Reviewed by Charles E.
The conclusion of the book, which was much influenced by the Milgram experiment on obedience, was that the men of Unit were not demons or Nazi fanatics but ordinary middle-aged men of working-class background from Hamburgwho had been drafted but found unfit for military duty.
In the course of the murderous Operation Reinhardthese men were ordered to round up Jews, and if there was not enough room for them on the trains, to shoot them. In other, more chilling cases, they were ordered simply to kill a specified number of Jews in a given town or area.
In one instance, the commander of the unit gave his men the choice of opting out of this duty if they found it too unpleasant; the majority chose not to exercise that option, resulting in fewer than 15 men out of a battalion of opting out.
Browning argued that the men of Unit agreed willingly to participate in massacres out of a basic obedience to authority and peer pressurenot blood-lust or primal hatred.
That view was the mainspring of what was, in essence, voluntary barbarism. Goldhagen's thesis[ edit ] In Hitler's Willing Executioners Goldhagen argued that Germans possessed a unique form of antisemitism, which he called "eliminationist antisemitism," a virulent ideology stretching back through centuries of German history.
Under its influence the vast majority of Germans wanted to eliminate Jews from German society, and the perpetrators of the Holocaust did what they did because they thought it was "right and necessary.
His approach would be anthropological, treating Germans the same way that an anthropologist would describe preindustrial people who believed in absurd things such as trees having magical powers. Goldhagen used Luther's book to argue for the deep-rooted unique "eliminationist" antisemitism of German culture.
Hitler's Willing Executioners marked a revisionist challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy surrounding the question of German public opinion and the Final Solution.
Goldhagen argued that it "strains credibility" to imagine that "ordinary Danes or Italians" could have acted as he claimed ordinary Germans did during the Holocaust to prove that "eliminationist" anti-Semitism was uniquely German.
Goldhagen's book tour became, in the opinion of some German media voices, "a triumphant march", as "the open-mindedness that Goldhagen encountered in the land of the perpetrators" was "gratifying" and something of which Germans ought to be proud, even in the context of a book which sought, according to some critics, to "erase the distinction between Germans and Nazis".
Finally, Mommsen criticizes Goldhagen for errors in his understanding of the internal structure of the Third Reich. It stifled protests by conservatives against persecutions of the Jews, as well as Hitler's proclamation of a "racial annihilation war" against the Soviet Union.
The Catholic Church maintained its own "silent anti-Judaism" which "immuniz[ed] the Catholic population against the escalating persecution" and kept the Church from protesting against persecution of the Jews, even while it did protest against the euthanasia program.
Goldhagen must prove not only that Germans treated Jewish and non-Jewish victims differently on which virtually all historians' agreebut also that the different treatment is to be explained fundamentally by the antisemitic motivation of the vast majority of the perpetrators and not by other possible motivations, such as compliance with different government policies for different victim groups.
The second and third case studies of Hitler's Willing Executioners are aimed at meeting the burden of proof on these two points. Goldhagen argues that the case of the Lipowa and Flughafen Jewish labor camps in Lublin demonstrates that in contrast to other victims, only Jewish labor was treated murderously by the Germans without regard for and indeed counter to economic rationality.
And the Helmbrechts death march case, he argues, demonstrates that Jews were killed even when orders have been given to keep them alive, and hence the driving motive for the killing was not compliance to government policy or obedience to orders, but the deep personal hatred of the perpetrators for their Jewish victims that had been inculcated by German culture.
Goldhagen cites numerous instances of gratuitous and voluntaristic killing of Jews as relevant to assessing the attitudes of the killers.
But he omits a similar case of gratuitous, voluntaristic killing by Reserve Police Battalion when the victims were Poles. Only elderly Poles, mostly women, remained in the village, as the younger Poles had all fled. Word came, moreover, that the ambushed German policeman had been only wounded, not killed.
Nonetheless, the men of Reserve Police Battalion shot all the elderly Poles and set the village on fire before returning to the cinema for an evening of casual and relaxing entertainment. There is not much evidence of "obvious distaste and reluctance" to kill Poles to be seen in this episode.
Would Goldhagen have omitted this incident if the victims had been Jews and an anti-Semitic motivation could have easily been inferred?
Germans intermarried with Jews: Goldhagen himself mentions that a large proportion of the Jewish upper classes in Germany converted to Christianity in the nineteenth century. In a society where eliminationist norms were universal and in which Jews were rejected even after they had converted, or so he argues, the rise of this extreme form of assimilation of Jews would hardly have been possible.
Little is new in the overall description, but the details and the way he analyzes the attitude of the murderers is powerful and convincing".Holocaust scholar Christopher Browning studied the same documents and wrote a book called Ordinary Men.
No, contends Goldhagen, they were not ordinary men, they were ordinary Germans.
It is a German thing. You wouldn’t understand. Goldhagen’s thesis denies rational access to the Holocaust. May 22, · Thesis statement for my Holocaust paper?
i am doing a paper on the holocaust and i need a really good, strong these statement that i can prove. i have a thesis statement but it is not too strong or detailed if you could please read my thesis statement and maybe make it a little more detailed and understandable that would be Status: Resolved.
Daniel Goldhagen's book on the Holocaust--condemning the German "eliminationist" mindset toward Jews--has become an international bestseller and a datum in German-American relations.
Pity, because it is a simplistic, monocausal, and unhistorical explanation of one of the most complex horrors in history. Goldhagen's Thesis. Goldhagen argued that Germans possessed a unique form of antisemitism, which he called "eliminationist antisemitism", which developed over centuries prior to the 20th initiativeblog.comgen contends: The German perpetrators of the Holocaust treated Jews in all the brutal and lethal ways that they did because, by and .
|Goldhagen's thesis (by L. Proyect)||If we are not constantly on guard against our own hatred and let our intolerance get the better of us we are just as capable of perpetuating something as terrible as the Nazi "Final Solution.|
|A German-Jewish Vision of the Future||The German perpetrators of the Holocaust treated Jews in all the brutal and lethal ways that they did because, by and large, they believed that what they were doing was right and necessary. Second, that there was long existing, virulent antisemitism in German society that led to the desire on the part of the vast majority of Germans to eliminate Jews somehow from German society.|
|I wrote the original German version of this paper in the summer of for the German edition of this book Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte.|
|Cohen, Ph D J.|
|The conclusion of the book, which was much influenced by the Milgram experiment on obedience, was that the men of Unit were not demons or Nazi fanatics but ordinary middle-aged men of working-class background from Hamburgwho had been drafted but found unfit for military duty.|
Goldhagen's thesis, however, neither renders the Nazi holocaust intelligible nor is it historical. For argument's sake, let us assume that Goldhagen is correct. Consumed by a ferocious loathing of the Jews, the German people jumped at Hitler's invitation to exterminate them.
Goldhagen's thesis. One of the big differences between workers and middle-class intellectuals is that workers tend to fight against injustice collectively rather than individually, whether on their own behalf or on others.