By Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn
No fresh paintings of heritage has generated as a lot curiosity as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's keen Executioners. Purporting to unravel the secret of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen continues that normal Germans have been pushed by way of fanatical anti-Semitism to homicide the Jews. a right away nationwide best-seller, the e-book went directly to create a world sensation.
Now, in A kingdom on Trial, major critics problem Goldhagen's findings and exhibit that his paintings isn't scholarship in any respect. With compelling cumulative impression, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously files 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 data he consulted. the most important overseas authority on those data, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.
The definitive assertion at the Goldhagen phenomenon, this quantity is usually a cautionary story at the corruption of scholarship by means of ideological zealotry.
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Extra info for A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth
HWE, p. 365) Thus, to dispel any lingering doubt that pre-Nazi homicidal German anti-Semitism explains the Final Solution, Goldhagen points to German children stoning Jews in 1945. 6. An Ordinary Slaughter? Imbued as his study is with the ideological imperatives of 'Holocaust studies' (on which more presently), Goldhagen unsurprisingly harps on the categorical uniqueness of the Nazi genocide. Thus 'there is no comparable event in the twentieth century, indeed in modern European history... the theoretical difficulty is shown by its utterly new nature', 'the Holocaust was a radical break with everything known in human history ...
Acknowledging that the police battalions did initially recoil from their murderous assignment, Goldhagen nonetheless denies that this demurral at all registered moral qualms. ' (HWE, pp. 192, 220-2, 250, 252, 378, 400-1, 538 n. 39, 543 n. 98) 'Had this reaction been the consequence of principled opposition and not mere disgust', Goldhagen critically argues, 'the psychological strain would, with subsequent killings, have likely increased and not subsided completely... ' (HWE, p. 261) The Killers' Mental Anguish Thus the police battalions' effortless psychological accommodation to the genocide demonstrates their Nazi-like anti-Semitism.
190, 229-36. It is not at all clear even that anti-Semitism figured prominently in the motives for joining the Nazi party before, let alone after, 45 Hitler's victory; see especially Peter H. Merki, Political Violence under the Swastika, Princeton 1975, pp. 499-500. To illustrate that the crudely anti-Semitic SA was 'representative of a significant percentage of the German people' during the Nazi years, Goldhagen recalls that its membership 'was approximately 10 per cent of the German civilian male population of the age cohorts on which the SA drew' (HWE, p.
A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth by Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn