The Decision to Exterminate the Jews of Europe

  • Richard J. EvansEmail author
Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)


We know Hitler did not issue any formal written order for the ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in Europe’, that is, the complete extermination of Europe’s Jewish population. Argument has raged over when precisely, and why, he issued what historians generally agreed as a verbal instruction for the genocide. This chapter argues these debates are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of Nazi decision-making. Taking as its model the description in the report of the Nazi Party Court on the murders committed during the nationwide pogrom of 9–10 November 1938, this chapter argues that the ‘decision’ to launch the extermination of Europe’s Jews was contained in the vehement antisemitic propaganda campaign launched on the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. The threats issued by Hitler and Goebbels and the propaganda campaign more generally were interpreted by Himmler and Goering as an instruction to begin the genocide.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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