It seems to me that the Holocaust was made possible by a unique historical intersection. The politics of the rise of Hitler and the Nazis aside, it’s indisputable that the mass murders were facilitated by the technological advancements of the time, the Age of Machines, that made gas chambers and death camps possible — but also by the limited communications technology that frustrated the victims’ attempts to get out the word about the slaughter to the outside world. Even with television around, Hitler’s Germany might have gotten away with it as late as the early 1960s. But even taking into account the Nazis’ efficiency and prioritizing of secrecy, could Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka and Sobibor have withstood the advent of live blogging, Twitter and social networking? Not likely. At least a few prisoners would have succeeded in sneaking in cell phones, BlackBerries and miniature transmitters. In the era of 24-hour cable news and broadband Internet access, the outside world would have found out about the death camps in weeks, not years, and well before the end of the war.
The question is, how much of the world would have cared?