Hitler's Willing Executioners By Daniel Goldhagen

3391 words - 14 pages

"Goldhagen’s book is worthless as scholarship.” (Finkelstein and Birn, 1998) In the light of the public success of Daniel Goldhagen's book, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Evaluate whether this statement is justified.

After its publication in 1996, Daniel Goldhagen’s PHD Thesis and book Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (Goldhagen, 1996) evoked great public fascination and popular interest, almost more than any other historical research on the Holocaust that came before it. His book seemed to mesmerise the public and press; The New York Times claimed it as “one of those rare new works that merit the appellation landmark.” (Bernstein, 1996). The book sold eighty thousand German copies in the first month (Adams, 2011) and as a result, Goldhagen toured the world hosting sold-out panel discussions, featuring in articles in Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, and participating in several television talk shows. (Ullrich, 1996) (Spiegel Online, 1997) (Ridderbusch, 1996) However, it also aroused distaste from certain Holocaust researchers and was met with other works of rebuttal; “it is not at all a learned enquiry” (Finkelstein and Birn, 1998, p.4) and “[h]is moral theory is radically incomplete” (Smith, 1997, pp. 48-57). Goldhagen’s book was claimed to be “a blanket [of] accusation lies” (Locke, 2007, p.26), “[r]eplete with gross misinterpretations of the secondary literature” (Finkelstein and Birn, 1998, p.4) and “simply bad” (Jäckel, 2007, p.161). The thesis was greeted with such controversy, because of its seeming lack of recognition for past research: “it dismisses the careful findings […] of several generations of eminent scholars, many of whom have devoted a lifetime to inquiry on the monumental horror of the twentieth century.” (Locke, 2007, p.26)

In the book Goldhagen concluded that a particular kind of eliminationist anti-Semitism was “a pathology afflicting all Germans” (Goldhagen, 1996, p.387). Goldhagen’s thesis suggests that the German population was already predisposed to eliminating the Jews and Hitler coming to power in 1933 allowed them to “easily [become] genocidal killers” (Goldhagen, 1996, p.185). Society was so saturated with anti-Semitism it was simply “common sense” (ibid, p.27) of the time, ordinary Germans “wanted to be genocidal executioners” (ibid, p.279) and with the chance they would kill with “gusto” (ibid, p.241); they had “fun” (ibid, p.231) and “they killed for pleasure” (ibid, p.451).

Given that it attracted such a great reading audience and generally positive public interest, there is no prima facie reason to disregard Goldhagen’s thesis, so the question must be asked, why do other scholars of the Holocaust dismiss his findings so harshly and quickly? In order to gain a greater insight into this mystery, the book’s narrative, conclusions, and its position in the public reception must be examined.

On the first reading it is easy to see how...

Find Another Essay On Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen

Holocaust; important to remember Essay

894 words - 4 pages Dawidowicz (The War Against the Jews; Leni Yahil (The Holocaust); Hilberg (Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders); Daniel Goldhagen (Hitler's Willing Executioners); Martin Gilbert (The Holocaust); Arad et al (Documents on the Holocaust); Yitzak Arad (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps) and many more. It is important for us to remember the holocaust, when genocide happens in a massive number of individuals lost. Even today lives

Hitler's Germany and the coming of the Second World War

768 words - 3 pages Origins of The Second World War (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1961)2. A. Kallis, Facism Reader (London: Routledge, 2003), pg. 2943. Daniel J. Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York: Knopf, 1996)4. John Keegan, The Second World War (New York: Viking, 1989)5. Robert Goldston, The Life and Death of Nazi Germany (Greenwich: Fawcett Books, 1967)6. Srdja Pavlovic, History 296 Course Notes (Edmonton: University of Alberta, 2007?)7. Victor Rothwell, Origins of the Second World War (Manchester: Manchester University Press: 2001)8. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960)

Are the Jews Central to the Holocaust By John Mcenroe

1254 words - 5 pages the Jews; Leni Yahil (The Holocaust); Hilberg (Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders); Daniel Goldhagen (Hitler's Willing Executioners); Martin Gilbert (The Holocaust); Arad et al (Documents on the Holocaust); Yitzak Arad (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps) and so on.Modern research has begun to deal more extensively with the suffering of other victims of the Nazi genocide. For example, homosexuals, Gypsies, prisoners of

In what ways are ethical decisions in regard to the value of human life disregarded in times of War? What are the ramifications of this? Using the example of 'The Holocaust',

2997 words - 12 pages ), 79-88.5.Bauer, Yehuda. "The 'Final Solution' - extract" in A History of the Holocaust , Bauer, Yehuda , 2001 , 209-2456.Browning, Christopher R. "The Final Solution from conception to implementation, October 1941-March 1942 (Part 1)" in The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish policy, September 1939-March 19427. Goldhagen, Daniel J: Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, New York: Vintage

The Holocaust

1689 words - 7 pages the same focus: Lucy Dawidowicz (The War Against the Jews; Leni Yahil (The Holocaust); Hilberg (Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders); Daniel Goldhagen (Hitler's Willing Executioners); Martin Gilbert (The Holocaust); Arad et al (Documents on the Holocaust); Yitzak Arad (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps) and so on. Modern research has begun to deal more extensively with the suffering of

Holocaust (devil iN vienna)

2315 words - 9 pages . "Austria." Microsoft Encarta. 1995. Goldhagen,Daniel. Hitler's Willing Executioners. New York: Random House, 1997. Marrin,Albert. Hitler. New York: Viking Penguin, 1987. Orgel,Doris. Devil In Vienna. New York: Puffin, 1978. Rogasky,Barbra. Smoke and Ashes. New York: Holiday House, 1988. Wepman,Dennis. Aldof Hitler. New York: Chelsea House, 1985 Word Count: 2247

Was German ‘Eliminationist Anti-Semitism” Responsible for the Holocaust?

976 words - 4 pages and both should be subject to circumspection by lay people. It is hoped that sometime in the not-too-distant future atrocities of this kind—or any such as war and famine—become a thing of the past, yet remain the subject of research so they remain a part of history and never again exist in the reality of today. Works Cited Daniel J. Goldhagen and Christopher R. Browning, “Issue 11: Was German ‘Eliminationist Anti- Semitism’ Responsible for the Holocaust?” In Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History, Volume 2: The Modern Era to the Present 3rd ed., edited by Joseph Mitchell and Helen Buss Mitchell, 192-212. Whitby, ON, CAN: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2011.

Doris Orgel's Devil in Vienna

2392 words - 10 pages eyes. His belief in this was so strong that he even had people killed only solely based on the fact that they did not meet "German Standards". He was a very confusing man and very few people understood his reasoning, but for some reason no one seemed to argue when he decided to eliminate Jewish people from German society by sending millions of them to concentration camps. The book, Hitler's Willing Executioners, had very detailed

To what extent has Arno Mayer (historian) understood the 'Holocaust'?

2799 words - 11 pages , 1993.Browning.C, The path to genocide: essays on launching the final solution, Cambridge, Cambridge university press, 1992.Burrin.P, Hitler and the Jews, London, Edward Arnold, 1994.Friedlander.S, Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1, New York, Harper Collins Pub, 1997Goldhagen.D.J, Hitler's Willing Executioners: ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, New York, Random House, 1994.Kershaw.I, The nazi dictatorship; problems and perspectives of

The Holocaust

3036 words - 12 pages , 2001. Print. 7. Gottfried, Ted, and Stephen Alcorn. Deniers of the Holocaust: Who They Are, What They Do, Why They Do It. Brookfield, CT: Twenty-First Century, 2001. Print. 8. Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah. Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Vintage, 1997. Print. 9. Martin Luther quotes, Articles Exchristian.net, Web site

Shared Characteristics Between Nazi and Hutu Genocides

1263 words - 5 pages of colonization to violent murderers. The contemporary genocide in Rwanda is similar to the Holocaust in the way that the dominant party’s government attempted to systematically destroy an enemy by manipulating their population into weapons for implementation of destruction. Christopher Browning and Daniel Goldhagen were born in the United States, and their works about German Reserve Police Battalion 101’s violence against the Jewish people

Similar Essays

When Someone Hears The Name Adolf Hitler, The First Things

1582 words - 6 pages like to do the things he did. Whether it be a bad influence as a child or just the fact that he was scared of Jewish people, only one man knows for sure, and he killed himself.Works Cited Goldhagen, Daniel Honah. Hitler's Willing Executioners. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1996.Smith, Bradley H. Hitler's Martial Jews. ©1998. 20 April 2002. http://www.codoh.com/newsdesk/961200.html.Svoray, Yaron., and Nick Taylor. In Hitler's Shadow. New York: Dell Publishing Group, 1994.Weis, John. Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany.Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996

Anti Semitism In Nazi Germany: How Far Were The German People Responsible For The Holocaust?

2175 words - 9 pages its entirety responsible. It is unfeasible to think, in my mind, that such a crime could have centred exclusively within one particular movement. Daniel J. Goldhagen, in his book Hitler's Willing Executioners argues that the Holocaust perpetrators "were not primarily SS men or Nazi Party members, but perfectly ordinary Germans from all walks of life, men (and women) who brutalised and murdered Jews both willingly and zealously". Natalie

Brownigs Halocaust Essay

1131 words - 5 pages only people responsible for this organized massacre aimed at the Jews.After reading Christopher Browning's book, "Ordinary Men," and the excerpt of Daniel Goldhagens "Hitler's Willing Executioners," I established a good grasp to both of their responses to the question that was stated earlier. In "Ordinary Men," Browning says that "the average German was not responsible for the genocide." In contrast, Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners

Compare The Way Goldhagen And Browning Present The Perpetrators Of The Holocaust

2021 words - 8 pages perpetrators of the Holocaust is offered in each book, each defined by the way each historian views the way the German’s worked. Works Cited Browning, Christoper R. (2001) Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Penguin Books : London) Goldhagen, Daniel J. (1997) Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (Abacus : London) Wood, Nancy (1999) Vectors of Memory: Legacies of Trauma in Post-War Europe, (Oxford) Shandley, Robert R. (1998) Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen Debate, (University of Minnesota Press)