The leading Israeli scholar on the Holocaust, Yehuda Bauer, has told the Times of Israel that anti-Semitism was “probably mainly” responsible for World War II.
“Anti-Semitism is a cancer that eats the world, and World War II is proof of that.”
Professor Bauer made the comments in response to Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision not to attend this year’s World Holocaust Forum. The event will be held at the residence of the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and will be attended by dignitaries including the king of Spain.
Professor Bauer cited Hitler’s fear of Jewish power, expressed in a secret memorandum written by Hitler in 1936, as the trigger that led to the outbreak of the war in Europe.
World War II accounted for the death of approximately 80 million people.
Professor Bauer’s view represents a break with conventional understandings for the outbreak of war, which generally include the effects of the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression, ethnic tension in Eastern Europe due to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 and German fear of the spread of Bolshevism from Russia.
The communist government in Russia was responsible for the deaths of 20 million Russians.
It is also unclear what factors Professor Bauer would put forward for the outbreak of World War II in Asia, which also led to the death of 20 million Chinese.