuge due to the fact that in 1939 and 1940 more than half of our immigrants were Jews. Once we entered the war in December 1941, the amount of Jewish immigrants became basically nonexistent. In August of 1942 our State department had received a report from the World Jewish Congress and refused to send it on to our American Jewish leader, Stephen Wise. Stephen Wise acquired the information from the British and asked our State Department to publicize it, but they refused to let him till they had confirmed it, leaving him helpless for another three months. On December 17, 1942 the United States, Britain, and ten of our Allies declared Germany's intention to persecute all of the Jews and gave Germany a warning. Throughout the era of the Holocaust, until the very end, newspapers in the U.S downplayed the Holocaust and didn't make it's prominence known.