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How far were the German people responsible for the Holocaust?

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Introduction

How far were the German people responsible for the Holocaust? The Oxford compendium defines responsible as liable to be called to account, morally accountable for one's actions; capable of rational conduct and being the primary cause. Popular historiography is contrasted over different historian's views on whom or what was responsible for the Jewish1 pogrom. This question in its current vernacular gives the distinct impression that the German people did already have something to do with the holocaust and that they were either wholly or partly to blame for it. This however leaves doubt as to whether there is any possible outcome, where the German people having no responsibility at all. A historian whose book2 is written in complete controversy to this is Daniel Goldhagen. His book was written largely to rebut the claims of Christopher Browning as to German motives. Goldhagen's view is that the German people not only knew about the Holocaust but they were actively in favour of it. This is because of a supposedly truculent anti-Semitism in the German nature3. Other historical scholars of the Holocaust have rejected Goldhagen's work as marketable but at the expense of academic quality and integrity. As I have said there are contrasting views relating to other factors involved with the Holocaust. ...read more.

Middle

The rejecters of the 'Final Solution' come with many different angles. H Elmer Barnes an American sociologist9. was at first a sympathiser for the German people's anger towards the Treaty of Versailles. He then began to question whether the Third Reich had any involvement in the Holocaust whatsoever. He is quoted as saying: ''it is almost alarmingly easy to demonstrate that the atrocities of the allies in the same period were more numerous as to the victims and were carried out for the most part by methods more brutal and painful than alleged exterminations in gas ovens.'' The use of the word 'alleged' defines his view on the whole issue. Another amateur historian who also denied the Holocaust was Arthur Butz. He took a different slant, he said that the there were concentration camps, but they were merely transit camps/ghettos where Jews were taken for their own safety due to the advancement of the Red Army towards the western front. Dawidowicz was quoted as saying that Butz's book was ''clearly the product of an unhinged mind.'' Although they did have evidence to back up their arguments their work was still an insult to professional historians of the Holocaust. In 2005 60 years after the war there are still instances of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. ...read more.

Conclusion

2 Hitler's Willing Excecutioners-1996 3 According to Goldhagen this rampant eliminationistic attitude had grown from medieval inclinations based on religious grounds, which over time became generally secular. 4 Zionism was a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. 5Hereafter referred to as PR 6 This was however the brainchild of Hitler not G´┐Żebbels, however he did launch a campaign against the Poles pending the invasion in September of 1939 7 Hitler commissioned Leni Riefenstahl to make films for him the first being 'Triumph of the will'' which gave an account of the Nuremberg rally in 1934, and also by the Olympics Committee to make a film about the Berlin Olympics in 1936 'Olympia' 8 Where Himmler was at Hitler's bunker he telephoned Heydrich and said to him ''Transport of Jews from Berlin. No liquidation.'' 9 However Barnes was not a historian so his evidence is not very credible. He was also anti-Semitic, which could be the reason for his need to explain away the Holocaust. 10 He was the leader for the Austrian Nazi Party. 11 A fortified area of land, belonging to Czechoslovakia with a high percentage of German speaking population. 12 Two Million by September 1939 13 Daniel Goldhagen in His book 'Hitler's Willing Executioners' puts the responsibility of the Holocaust in the hands of the German people. ?? ?? ?? ?? Andrew Teague-History coursework Page 1 ...read more.

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