Browning ordinary men thesis

The conclusion of the book, which was much influenced by the Milgram experiment on obedience, was that the men of Unit were not demons or Nazi fanatics but ordinary middle-aged men of working-class background from Hamburgwho had been drafted but found unfit for military duty. In the course of the murderous Operation Reinhardthese men were ordered to round up Jews, and if there was not enough room for them on the trains, to shoot them. In other, more chilling cases, they were ordered simply to kill a specified number of Jews in a given town or area.

Browning ordinary men thesis

I have been interested in the Holocaust ever since I first learned about it in Religious School at about the age of 13because as a Jewish child it seemed like such a terrifying thing to contemplate, like something out of a science-fiction or horror movie.

I always wanted to try and understand what could have motivated the German people to do the things they did. Were they truly evil? My grandfather, who served in WWII and will not buy a German car, and who lost family members in Poland in the Holocaust, gave me a negative view of the German people.

As a history major I now know there are multiple motivations for the things people do, and it is rarely a question of good vs. Over this time the roughly men participated in the deaths of over 80, Jewish civilians.

The Battalion provides an interesting test case with which to determine whether certain theories about the motivations of Nazi executioners are valid. The men were mainly raised not in the Nazi-era but beforethey were not selected on the basis of their potential brutality, and they were initially offered the chance to avoid taking part in the killings, with no repercussions.

This short chapter sets up the question that Browning will address over the next few chapters: The following chapters, from 2 through 6, chart the creation of the Order Police in the aftermath Browning ordinary men thesis World War I, and its early tasks in the first years of World War II, when its numbers swelled as thousands of German men volunteered, some to avoid the draft and front-line service, others with the hope of post-war career advancement in Browning ordinary men thesis Police.

The Order Police were sent to occupied Russia and then Poland, where its primary assignment, to keep order, was aided by the passage of two decrees: Extermination camps were seen as the most efficient means of doing this, but Globocnik needed large amounts of manpower to transport the many Jews of the General Government to the three extermination camps planned for Poland.

Browning ordinary men thesis

When Battalion arrived in Lublin in late June,the transportation required to transport Jews to the extermination camps was inadequate. Globocnik decided then to switch tactics to on-the-spot execution by firing squad, and Battalion would be the test unit.

Major Trapp informed his men of this, and because he did not approve of such an action he told them that any who wished to be excused from the action could do so. Around a dozen men did so, including Lieutenant Heinz Buchmann, who would do his best over the next year to avoid taking part in other killing actions.

After the executions began many of the men who had agreed to take part realized they could not continue and were allowed to leave. These men were not punished. Over the next year Battalion took part in numerous mass executions and deportations to death camps in the north Lublin district.

Another minority of men became not only desensitized, but came to actually enjoy what they were doing. After the towns and ghettos of the northern Lublin district had been cleared, the Battalion was ordered to find and murder any Jews who escaped or hid during the earlier round-ups.

The Afterword is a response to the criticisms of Daniel Goldhagen. What could have led the German people, a nation of otherwise sane, mentally healthy human beings, to commit mass murder on a scale which was absolutely unheard of in previous times?


A myriad of potential answers have arisen over the more than half-century that has passed sincebut none has been satisfactory enough to receive unanimous agreement from the academic community. The men of Battalion committed mass murder because they were caught up in brutal, polarizing war, they were told time and time again the Jews were less than human, and most importantly they did not want to become isolated from the group of men they saw as comrades-in-arms.

In all, former members of Battalion were interrogated between Browning, Such inaccuracies do not discount all the information taken from reports made during the war, but it has led scholars like Browning to seek post-war testimony for the different light it can shed. Browning is quick to note that we should not take the post-war testimony of Battalion at face value.

For one thing, the events in question were over twenty years in the past when the men were interrogated, and beyond a certain point memory becomes less reliable. Browning got around this by using the testimony of all of the men in question when describing a certain event, so that as many viewpoints as possible were included.

Memory was not the only issue, however: Due to such legal considerations, the testimony contained few statements on antisemitism unless the subject was an unpopular officer or the Polish collaborators Browning, The fact that Browning went into his study knowing these problems might occur, and the pains he took to use such issues to his advantage, means that his overall thesis holds up even when the testimony itself is imperfect.

Browning was not just interested in Order Police Battalion because of the large amount of testimony they left behind. The Battalion represented an interesting test case that could be used to prove or disprove the many theories about what motivated German mass-executioners.

Before the men took part in their first massacre, at Jozefow, Major Trapp gave a speech in which he not only showed signs of being visibly disturbed by his orders, but also said that the older members of the Battalion could be reassigned if they so wished only the older men received this offer initially, but later even younger members could step aside without punishment Browning, Ordinary Men b Christopher Browning Essay Words | 7 Pages.

In the book Ordinary Men, Christopher Browning tackles the question of why German citizens engaged in nefarious behavior that led to the deaths of millions of Jewish and other minorities throughout Europe. A Review of Christopher R.

Browning's "Ordinary Men" Analytical Essay by Sammy A Review of Christopher R.

Joshua Karpen on Browning (/98)

Browning's "Ordinary Men" This review of Christopher R. Browning's "Ordinary Men" examines the Nazi soldiers' psyche during the holocaust.

In response to Daniel Goldhagen's book, Christopher Browning has added a new afterward to his book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion and the Final Solution in Poland. This critique is a good summary of those who disagree with Goldhagen. Christopher Browning’s book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion and the Final Solution in Poland tells the story of normal people who are commissioned to carry out horrific deeds in the most notorious mass killing in modern history, and offers an important insight into who the perpetrators of genocide really are.

Christopher Browning's 'Ordinary Men' is a concise, important contribution to Holocaust studies in which the author demonstrates a grasp of the existing body of /5.

Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust is a book by American writer Daniel Goldhagen, Goldhagen had already indicated his opposition to Browning's thesis in a review of Ordinary Men in the July 13, Goldhagen stated that he would write a book that would rebut Ordinary Men and Browning's thesis.

Browning ordinary men thesis
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