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Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans Paperback – December 4, 2000
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Johnson argues that ordinary Germans did not willfully intend to harm others, though their cowardice and apathy made the implementation of Nazi policies possible. Drawing from court records and Gestapo files from the area around Cologne, a region that had demonstrated only lukewarm support for the Nazis in elections, Johnson shows that Germans' participation in the Third Reich was not heavily driven by images of anti-Semitism but by a routine obedience to the state. In an era filled with disreputable Holocaust revisionism, Johnson lays to rest questions of accountability by showing who exactly is to blame. Detailed and compelling, Nazi Terror provides a stark, and at times moving, portrait of how individual people took part in the greatest moral quandary of the 20th century. --James Highfill --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Of course, Johnson's intuitive and probing translation of facts, as presented in the Gestapo files, elucidates the nature of life in Hitler's Germany. Several case studies provide glimpses into the existence of the several groups Johnson investigates (including "ordinary Germans"). Here also, I found myself keeping my mind open to the possibility that Gestapo members were only police officers. That was a feat very difficult for me to overcome having previously (a view I still hold even after having read the book) perceived that the Gestapo were simply armed thugs meting out terror at every turn. In acknowledging the "ordinary German" theory, Johnson illustrates the societal roles of people in Krefeld and Cologne, from lowly factory workers to the Cardinal and those of wives and husbands. In this sense, the vertical examination was fruitful to see how the terror operated at various levels of society. Very informative! To further complement Johnson's book, the scope of works cited in the bibliographic section should be enough to satiate any minds enquiring about any aspect of Nazi Germany.
In this book, Johnson analyses the Gestapo's modus operandi throughout the Third Reich. He uses a medium-sized city and the surrounding small towns and countryside to paint a picture of the whole country. He reviews the files for several typical crimes, such as listening to foreign radio broadcasts or criticising government policies or Nazi bigwigs. He also follows the career of the Gestapo officials in the region from the beginning to the end of the Third Reich. He concludes that most Gestapo officials were typical policemen, and many in fact had careers that dated to Weimar Republic and even Imperial times, that there weren't too many of them (contrary to popular belief, the Gestapo was not omnipresent and rarely acted unless called in by interested parties) and that, up to the end of the war, most people were left alone even when they violated the laws.Read more ›
The book is well written, and the arguments and evidence well presented. I have problems with the research methods employed and the sampling techniques as described. My opinion is that this book only fuels the fire, and settles nothing. The main problem with its argument that ordinary Germans knowingly and enthusiastically complied with the Nazi policy to systematically scapegoat and exterminate the Jews, the truth is that there is just too much contrary evidence to trust such sweeping claims based on the evidence introduced and cited. Such a generalized argument ignores a lot of inconvenient evidence as well as a number of other more subtle and less reassuring conclusions one could also easily reach regarding the degree to which the ordinary German participated in the extermination of the Jews.
It's true that Germany in that period was characterized by a degree of conformity and adherence to very narrowly and carefully circumscribed rules of conduct.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My apologies to the author, I simply found this book to be a) boring and b) very badly organized...it was far too hard to get to the 'meat'...Published 8 months ago by goodoldmac
It's difficult to assess this book because it is printed in a very hard-to-read font. Not only are the letters poorly designed, but the ink itself is very light. Read morePublished 14 months ago by JEB IN MINNEAPOLIS
The best that can be said about Eric Johnson's writing is that he doesn't overdue the use of adjectives and adverbs. Read morePublished on May 9, 2008 by Grey Wolffe
Fascinating material, and I recommend the book if you are interested in how ordinary people reacted to Nazi rule. My only criticism is that it's a bit of a dry read. Read morePublished on September 15, 2004 by Mark Moore
I read "Nazi Terror" and "Hitler's Willing Executioners" for the same reason -- and while my thesis was validated in both, it was never addressed in either. Read morePublished on August 20, 2003 by Cathleen M. Walker
I have to say, I usually try to avoid purchasing books the size of phone books because I know I'll never have the time to finish them... Read morePublished on December 4, 2002 by Eddie Landsberg
This is a book which was written over ten years by an Academic who traveled to Germany. He has tried to work out what it was like to live in Nazi Germany and how the organs of a... Read morePublished on September 29, 2001 by Tom Munro