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1941: The Turning Point in the Holocaust
May 7, 2020 @ 12:00 am
Few years in modern history have been as eventful as 1941. For most Americans, the December 7 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor resonates as the year’s signal event, an action that thrust the United States into World War II. For the Soviet Union and its clients, Operation Barbarossa, the sudden Nazi attack of June 22, earns the distinction as the most eventful, as the Wehrmacht turned its mechanized might onto its erstwhile ally. 1941 also marked the beginning of the Shoah, the designed destruction of the Jews of Europe. During the 1930s, Hitler’s regime had applied ever-increasing methods of persecution onto the Jews of Germany and other European countries as they were occupied. Before 1941, the Nazi actions were primarily designed to dispossess the Jews of their wealth and compel their emigration. Coincident with Barbarossa, however, persecution turned into a more generalized European slaughter; it was the great turning point in the Holocaust.
This program will stream live on our YouTube channel.
Dave Cotter is the Director of the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has been a faculty member since 2009 and was previously a member of the Department of History at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. He has an M.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and an M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Gratz College. In addition to the history curriculum, he is active in the Genocide and Mass Atrocities Studies Seminar at the Staff College. In the past year, he has made genocide-related presentations to the Society for Military History, the Watson Institute at Brown University, the Dole Institute of Politics, and the Naval War College. Dave is a retired military officer with 32 years of experience, including multiple combat deployments and command at battery, battalion, and brigade levels.