Menu Close

20th Century Antisemitism

As the European political culture shifted from religious control to one defined by nationalist identity and sentiment, a new set of stereotypes against Jews arose. Jews were living and working in vocations where they had previously been barred, and Christians began to feel that they were being replaced. Simultaneously, a stereotype arose that Jews controlled the media, finances, and politics because of the centuries they had spent confined to working in these professions.

With the dawn of the 20th century and a boom of technological and scientific knowledge, some intellectuals and politicians applied new ideas in a deeply racist way. The theory of “Social Darwinism” postulated that human beings were not one species, but divided into several different “races” that were biologically driven to struggle against one another for living space to ensure their survival; the white race was considered superior over all others. Jews did not count as “white,” or even as a religious group, but a separate “race” altogether. This meant that regardless of conversion, lifestyle, or observance, Jewish traits were in the blood and could not be changed.