A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth by Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn

By Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn

No contemporary paintings of historical past has generated as a lot curiosity as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's prepared Executioners. Purporting to resolve the secret of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen continues that standard Germans have been pushed by way of fanatical anti-Semitism to homicide the Jews. an instantaneous nationwide best-seller, the e-book went directly to create a global sensation.
Now, in A kingdom on Trial, top critics problem Goldhagen's findings and convey that his paintings isn't really scholarship in any respect. With compelling cumulative impression, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously files 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 information he consulted. the key overseas authority on those documents, 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 by means of ideological zealotry.

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28; see also Neil R. McMillen, Dark Journey, Chicago 1989, ch. 7, especially pp. 238ff; and Arthur F. Raper, The Tragedy of Lynching, New York 1969, p. 47. One may add that, for sheer brutality, Southern violence was in a class apart: the grisly 47 torture, dismemberment and even roasting of its victims, along with the collection of bodily parts as souvenirs, were inconceivable in pre-war Nazi Germany. For an example, see Toinay and Beck, A Festival of Violence, p. 23. 49. John W. Dower, War Without Mercy, New York 1986.

13). 7. Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, New York 1975, p. 47; see also pp. 163-6. 8. Goldhagen dissents from Christopher Browning's estimates that 10-20 per cent of the German police battalions refused to kill Jews as 'stretching the evidence'. (HWE, p. 541, n. 68; see also p. 551, n. 65) It is one of Goldhagen's central contentions that the police battalions were prototypical of the murderous German mind-set (HWE, pp. 181-5, 463ff). 9. 'A Reply to My Critics', The New Republic, 23 December 1996 [hereafter Reply], p.

Ethical and behavioural norms that had governed modern western societies'. ' (HWE, pp. 4, 5, 28, 386, 419) No doubt facets of the Nazi holocaust – for example, the annihilation centres such as those at Treblinka and Sobibor – were unique. The case Goldhagen mounts, however, sheds less light on the historical singularities of the judeocide than it does on his own singularly ahistorical sense. It bears emphasis that the matter at issue is not whether the crimes of the Nazi era were monumental. Rather it is whether these monumental crimes are without any historical precedent or parallel.

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