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Hitler's rise to power.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,485 times Debate No: 26016
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Now, I'm no Aryan, so get that out of your system before you start to read, and I am in no way demoralizing Britain, but If Hitler admired the British, and copied their idea of concentration camps, and also copied a 'master race', then who's the most to blame for loss of life? Hitler for using ideas, or Britain, for fueling them? I personally think that Britain are the most to blame. Reason being that Britain use these concentration camps in Africa during the Boer War, forcing many innocents to either work, starve or dehydrate to death. Africa is a very hot country, and working for a scrap of bread and a little bit of water per day, for example, is nothing worth working for. Now, some may argue that Hitler had more harsh conditions, but in History during school, are you ever taught about how the British treated their prisoners of war? I was never taught that, and through my own research I found out that Hitler is no worse than Britain at the time.


I don't know where my opponent learnt his history, but he seems to be missing some large swathes of information about the British concentration camps in the Second Boer War. There are numerous, extremely large differences between Hitler's camps and the British camps. I'll highlight some of them.

1) The motive behind concentration camps

Now, I won't give too much citation for Hitler's concentration camp strategies, because the claims I shall make are common knowledge. One example of this is the concentration camps were not done for military pragmatic reasons, or military reasons at all, but for ideological ultranational fascist reasons. Hitler's concentration camps were run in such a way to exploit non-german citizens, as per the nationalist mentality of Hitler's Germany at the time. Hitler's concentration camps were, based on his perception, a complete success, and fulfilled their goals.

By contrast, the concentration camps in the Second Boer war were initiated by Earl Kitchener. It is well established among modern historians that Kitchener's policy of concentration camps "was not a deliberately genocidal policy; rather it was the result of [a] disastrous lack of foresight and rank incompetence on [the] part of the [British] military."[1] Niall Ferguson further comments: "Kitchener no more desired the deaths of women and children in the camps than of the wounded Dervishes after Omdurman, or of his own soldiers in the typhoid stricken hospitals of Bloemfontein." Kitchener's camps were designed not to be genocidal, but instead to hold women and children, in order to firstly lower the starvation rate of a depleted country, and secondly in a military tactic to hold resources of manpower and create bartering chips. The death of those inside was not wanted. The attempt was to pragmatically make a stronger negotiating point, not an ideological destruction. This major difference alone shows that Hitler's camps were many times worse.

2) The life-saving techniques employed

Again, in Hitler's camps, there was no attempt to help the prisoners survive: they were there to die, and nothing more. This is common knowledge.

By contrast, the British attempt included many attempts to save lives. As previously mentioned, the aim was not for genocide. It was merely movement (or segregation) away from the danger of the battlefield, where they could firstly be killed in droves, and secondly be used by the enemy as a bargaining chip. However, the terrible conditions of the Boer War led to the masses of deaths. In the words of lecturer Wilson:

"The conditions in the concentration camps in South Africa were mainly due to lack of resources, ignorance and neglect - as well as the Boers themselves not having been hygienic enough for living in crowded places. Conditions for the British soldiers was also appalling with a vast majority of deaths due to diseases and not from enemy action. The supplies to the British forces and the concentration camps was by a railway that was under constant attack. Once basic hygienic routines were established, the death rate in the concentration camps dropped."[2]

Indeed, this clearly highlights that the lives of the Boers were not made deliberately poor, but were done by accident, and by constraints in ability. Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain ordered Alfred Milner to ensure that "all possible steps are being taken to reduce the rate of mortality." It was purely down to the pressures of war that so many died. This is vastly distinct from Hitler's camps, which were created with the aim of a hell o earth, and deliberate suffering.

Further, many understand that the "
most important cause, [was] the inadequate control of the camp administration. Here five factors can be singled out. Firstly, some camp locations were poorly chosen. The peaty soil of Standerton meant that the terrain was virtually impassable during rainy periods, while the winters were bitterly cold. Similar conditions also prevailed at Brandfort and Orange River. Secondly, there was a tendency among some camp officials to maintain low standards of order and tidiness. In some camps there was a serious shortage of suitable and adequate accommodation. Threadbare tents or houses built of turf had to meet the need. Many people had to sleep on the ground because beds and mattresses were not always available. Sanitary facilities were often unhygienic, and the provision of water and fuel for fires inadequate...[3] The reasoning goes on, but the article itself linked is best for this information.

3) The extreme criticism of the camps

Of course, the camps in both countries were terrible to live in. No-one enjoyed them, certainly, and as such, it is reasonable to assume many disliking the camps. However, in Hitler's camps, the criticism itself was very much negligible. By contrast, the criticism of the Boer War Camps is a lot larger. Emilia Hobhouse, a very well known journalist, commented in 1901 in The Guardian, a major newspaper at the time (and still is), giving a scathing criticism of the Boer concentration camps, garnering a lot of support against the camps. Further, the liberal party - the official opposition at the time - was strongly against the camps, to the point that reform was necessary to be made in favour of the liberal position[3]. More examples can be given, but these two are strong enough to show a massive difference between Hitler's concentration camps, and British ones.


To make this clear, this is not a culminative case. Each argument independently shows the large difference between British and German concentration camps. My opponent needs to refute each of my cases, then show arguments of his own to show a direct causal influence of the British camps to the German camps. Further, he must show that it was the British who came up with such a system, not the Americans in the American-Philippine war and the Spanish in the 10 Years War. For now, though, I'll await my opponent's rebuttal. Thank you.

1 - Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order p250 (
2 -
3 -;
4 -
Debate Round No. 1


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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
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