Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

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Vintage Books, 1997 - History - 634 pages
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has revisited a question that history has come to treat as settled, and his researchers have led him to the inescapable conclusion that none of the established answers holds true. That question is: "How could the Holocaust happen?" His own response is a new exploration of those who carried out the Holocaust and of German society and its ingrained anti-semitism - and it demands a fundamental revision of our thinking about the years 1933-1945. Drawing principally on materials either unexplored or neglected by previous scholars, Goldhagen marshals new, disquieting, primary evidence - including extensive testimony from the actual perpetrators themselves - to show that many beliefs about the killers are fallacies: They were not primarily SS men or Nazi Party members, but perfectly ordinary Germans from all walks of life, men (and women) who brutalized and murdered Jews both willingly and zealously.

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User Review  - MiaCulpa - LibraryThing

I'm not in the slightest surprised that "Hitler's Willing Executioners" is a controversial book; Any theory that blames the German people (and friends) for the evil done in their name rather than that ... Read full review

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User Review  - SPQR2755 - LibraryThing

Very hard to read. It is a sweeping indictment of a whole culture and its institutions well argued and documented. Is it a broad brush? Maybe, but it rings more true than not. Read full review


Recasting the View of Antisemitism A Framework for Analysis
The Evolution of Eliminationist Antisemitism in Modern Germany
Eliminationist Antisemitism The Common Sense of German Society During the Nazi Period

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About the author (1997)

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen is an Associate of Harvard University's Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. His doctoral dissertation, which is the basis for the book, was awarded the American Political Science Association's 1994 Gabriel A. Almond Award for the best dissertation in the field of comparative politics. After publication of this book in Germany, in 1997 Daniel Johan Goldhagen won the highly prestigious Democracy Prize. He is the author of A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair.

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