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The Holocaust was a state-sponsored, bureaucratic and systematic persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis under the command of Adolf Hitler believed that Germans were racially superior while the Jews were considered as an inferior group whose presence in the new state would derail the expansionist desires of Adolf Hitler. The Jews were also considered as a threat to the German racial community. During the Holocaust the German authority also targeted other groups that were perceived to be racially inferior.
On the contrary, the big slave trade is considered as the business that involved buying and selling of people, especially from Africa, for profit. These people were enslaved in the Capitalist Europe and were subjected to doing menial works such as tending the fields and working in mines (Franklin, 2000).
Comparison of the Holocaust and the Slave Trade
The holocaust and the slave trade are similar in that both involved inhumane treatment of the victims. The holocaust victims were subjected to torture before being burnt with fire while other died of diseases in the concentration and torture camps. Similarly, the slave trade involved the forceful selling of innocent people to countries beyond their continent. This was done by capturing the victims and eventually gathering them for shipment to Europe and Latin America. Due to the large numbers of the slaves, the living conditions during the shipment period were often pathetic leading to high mortality rates during the transit. It is estimated that only half of the slaves captured would make it to their destination. The poor conditions during the transit also led to psychological torture of the victims, which constituted to inhumane treatment.
The holocaust also compares to the slave trade in that many innocent people died in both occurrences. Notably, it is estimated that some thirty to sixty million Africans died being enslaved. Amongst those who died, 50% of them composed of newly-captured slaves, who passed away while being gathered in Africa, 10% died while crossing the ocean while the others died during the first “seasoning” phase of slave labor. Similarly, the spread of the Nazi tyranny across Europe lead to the death of millions of people. It is estimated that between two and three million soviet prisoners were murdered or died of neglect, starvation, maltreatment or disease (Franklin, 2000).
Additionally, the two events compare in that both were instigated by an increased economic turmoil and consequent pursuit of financial gains. In the case of the holocaust, the Nazis were eliminating the Jews, who they considered as being racially inferior. By doing this, the government believed that they would make Germany a stronger state thus make it easier to expand their territories through a racially strong German community. This would eventually lead to economic empowerment, especially at a time when the Word War had exhausted most of the country’s financial muscle. It was due to this similar reason of financial pursuit that the slave trade had propped up. The middle men, who captured and gathered the slaves in Africa, were driven by selfish financial interests. Similarly, those, who bought the slaves, were driven by capitalists’ interests since the slaves offered cheap and affordable labor (Appiah, 2005).
Notably, the effects of the two events still remain to be an issue of contempt amongst those affected. For instance, the issues of racial discrimination have been an item of great concern, often drawing diverse opinions from judicial, political and economic circles. This has led to the emergence of affirmative action that continues to attract diverse feeling, criticism and applaud (History.Com).
Contrast between the Holocaust and the Slave Trade
Commentators have contended that the holocaust is very unique from other forms of oppressions. This highlights the need to identify the difference between the holocaust and the slave trade. Notably, the holocaust targeted the Jews, who were perceived to be racially inferior and other people, who seemed to deviate from the social norms. The victims of the holocaust were placed in torture camps and concentration camps. Most of those placed in those camps ended up dying due to unbearable torture, diseases and neglect. This was, however, different with the slave trade where the target group involved the youthful and strong African population. They were then gathered in camps whose setup was different from the segregation camps.
The Holocaust involved elimination of some members of the German society in attempts to create a strong racial society unlike the slave trade, which involved buying of people, who would then be enslaved for economic gains. Somehow, the two events present a situation where two societies consider humanity in two diverse, yet juxtaposed perspectives. The Nazis perceived the Jews as a threat to financial and territorial expansion while the Trans-Atlantic slave trade seemed to appreciate the potential of human resource, though in the most inhumane way: slavery.
While slave trade was carried out with somewhat governments’ oblivion, the holocaust was, on the contrary, masterminded by the German ruling government - the Nazis - and their supporters. This made the holocaust one of the extreme genocide cases to ever happen since the perpetuators composed of the government, which was supposed to protect the people from such racial discrimination (History.Com).