The Final Solution was the Nazi agenda to wipe out the world’s Jewish population. It was developed over the course of the first two years of World War Two, eventually morphing into the purposeful policy of exterminating every Jewish person possible. And it resulted in the murder of roughly two-thirds of Europe’s Jews.
Debate continues to this day as to what led the Nazis to pursue the Final Solution. It is broadly agreed, however, that a number of factors were at play, and that the decision wasn’t taken suddenly. Indeed, early on in the war the Nazis had intended to deport the Jews to other parts of the world, rather than to murder them outright.
By 1941 the first wave of mass killings had begun, with Einsatzgruppen death squads shooting civilians across Eastern Europe. And following this initial surge of murders, a more systematic approach was taken. During the Final Solution’s second stage, the Nazis transported their victims to specially constructed extermination camps.