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Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust Paperback – January 28, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Thus I became a public intellectual, the startling winner of Germany's prestigious Democracy Prize (there have been only six since it was established) awarded only when someone earns it (the previous winner, seven years earlier, was the East Germany democracy movement), with a debate forever a suffix to my name. I have always been determined to write and speak forthrightly about important topics-topics about which many want to hear, even if many others desperately do not want the truth to be heard. Whether it is about Nazism and the Holocaust, powerful institutions' moral duties, or the dangers of Political Islam, I have never held my tongue out of fear of what people, including powerful people, might say.
My most recent project, Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity, has issued both in a book (which is being published already in eight languages) and a feature length documentary (the first ever to focus on the phenomenon of genocide itself) that had its national broadcast premiere on PBS on April 14. Worse Than War tells people what I have learned about genocides and genocide in my three decades of studying them, explaining not just how to understand their many complex facets, but also how to stop the killing. As Hitler's Willing Executioners did for the Holocaust, Worse Than War poses a powerful challenge to deeply entrenched myths about why genocides happen. It fundamentally reconfigures our understanding of genocide as a global phenomenon and reconceptualizes it as one aspect of a more fundamental form of politics that can be called "eliminationism." I am gratified that Worse Than War, more than a decade in the writing, has already garnered enormous praise, with words such as "magisterial," "pathbreaking," "masterful," "monumental," and "wholly convincing" gracing the reviews.
I hope that you choose to have a look at it. Whether or not you end up agreeing with every conclusion and proposal in Worse Than War, the book and the film offer a plethora of new information and perspectives not just on genocide or eliminationism but on critical aspects of humanity and modernity, society and politics. I hope to rouse your intellect and conscience, even if I at the same time challenge your views about the most foundational matters of politics, society, and human nature.
For more information, please visit http://goldhagen.com/.
Top Customer Reviews
A.J.P. Taylor once said that in history, the most important duty of the historian is to ask the right questions. Daniel Goldhagen does this even though the academic world has descended upon him. Goldhagen asks how ordinary Germans become perpetrators in the Final Solution. The question, is obviously important, but unfortunately what Goldhagen gives us is a monocausal answer: `antisemitism' or, as Goldhagen terms it `eliminationist antisemitism'. His thesis is that `eliminationist antisemitism' was a cultural norm in Germany by the late 19th century; that all the perpetrators shared this view of the Jews; and, furthermore, most Germans accepted this view of the Jews.
Yet, what I think is more disturbing than this argument is Goldhagen's claim that his thesis is totally new: `the perpetrators, "ordinary Germans", were animated by antisemitism, but a particular type of antisemitism that led them to conclude that Jews ought to die... Simply put, the perpetrators, having consulted their own convictions and morality and having judged the mass annihilation of Jews to be right, did not want to say "no"' (p. 14).
One certainly does not have to dig that far into the literature to find the origins of some of his ideas.Read more ›
Goldhagen spends the first part of his book repeatedly and redundantly explaining his thesis of elimination anti-Semitism. While he makes good points to the "why's" of the anti-Semitism, he seems to have a problem with his "where's". Goldhagen is so intent on this argument preceding his ordinary German argument that he creates an anti-Semitic Germany which stands alone in Europe in its depth of anti-Semitism. The history of Western Europe does not exactly agree with Goldhagen's analysis that Germany was the only place the Holocaust could have occurred because of its unique brand of elimination anti-Semitism.Read more ›
For those readers who have the stomachs to wade through the book to its conclusions, they will find some useful material. In particular, Goldhagen has shown that more ordinary Germans were active participants in the Holocaust than has been previously believed, and in this he is to be commended.
If he had left it at that (and had made his book somewhat more readable), most of the criticism this book has received never would have occurred. Unfortunately, Goldhagen attempts to extend his argument by stating that virtually all Germans were culturally hard-wired to participate in a Holocaust, once the right circumstances were in place. He maintains that German culture has essentially programmed Germans to be eleminationist anti-semites, either tacitly or actively, and furthermore, this is a cultural feature unique to the Germans.
The flaws in this argument should be obvious to anyone. For one thing, Goldhagen assumes that the average German, if he or she did not actively oppose the Nazi regime, was therefore tacitly supporting it and by extension was anti-semitic, abetting the more active Holocaust participants. How does one prove that one is not an eliminationist anti-semite under the conditions Goldhagen has provided?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I consider myself an avid reader and I'm OCD about finishing books....... This is the only book I never finished (finally gave up on page 310). Read morePublished 2 months ago by TheDudeAbides
Very interesting reading revealing the impact of group thinking in the Holocaust...some were willing...some not. The conscious can be taskmaster when it is ignored. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Melvin Davis
Goldhagen presents a compelling case, backed by historical writings and records, that the German people were not ignorant of the holocaust going on in all of their backyards. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Teresa Keene
SERIOUS SCHOLARSHIP, REDUNDANT WRITING
Many people have long suspected the holocaust could not have happened without compliance and cooperation of "ordinary... Read more
I thought I’d offer a review for people like me – an “ordinary” American who finds WWII history extremely interesting. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rebecca