Why is Quora not introducing sponsored responses

Did the murder of Ernst von Rath partially provoke the events of the “Kristallnacht”?

The entire answer with which you are connected is a pastiche of downright misinformation (such as the claim that Eastern Jews shunned hygiene) or carefully selected half-truths (such as the newspaper article declaring that "Judea" is at war with Germany) . Overall, it is a blatant example of Holocaust denial that can only be sustained if you claim that everything every historian has written on the subject is just propaganda, but everything that the Reich Minister of Propaganda has written , somehow not .

To answer your questions directly:

Did the Nazis try to explain Kristallnacht as the revenge of the people for this murder?

Yes, and not just as revenge for the murder of vom Rath, but generally as revenge for the systematic enslavement of the German people against the will of an international Jewish conspiracy. Every feature of the Weimar Republic that preceded the rise of the Nazis to power was associated in the minds of the population with their defeat at the end of World War I and was viewed by far-right conspirators as evidence of Jewish control. All discrimination against the Jewish communities in Germany was seen as retaliation, and vom Rath's death provided the perfect opportunity for a pogrom.

The way in which vom Rath - a third secretary - was hastily promoted several steps up the diplomatic ladder shows the extent to which his death had to be symbolic for political reasons. This was not just an act of retaliation by a lonely Polish Jew for the suffering of his parents; This was now representative of the Jewish opposition to Germany. In this respect, the imprisonment of Grynszpan would only treat the symptom: Germany had to react to the cause.

Was there any evidence that Kristallnacht had some kind of "grassroots" motivation and wasn't fully government sponsored?

No, it does not exist. The NSDAP presented "Kristallnacht" as an outbreak of anti-Jewish popular sentiment, but this claim was obviously wrong - and falsifiable, even if it was made. Germany hosted an enormous number of foreign journalists who covered the violence as it happened and as chaotic as individual acts of vandalism were, there was an order to go mad. SA officers in plain clothes encouraged the population to express anger while the police (who had been ordered to resign) watched.

In some cases, the police stepped forward and tried to break the hooliganism, but this was evidence of the sloppiness with which the entire event had been coordinated. Hastily put together, there was not enough time to get the news out and some police departments received conflicting instructions. The fire brigades had to be ready if the fires spread, but neither should they put out burning synagogues. Even so, some firefighters disregarded these orders.

Martin Gilbert ( Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction , 2006) provides a number of examples of police officers and firefighters who wanted to help the embattled Jews, as well as some examples of civil aid to the victims. While the event was broadly unpopular, most people still felt that Jews posed an existential threat and that that threat required a solution. They just wanted one that wasn't so violent, so expensive, or so terribly chaotic.

Anthony Read and David Fisher ( Kristallnacht: The beginning of the Holocaust , 1989) give a very comprehensive overview of the events before the November pogrom, the implementation of the event and its consequences - as do Saul Friedländer ( Nazi Germany and the Jews): The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 , 1997), p. 268ff.

For my money, the best overview can be found in Chapter 5 ("Pogrom, 1938-1939") by David Cesaranis Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews, 1933-1949 (2016) - especially from p. 181.

Peter Shor

-1. This answer contains the very provocative statement: "Most people still believed that Jews were an existential threat and that that threat still needed a solution." Do you actually have evidence of this? My impression is that most Germans simply didn't want to come to the wrong side of the NSDAP.

Shimon bM

Fair enough @PeterShor. As you know, it is notoriously difficult to pinpoint the exact number of people who supported the Nazis out of conviction and those who showed support in the interests of self-preservation, and different scholars lean in different directions. I think it is reasonable to suggest, after William Sheridan Allen, that most people were drawn to anti-Semitism because they were drawn to Nazism, and not the other way around. At the end of 1938, general satisfaction with the Nazis was quite high. It is obvious that anti-Semitic convictions were also high. But I could be wrong.