What impression of Kristallnacht does source C give

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Last updated: November 12, 2019

Source C is an account by David Buffman, the American Consul in Leipzig. Buffman was an American diplomat- his job was to be the eyes and ears of America in order to give America an impression of what was going on in Germany. Along with the fact that the account was written at the time- making it a primary source, this makes it a very reliable, as he would have no reason to lie because he was American and was therefore safe from the wrath of the Nazis’ censorship.He reaccounts that the Nazi press described Kristallnacht as ‘a spontaneous wave of anger’, though contradicting this by saying; ‘the local crowds were obviously horrified by the Nazis’ acts’, thus suggesting that it was not a spontaneous attack on the Jews. Buffman describes to us what the Nazi press claims as the origin of the shattering of shop windows as ‘a spontaneous wave of anger, as a result of the cowardly Jewish murder of Von Roth in Paris. ‘ Ernst von Roth was an official for the German Embassy in Paris and the Jewish man shot him dead on the basis of revenge for the mistreatment of his parents by the Nazis.Buffman goes on to say that the local people were ‘obviously horrified by the Nazis’ acts’; he is obviously accusing the Nazis of committing vile acts of vandalism and murder, which he conveys by using the general publics apparent views.

Buffman then discloses how ‘one reliable source’ told him that the violence was committed by SS men and Stormtroopers ‘not in uniform’; and that there had been ‘no attempts made to put out the fires’ of the Jewish burning buildings.This supports his original opinion that this was not a spontaneous attack, as the SS men and Stormtroopers had already ‘been provided with hammers, axes and fire bombs’ before it even started. The source is completely challenging the Nazis’, making them out to look immoral and corrupt. Buffman also clearly completely opposes the acts when he claims that; ‘The slightest sign of sympathy for the Jews from the public caused fury among the Nazis’. Buffman is suggesting in this source that Kristallnacht was planned, but the Nazis’ are pretending it is spontaneous, which he conveys by claiming that the troops were ‘not in uniform’.The ‘transportation to concentration camps of male German Jews’ would obviously have been planned beforehand- backing up Buffman’s point that this was not a spontaneous attack. Source C gives the impression that Kristallnacht was not a spontaneous attack on the Jews, although the Nazis’ wanted the public to think so, in order to prevent themselves seeming corrupt or ‘hideous’.

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This suggests conspiracy, as the public were kept in the dark from the truth about the real reasons of Kristallnacht, which was a massive landmark in their own history.

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