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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.
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 ›
After the war for many years and even continuing today, Germans say "that was the Nazis!" or "... had to go along with it, the Nazis were too powerful and brutal". In other words, the same soup, reheated. Create your group by the defining the outsider rudely. The soft fictions that there were magical Nazi beings who took over Germany, a race of Nazis we should all loathe, and yet they weren't Germans. Germans are good, loving, honest, modest. Bosh.
Germans suffer from the same condition we all do. There were no Nazis, distinct from Germans. There were no Germans distinct from Humans. We are all human, we can, if we allow it--we can all become a Nazi.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After visiting Cambodia I wanted to understand genocide, so I bought this book. This book makes a significant contribution toward understanding genocide.Published 1 month ago by Misha Spal
Perhaps anti semitism was part and parcel of German cultural makeup and was accentuated during the NAZi years. JG maybe right about that . Read morePublished 1 month ago by liberty man
Fantastic insight into every day Germans who took up the genocide cause with a second thought or an remorse or guilt for their actions.Published 4 months ago by Mirium Dangerfiels
Difficult to read because of all the gruesome and overwhelming descriptions.Published 5 months ago by Jack Perman
Would be informative if author discussed the origins of antisemitism and its relation to western culture.Published 5 months ago by JHP
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 9 months ago by TheDudeAbides