Maus' whole main story is essentially a historical recount of a very important historic event. Along with this, it is a first hand experience of someone who had to live through it and so the social and cultural context is very apparent.
After the first World War, Germany had fallen from bring one of the most powerful countries to one that was struggling to stay afloat economically. They had no way to pay what they had to in the Treaty of Versailles and had no choice but to accept loans from the United States. However, when the stock market crashed, Germany fell even further into debt and unemployment.
With inflation, the war had cost Germany around 1000 billion dollars and with America's stock market crash, their economy crumbled under the weight. The country fell further into despair and as is usually the case, the people began looking for someone to help them.
This was when the Nazi Party began gaining popularity.
Although the economy was a huge reason of why the Nazi Party came into power so quickly and so aggressively, a large part of it came from the wounded pride of many German people after losing the war. They were looking for anything to point fingers at.
When Hitler was elected leader of the Nazi party and later on as the chancellor of Germany, he set about changing it into a totalitarian government and became dictator.
Along with this, Hitler and Germany began to single out the Jews as the reason why they lost the war.
The overwhelming racism against the Jews didn't start just with World War II. Anti-Semitism was strongly woven into Europe's history for hundreds of years. Hitler and the Nazi Party simply capitalized on this discrimination and began spinning tales about evolution and what was the 'Pure Race'.
It started with enough harassment to try and drive the Jews out of Germany, but when this didn't work, there were laws that were created to separate them even more. This then eventually led to the concentration camps and the deaths of millions of Jews.
By Kaitlyn Seow