Racial policy of Nazi Germany

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The racial policy of Nazi Germany was a set of policies and laws implemented by Nazi Germany, asserting the superiority of the "Aryan race", and based on a specific racist doctrine which claimed scientific legitimacy. It was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene by using compulsory sterilizations and extermination of the Untermensch (or "sub-humans"), and which eventually culminated in the Holocaust. These policies targeted peoples, in particular Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and handicapped people, who were labeled as "inferior" in a racial hierarchy that placed the Herrenvolk (or "master race") of the Volksgemeinschaft (or "national community") at the top, and ranked Slavs,[1][2] Romani, persons of color and Jews at the bottom.[3][4]

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Hitler and the origin of racial policy ideas

Scientific racism became popular at the end of the 19th century in Europe, and had a direct influence on the pan-Germanism movement, including the Alldeutscher Verband (Pangermanic League). Adolf Hitler, who lived as a youth in Vienna, Austria, administrated until 1910 by the anti-semitic mayor Karl Lueger, admired the latter and was exposed to anti-Semitic and racially charged books and literature. He developed these concepts in Mein Kampf (1925). He concluded that the Northern European people belonged to the "Aryan race", believed to be superior to all other ethnic groups and races. This belief system, fundamental to the Nazi ideology, held that "Aryans" had been responsible for all advances in civilization and morality in world history, and that Jews wanted to destroy it. Hitler also theorized the Lebensraum space, claiming that Eastern Europe should be submitted to the Reich in order to give "living space" for the expansion of the "Aryan race." This would be implemented during the war under the name of the Generalplan Ost.

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