By Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn
No contemporary paintings of historical past has generated as a lot curiosity as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's prepared Executioners. Purporting to resolve the secret of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen keeps that normal Germans have been pushed via fanatical anti-Semitism to homicide the Jews. a right away nationwide best-seller, the ebook went directly to create a global sensation.
Now, in A state on Trial, top critics problem Goldhagen's findings and exhibit that his paintings isn't really scholarship in any respect. With compelling cumulative influence, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously records Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the interior contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's textual content opposed to the German documents he consulted. the key overseas authority on those information, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.
The definitive assertion at the Goldhagen phenomenon, this quantity can also be a cautionary story at the corruption of scholarship via ideological zealotry.
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Extra resources for A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth
Childers, The Nazi Voter, P. 267. 39. Reichmann, Hostages of Civilization, pp. 231, 261 n. 380. 40. HWE, p. 594 n. 56; for a similar argument for the war years, see pp. 251-2. 41. Goldhagen's citation of this document is doubly ironic. Not only does it undercut his claim about the inefficacy of Nazi propaganda but also his claim about restoring the dimension of individual responsibility. Seeking to mitigate the culpability of the Einsatzgruppen commanders, the brief lent support to a plea of temporary insanity: 'The defendants...
The firebombing of Tokyo in 1945, which left some 100,000 civilians dead – 'scorched and boiled and baked to death', in the words of the mastermind of the new strategy, Major-General Curtis LeMay – not only evoked 'no sustained protest' but was 'widely accepted as just retribution'. ' Nearly one-quarter of the respondents in a December 1945 Fortune magazine poll wished that the United States had had the opportunity to use 'many more' atomic bombs before Japan surrendered. (72) Pervasive Racism An egregious feature of Nazism, Goldhagen emphasizes, was its racist underpinnings.
HWE, p. 277) Distilling the essence of Goldhagen's argument, we reach yet another truly novel conclusion: ordinary Germans in the police battalions 'easily adjusted' to the genocide; the specialized units in the Einsatzgruppen, although less morally taxed, experienced acute psychological strain; ordinary Germans were much more Nazified than the Nazi ideological warriors in the Einsatzgruppen. QED. The Death Marches With the Red Army rapidly advancing on the Eastern front in the war's last stages, Himmler ordered the evacuation of the concentration camps.
A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth by Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn