Hitler and the Pogrom of 9-10, 1938
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume XXVIII
Hitler and the Pogrom of November 9-10, 1938
The article examines the decision-making process that led up to the pogrom of November 1938, attempting to explain in particular Hitler’s role and possible motives in this event. The article shows that Hitler played a crucial role and was not responding to any pressure from his followers. The author refutes the thesis that the pogrom had economic motives, and connects it instead with Hitler’s war plans. By late 1938 Hitler was determined to go to war with Great Britain and France in the course of the following year. In order to achieve this aim, he destroyed Chamberlain’s appeasement policy with numerous anti-British provocations, such as public attacks on British opposition politicians, and especially by the Wehrmacht’s march into Prague in March 1939, a decision taken as early as October 1938. When Herschel Grynszpan killed German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris in November 1938, Hitler seized the opportunity to provoke the British government and to incense the British public with an outbreak of anti-Jewish violence, thereby further worsening German-British relations and taking another step towards war.