Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews

Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews

Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews

Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews

Synopsis

A comprehensive history of the Nazi persecution and murder of European Jews, paying detailed attention to an unrivalled range sources. Focusing clearly on the perpetrators and exploring closely the process of decision making, Longerich argues that anti-Semitism was not a mere by-product of the Nazis' political mobilization or an attempt to deflect the attention of the masses, but that anti-Jewish policy was a central tenet of the Nazi movement's attempts to implement, disseminate, and secure National Socialist rule - and one which crucially shaped Nazi policy decisions, from their earliest days in power through to the invasion of the Soviet Union and the Final Solution. As Longerich shows, the 'disappearance' of Jews was designed as a first step towards a racially homogeneous society - first within the 'Reich', later in the whole of a German-dominated Europe.

Excerpt

Current State of Research, Methodology

When the German edition of this book appeared twelve years ago in 1998 research on the situation of the murder of the European Jews was in a transitional state because of the opening of the Eastern European archives at the beginning of the 1990s. An intensive phase of research had begun using a large number of documents that had hitherto been inaccessible and asking new questions of more familiar material. Holocaust research had become a steadily developing field and now, at the point when this English edition is being prepared, this process of development has by no means ceased. If it seemed extremely ambitious in the late 1990s to undertake a comprehensive account of the persecution and murder of the European Jews from the perspective of the perpetrators, it is no less so now.

The original aim of this book was to make a contribution to the lively debate amongst Holocaust researchers about when the Nazi leadership took the decision to implement a ‘final solution’ (Endlösung) to what they called the ‘Jewish question’ (Judenfrage). Via an analysis of the processes of decision-making, the book hoped to offer an explanation of the causes of the terrible events that constituted the Holocaust. When I began preparing this book in the mid-1990s, the state of so-called ‘perpetrator research’ was defined by two opposing schools of thought: on the one side were the ‘intentionalists’, who made the focus of their analysis the intentions and objectives of Hitler and other leading Nazis, and on the other were the ‘structuralists’, who emphasized the importance of the bureaucratic apparatus put in place by the Nazis and the ultimately uncontrollable process of what Hans Mommsen termed ‘cumulative radicalization’. The debate between the two schools of thought had at that point moved through all the usual phases of academic debates—hypotheses had been developed, the different sides had confronted each other, arguments had been improved and intensified, positions had become entrenched, and the discussion had become increasingly polarized. Research on the decision to implement a ‘final solution’ had become deeply embedded within . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.