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 resolve the secret of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen continues that normal Germans have been pushed by means of fanatical anti-Semitism to homicide the Jews. an instantaneous nationwide best-seller, the ebook went directly to create a global sensation.
Now, in A state on Trial, prime critics problem Goldhagen's findings and convey that his paintings isn't really scholarship in any respect. With compelling cumulative impact, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously records Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the inner contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's textual content opposed to the German files he consulted. the key overseas authority on those data, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.
The definitive assertion at the Goldhagen phenomenon, this quantity is additionally 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
The staunchest individuals ... ' (HWE, pp. 149, 380-1, 578-9 n. 13) Indeed precisely on this account, Goldhagen emphasizes, the Nazi leadership eventually switched to gas chambers: Himmler, ever solicitous of the welfare of those who were turning his and Hitler's apocalyptic visions into deed, began to search about for a means of killing that would be less burdensome to the executioners ... The move to gassing... – contrary to widely accepted belief – was prompted not by considerations of efficiency, but by the search for a method that would ease the psychological burden of killing for the Germans.
17. HWE, p. 494 n. 92. The counterpoint to Goldhagen's homogenization of the German perpetrators is his heterogenization of the Germans' victims. Thus, Goldhagen's discriminations to prove that Jewish suffering was unique. (HWE, pp. 175, 294, 311ff, 340ff, 523 n. 1) 18. HWE, pp. 141, 146, 147, 153, 421. For a variation on this argument which conflates verbal abuse with 'deportation and physical violence', see HWE, p. 125. 19 In his rejoinder, Goldhagen downplays the import of this question: 'Even if some would conclude that I am not entirely correct about the scope and character of German anti-Semitism, it does not follow that this would invalidate my conclusion ...
HWE, p. 363) Yet is wanton brutality, under these circumstances, really so surprising? Goldhagen also indicts the cruelty of German bystanders. ' (HWE, pp. 365, 348) Yet in the directly ensuing narrative, Goldhagen recounts that despite the 'chaos and general food shortage of the time' on the 'first day of the march ... German civilians responded to the supplications of the Jews for food and water, only to meet the interdiction of the guards'; on the 'seventh day, a town's Mayor proposed to accommodate the Jewish women in the hall that had been prepared with bedding for a large group of women auxiliaries of the German army who had been expected'; on the 'eighth day...
A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth by Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn